We’ve tested over 100 LED products over the last few years and have narrowed down the very best products for each application, so if you are looking to install into projector headlights, reflector fog lights, low beams, high beams, we’ll have recommendations for you in a few different price ranges.
BulbFacts is an independent testing lab, with a goal to produce real reviews and recommendations. As always, we decline all sponsored offers in order to keep the recommendations true and unbiased for you guys. Our goal is to find the best product you can buy the first time, saving you time and money.
To learn more about how we test, you can visit our testing procedure page, but in short, we test in a few different headlights styles for each application, all at 25 feet, and now also factor lumens results into the overall scores.
LED products have come so far in the last few years, and there are a lot of great products on the market now, so let’s jump right into it.
RELECTOR HEADLIGHTS - LOW BEAMS
Starting off with Reflector Style Headlights in the Low Beams, the new Lumibright XT1 Gen2 model is the #1 pick regardless of price category at around $160. They have a 3-year warranty, solid Tier 1 quality construction, and a nice clean white color (5750k). They are also CANBUS compatible, which a lot of newer vehicles use, and also work all the way down to 5 volts which is great for people looking to add them into their DRL (daytime running lights). They produce about 3.5 times or 244% further distance at 1283 lux vs 373 peak hotspot lux for OEM halogen and 577 lux for the best Halogen upgrade we tested (Bosch Gigalight Plus 120%), which is by far the most we have seen for halogen reflector style headlights. Beam pattern is something we also like to mention, as it’s important not to glare other traffic. A common problem for poor LED products. The XT1 Gen2s are near perfect with very minimal glare from our test housings, putting down the light where it belongs. We don’t recommend anything without an accurate beam. The tested lumens were about 9280 per kit compared to 3128 in a standard halogen bulb, nearly three time the total light output.
Another great option at a bit lower cost of around $150 are the DDM Tuning SaberProX 55w version. They came in at 1211 lux, which is just over 3X the distance with a near perfect beam pattern. They run at a higher wattage so they are naturally CANBUS compatible and dimmable on many vehicles, and thus output over 9,000 stable lumens from our tests.
The DDM’s come with a 2-year warranty, are compatible with most DRL systems, and a great overall semi-budget choice for your halogen low beam headlights.
There are a few new LED models coming soon from DDM Tuning and Morimoto as well, so be sure to watch out for those. We add any new models on our website as we test, so be sure to take a look at the full test charts and latest recommendations.
If your budget is a bit tighter, the Hikari Ultra’s and Katana’s, both Tier 2 quality kits are great alternatives, and still very bright. The Hikari’s come in at about $90, and will net you 173% more light, or just over 2.5X the distance at 6450k color temperature with a perfect beam pattern. An even cheaper option are the Katana’s, which were just under 2.5X the distance, and 5950k color temperature with a near perfect beam. The Katana’s sit around $50 on Amazon and essentially the best overall budget value you can buy.
REFLECTOR HEADLIGHTS - HIGH BEAMS
We always let people know when asking about upgrading their high beams that the upgrade won’t be as large as low-beams, but the benefits are still there.
The top performing kits with the furthest distance are again the Lumibright XT1 Gen2 and the DDM Tuning SaberProX’s 55w model. They came in at 1952 lux vs 876 for OEM halogen, and 1200 for the highest halogen bulb tested (Flosser High Wattage). That’s over 2X the distance or 123% more light shining down the road in your high beam reflectors.
A close second was again the DDM Tuning SaberProX 55w model. They were also tested at over 2X the distance at 113% more light.
If spending $150 and over isn’t your thing when upgrading your high beams, going with a cheaper alternative can still be a great way to upgrade the light output when it’s needed. After all, some of us don’t use their high-beams much, while others living in the country may. First up is the Alla Lighting Mini FL-BH. They produce 98% more distance over halogen at a nice pure white color of 5350k. Great quality at around $80 but with only a 1 year warranty. For an extreme budget option, go with the J87 Lighting G8 kit from ebay. At only $45, they produce an outstanding 107% more distance and come in at 4450k, which is unheard of in the aftermarket LED options, and match close to an OEM Xenon bulb. The G8’s may be the best option for most people who don’t use their high-beams much, but want an instant on beam and whiter color temperature without getting into the blue tone territory.
Now on to halogen projector style low-beam headlights. Many vehicles now come with projectors, which is a great benefit as they throw light much further and allow for more products to be installed due to the technology used which limits where light goes. Think of the projector screen at the movie theaters, they use a similar technology to point the light in the right spot.
