Best Motorcycle Headlights: Top Picks for Night Riding
See better at night with these top motorcycle headlights
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Headlights are an essential component on your motorcycle, but some are better than others. A new headlight is an easy and affordable upgrade that can make a big difference when it comes to how you see the road at night. Check out our buying guide to find the best motorcycle headlights that promote the greatest visibility.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Headlights
- Increased visibility. Replacing your headlight with a brighter or larger one can give you more visibility at night. This will help you see further and broader and help other drivers see you better.
- Custom look. Changing your headlight can completely change the look of the front of your motorcycle. This can give your bike a custom feel and a style that’s unique to you.
- Reliable performance. If your motorcycle headlight is an old school stock version, replacing it can make it more reliable. Consider changing your traditional reflective headlight to an LED model for more reliable and longer performance.
Types of Motorcycle Headlights
This is the traditional and simplest form of motorcycle headlight that has been used since the beginning of motorcycles. It uses a tungsten filament bulb that mounts in the center. Then surrounding the bulb is a reflective material. The idea is to reflect the light produced towards the road in front of your bike. More modern versions of this style of light are better at concentrating the light into a centralized beam to better light the road.
These headlights are the most cost-effective and will give your motorcycle a retro feel. The reflective material tends to be shiny and quite noticeable on the front of your bike.
This style of headlight is modern and a bit high-tech. You could consider them an improvement on the traditional reflector. The housing is much smaller, thanks to a compact design. There’s no need for a large reflective housing. Instead, there’s a magnifying lens in the middle of the headlight. This lens will focus and project the light down the road in front of you.
You’ll find that this style of headlight is more expensive than reflective headlamps. They also come in a wider range of sizes and designs. This enables you to create a more customized look for your motorcycle.
The newest addition to the motorcycle headlight lineup are LED versions. These are considered the most modern and energy-efficient option. LEDs can be quite small, which means this style of headlight can also be the most compact of the three headlight styles.
LEDs give you complete freedom in the level of brightness and temperature of light. They also last longer than other bulb options and consume less power.
The downside of LEDs is that they aren’t repairable. When your LED headlight reaches the end of its life, you’ll need to replace it. While this can be expensive, it will rarely happen thanks to an incredibly long useful life.
Motorcycle owners have turned to Eagle Lights since 2005 for high-quality OEM quality headlights. The company has grown over the years and now sells tens of thousands of units worldwide each year. This growth is thanks to a commitment to quality and customer service. Experience the quality for yourself with the Eagle Lights 5.75 Inch Generation II Projection LED Headlight.
For almost 30 years, Kuryakyn is one of the most well-known names in cruiser motorcycle aftermarket parts. The company is dedicated to leading the industry in producing innovative products that help riders express their unique personality. You can experience the excellence for yourself by checking out the Kuryakyn 2475 Motorcycle Lighting Accessory: 5-3/4" Orbit LED Headlight.
Founded over 20 years ago, Octane Lighting specializes in producing high-quality aftermarket lighting for the motorcycle, marine, home, and business industries. Located in southern California, the company prides itself on achieving 100 percent customer satisfaction. You can see the quality for yourself with the OCTANE LIGHTING 7" Halogen H4 12V Headlight Headlamp Red Led Halo Angel Eyes.
IPCW stands for In Pro Wear Inc, where the motto is “light the way for the rest to follow.” This aftermarket light company focuses on producing innovative and beautiful lighting solutions. Each light manufactured is held to the highest of standards to ensure you’re impressed with its performance. Check out the IPCW Adjure HB41210 4-1/2" Smooth Chrome Sunset Boulevard French Style Motorcycle Headlight Bucket for a retro-inspired quality headlight.
Motorcycle Headlights Pricing
- Under $50: These are your basic low-quality headlights. They won’t have fancy designs or innovative features. Headlights in this price range are focused on giving you the basic amount of light and keeping you compliant with the law.
- $50 to $100: The majority of headlights will fall into this price range. They’re decent-quality and dependable. You’ll find a variety of bulbs and construction material options.
- Over $100: These are high-end headlights that typically come with a well-known brand name. They have the latest technology, highest quality materials, and more reliable performance.
You have a few different bulb options when buying a headlight for your motorcycle. A common and standard bulb style is halogen. They have a filament and come in separate or combined low and high beam lights.
Another option is HID bulbs. These are brighter and can produce a whiter light than the traditional halogen bulb. Their downside is that they are sensitive and can go bad easily. Just touching them with your bare hands can cause them to malfunction.
A third option is LED. These are a modern bulb and tend to be the most expensive. They are also the most durable and have the longest useful life.
Before you buy any headlight, you need to confirm that it will work on your bike. You can confirm this by checking with the manufacturer of the headlight. You can also look at your current headlight setup and confirm that it has the same setup as your future headlight.
The easiest solution is to buy one that’s compatible with a plug-and-play option. If you’re a bit more experienced with working on bikes, then you can venture beyond plug-and-play and change the setup for your headlight. This could require you to use a conversion wiring harness or other hardware.
Your motorcycle headlight is going to get exposed to the elements. This means it needs to have a fully-sealed and solid construction. That way, you don’t have to worry about water getting in the headlight and causing it to malfunction.
You should also look for one that’s solidly built. This will prevent vibration or road bounce from knocking the bulb, wiring, or headlight housing loose.
Another point to consider is that some headlights have a sealed construction. This means that the headlight housing and bulb are an all-in-one construction. If the bulb goes bad, you’ll have to replace the whole housing, not just the bulb.
- Overall Style. While functionality and durability are important, you can’t forget about style. The headlight you choose needs to look good on your motorcycle and match its style. A cruiser-style headlight won’t look as good on a sportbike, cafe racer, or adventure bike.
- Brand. Consider the brand of the headlight you want to buy. You can more readily trust a reputable brand. Established brands produce headlights that are of high quality and have a long history of reliable performance.
- Price. You need to consider your budget when choosing a headlight. While you may want a fancy over-the-top headlight that has the latest innovative technology, your budget may not be able to achieve that. Try to buy the best headlight that your budget will allow for.
Best Motorcycle Headlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- While motorcycle headlights are usually quite durable, they can wear out and turn yellow. One way to clean it is by sanding the polycarbonate surface. You can buy a specialty product, or it can be as simple as rubbing it down with toothpaste.
- Most bikes have 7-inch headlights. However, measure it before purchasing a replacement. Also, make sure the bulb size is compatible if that's all you need to swap out. Remove the bulb from the housing using a screwdriver, and look at the information on it to determine its size.
- Most bikes come stock with halogen headlights. However, they are not as durable as other options, including Xenon and LED. Decide which type will work best for your particular bike.
Q: Can I convert my halogen headlight to LED?
A: Yes, but you will need an LED conversion kit. Determine what type of bulb your bike uses, and find a compatible kit. Simply remove your old bulb and replace it with the new one by following the product's instructions.
Q: How do I make my motorcycle headlight brighter?
A: First, check your electrical system. The brightness of your headlight can be affected by a weak dynamo or poor wiring. Alternatively, you can replace the bulb with one that is stronger.
Q: How do I aim my motorcycle headlight?
A: In simplest terms, park your bike on a flat surface about 25 feet away from a light-colored wall or garage door. Then adjust the light until the beam hits the proper spot on the wall.
Our pick for the best motorcycle headlight is the Eagle Lights 7-inch Round Generation 2 Projection LED Headlight.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the OCTANE LIGHTING 5-3/4" 6V Motorcycle Halogen Headlight.