Best Aftermarket Fog Lights: Increase the Light Ahead
See better in inclement weather when you drive with these aftermarket fog lights
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Most car manufacturers are beginning to phase out fog lights, luxury manufacturers have been the first to do so. Their reasoning is that headlight technology has come so far it's rendered auxiliary fog lights obsolete. Part of their thinking is fog lights, and all auxiliary lighting at this point, have become the latest in non-functional automotive accessorising; how often do people drive with fog lights lit when not a whiff of fog is anywhere to be seen? It's also worth noting, fog lights, driving lights, and off-road lights are all very different things that perform in different ways. None of them are designed to be used all the time, especially when other cars are around. But, some people may actually drive in fog on a regular basis, for them, there are still some good choices for improving visibility in fog, rain, and snow.
Hella FF75 Fog Lamp
- Light pattern is ideal for fog and inclement weather
- Low profile design makes them easy to mount in grilles or under bumper
- Kit includes wiring harness and switch
- If you're main motivation is an aesthetic upgrade, these may not be for you
- Does not include a fuse, which should be used
- For optimum performance, you may want to switch to yellow bulbs
PIAA LP530 LED Fog Light
- Ground-up design to maximize LED strengths
- Available in multiple beam patterns and light temperatures
- Compact size for easier mounting
- Some users complained about lack of brightness
- Wiring harness doesn't live up to PIAA light standards
OFFROADTOWN LED Fog Lights
- Good illumination with cutoffs appropriate for use in fog
- Hard to beat the price
- Aluminum construction won't corrode
- Inspect after purchase for some customer report low quality control
- Off-Road aesthetic may not look right on cars
Choosing the best fog lights for this guide isn't an easy task. Although I've used aftermarket fog lights on several cars over the years, the market is constantly changing. Besides the advancements in products, consumers' expectations are always evolving as well. The lights you see here represent the best choices for functionality in fog, rain, snow, or even dust. Besides the function of the lights, durability and value were weighed. Aftermarket lighting can get very expensive and at a certain point, you will find diminishing returns on your investment rather quickly.
Best Aftermarket Fog Lights: Reviews & Recommendations
Hella has been making automotive lighting for so long, the company's first lamps were powered by candles or kerosene – I'm not joking. European manufacturers have relied on Hella for decades to provide lighting solutions for some of the best cars in the world. With such a long history of quality lighting products, you might expect that Hella's fog lights would avoid current fads and just provide great lighting, which is exactly what these FF75 lights do.
The FF75 isn't a cluster of LEDs, it isn't one big projector, it is a classic halogen bulb with a mirror reflector behind a glass lens. That mirror is notable however as it is what is called a free-form reflector. For most of the history of the automobile, light reflectors were symmetric paraboloids which were then cut-off by lenses or shades. Once computers were powerful enough, Hella began calculating the three dimensional shapes necessary to use all the light coming from the bulb and getting it exactly where it needs to be on the road. The FF75 has a wide, flat, and low spread of light ideal for lighting up the road and not bouncing light off the fog, snow, or rain back at the driver.
Each FF75 is roughly 2.5-inches tall, including the mounting bracket, and 6-inches wide. They are designed to fit in grilles or under bumpers. Like all fog lights, they need to be mounted low for best results. The kit includes the wiring harness and switch needed for installation. If fog lights are optional on your vehicle, you should be able to wire in the factory switch for a more integrated look. The wiring harness does not include a fuse, which is recommended for installation.
Not for decoration, these provide real illumination in fog, snow, and rain
Magnesium free-form reflector maximizes light output
If installed correctly, will far outperform most factory or aftermarket lights
Will look decidedly Radwood era on modern cars
Should include fuse and yellow bulbs for the price
LED, Light Emitting Diodes, are a different technology than traditional halogen light bulbs. Technically, an LED is a semiconductor. As energy moves through the LED, the electrons jumping from gap to gap releases energy in the form of photons, or light. LEDs are far more efficient than a traditional incandescent light, like halogen lights which waste a large amount of energy in heat. The downside is LEDs need reflectors specifically designed to maximize the light spread.
The LP530 was designed from the ground up to be an LED light, so this isn't just an LED bulb thrown in a halogen housing. PIAA designed the LED itself to project light backwards into a segmented, multi-surface reflector which defines the beam pattern. The LP530 is available in different patterns for different applications, but we are focusing on the fog-specific light, although most of the specs are relevant to all LP-series units.
