LAST UPDATED: December 23, 2019
Best Aftermarket Headlights: Enhance Your Night Vision with Quality Headlights
Quality aftermarket headlights ensure safe and comfortable driving during the night
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON December 23, 2019
Driving in the dark can be dangerous without a set of good-quality headlamps to help you see clearly. That is why you need an aftermarket headlight to replace any damaged ones or to upgrade your existing ones. However, when it comes to selecting the best headlights, it is always a challenge due to the numerous types available. We reviewed several aftermarket headlights to help you make an informed buying decision.
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Benefits of Aftermarket Headlights
- Better night vision. Every driver needs light to navigate efficiently. However, stock headlights do not provide enough light to illuminate poorly lit off-road trails. It is therefore advisable to invest in high-quality aftermarket headlights to sufficiently illuminate the way, enabling you to see your path.
- Improved safety. You may encounter dangerous paths while driving. Aftermarket headlights light your paths, enabling you to identify danger spots and obstacles so you can avoid them.
- Better aesthetic. Every car owner desires to make their vehicle as attractive as possible. Installing aftermarket headlights improves the look of your car, making it more attractive to others.
- Fatigue-free driving. Driving in poorly-lit conditions forces you to involve your eyes more to find your way through the path. Once you replace your low-quality original headlights with aftermarket headlights, your way is illuminated, enabling you to drive more effortlessly.
Types of Aftermarket headlights
Halogen aftermarket headlights are an advancement of incandescent lights. Electricity flows through the halogen light’s filament, enabling them to produce heat. Although there are five halogens, iodine and bromine are the only ones used in the manufacture of halogen headlights. Lumen output in halogen headlights is 1500 lux, which is fairly low, reducing the amount of light that the headlight produces. Moisture highly affects the performance of these headlights.
HID headlights have a low energy requirement of between 35 and 42 watts, yet are extremely bright. Producing 4100 degrees K, the light closely matches that of natural sunlight, which is 4870 degrees K. Lumen output in HID headlights is 3000 lux, which makes them even brighter. It also has adjustable degrees of color to choose from.
LED headlights have a high-performance diode with a metal blank that enables it to regulate heat better. Easier heat dissipation further allows more current to flow freely through this diode, resulting in higher light output. LED bulbs require very little energy to function, so they are capable of performing for 100,000 hours of continuous use.
Cougar Motor is a renowned company that manufactures motor vehicle lighting accessories. It is located in Australia and was founded in 2006 with the aim of providing car owners with high-quality aftermarket headlights. LED headlights with and without fans, fog lights, and HID bulbs are some of the products that the company manufacturers. Cougar Motor LED Headlight Bulb is a product that contains CREE LED chips and has a fan. From the Cougar Motor, you will also find CREE LED Fog Lights, which have 50,000 hours of working life.
SYLVANIA Automotive was established in January 1993 and is located in Oregon. From Sylvania automotive, you can obtain replacement bulbs and aftermarket headlights that will light your path during driving. Xtra Vision High-Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb is a value product that the company manufacturers. Halogen bulbs of 65 watts provide you with sufficient lighting while driving. If you need fog lights that are bright, white and sharp, consider the 9006 ZEZO Fog Lights from Sylvania automotive. These lights are easy to install and have a five-year warranty.
Beamtech is a headlight manufacturing company that is located in Taiwan. The company was founded in 1997 and has since manufactured powerful lights with different features to suit your car’s requirements. Some of the headlights from this company include the BEAMTECH H11 Headlight Bulb and the BEAMTECH 9005 LED Headlight Bulb. The H11 LED headlight bulb has a long lifespan and can serve you for 30,000 hours. The BEAMTECH 9005 headlight bulb, on the other hand, produces 8000 lumens per set.
Aftermarket Headlights Pricing
- Under $50: Headlights in this price range have a wattage of about 65 watts and work with 12 volt DC. Their voltage and wattage enable them to provide you with enough lighting to efficiently illuminate your way. However, they lack features such as water resistivity and shock resistance, which are necessary for extreme weather and off-road conditions.
- Between $50 and $100: Aftermarket headlights in this range will serve you for about 30,000 hours. This service life is long and does not require frequent replacement. They are suited for both off-road and highway conditions.
- Over $100: You will need extra installation hardware when you buy headlights in this price range. These lights can serve you for many years and are suitable for all weather conditions and terrains. Some lights have features such as low beam and high beam patterns. They can work in foggy conditions and they sometimes include a turn signal light and a tail light in one set.
Consider inquiring about a headlight’s service life before purchasing it. Lights with a longer service life last much longer without requiring repairs and replacements. Such headlights save you money because you do not need to purchase new headlights so frequently. You will also have some peace of mind when you do not have to worry about your lights going off unexpectedly.
Voltage and Wattage
Voltage and wattage affect the quality of light that your headlights will offer you. A higher voltage enables your headlight to provide you with more stable lighting. A headlight with a higher wattage gives you a brighter illumination for a better driving experience. The right headlight is one that gives you the amount and quality of light that you require while consuming less power.
Headlights produce heat when in use. High heat production causes the filaments of your headlight to blow within a short time. To avoid the cost of replacing your bulbs frequently, consider purchasing a headlight that does not produce too much heat. Such headlights will prolong the life of your bulbs. In this case, LED bulbs are preferred over halogen lights.
