How to Choose LED Headlights Bulbs?

How to Choose LED Headlights Bulbs - Best & Brightest Conversion Kits

How to Choose LED Headlights bulbs? and what factors determine the best LED headlights bulbs? How to decide whether this bulb is the brightest LED headlights bulbs? Whether this LED headlights bulb can fit may vehicle. Below we will discuss the details and show you how to choose the best and brightest LED headlight conversion kits bulbs for your vehicle.

We know what specs to look for when shopping for cars: low mileage, high MPG, horsepower and torque. But what about your headlights?

What are the most important specs for LED headlights bulbs?

This is the most frequently asked question by customers who are shopping for LED headlights. As a manufacturer, this is also the most important question we keep in mind when we design, manufacture, test and make improvements to our LED headlights.

These are the top five specs that you should look for when shopping for LED headlights.


Beam pattern

Color temperature


and  Life span.

Question One: What factors affect brightness?

Brightness for LED headlights does not just refer to how much light a bulb gives off, but how much of that total light contributes to safer driving.

There are two common units used to measure brightness, total lumens and lux.

You can imagine Lumens as the total weight of a table, and Lux as the weight left on the single spot under one of its many legs.

Question Two: How can we find the number of total lumens and lux for LED headlight bulbs?

Total lumens is widely used by manufacturers during the LED bulb design and is often measured by an integrating sphere after the bulb has been made.

We can also get the total lumens even before the bulb was made, during its design, by using this formula; Total Lumens is equal to Light Efficacy times Power.

What is Light Efficacy?

Light Efficacy is Lumens per Watt

Light Efficacy is one of the most important ratings for LED chips. Think of it as a factor like MPG in your car. The most efficient and price friendly LED lamps have an efficacy of 200 lumens per watt.

However, when it comes to LED headlights, it’s not just about total brightness. There is a unique factor called beam pattern, that makes this industry different and hard to move forward without cutting edge LED technology.

There are many different LED chips with a high light efficacy,

So why don’t headlight bulbs just use a 200 lumens per watt,  high efficacy LED chips?

Most of them cannot be used on LED headlights due to road illumination safety concerns which is regulated by the D.O.T. We will cover this in detail in the beam pattern section of this video.

Then what is the efficacy commonly used in LED headlights bulbs?

Lots of LED headlights on the market use LED chips with an efficacy of less than 100 lumens per watt. The highest efficacy headlight bulb in our product line is up to 138.8 lumens per watt.

So how do you figure out the total lumens for an LED bulb?

Let’s make it simple, if we start with an efficacy of 100 lumens per watt and you have an LED headlight bulb consuming 40 watts, then 4,000 lumens can be expected.

Question 3: Why not add more power to a bulb to increase the brightness?

It’s simple, LED chips do not withstand heat well. The average power consumption for an LED headlight bulb is very limited, usually from 15 watts to 45 watts, before it gets too hot and burns out.

Now with this knowledge, you cannot be fooled by an ad like this:

630,000 Lumens (which is over 10 times a typical LED headlight bulb’s lumens ) divided by the 4200 watts (which is 100 times higher for a typical LED headlight bulb), equals 150 lumens per watt (which is a very good efficacy, however, it is uncommon on low end LED headlights).

Question 4: Why not make LED headlights with a more powerful heat dissipation system to handle more power?

Because the large heat sink will not fit most vehicles, which we’ll talk about later in fitment.

Now we can test these theories in the Lab.

Lux is light intensity at any single spot you measured. Compared to total lumens, lux can be easily tested with a portable light meter.

We use a SEKONIC meter in most of our tests.

To consumers, Lux provides more information than total Lumens, because you want to know how much light will be directed in front while driving, and don’t want to waste a lot of light spilling into higher spots and causing blinding, or losing light with lots of dark spots.

Just like a very strong boxer can only win if he punches in the right spot with the right intensity.

So, a high value of lux that is measured at lower spots with light being spread evenly in front of the vehicle, helps increase driving visibility and safety.

What to look for when shopping LED headlight regarding brightness?

Like we said, you can get different lux from the same bulb measuring from different spot. What is the brightest LED headlights? It’s important to know how far? how high?  and how close to the center the meter is, but the total lumens from an LED headlights is set when it was designed and manufactured. That’s why you see lumens instead of lux on ratings and marketing spots.

Keep in mind, total lumens is how much light an LED headlight can produce, lux is the reality of how good your night driving experience would be.

And, the highest total lumens bulb might not be the best bulb.

  • Spec Two: Beam Pattern
  • What is beam pattern?

