Top 5 Best LED Headlights – Buyer’s Guide

OPT7 Fluxbeam LED Headlight Kit w/ Clear Arc-Beam Bulbs - H11 (H8, H9) - 60w 7,000Lm 6K Cool White CREE - 2 Yr Warranty

You’ve finally bought into the LED argument and have decided to get the best LED headlights on the market. You know the best LED bulbs for cars:

  • are brighter,
  • produce white light (similar to daylight),
  • are more efficient, and
  • last longer

But for the uninitiated, telling LED headlights models apart can be nerve-racking. And you’d have questions like:

Why are they called conversion kits anyway?

What’s with the many symbols, geek-speak, and technobabble? “6000K”?! What does that even mean?

How am I sure the bulb I’m interested in would fit in my car?

This LED headlight conversion kit buyer’s guide answers these questions and more. As well as provide concise reviews of the top 5 best led headlights available.

Top 5 Best LED Headlights - Shortlisted Top Picks


Full Round-Up of the Best LED Headlights

#1 – OPT7 Fluxbeam LED Headlight Kit w/ Clear Arc-Beam Bulbs - H11 (H8, H9) - 60w 7,000Lm 6K Cool White CREE - 2 Yr Warranty | Best Selling LED Headlight

OPT7 Fluxbeam LED Headlight Kit w/ Clear Arc-Beam Bulbs - H11 (H8, H9) - 60w 7,000Lm 6K Cool White CREE - 2 Yr Warranty

The Gold Standard

The OPT7 FluxBeam is by far the best-selling LED conversion kit, while paradoxically being one of the higher-priced models available.

Is it a coincidence? No.

Does it mean the product is great? You bet.

Premium features

All you really want to know is what LED headlight is great for you. But sometimes, it can be hard to get past the geeky spec list. To keep it simple, you want a headlight that has excellent performance, is easy to use, and will last for a long time. The OPT7 Fluxbeam checks these boxes and more.

Performance

The OPT7 FluxBeam like every other headlight bulb on this list offers exceptional efficiency, a 6000K Cool White light that is as close to daylight as you’re going to get, and sufficient brightness of 7000Lm (3500 lumens per bulb).

However, where it sets itself apart in performance is its use of OPT7 proprietary Arc Beam technology. The tech combines a carefully shaped and calibrated silicone lens with a high-end CREE (easily the most recognizable auto LED chip brand) MK-R chip. Like a mini projector housing.

The result is that you get a very clean, clear, and consistent light beam pattern with no dark spots.

Usability

OPT7 doubles down on its premium offering with a plug and play system that allows you to install the FluxBeam within 20 minutes. And to be able to do so without any technical knowledge or experience.

Inside your package, you’d find all requisite instructions and easy-to-follow guides to get you set up in no time. You can adjust the bulb orientation effortlessly. And because it is CanBUS-Ready, it’ll play nicely with most modern cars.

If your car falls in the odd minority of cars that runs into compatibility issues such as flickering, OPT7 also has an add-on TIPM resistor bundle comprising ECM capacitors and flip polarity adapters that should smoothen things up. Installing the add-on kit is a cinch as well.

Furthermore, the FluxBeam functions effectively in all weather conditions—rain, snow, or in dusty climate. It is waterproof and dustproof with a formidable IP 67 rating.

Cooling

The FluxBeam will last a whopping 50,000 hours. And a major reason for its satisfying longevity is the outstanding cooling mechanism it is equipped with. OPT7 calls it Modular Heat Protection (MHP).

At the heart of the MHP system is a Dual Speed TurboCool fan that makes 7000 revolutions per minute. The fan radiates heat conducted by the expertly built LED assembly with highly conductive materials and a Cold-Pressed Aluminum Heat Sink that reduces heat by up to 35% (a rare component only found in the priciest LED headlights).

The brain of the tech is a compact RedLine ASIC-X Control Driver. It has an efficient micro design without the need for mounts. More importantly, it regulates the LED power usage and fan speed for optimal heat protection and performance.

