The Best LED Headlights
Seeing clearly when driving, especially at night, is arguably one of the most important factors for driving safely.
Although some newer luxury vehicles are now starting to come with LEDs or HIDs by default, over 95% of cars on the road, old and new, are still equipped with halogen bulb technology.
Many drivers are tired and frustrated with the dull, yellowish light output from halogen headlight bulbs and as a result, we frequently get asked: “Can I put LED bulbs in my stock halogen headlight?”. The good news is that, yes, you can.
Are LED headlights worth it?
LED headlights offer an improvement over their halogen counterparts. The most important of these is greater visibility. LED headlights are much brighter, revealing more of the road and your surroundings. This benefit also goes two ways, as oncoming traffic will have an easier time seeing your vehicle.
You may also be wondering about the cost. It’s true that LED headlights tend to cost more than standard replacements. However, you should come out ahead in the long term as LEDs are more energy efficient and may last longer than halogens. That means less strain on your vehicle’s battery and less money spent on replacement bulbs.
Looks are subjective, but LED headlights can also help freshen up an older vehicle. LEDs replace the warm, yellow glow of halogens with brighter, cooler light found in modern cars.
How do I install LED headlights?
If you can change a lightbulb at home, you shouldn’t have much trouble changing the headlights in your car. There are a few extra steps and it may take a few minutes, but the process is simple as LED bulbs can be directly swapped. You’ll need your new bulbs and a soft cloth or glove.
The bulbs are accessible from your vehicle’s engine bay, so start by popping open your hood. Remove the cover protecting the headlight assembly. Then, undo the clip holding the bulb. Carefully remove the old halogen bulb using a soft cloth or glove. Follow the steps in reverse, then repeat for the other headlight.
Best LED Headlights
Best LED headlights overall: Cougar Motor LED Headlights
Outputting an impressive 7200 lumens of light, the Cougar Motor LED headlights are several times brighter than most halogen headlights. Their color temperature is also rated at a cool 6000K. For most people, it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that the difference is night and day.
LEDs are known for their longevity compared to halogens, and the Cougar Motor LED headlights are no exception. They’re rated at a staggering 50,000 hours. Meanwhile, most halogen headlights last up to 1,000 hours. Automotive technology sure has come a long way.
User reviews for the Cougar Motor LED headlights consistently praise their impressive brightness and ease of installation. Some noticed that the fans used to cool the LEDs can be heard while the headlights are on and the car’s engine is off, but the sound isn’t noticeable when driving.
Best LED headlights on a budget: Beamtech LED Headlights
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, the Beamtech LED headlights have a lot to offer. These bulbs produce a total of 8000 lumens at 6500K color temperature—brighter and cooler than our top pick. The manufacturer’s estimated lifespan for these bulbs is 30,000 hours, which is lower but still plenty to work with.
The Beamtech LED headlights also have a few small, but distinct, advantages. They run cool without built-in fans, so they don’t produce noise like other competitors’. And while many LEDs produce unorthodox light patterns, the Beamtech’s are similar to halogen bulbs—another detail user reviews appreciated.
A few reviews did note that fitment on the Beamtech LEDs wasn’t perfect, although some of these users were able to use the headlights without any issues. Just to be safe, we recommend holding onto the box should you need to return them.