Beam pattern is the angle of the light coming from your LED headlight. The S.A.E regulates this correct angle, which can be concluded in one word… “Safe”. Safe for both you and other drivers.  For you, you want the road in front of you to be seen clearly, (that’s usually where you want to set a lux meter);

For other drivers, S.A.E guidelines don’t allow the light to exceed a certain angle that would be blinding to other drivers.

What angle should my headlight be shining at?

According to SAE Guidelines, if the height of the vehicle’s headlight center is less than 36 inches above the ground, the reference point should be at the same height as the optical center. If the optical center is more than 36 inches, the reference point should be 2 inches below the headlamp optical center.

How can you install a LED headlights bulb properly to get a good beam pattern?

It depends on what type of LED headlights and what type of headlight housing you have. People ask, are LEDs safe for automotive use? The answer is yes and no. There is nothing wrong with LED technology itself, as long as the light is designed properly for the headlight housing you’re installing it in. You can even get a bad beam pattern from a poorly designed halogen bulb. Just like your engine can run smoothly with the right type of engine oil from different brands, but will not work properly with wrong formula oil even from an OEM oil manufacturer.

Let’s look at a factory halogen bulb design working in a projector housing and reflector housing

What’s wrong with lots of LED headlights?

In order to have a replacement light source work as well as the stock bulb and get a clear beam pattern, we need to design the replacement light as close as original as possible. Let’s look at some examples.

This is the reason we mentioned earlier that although there are a lot of high power/high efficacy LED chips available, only a few of them can qualify to be used in LED headlights. And often, we choose to design and customize LED chips for LED headlights to ensure the design is as close to the stock bulbs as possible.

Are LED headlights better for reflector housing or projector housing?

First, let’s break down the different housings.

For those headlights with the wrong LED chips, or are designed improperly or inefficiently, the lens in a projector housing will be able to correct the direction of most of the light from an improperly designed LED headlights, but you will still get a lot of dark spots due to the design differences from the halogen light.

A reflector housing is less forgiving, with the light from an improperly designed bulb spilling everywhere except the road in front of you.

If the light source is designed properly, according to its radiation characteristics, and the housing, adjusting the LED light to be vertical will optimize the beam pattern.

  • What to look for when shopping for LED headlights regarding beam pattern?

Keep in mind, not all LED chips are qualified to be used on LED headlights because of its shape and size. Look for headlights with a proper lighting design that is as close to the original stock halogen bulb, including both the shape of the LED chip and depth of the chip into the housing after being installed. Finally, an adjustable bulb will help you optimize the beam pattern.

  • Spec Three: Color Temperature
  • What is Color Temperature?

For the automotive lighting industry, one of the important ratings of light quality is color temperature. A higher color temperature, like 10,000 Kelvin, appears blue and looks cool, which is very popular in off-road use and trade shows.

A lower color temperature, like 3000 Kelvin, appears yellow. This color has a very long light wavelength.  This color is ideal for driving in inclement or foggy weather.

6000 Kelvin is white, and is suitable for normal driving.

  • Which color temperature white is best? 5000 Kelvin white? 6000 Kelvin white? Or 7000 Kelvin white?

Color temperature over 6000 Kelvin starts to turn blue.

There are two reasons we strive for 6000 Kelvin in most of the LED headlights we manufacture.

First, Maximum Light Efficacy and Efficiency can be reached at 6000 Kelvin.

In the automotive industry, high efficacy does not only mean environmentally friendly, but also the ability to contribute brighter and safer lighting under the limited power the tiny LED headlights can handle. So, with all else being equal, a bulb with a color temperature of 6000 Kelvin, will appear to be brighter than a bulb over or under that 6000 Kelvin temperature.

Second, according to radiation curves, 6000 Kelvin has the highest light intensity before the color becomes blue.

That’s why it is so important to run a spectrum (Blue green and red) report when manufacturing LED headlights and make adjustments accordingly.

If you buy from a reputable company, they will run several tests, to dial in as close to 6000 Kelvin as possible.

  • What to look for when shopping for an LED headlight regarding temperature?

It will depend on your driving condition; pick a 6000 Kelvin bulb for normal night driving, A 3000 Kelvin bulb if you drive in a lot of foggy or raining environments to ensure safety. And a 10,000 Kelvin for entertainment and style.

  • Spec Four: Fitment
  • What is fitment?

Vehicle headlight assemblies were manufactured for halogen bulbs, so it is possible that an LED headlight bulb will not fit a specific vehicle due to either shape or size differences.

  • Is an LED headlight going to fit my vehicle?

So far, there is no such LED headlight bulb that can fit all housings even if it is the correct bulb size, and that’s why we have different designs.