A complete package

The OPT7 FluxBeam lacks nothing. It is a high quality LED headlight basking in innovation and an outstanding feature set at a fair price.

You aren’t going to find a better all-round headlight at a lower price point. The FluxBeam offers:

  • terrific performance; achieving full 7000Lm brightness instantly
  • innovative Arc Beam technology
  • effective cooling
  • all the benefits of LED technology; including efficiency and longevity
  • wide range of sizes
  • TWO (2) years warranty and lifetime support

PROS

  • Exclusive Arc Beam technology
  • Excellent performance
  • Robust set of features
  • Easy to install
  • High-end MHP Cooling technology
  • Terrific support

CONS

  • May be pricey for some

#2 – CougarMotor LED Headlight Bulbs All-in-One Conversion Kit - H11 (H8, H9) -7,200Lm 6000K Cool White CREE - 3 Year Warranty | Best Warranty LED Headlight

CougarMotor LED Headlight Bulbs All-in-One Conversion Kit - H11 (H8, H9) -7,200Lm 6000K Cool White CREE - 3 Year Warranty

For budget-minded LED headlight buyers, the CougarMotor Conversion Kit is an exciting option. For the price, you get quality LED bulbs with the basic features necessary to put in a decent performance.

So yea, it doesn’t use a top-of-the-line LED chip and driver, it has no heat sink nor is it built with the latest high-end cooling materials, there’s no proprietary tech like Arc Beam, adjusting it is difficult, instructions could be better, and customer service isn’t as flawless as with the premium brands.

BUT...

It does get a lot right with standard features and tech. You get:

  • Combined 7,200 lumens; about as bright as you’d need the bulbs to be
  • 10,000 rpm fan; almost makes up for its lack of heat sink and multi-functional driver
  • Its standard driver is sufficiently advanced to control fan speed and LED light output
  • It does have a IP67 rating for being waterproof and dustproof
  • It has Instant On (like all LEDs)
  • It has the same 20 minutes install time (as every other headlight on this list), as it is Plug ‘n’ Play and CanBUS-Ready. Also, polarity flip adapters are available
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    And its major feature is the THREE (3) years warranty and lifetime support. For a LED headlight at this price point, that’s amazing

PROS

  • Quality performance
  • It is affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Decent cooling
  • Excellent 3-year warranty

CONS

  • No downsides worth mentioning for the price

#3 – simdevanma LED Automobile Headlight Bulbs with Advanced LED Chip and All-in-One Conversion kit-80W/8,000LM/6,000K-2 Year Warranty(Upgraded Version) (H11(H8,H9))

simdevanma LED Automobile Headlight Bulbs with Advanced LED Chip and All-in-One Conversion kit-80W/8,000LM/6,000K-2 Year Warranty(Upgraded Version) (H11(H8,H9))

The Simdevanma may not be a poster child of auto LED headlight innovation and its spec list may not be the most impressive. However, it covers all the bases with decent features, outstanding performance, and an affordable price tag to boot.

Its LED chip may not be a known brand name like CREE, Philips, or LUMILEDS; but it puts out 8,000 lumens, which is sufficiently bright, and the color is cool white (6,000 Kelvin). More importantly, it has an extended throw and no dark spots.

It features the standard IP67 rating protection, instant on, and quick plug-and-play installation.

Cooling is provided by the use of aviation-grade Aluminum build to conduct heat away from the LED and a 7,000 rpm fan to radiate the heat away. It doesn’t have the driver synchronization feature present in the FluxBeam; but it does have the same standard TWO (2) years warranty and really good support.

As such, you can be rest-assured that you aren’t gambling when you choose the Simdevanma because of your budget constraints. If you get a defective product or if your headlight fails prematurely, you get no-hassle replacements timely and customer service is responsive.

