The Best LED Headlights

By Jordan Maxwell

February 9, 2021

Although some modern vehicles do come with LED headlights straight from the factory, most vehicles are equipped with standard halogen headlight bulbs. While halogen headlights are fully capable of lighting up the road ahead of you, LED headlights perform noticeably better. They’re brighter and more efficient, which means you’ll have to get replacement bulbs less frequently. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your car’s headlights, you’ve come to the right place.

Before we get started with our picks for the best LED headlights, there are a few things you need to know. LED headlights are generally aftermarket plug-and-play kits, but they may not work for every vehicle. Prior to purchasing a set, you should make sure the bulbs won’t have any potential issues when installing it in your specific vehicle. You also should know that the brightness of an LED bulb is measured in lumens and that number will let you know how bright the bulb is.

Below, you’ll find out top picks for the best LED headlights along with more information on what to look for when choosing the best pair for your car.

1. Editor’s Pick: Cougar Motor LED Headlight Bulbs

ProsCons
  • Three-year warranty
  • 10000 lumens per pair
  • Advertised 50,000-hour lifespan
  • Isn’t compatible with all vehicles
  • Some owners are bothered by the fan noise

Key Specs

Brand: Cougar Motor
Output: 60w / 10000 lumens
Temperature: 6000K
Advertised lifespan: 50,000 hours

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When it comes to a balance of quality, reliability and performance, we put Cougar Motor’s LED headlight bulbs as our top pick. Powered by CREE LED chips, these bulbs offer 60w of output per pair and up to 10000 lumens at a cool white 6000K temperature. Expect to see a noticeable improvement in brightness over your factory halogen headlights with these LED bulbs.

To ensure they last the advertised 50,000 hours of life, there is a 10,000 RPM TurobCool fan in the aluminum housing, ensuring the bulbs stay cool during operation. So long as they are compatible with your vehicle, installing these LED bulbs should take about 20 minutes. They are CanBUS-ready, so you shouldn’t run into any issues on most vehicles. If you own a newer Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or European vehicle, you may want to verify with Cougar Motor on compatibility. The company says some vehicles will require an anti-flicker harness or LED bulb decoders.

Perhaps most importantly, the company backs its product up with a three-year warranty. This is especially important since LED bulbs can be finicky and some of them could be faulty right out of the box.

2. Runner-up: Sealight LED Headlight Bulbs

ProsCons
  • IP67 rated
  • Easy and quick installation
  • Fanless design for quiet operation
  • There are brighter options
  • Auto DRL may not work on all vehicles

Key Specs

Brand: Sealight
Output: 40w / 10000 lumens
Temperature: 6000K
Advertised lifespan: 50,000 hours

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This extremely popular option comes from Sealight is our runner-up pick and is the ideal choice if you want silent operation. That’s because these bulbs feature a heatsink crafted from aviation aluminum with a fanless design. The result is efficient cooling without the noise. These bulbs are IP67 rated and work well in all sorts of weather conditions, rigorously tested for durability and have an advertised lifespan of 50,000 hours.

The company doesn’t choose to advertise any sort of lumens figure, but these bulbs have 40w of output at a bright white 6000K temperature. What Sealight does claim is that these bulbs will be 130-percent brighter than your standard halogen units. Care was put into the design to ensure a perfect beam pattern for all driving conditions, while reducing glare for oncoming drivers.

These bulbs will fit 98 percent of vehicles and they are CanBUS ready. If you aren’t sure whether or not they’ll fit your vehicle, feel free to contact the company prior to purchasing.

3. Best on a Budget: Beamtech LED Headlight Bulbs

ProsCons
  • Decent output for the price
  • Fanless design for quiet operation
  • MIght run into compatibility issues
  • Lower advertised lifespan than the competition

Key Specs

Brand: Beamtech
Output: 50w/8000 lumens
Temperature: 6500K
Advertised lifespan: 30,000 hours

See Price

Curious enough to try out LED headlights but not willing to spend a lot of money? Like nearly everything else in the automotive market, there are quality budget options. Our recommendation for this segment comes from Beamtech and you can choose from a variety of bulb fitments. Powered by CSP LED chips, these bulbs generate up to 50w of output per set of 8000 lumens at a 6500K temperature.

In terms of design, Beamtech opted to get as close to the same length as a halogen light bulb, so they have a similar emitting pattern. No fan is used for cooling on these bulbs, thanks to aviation aluminum construction. The company says these bulbs have an average lifespan of 30,000 hours and are IP65 rated.

Featuring an all-in-on design, installation is extremely straightforward although Beamtech does caution that these bulbs are plug-and-play with 95 percent of the vehicles out there. Feel free to contact the company directly if you have any questions on whether or not they’re compatible with your specific vehicle.