So, which is for which?

If your vehicle headlight assembly is equipped with a dust cover, which is very common among European and newer American cars, check the clearance you have inside the dust cover. Try to look for an LED headlight bulb with a short heat sink or fan body.

We also have aftermarket dust covers to help those with extremely shallow housing space.

If you have an off-center housing, look for LED headlights with a slim heat sink or fan body.

  • What to look for when shopping for LED headlights regarding fitment?

First inspect your vehicle headlight housing, check how much space is available for an LED headlight heat sink, look for an LED headlight that will fit what you need.

Finally, don’t forget to get the dimensions of the external LED driver. It is especially important if your headlamp uses H1 or H7 bulb sizes and has a dust cover, so that you can fit everything inside.

  • Spec Five: Life Span
  • What is life span?

Life span is the only spec you cannot see, but it is also very important in regards to safety, to have one or both headlights frequently burn out during night driving can be dangerous.

Plus, it is frustrating, and time consuming to replace a burnt-out headlight bulb. Especially if a lot of labor is involved, like removing the front bumper.

  • What affects the life span of LED headlights?

Despite the small chance that electronic components like constant current regulators, compactors, and transformers, might fail,

The major killer for LED headlights is still heat.

How much heat can an LED chip handle?

It depends on the LED chip itself. Some LED chips have a higher junction temperature and some lower.  Junction temperature is the highest operating temperature of the actual semiconductor in an electronic device.

How do you keep an LED chip from burning or reaching its junction temperature?

Keeping an LED’s working temperatures below its Junction temperature is not a simple task. It involves three major parts of an LED headlight.

One:  Design- Heat Balance.

A lot of tests are involved when we design and heat-balance our LED headlights.

What does this report mean?

From spot 3 we can get the temperature closest to the LED chip’s working temperature.

We also want the other spots to have temperatures close to spot 3, which means heat has been dissipated very efficiently.

Why do manufacturers need to do this?

You can imagine this as the flow of a waterway. To dissipate heat efficiently, we want to ensure each section of the waterway is not too narrow and water(in this case heat) can flow freely and rapidly.

Two:  LED driver.

Are the LED driver and HID ballast the same?

No, the HID ballast is a transformer.

The LED driver is the think tank to help LED chips avoid overheating. Imagine it as the person who controls the valve at the start of a waterway to ensure a full flow but without over-flowing.

To design a good and efficient LED driver involves more time, material and labor but is worth it to ensure the longest life span possible for your LED bulb.

Three: Heat dissipation system.

Finally, this is how wide and deep your waterway is.

Starting from the material contacting with the LED chip directly

All the way to the heat sink, with a larger surface area of dissipation vs smaller,

Or a Dual ball-bearing high RPM Fan VS a single ball-bearing fan.

The cost of fans varies from 1 cent to 4 dollars. As a manufacturer, it is so important to spend the money to have an extremely reliable fan built into the bulb.  The fans should have a much longer lifespan than the LED itself.

  • What to look for when shopping LED headlights regarding life span?

In most cases, you do not know the quality of an LED Bulb until it runs for a long time. One tip is to check if any warranty is provided, and be sure to check if there is a contact number you can reach to claim that warranty. If you’re worried about all this, doing business with a reputable company is a good idea.


With over 99 million different options for LED headlights, knowing what to look for can be confusing and overwhelming. If you remember these 5 things when shopping for LED headlights, you can rest assured that you’ve made the best choice for you and your vehicle.

  1. Know what brightness you’re looking for. By using the formula for total lumens; (Light Efficacy times Watts) you can know exactly how bright your bulb could reach. But beware, the bulb with the highest total lumens might not be the best bulb because of our second thing to look for. Beam Pattern.
  2. Your bulb might be the brightest made in terms of total lumens, but if it is poorly designed your beam pattern will suffer, and you’ll be wasting a lot of that light. So, be sure that your replacement bulb is designed to fit in your car’s housing as close to the stock bulb as possible.
  3. Pick the color that will suit your driving needs the best. 3000 Kelvin for fog, rain and snow. 10,000 Kelvin for style and fun, and 6000 Kelvin for the optimal light color for night driving.
  4. Be sure it fits. There are several different styles and sizes to fit almost anything on wheels. Take the time to inspect what will fit your vehicle before you buy.
  5. And finally, the lifespan. While there is no real good test to know how long your bulb will last, buying from a reputable company that will stand behind their products long after the sale is made is a great place to start.

Safe Driving!

More information about LED headlight, please click LED headlights FAQ for more details.

If you have any questions, or if you want us to cover any other topics, please let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe for more videos like this.

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