PROS

  • Oustanding performance
  • Decent functionalities
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Cooling could be better

#4 – HIKARI LED Headlight Bulbs Conversion Kit -H13(9008),CREE (XHP50+XM-L2) 9600lm 6K Cool White,2 Yr Warranty | Best CREE LED Headlight

HIKARI LED Headlight Bulbs Conversion Kit -H13(9008),CREE (XHP50+XM-L2) 9600lm 6K Cool White,2 Yr Warranty

After taking its home Japanese market by storm, HIKARI makes a showdown with a premium product. It is in fact the first brand to get a Certificate of DOT Compliance.

HIKARI takes concrete steps to edge the competition by:

  • using the best CREE auto LED chip available—the XHP50. In its high beam, it combines the XHP50 with the CREE XM-L2. As a result, it boasts 9,600 lumens in brightness
  • getting the highest IP 68 rating amongst LED headlights; a testament of its excellent build and protection against water and dust
  • using its proprietary variable-frequency technology to divert power when necessary to attain maximum brightness

Furthermore, it has a decent cooling system using a 9,000 rpm cyclone dual ball bearing cooling fan and special aluminum alloy shell. It also allows for easy installation, since it is CanBUS-ready.

Wrapping it up, HIKARI has superb support and TWO (2) years warranty.

For the most part, these functionalities pretty much prove to be worth its price tag. But it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be missing out on some premium features found in higher-priced models like the OPT7 Fluxbeam.

  • It is not easily adjustable; this may be useful in some cars
  • It does not have a heat sink
  • It does not have an intelligent multi-functional driver

Still, its impressive line of features (including its anti-interference tech), quality performance, and raving reviews indicate that at its price point, there’s nothing better out there.

PROS

  • Quality performance
  • Variable-frequency tech
  • IP 68 rating
  • Easy to install
  • Decent cooling

CONS

  • No intelligent driver
  • Not adjustable
  • Output could be better

#5 – SNGL Super Bright LED Headlight Conversion Kit - Adjustable-Beam Bulbs - H11 ( H8 , H9 ) - 110w 12,400Lm - 6000K Bright White - 2 Yr Warranty | Best Ultra-Premium LED Headlight

SNGL Super Bright LED Headlight Conversion Kit - Adjustable-Beam Bulbs - H11 ( H8 , H9 ) - 110w 12,400Lm - 6000K Bright White - 2 Yr Warranty

Simply the best

The SNGL Super Bright is the Cadillac of LED Headlights. If you want the absolute best LED headlight money can buy, the Super Bright is the obvious choice.

But why is that?

Starting from the exterior, the Super Bright has the best build quality of any LED headlight on this list. It feels sturdy and its durability is not in doubt.

Performance like no other

In terms of performance, it produces 6000 Kelvin white light with combined astonishing brightness of 12,400 Lumens. That makes it 75% brighter than the OPT7 FluxBeam. And all of that light comes from a bespoke premium LUMILEDS LMZ7 LED chip.

Unsurprisingly, it requires 110W for smooth operation. And while its performance is in a class of its own, the heat it emits is expectedly higher than heat from low-powered, lower-priced bulbs. As a result, it’d need the best cooling system to stay consistent and to ensure it hits the over 50,000 hours lifespan mark.

Furthermore, it has a Dual IC driver equipped with:

  • electrostatic/pulse protection
  • voltage and current protection
  • improved EMC design to reduce noise and high-performance noise filter

Hands-down the best cooling system

SNGL delivers on this regard with an innovative Intelligent Constant Cooling (ICC) system that blows the OPT7 MHP system out of the water.

Designed from the ground up to be a custom solution for the Super Bright cooling needs, the ICC system incorporates two latest hi-tech materials in its build.

  • An upgraded copper substrate for PCB; with 15 times higher heat conductive efficiency that common substrates used in most LED bulbs
  • Red-Copper material; with 300% higher heat conductive efficiency than common casting aluminum heat sink

These materials conduct heat superbly to the cold-pressed Aluminum heat sink that improves heat conductive efficiency by 40%. The heat is then radiated off thanks to a high-powered dual ball bearing cooling fan spinning at 15,000 rpm (double the fan speed of the OPT7 FluxBeam).