4. Also Consider: Auxbeam F-16 Plus LED Headlight Bulbs

ProsCons
  • Slim design with wider viewing angle
  • Ball-bearing fans for additional cooling
  • 6000K soft white and 7000 lumens brightness won’t cause glare for oncoming traffic
  • DRL may not work on some vehicles
  • There are much brighter alternatives, if you’re looking for more output

Key Specs

Brand: Auxbeam
Output: 70w / 7000 lumens
Temperature: 6000K
Advertised lifespan: 50,000 hours

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Available in a variety of fitments, Auxbeam’s F-16 Plus LED headlight bulbs boast a stylish finish while outputting 70w and 7000 lumens per pair at 6000K. These bulbs are an improved version of the brand’s popular F-16 series and are 1.25 times brighter. It features a slim design for better viewing angle, so it won’t be overpowering for oncoming traffic. These bulbs use SMD LEDs and will fire up instantly with no delay.

The 6000K temperature produces a soft white light, while the built-in ball-bearing fans ensure the bulbs produce that light for over 50,000 hours. Built-in CanBUS and self-contained decoding is used to avoid error codes, although we still recommend verifying with the manufacturer that the bulbs are compatible with your particular vehicle.

These bulbs are IP68 rated so you don’t have to worry about heavy rain or snow conditions. Auxbeam offers a 24-month warranty with its LED headlight bulbs.

5. Honorary Mention: Hikari LED Headlight Bulbs

ProsCons
  • Competitively priced
  • Built-in cooling fan for longevity
  • 360-degree adjustable beam pattern
  • No advertised warranty
  • Not the brightest bulbs

Key Specs

Brand: Hikari
Output: 9600 lumens
Temperature: 6000K
Advertised lifespan: 50,000 hours

See Price

If you’re not willing to spend a lot, but curious to see the benefits of LED headlight bulbs, consider this offering from Hikari. These bulbs have maximum output of 9600 lumens at 6000K temperature and feature a 360-degree adjustable beam so you can get the ideal beam pattern for your car. The company claims these bulbs are compatible with 99.9 percent of the vehicles in today’s market.

Powered by CSP LED chips, each bulb is equipped with a 10,000 RPM cooling fan to help ensure these bulbs last their advertised 50,000-hour life. Choose from a variety of fitments including H4, H7, H11, H13, 9004, 9005, 9006, 9007, and 9012.

We recommend this product for drivers who want to see the improvement that LED headlight bulbs offer, and aren’t searching for the brightest bulbs on the market.

Benefits of LED Headlight Bulbs

There are several benefits of upgrading from halogen headlight bulbs to LED headlight bulbs. We’ll discuss a few of those major benefits below.

Improved Visibility: Arguably the most important factor, LED headlight bulbs will be noticeably brighter than your factory halogen headlights. This means better visibility on the road, which is extremely important for safety.

Lifespan: Some of our recommendations boast life spans of over 50,000 hours, which means you won’t need to replace your bulbs as often. Although they may cost more up front, you’ll be saving money on the long run.

Easy to Install: Most LED headlight bulbs are plug-and-play kits, with installation taking under 30 minutes. Just make sure they’re compatible with your vehicle prior to purchasing.

Energy Efficient: Another major benefit to LED headlight bulbs is that they are energy efficient and they won’t consume as much power as your factory halogen bulbs.

Things to Consider

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing the right LED headlight bulbs for your vehicle.

Legality: Check with your local regulations before upgrading to LED headlight bulbs. Not all of these bulbs are legal for street use.

Compatibility: As we mentioned numerous times with our recommendations, although a company claims its bulbs fit a vast majority of vehicles, we highly recommend verifying with the manufacturer prior to purchasing.

Lumens: Most LED headlight bulbs measure their output by lumens, which determines how bright the bulbs are. The higher the number, the brighter the bulb.

LED Headlights FAQ

Lighting and visibility are extremely important factors when it comes to driving. If you often drive late at night or in areas with low visibility, we recommend upgrading your vehicle with LED headlights. Even if you don’t, there are plenty of other benefits if you’re simply looking to improve the lighting from your headlights. LED bulbs tend to last much longer, which means less money spent replacing your headlight bulbs. Check out some frequently asked questions from our readers to learn more.

What are LED headlights?

LED headlights use LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of a standard halogen bulb for output. LEDs are generally more efficient, brighter and last much longer. There is a reason why LED bulbs have become more popular for household use.

Do LED headlights save energy?

Although this isn’t much of a factor for most vehicles, LED headlights do consume less energy than halogen headlights.

Are LED headlights legal?

This varies depending on where you live and it’s always recommended to check with your local laws before purchasing LED headlights.

Will LED headlights cause glare or blind other drivers?

If the beam pattern on your bulbs aren’t adjusted properly, they could cause glare for other drivers.

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2 Comments

    • How to check is the led bulb DOT approved? For example, according amazon.ca seller Cougar Motor LED Headlight Bulbs is DOT approved but I'm looking for official information.
    • Report Post
    • How to check is the led bulb DOT approved? For example, according amazon.ca seller Cougar Motor LED Headlight Bulbs is DOT approved but I'm looking for official information.
    • Report Post