Welcome back to another Bulbfacts review, 2023 LED edition.
In this one you’ll discover the best and top performing LED products for both reflector and projector type headlights in low and high beam applications. We won’t be going through other recommendations such as DRL compatible LEDs, warmer color options, and so on as those recommendations haven’t changed since our last review. However, we’ll be taking a look at the longest lasting LEDs based on our lifespan tests, so be sure to check that out near the end of the review. So, without further ado, let's dive right into it!
TOP PERFORMING LOW BEAM LED
The new #1 top performing LEDs for a low beam reflector are the DDM Tuning SaberLED Pro 65W edition. They’re new as of last year, and quickly gained the top spot when it comes to sheer output.
For the low beam, they put out 1614 lux at 25 feet, which is over 4X the output compared to a halogen.
Color temperature was right at 6100k, right about at their advertised rating, a nice pure white color with a small tone of blue.
Lumens were 5800 each LED or 11,600 combined coming out to over 3.5X the total light output overall.
Reflector beam pattern is a very important aspect when it comes to fitting an aftermarket or different product in your headlight, and the Pro 65W LEDs don’t disappoint. Their beam while not perfect, was quite good with minimal glare, and a good spread of light where it needs to be.
TOP PERFORMING HIGH BEAM LED
Now while their high beam performance was good as well nearing the top, they placed in 2nd behind the new Hikari 2023 “Future” LEDs. The Hikari’s are our recommendation if you are looking for the very best performing LED in a reflector high-beam application, as they output 2266 lux or 159% additional light, which is the highest we have seen yet.
The total output or lumens were even higher over the DDM’s at 6242 each or 12,486 total per set.
Color temperature was a bit higher, more of a sky blue tone at 6850k. Not noticeable to most people, but worth mentioning as it’s more blue over other premium LED products on the market.
The high beam pattern was nice and concentrated, unlike their low-beam pattern which was quite scattered compared to the DDMs. We also like these in the high-beam application, as most people probably don’t use their high beams nearly as much as their low beams, and with that you consider the cost, which is almost half the price over the DDMs. A truly great high-beam LED overall. A link for the Hikiari’s is in the description below.
While I didn’t mention lifespan for both the DDM and Hikari LEDs, we are currently in the process of running them on our bench, so expect to see an update on our website sometime this summer with the results. LEDs with at least 5000hrs of runtime with a useable output of 75% or more receive a superior rating, and from there the grade goes down. We have a number of products tested already, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested. I’ll again have our recommended longevity product later in the review which has lasted an extremely long time and is still lasting as of this review.
BUDGET LOW BEAM LED
If the $100 and up options are too much for your budget, we have some great budget friendly options as well for your reflector headlights. Starting off with the Cougar Motor Flagship LEDs for your low beam application. They continue to be our recommendation, especially now considering their lifespan was very good at around 3600hrs at 75% usable light. While they don’t last quite as long as some other options, the price to performance ratio is great overall. They produced 164% additional low-beam light, and 77% additional high beam. The beam pattern was quite good, similar to the DDM’s we mentioned earlier. Color temperature was a beautiful 5550k, a nice pure white with the smallest hint of blue. A great color overall in our opinion.
BUDGET HIGH BEAM LED
While the Cougar Motor’s produced a great high-beam result, we’d recommend the Auxbeam B1 Series instead, as they are a bit cheaper, and put out 118% additional high beam light due to the better chip placement for a high beam. They’re of course suitable for a low beam as well, and actually came close to the Cougar Motor Flagship, but fell short due to the lumens, which are less critical for the high-beam vs. more of an importance for the low beam. Color temperature was around 6200k, which is a nice pure white with a blue tone. You’ll receive a 2-year warranty on these as well going directly through Auxbeam.
TOP PERFORMING LOW & HIGH BEAM LED
When it comes to a halogen projector, it’s harder to find an LED which performs well. Luckily after testing more than 150 LEDs, we have found a few which did quite well, and even outperformed some HID products. Up first are the Hikari 2023 Future LEDs. These took the #1 spot in a low and high beam application. We believe these performed so well due to their specific design, which helps aim the light to one direction. This is important in a projector low beam, but extremely critical in a high-beam. If you have a bi-halogen projector which is both low and high beam combined from one bulb, you’ll want to be careful to look at the high beam performance.
With that said, they put out an incredible 231% additional light, or over 3X in the low beam, and 83% additional for the high beam, which may not sound like a bit change, but again for a high-beam projector is a huge achievement.