But what really makes the ICC system “intelligent” is the high reliability Dual IC Cool Control Driver. Like the OPT7 FluxBeam RedLine driver, it maintains constant brightness output and synchronizes with the LED ASIC chip to monitor fan speed for optimal heat protection and performance.

However, it does a lot more. It has a unique overheat failure protection, fan failure protection—to ensure that the LED bulb can still work even if the fan isn’t working—and electrode reverse connect protection to guarantee anti-interference.

Easy usage

Like all LED headlights worth their salt, the Super Bright has IP67 protection to ensure optimal functioning come rain or shine.

Installing it is easy, as it is plug ‘n’ play and CanBUS-Ready. And if you own a car known to have issues with the standard LED headlight configuration, you should choose the custom kit with anti-flicker tech.

It also boasts the exclusive Adjustable Beam technology that allows you to adjust the LED direction and depth during installation for optimal output.

An obvious choice if your budget allows

Complete with impressive functionalities, several sizes, and TWO (2) years warranty; the question is not if the SNGL Super Bright is worth its price tag, but if it is within your budget.

If it is, then getting the Super Bright is not debatable. However, if its price is too far a stretch for you, the OPT7 FluxBeam would serve you well.

PROS

  • Superlative performance
  • Ultra-Premium feature set
  • Easy to install and adjust
  • Best-in-class IC cooling technology
  • Multi-functional Dual IC Driver

CONS

  • May be too pricey for some

Best LED Headlights Conversion Kits Buyer’s Guide

What is LED Lighting?

LEDs have been all the rage in recent times. From home lighting to even TVs, they’re becoming more ubiquitous by the day.

But what is it exactly?

LED is short for Light Emitting Diode. Put simply, LED is a tiny semiconductor device that glows when voltage (electricity) is applied. It’s got several advantages over other types of lighting (which we’ll discuss in the next section).

That said, an aftermarket LED headlight is an assembly of several parts. Which is why it is called a conversion kit. It comprises:

  • the LED bulb/chip. It can be a CREE, Philips, LUMILEDS, or some other branded (or knock-off) LED. It produces the light
  • the driver or ballast. It is the brains of the assembly. LED headlights often have to replace Halogen lamps notorious for the copious amount of power they use. It is the ballast’s job to only direct as much power as the LED needs. In premium conversion kits, the driver has a secondary function of regulating the power and playing a role in cooling (often by regulating fan speed)
  • the cooling system. Light emitted by a LED may be much cooler than that of a halogen bulb. But like the semiconductors in your smartphone and other devices, it does generate heat while producing the light. The cooling system ensures the heat is parried away safely
  • the wiring. To allow easy installation

Why LED?

The two common alternatives to LED are halogen and HID (often Xenon) bulbs. And you’re probably asking yourself why LED headlights are becoming so popular. Why would you want to choose it over halogen lights and high intensity discharge lights?

  • Lower power consumption. LEDs require up to 80% less power from your car’s engine than halogen lamps
  • Higher efficiency. LEDs have a higher energy efficiency (lumens per watt—Lm/W) than HIDs. After 8,000 hours of use, most HID lights will lose 20% of their energy efficiency, while LEDs will be very near 100%
  • Better performance. LEDs turn on instantly, while HIDs require warm up time of up to 10 minutes. LED offers more even lighting than halogens infamous for dark patches or spots. Furthermore, LED lights are often weatherproof, so they perform exceptionally well even in less than ideal weather conditions. LEDs are also dimmable, while HIDs aren’t
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    Brighter with diverse range of colors. Compared to Halogens, LEDs can output dazzling levels of brightness (measured in lumens) and boast a wide range of different colors (measured in Kelvin)
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    Better durability. LEDs do not have moving parts. In fact, the only moving part in a LED conversion kit is the rotating fan (which is absent in fanless kits) to dissipate heat. Halogens and HIDs on the other hand are fragile
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    Longer lifespan. Because of their better durability, LEDs have the longest lifespan of up to (and sometime over) 50,000 hours of use. Which means it’d last for the life of your car. HIDs have the next best lifespan at 15,000 to 25,000 hours. Halogens are worse off at roughly 6,000 hours on average
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    Better cost efficiency. LED may have higher price tags, but they do not require regular replacement or maintenance even. Usually, if your LED headlights gives up within the warranty period (which is an average of two years), you’d often get a replacement. HIDs cost less, but they require regular relamping and ballast replacement. Halogens are the cheapest, but you’d have to replace them ever so often

In addition, LED headlights are easy to install (it’d typically take less than 20 minutes) and have decent warranty (the industry standard is two years).