The LP530 lights use an aluminum diecast body and polycarbonate lens. The units are rated for 10g of vibration and are also IP67 water and dust rated. The kit includes a wiring harness with switch. It does not however include either a fuse or a relay. Although LEDs do use far less power than a halogen bulb, you probably want to source your own relay and fuse for installation.
Lower power consumption and less heat than halogen
Available in different beam patterns and bulb color combinations
More precise light pattern than other LED lights
Lens guard feels cheap and doesn't fit securely
Kit doesn't include a relay or fuse
Sometimes things like fog lights, which seem to be a very specialized product, are still just a commodity. These fog lights from OFFROADTOWN look exactly like the fog lights sold by a dozen different companies – and I'm sure that they are. That doesn't automatically mean they aren't a good value. Especially these which are on the lower end of the price scale.
The OFFROADTOWN LED fog lights meet the SAE J583 standard for fog lights used on public roads. That means you can use them without blinding other drivers at night, and if you ever use them in actual fog, they won't blind you. The body and brackets are both made of aluminum, so rust will never be an issue. It also means they are nice and lightweight, so they won't make whatever plastic parts you mount them to, sag over time.
Like most fog light kits, you get a wiring harness and switch. They also include a two year replacement warranty. The seller claims 50,000 hours of continuous operation without a failure, that's almost 6 years of constant use. I wouldn't hold my breath for that, but a good 5 years of occasional use seems achievable.
Great price for SAE compliant LED light
Good light output and well controlled beam pattern
Aluminum construction is surprising at this price
Mass produced light available from dozens of companies, up to you if that's bad
Like so many things you buy online, inspect closely for defects before use
Our Verdict on the Best Aftermarket Fog Lights
The Hella FF75 Fog Lamp Kit is a high-quality kit that allows you to supplement your headlights or even your factory fog lights.
The OFFROADTOWN LED Fog Light Kit is a quality, affordable option for those on a budget.
Features to Consider When Choosing Fog Lights
Types of Aftermarket Fog Lights
Light Emitting Diodes are semiconductors that happen to emit light when a current is passed through them. They are quickly taking over the lighting world as they are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Another upside is LEDs generally have a far greater lifespan than Incandescent, but in most cases the electronics that support them aren't as long-lived. When buying LED lights, it is imperative that the light was designed to use an LED, retrofitting an LED into a housing designed for a halogen bulb will at best be inefficient and at worst will turn the light into a weapon used against oncoming drivers.
Halogen light bulbs are what's known as incandescents. Inside the bulb is a tungsten filament that heats up as an electrical current is passed through it. Halogen gas is used inside some bulbs that not only allow for higher temperatures, but as the tungsten evaporates from the filament it combines with the halogen gas. This not only keeps it from blackening the inside of the bulb, but the halogen gas will deposit the tungsten back on the filament.
Lumens are used to measure the total amount of light emitted by a light source. That may sound good at first, but what we really want to focus on is how the entire lighting system works in the environment. A fog light may have a bulb with a very high lumen rating, but if that light isn't spread out evenly and efficiently in the area in front of the car, it isn't effective.
Like any other light on your car, fog lights will lose their power over time. The typical fog light will last you up to 30,000 hours, but you can find some that last up to 50,000 hours. Plus, since you don’t use them as much as your high-beams, they can last a long time. You should get 3-6 years out of your fog lights.
Aftermarket Fog Lights Pricing
- Under $80: If you just want something that lights up, this is your price range. I would encourage you to look for aftermarket daytime running lights instead of fog lights as they are less likely to blind other drivers.
- $81-$150: The fog lights in this price range are great for both performance and looks. This price range will get you fog lights which are certified for road use and can make a huge difference in vision in inclement weather.
- $150 and up: This is where you will find the best fog lights, but you will also start to see diminishing returns with the more money you spend.
Q: Are fog lights legal?
A: The answer to this question will entirely depend on where you live. You need to check with your local laws and regulations. Some states limit the number of lights you can have on the front of your vehicle. Other states limit the height and location of the installation of the lights.
Q: Should I worry about compatibility?
A: Yes, you should consider compatibility. You need to look at your vehicle and make sure there is space to mount the fog lights. Some vehicles don’t have a natural space for them. Then you need to make sure your electrical system has the capacity for more draw. This shouldn't be a problem on modern cars, but it can be on a classic.
Q: What does color temperature mean?
A: Color temperature refers to the tint of the light. The measurement is expressed in Kelvins. The lower the number, the more yellow or amber the light will look. The higher the number, the cooler and more bluish and purple the light will look. In the middle of the scale is clear, bright white light.
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