We’ve tested a lot of LED headlight kits from both Amazon as well as the premium brands, so I’ll narrow it down to the very best products in a few different price ranges, and recommend what works best in both reflector style and projector style headlights. We’ll also take a look at some pure white and warmer color options, as well as some LEDs compatible with a DRL (daytime running light).
There have been some great new products released recently which we wanted to share with everybody, so let’s get into it.
RELECTOR HEADLIGHTS - LOW & HIGH BEAMS
TOP PERFORMING LED
Starting off with the #1 product you’ll see repeated a number of times are the SaberLED ProX V2’s from DDM Tuning. They dominate every category in terms of sheer output and are a very premium quality product.
When it comes to typical reflector low beam performance, they put out an incredible 1288 lux at 25 feet, which is about 3.5X the output compared to a standard halogen bulb at 373 lux, and about 2.5X compared to the popular Sylvania Silverstar Ultra’s at 507 lux.
High beam reflector performance was also very good at 1973 lux compared to a stock 55w halogen at 876 lux. About 2.25X the output. You’ll see less of an improvement over a 65w bulb though.
The total raw output, or lumens, came out to a steady 4883 lumens, which is just over 3X the total light available compared to a standard halogen bulb, which is great for any application.
Headlight reflector beam quality is good considering the very high output of these LEDs. The diodes are in the correct position for most headlight reflector types, and while they produced more glare on our test reflector, they still have a good cut-off, and can be adjusted as necessary. Always a great idea to test your beam before installing an aftermarket product, and compare the result to the original beam.
Color temperature also tested out at 5650k, compared to their claim of 6000k. The closer to 5500k the better, as it provides whiter light without too much distracting blue tone. The ProX V2’s also offer a 4500k color option, which I’ll go over later in the video along with a budget option in this color temperature.
If you are interested in reading more about the ProX V2’s, you can find our full review here.
If you are on a budget and can forgo the premium quality aspect of your upgrade, take a look at the Cougar Motor Flagship, and the Fahren Forsher LEDs on Amazon. Both are great options, with the Fahren LEDs providing a top notch beam, and the Cougar Motor’s coming out ahead with the higher light output.
The Fahrens again seem to nail the beam pattern with their unique 6 diode cluster design, providing a strong beam from a small area, similar to a halogen bulb filament. Normally additional side by side diodes don’t fair too well, but these were on point. They came out at 894 lux at 25 feet for low beams, compared to 373 lux from a stock halogen, nearly 2.5X brighter at 25 feet. They beat out the Cougar Motor’s in terms of high-beam output, most likely due to the chip design again. 1651 lux, vs 876 lux from a 55W high-beam halogen. Color temperature was right at 6100k, which is a nice white color with some blue tone, pretty standard.
The Cougar Motor Flagship LEDs on the other hand tested at 5500k color temperature, which we prefer and is closer to a pure white over the Fahren LEDs. Low beam performance came out to 986 lux which is over 2.5X the output at 25 feet, or 164% additional light. Compared to the Fahrens at 140%, it’s a close match. High beam performance didn’t quite reach the Fahren’s at 1550 lux, but still provides 77% additional light over a 55W high beam halogen.
So to recap, go with the Fahren Forsher’s if you want a bright budget LED kit along with a near perfect beam which minimizes glare, but if you want the very brightest no matter what but don’t want to break the bank, go with he Cougar Motor Flagship LEDs.
As with all LEDs, you benefit from instant-on light, and of course a whiter color, both great attributes to have in your high beam where every second counts.
If your vehicle has projector style headlights, look no further than you guessed it, the DDM Tuning SaberLED ProX V2s. These absolutely dominated in halogen projectors over any other LED, and even an HID conversion. It seems that very select LED tech has finally surpassed HID.
The ProX V2’s in our test projectors came out at a peak 683 lux at 25 feet, compared to 230 lux from a standard halogen, about 3X the output in a low beam. High beam performance is an extremely difficult task for LEDs due to the design and limitation of the direction of light, but the ProX V2’s came out on top here as well at 722 lux, compared to 442 lux from a standard halogen bulb, an increase of about 64%.
If you have a dedicated high beam projector, you’ll see a bigger difference in performance, but I would recommend either sticking with halogen (it may be a good idea to grab a new set of halogen bulbs if they are getting old), or going with a good budget LED, which we’ll go over for a high-beam projector in just a bit. If you have a bi-halogen projector which powers both your low and high beams, look into an HID conversion rather. We have tested a number of HID kits, so take a look at our latest video on them to find something that works for you.
Those on a budget will want to take a look at the Cougar Motor Flagship LEDs for their low-beam projectors. They were very close in terms of output to the previously recommended Katana LEDs, however the beam pattern while not perfect was superior over the Katana’s and many other LEDs. They put out 514 lux in our low beam projector, which is 123% more light at 25’ over stock halogen. High beam performance was decent considering again the limitation of an LED in a high-beam projector, but they did well at 31% additional light. Perhaps not worth of an upgrade though unless you are looking for the whiter color benefit and instant on output. Speaking of color temperature, they tested out at 5500k, a great pure white color with very little blue tone. This helps boost the recommendation even further.