Beam performance was nearly perfect as we rated this 5-stars. The typical cut-in at the bottom of the beam was almost non-existant, and the overall fill was quite amazing. One of the best beam patterns in a projector that we have seen.
Lumens were nearly 4X that of halogen at 296% additional overall light output.
Color temperature was the only downfall here at 6850k. Still a nice white, but more blue than we like to see, especially for those who drive in inclement weather like snow, sleet, etc.
Another thing to consider is the limited 1-year warranty. For a premium priced product, it could certainly be better, however the price on these is typically less than any other premium priced product, especially in this performance range. As always the link is in the video description.
BUDGET LOW BEAM LED
For those on a tighter budget, take a look at the Aukee LEDs. They were nearly 2.5X brighter in the low beam, or 143% additional distance. Pretty great considering their price.
Beam pattern was decent at 4 out of 5 stars. There was some typical cut-in at the bottom, but otherwise the beam had a decent spread.
High beam performance was decent, but nothing to ride home about. Still recommended of course considering their price again, especially if you’re looking to match the low-beams. They produced 30% additional light in the high-beam application.
BUDGET HIGH BEAM LED
Check out the Cougar Motor Flagship LEDs if you are looking strictly for your high-beams, as while they were about the same in terms of their output, they had a much better color temperature of 5550k. Color temperature for the Aukee LEDs was a bit high at 6800k, more blue hue than we like to see.
Total output or lumens was good at 165% additional.
They come with a 1-year warranty which is expected at this price point, and are highly recommended if you are on a strict budget. Lifespan tests are pending, so be sure to check back for any changes based on how they turn out.
BEST LIFESPAN LED
As LED headlights become increasingly popular, many consumers are left wondering which products offer the best value for their money. At our lab, we've been putting various LED kits through rigorous lifespan tests to see which ones are worth the investment. While we haven't completed tests on all the LEDs in our lab yet, we can confidently recommend the GTR Lighting Ultra 2s as a kit that will last you for many years to come. These LEDs aren't necessarily the top-performing, but they came close, especially in reflector applications. What sets them apart is their lifespan - they outlasted any other LEDs we tested by a long stretch. This is likely why GTR Lighting provides a lifetime warranty on them. We presume they expect people will change their vehicle before their LEDs.
Our lifespan tests showed that the Ultra 2's ran for about 7500 hours, which is quite impressive at their performance level. And they didn't die at that time - they just started to yield lower than 75% of their initial output. We're still running these LEDs on the lifespan bench to see just how long they'll last. We presume they'll hit close to 10,000 hours or more, but of course, we'll post the updated results on the full review once they finally decide to die out completely.
It's important to note that while the Ultra 2 LEDs performed extremely well, there are still other great options to consider. As we complete more lifespan samples over time, we'll post the results on our full test results chart.
But for now, if you're looking for a reliable and long-lasting LED kit, the GTR Lighting Ultra 2s are definitely worth considering. Check out the full review we did recently for all of the details.
While we don’t review deeper test details such as wattage, noise, heat, and other data, we do post these on our website here. You can find everything and then some including prices, warranty, and more to make an informed decision before you buy.
When it comes to heat, all of the LEDs in our recommendations fell well within the limit and were much lower than a halogen bulb in every case, even high wattage running LEDs. This is due to the improved tech LED offers. The fan if included, is simply to keep the diodes as cool as possible for maximum performance.
Remember when moving to a new technology like LED, it’s best to always check your beam pattern to ensure proper headlight aim. You can do this by marking the cut-off at the wall while your original bulbs are still installed, and then swap over to the LEDs and double check to ensure the cut-off or beam hot-spot didn’t move up. If it does, you can re-aim your headlights. There are a lot of great videos available on YouTube on how to do this, so I’d be sure to check it out.
As always, I hope these recommendations were helpful for your upgrade. We spend hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars buying products and equipment to ensure we find only the best products for you. We decline all sponsorship offers in order to keep our recommendations true and unbiased. With that said, all we ask is for you guys to use our affiliate links, as we make a small commission to help keep our testing and channel going, and it comes at no extra cost to you.
While we try our best to make new videos, our website is always up to date as we test in new products. So our charts may grow, and our recommendations page may change from time to time. So always be sure to take a look prior to making your purchase to be sure you have the latest and greatest products. Thanks for taking the time to tune in, and as always keep is safe out there.
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