Factors to Consider When Buying a LED Headlight Conversion Kit

1. Size (Fit or Compatibility)

Car headlights come in different sizes. Therefore, it is crucial that you get the right size that is compatible with your vehicle.

Size (Fit or Compatibility)

Photo Source: https://www.vehicode.com/blog/the-complete-beginner-s-guide-to-led-headlight-bulbs.html

If you aren’t sure of the size or model number of your headlight, there are a couple of ways to confirm it.

  • Use your car owner’s manual; often times you’d be able to download it online
Use your car owner’s manual

Photo Source: https://www.vehicode.com/blog/how-to-use-automobile-user-manual-to-find-out-headlight-bulb-model-number-and-installation-steps.html

  • Check the model number on the previous bulb
previous bulb

Photo Source: https://www.vehicode.com/blog/how-to-find-out-right-headlight-bulbs-for-your-vehicle.html

  • Use Philips Automotive Bulb Look-up

On the Philips website, enter the following details of your car—year, make (brand or marque), and model—to get the bulb size you need to purchase.

2. LED chip

Halogen and HID lamps are omnidirectional. That’s tech speak for the ability to emit light from the whole glass part of the bulb. LED lamps only emit light from the chip.

You’d want to pay attention to the configuration and type (or brand) of LED chip used. CREE and Philips are two of the more popular brands.

3. Brightness

The brightness or intensity of the light emitted by a bulb (or light source) is measured in lumens (the symbol is ‘Lm’). In general, a brighter LED light will have farther throw. You shouldn’t read too much into the difference between lumen values unless it is significant (say over 1000 lumens).

4. Color temperature

It is the color of the LED light. Typically, LED colors are measured in manometers (nm). However, white color is measured in Kelvin (symbol is ‘K’).

kelvin temperatures new logo

Credit: http://www.expeditionforum.com/threads/2016-headlight-color-temp.29076/page-2

Normal color of daylight is 5,600K. And most headlights come in the 5,000K to 6,000K range for headlight color that almost matches daylight. That doesn’t mean you can’t find other colors if you prefer. Many manufacturers offer a diverse range from 3,000K (the ‘yellow’ color that halogen fog lamps typically have) to 12,000K (purple).

5. Cooling and Durability

The consistent performance, high efficiency, and lengthy longevity of LEDs heavily rely on a cooling system.

Cooling systems may broadly be categorized into fan and fanless (use copper wires for heat dissipation rather than a high-powered fan) systems. Fan systems run cooler, but fanless systems are quieter.

That said, cooling systems have different configurations, with the more complex being in the higher-priced LED kits such as the SNGL Super Bright and OPT7 FluxBeam.

While lower-priced models like the Simdevanma use simple systems reliant only on a fan and aluminum build (for good conductivity). Higher-priced kits use high-tech materials, such as copper for better heat conductivity, heatsinks, and a variation of the TSPS (Temperature Sensor Protection System) to regulate the brightness of the LED chip and fan speed.

Most LED kit manufacturers market their products to have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. Many wouldn’t last that long. But the likelihood of hitting, and sometimes, surpassing the mark increases with better cooling.

6. Proofing

The reliability of LED headlights is very crucial to its performance and your safety. You can’t afford to have a light going all wonky while you’re heading home on a rainy night. You absolutely do not want to buy a LED headlight without certified protection from the elements.