PURE WHITE LED OPTIONS
We all know that LEDs tend to have more of a blue tone in when it comes to the color. Unlike HID bulbs where you can choose your desired color, LEDs don’t have that option with the exception of the yellow variants like 3000k of course in some models.
Since we have tested so many LEDs, we found a handful that are very close to a pure white 5000k color temperature, which mean virtually no blue tone, and of course no yellow color tone either.
Our #1 pick goes to the new Philips Ultinon Pro9000 and Pro5000’s. They claim a color of 5800k, however on our kelvin meter they came out to a perfect 5000k, +- 50k. The Pro9000’s have very good output compared to the old models at 140% additional output at 25 feet for a reflector, and 75% for a projector. The Pro5000’s are their budget option at a lower cost, with 101% additional reflector output, and 45% for a projector. The best part of these LEDs though aside from the pure white color is the beam pattern, which we’ll review in just a bit.
If the Ultinon 9000’s are out of your price range, take a look at the Alla Lighting Mini FL-BH LEDs. They tested at 5350k. While not the whitest, they are a great budget pick while maintaining a very good output. Just watch out for the beam pattern if you are installing them into a reflector headlight as they had more glare that we like to see.
One more option I wanted to throw out there are the Kaso LEDs. They are considerably cheaper than the DDM’s and Alla Lighting LEDs, and came out to 5250k just like the DDM’s. While they are not the brightest, they have a very good and sharp beam pattern in a reflector, and nearly 2X the output at 25 feet. Highly recommended if you are on a budget, looking for a good quality beam, and a whiter color LED.
WARM WHITE LED OPTIONS
I can’t tell you how many conversations I had with people about how LEDs are too blue, and I don’t blame them at all. Since starting BulbFacts, I have been waiting for some warmer LED options which resemble a halogen or stock xenon bulb. If you are in the same boat, you are in luck. I have both a premium and budget option LED.
First up are the same LED bulbs we recommended already, and are in fact the #1 recommendation. The DDM Tuning SaberLED ProX V2’s. They now offer a 4500k color variant, but only in a single-beam currently. They said they plan to add the dual-beam sizes in the future, I’m just not sure when. Color came out to 4200k on our kelvin meter. They’re not quite as bright as the 6000k option, but still put out over 4200 steady lumens per bulb, compared to about 4850 lumens from the 6000k’s. If you’re looking for more of a stock color which resembles a whiter halogen or stock xenon bulb, they’re going to be the best choice in LED form.
If the DDM’s are out of your price range, take a look at the J87 Lighting G8 LEDs. An incredible 4450k on our kelvin color meter. While they weren’t the brightest option, they cost considerably less than the DDM’s, and still put out over 2X the output over halogen, 121% to be exact, and a respectable 2365 lumens per bulb. They offer other color options as well so be sure to check them out.
DRL (DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS)
When it comes to a DRL, it’s normally hit or miss of how an LED will function. Some might flicker, others may not even power on in the DRL setting. In the past, we’d recommend steering away from an LED for a DRL, however over the last year there is a product that became available and are specifically designed to function correctly with a low beam AND high beam DRL.
The Morimoto 2Stroke 3.0’s offer something called ‘DRL Drive’, which is configured to accept a wide range of voltage input. When the voltage is lowered, it sees this as a DRL setting, and automatically switches to 30% output, so the correct output needed for a DRL. If your vehicle has PWM (pulse width modulation) which is quite common among newer vehicles, be sure to add the decoder or ‘PWM module’, as it smooths out the stepped 6V signal to function correctly. The 2Stroke 3.0’s are a great product, and while not the brightest, they do feature an incredibly accurate beam pattern (possibly even better over a halogen), a clean white color of 5300k, and are a very high quality premium product. We did a full review on these so be sure to check that out if you’re interested.
I didn’t go over CANBUS capability, Wattage, Noise, and other aspects we test for, but if you are interested, take a look at our full test results chart on our website and you’ll find all of the details there. You’ll find the price or price range as well to easily compare.
All LEDs we recommend are well within the temperature range, and came out cooler than a stock halogen bulb. Many people ask why they have a fan which is a great question. It’s simply to keep the diodes as cool as possible, as heat directly effects the LED’s performance. They’ll work without the fan, but the output will diminish as they heat up.
A quick reminder about aiming your headlights properly. Regardless if you upgrade to something, or stick with halogen, it’s a good idea to check your headlight aim. There are a lot of great videos available on YouTube on how to do this, so I’d be sure to check it out. If you do upgrade though, it’s best to mark the cut off from your original bulbs, and ensure the new product does not surpass the original beam which may cause excessive glare to other vehicles. Some glare is normal in order to see road signs for example, but too much is dangerous.
I hope we were able to help you find a great product that works for your situation. You can find the latest recommendations for LED products here. We keep this page updated as we test new products. And of course all of the details on our chart as well as full reviews as we get them written up.
As always, our tests are unbiased and true. We are not like other sites with paid reviews or fake information. We always DECLINE paid or sponsored reviews and offers. Our goal is to provide you with our lab test details and let you decide what product may work best for your application. We simply ask that if you are going to buy a product we have reviewed, please use our affiliate link, as it allows us to further enhance our tests and of course test new products! -Blaise @ BulbFacts Team