Following the same trend for the top performing products from our reflector test results, are the Lumibright XT1 Gen2’s and the DDM Tuning SaberProX’s. Both are insanely bright in our strict projector tests at 165% and 143% additional light in the low beams respectively, about 2.5X the distance compared to a halogen bulb. They are top rated for the high beam results as well at around 50% additional light, which is oddly as high as we have seen. LEDs just don’t perform as well in halogen projector due to the design, but unless you have a bi-halogen or dedicated high beam projector, you don’t have to worry about it. The beam patterns are very good, but with all LED products, produce a small dark spot in the lower center. To overcome this, go with an HID conversion instead. You can check out our last video on HID recommendations.
Like our last LED video, the Katana’s still take the #1 spot for the best budget pick for a projector setup at only $50 a set. With our latest testing, you’ll see about 123% additional distance in the main beams, over 2X further visibility, and a very respectable 29% additional light in the high beams. The Katana’s make up for any shortcoming with their generous lumen count of 7680 lumens per kit. Compare that to 3128 lumens for a halogen bulb and you gain nearly 2.5X the total light output. Katana’s put out a typical color temperature of 5950k, are CANBUS ready, and hold a 1 year warranty. Just keep them out of your DRL as we didn’t get them to dim down in our tests.
REFLECTOR FOG LIGHTS
While we haven’t yet completed our tests in projector style fog lights yet, we do have full results and recommendations for the more common reflector style fog lights.
First up are the DDM Tuning SaberPro 50w model. We especially love these for fog lights due to the extremely high lumen count in addition to the high lux numbers, as well as a perfect color temperature of 5250k. They averaged at 712 lux average from our 3 spot testing vs 303 lux from an OE halogen bulb. That amounts to 135% more overall distance from your fogs. Lumens came in at an astonishing stable 12,200 for the set which is well over DDM’s claim of even 10,000, again quite incredible, and this benefits fog lights especially for more total light visibility to the sides. The beam was good with minimal glare in our test housings. The DDM’s run just under $130, are CANBUS and DRL compatible, an amazing value for what you get.
If you don’t have the funds for a premium product, check out the Cougar Motor X-Small model. They produced 647 average lux which was 114% more light over halogen, over 2X the distance, and come in at under $40 for a set. Color isn’t bad at 6050k, but we prefer the warmer color for fog lights from the DDM’s.
One question we get a lot is will the LED produce too much heat inside my headlights causing them to melt? The answer is simply no. The fans used on these LED products are not because the LED gets extremely hot, but rather to keep them as cool as possible, as heat directly effects the output of the diode performance. We check the heat buildup with every LED we test, and none have reached the much higher temperature of a halogen bulb. Keep in mind though that there will be some increased temps in the back of the headlight, but nothing we have seen that is critical to damaging anything.
Another issue we see is diminished performance due to the beam pattern. Many LED products can clock in order to offset an angled bulb setting inside some headlights. For most vehicles this is not an issue, but for some you may need to adjust. If you notice the bulb is installed on an angle, be sure to look for a product that is able to clock so you get the best beam pattern possible and best light output on the road. Checking your beam prior to installing your new LEDs is important. We recommend marking the pattern against a wall with some masking tape. Then install your LEDs and re-check the beam, and aim them lower if needed. Most products don’t cause an issue, but it’s always a good idea to double check this again to avoid glaring other traffic on the road.
We mentioned this on some of the products, but vehicles that utilize a CANBUS system, essentially allowing the computer system to check on the installed bulb, can cause bulb out errors due to the lower wattage used by LEDs. The computer system is expecting a range of amperage, sees a value out of range (the LED product), and throws an error. Newer LED products have combatted this with built-in capacitors that pull more power, especially during startup (when the checks occur normally) to trick the system into thinking everything is ok. Every vehicle is different, so if you still have issues even with CANBUS compatible products, you may need the optional decoder/anti-flicker module, which is really another capacitor and/or resistor.
If you’re unsure of what style headlights you have or what you should do, check out our help page.
We’re always enhancing our tests and updating our recommendations, so be sure to check out our latest recommendations page for the latest. You can also find other recommendations like DRL functionality, CANBUS compatibility, and more.
If you have any suggestions for products you’d like to see tested, drop us a line and we’ll be sure to add it to our list for future testing.