The amount of energy that a headlight consumes should be considered before purchasing a headlight. A headlight with a high energy consumption derives a lot of energy from your car’s battery. When such a headlight is left running for a long time, it may drain your battery.
- Water Resistance. A waterproof headlight keeps water from penetrating into your headlamp. Water damages your bulbs, which compromises their functionality. It also blocks the rays of light produced by your bulbs and inhibits the quality of light that you get. Your headlamps will serve you for a long time if they are water-resistant, saving you money. They will also illuminate your driving path more clearly.
- Lightweight. Bulky headlights weigh down your vehicle. They may also cause more damage to your car if you encounter a situation that creates an impact on your vehicle. Consider installing light headlights on your car to keep it safe from such damages and avoid adding unnecessary weight to your car.
- Classy and Fashionable. Besides illuminating your paths, headlights can add a touch of elegance to your vehicle making it look more attractive. Choosing an attractive headlight helps you achieve a beautiful look on your vehicle. You should thus consider purchasing a fashionable headlight if you intend to make your vehicle look good.
Best Aftermarket Headlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020
CREE LED is the technology used in the manufacture of the Cougar Motor headlights. This technique enables it to produce 7200 lumens of 6000K cool white light for enhanced visibility. It features modern technology design to ensure a flawless beam pattern that has no dark spots. An aluminum housing and a powerful TurboCool fan featured in the headlight gives it more than 50,000 hours of LED lifespan. Its installation is easy plug-and-play. This headlamp is also power efficient, waterproof, and sturdy.
This headlight is expensive compared to other models. It is also not a universal fitment, so you will have to check its compatibility with your vehicle.
The XtraVision halogen headlight is a super bright light that is a perfect replacement for your OEM headlamps. This light has enhanced down-road visibility while eliminating glare for a safe driving experience. Besides being economical, these lights are aesthetic and reliable. They are also DOT approved, which means they are street legal. They illuminate long distances and can perform well in foggy conditions.
Being halogen lights, they are not bright enough for people who prefer LED headlights. They also have a limited lifespan compared to LED lights.
CSP LED chips featured in the headlight produce 8000 lumens of 6500K Xenon white light for safe night driving. Its lifespan is 30,000 hours, ensuring extended years of service. This light consumes only 50 watts per pair, making it power-efficient so it does not drain your battery. It is protected from high voltage, large current startup, circuit interference, and electromagnetic radiation to ensure safety. Its installation procedure is also easy, which saves you time and energy.
Although these lights are white, some users complain that they are not bright enough. They also do not fit some vehicle models, such as the 2011 Chevy Tahoe.
If you're searching for bright white lights, the Philips CrystalVision Ultra Upgrade Headlight Bulbs are a good option. They feature a blue coating on the glass, which makes them similar to HID lights. These bulbs provide enhanced performance over stock halogen bulbs and have blue caps that produce a blue effect in the reflectors during the day. The bulbs are very reliable and make a big difference over OEM headlights. Users report that the bulbs improve light output as well as the look of a vehicle and are a great alternative to LEDs. They make a difference whether you're driving at night or in the rain and do very well on roads that have a lot of glare from street lights.
Depending on what type of vehicle you have, it can be challenging to install these bulbs. The ease of installation can vary from car to car. In addition, the color temperature may not be quite what you expect and may not be as "white" as you want.
The SEALIGHT 9005 and 9006 LED headlight bulb combo kit has bulbs that are better than stock. They're more visible and have a brighter high beam output and a better low beam pattern. The lights project a uniform glow both horizontally and vertically and are compatible with 95-percent of vehicles due to their low profile. Optimized light distribution means there's no glare, and you won't blind oncoming drivers. They produce cool xenon LED light, take just 10 minutes to install without modification, and feature 7000 lumens per pair. In addition, there's no fan noise yet good heat dissipation. Overall, they are bright, clear, and project a decent distance. They are much brighter than halogen lights and are of great quality for the price.
One downside with these bulbs is that they project more of a pinpoint beam straight ahead instead of a wide beam, so they don't illuminate the lanes to your left or right particularly well. They can also be tricky to install in some vehicles.
- Make sure the headlights you buy are compatible with your vehicle. Although some headlights are universal, it is important to check your manufacturer’s manual just to be sure you are buying the right fit.
- When aligning your headlights, make sure they are pointing slightly downwards to prevent blinding other motorists. As a courtesy, always dim your headlights when approaching other drivers.
- Since laws regarding headlights vary from state to state, ensure the headlamps you buy comply with the regulations in your area to avoid trouble with the authorities.
Q: Why would I need aftermarket headlights?
A: Aftermarket headlights are meant to replace damaged OEM lights. You may also need them to upgrade the existing headlamps for better visibility and also to enhance the look of your vehicle.
Q: Can I install aftermarket headlights on my own?
A: Yes, it is possible to install headlights at home if you are armed with some simple tools. However, there are some headlamps that are difficult to install. In such cases, you need to consult a professional.
Q: What qualities should I look for in aftermarket headlights?
A: In some cases, the type of headlamps you buy depends on your preference. However, you should consider the brightness of the light, ease of installation, bulb design, and most importantly, compatibility with your vehicle.
Our top pick for the best headlight is the Cougar Motor LED Headlight Bulbs All-in-One Conversion Kit. It is durable, waterproof, power-efficient, and easy to install.
For the value pick SYLVANIA XtraVision High-Performance Halogen Headlight is our recommendation. It is DOT-approved, aesthetic, and reliable even in foggy conditions.