Watch out for its IP (short for Ingress or International Protection) rating or code. You can learn about it here. The IP code is an internationally recognized rating system to verify the degree of water- and dustproofing of a device. The higher the rating, the better.

You also want a shockproof LED headlight.

7. Housing: Projector vs Reflector

This isn’t exactly a feature of LED headlights, but a factor you want to keep in mind before making a purchase. There are two types of headlight assembly in cars—reflectors and projectors.

A reflector headlight assembly has a simple configuration. It consists of a headlight bulb situated in the middle of a reflector cup (or housing). Much like a flashlight.

halogen reflector light output diagram large

Photo: https://www.xenonsupply.com/blogs/xenonsupply-hid-xenon-blog/projector-headlights-vs-reflector-headlights

A projector headlight assembly is slightly more complex. It is basically an improved reflector setup with:

  • a lens in front of the bulb; to concentrate the light beam and reduce dispersion
  • a cutoff shield; to create a distinct light barrier. This barrier keeps the light low to avoid blinding oncoming traffic
  • a solenoid; to control the cutoff shield. The solenoid keeps the cutoff shield up for low beams, but lowers it for high beams
Headlight projector schematic

Source: https://www.xenonsupply.com/blogs/xenonsupply-hid-xenon-blog/projector-headlights-vs-reflector-headlights

Here’s video demonstrating the effect of the cutoff shield in a projector headlight assembly.

And here’s the light output from a reflector headlight assembly. Notice how it shines everywhere.

lights on garage door large

Source: http://www.odyclub.com/forums/

The comparison

As you’d notice from the images above, the core difference between the reflector and projector housings is the lens in front of the reflected light beam. The lens makes the light beam uniform and narrower, which improves the intensity of the light as well as visibility. The cut-off shield doubles on this.

As a result, you’d notice that light output from reflector headlights have dark regions (or spot) where there is relatively less light. A phenomenon that is almost nonexistent in projector headlights.

That said, the less controlled light output of reflector housings isn’t much of a problem when low intensity halogen bulbs (your stock oem headlights) are used. With high intensity bulbs like LEDs, it can become deeply inconvenient to oncoming traffic.

Your light output will not be controlled due to the absence of a lens and your headlights would always appear to be in high beams. As they’d be too dazzling.

This is the primary reason why many recommend using aftermarket LED headlights only in projector housings. It isn’t that they wouldn’t work in reflector housings. In fact, many newer vehicles have an Anti-Glare Cap in reflector housings to cut out stray light patterns.

However, LEDs generally perform better in projector housings.

8. Installation

You want to buy a headlight that is easy to install. Go for headlights that are plug and play and CanBUS-ready. On average, you’d be able to install them within 20 minutes. Adjustments may be necessary.

Some cars such as models from Dodge, Jeep, BMW, and Chrysler (and others) sometimes aren’t compatible with CanBUS-ready kits right out the box. As the headlights will flicker or not work correctly.

The workaround is to get flip polarity adapters or ECM capacitors for a better connection. Most headlight manufacturers will have an add-on adapter kit available for purchase.

9. Warranty

LEDs are highly reliable and should last for more than 5 years. Which is why manufacturers have no problem offering decent warranty of between 1 and 3 years. Two years is the standard for quality manufacturers though.

10. Price

In general, higher-priced LED headlights have the best build, premium features, innovative technology, exceptional performance, excellent cooling, and superb support. But if you are on a budget, you may still be able to get a decent buy only if you do your due diligence.

Ensure a headlight ticks all the boxes that are important to you, proceed to compare and contrast features, and read what others have to say about the product.

hid headlight kit installed pics lights garage door large

Wrapping Up our Best LED Headlights Guide

Here’s the first question you’d ask yourself after making the switch to LED highlights. “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” They are unarguably better than halogen headlights. They are able to shine brighter, are more efficient, and last much longer.

To enjoy all the benefits that LED headlight bulbs have to offer, it is vital that you buy the best LED headlights conversion kits. And for most people, the OPT7 FluxBeam LED Headlight Kit is an excellent choice.

Steven K. Galloway