Reviews

Best HID Headlight Bulbs: Light Up the Darkness

See your way through the darkness with these HID headlight bulbs.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON June 10, 2021

When your car’s headlights start to grow dim, it’s time to swap the bulbs out for a new pair. But if you’ve ever headed to your local dealership and asked for a quote on how much a new set of headlight bulbs will cost, you’ve likely been shocked – something this simple can run you hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to change your car’s headlight bulbs. And if you tackle this job yourself, you can choose what kind of bulbs you’d like to use.

 

While halogen headlight bulbs were once the standard, today most car owners are choosing LED or HID bulbs. HID headlight bulbs — or high-intensity discharge bulbs — are incredibly reliable, with bright performance. And these bulbs last longer than your basic halogen bulbs too, giving you up to 8,000 hours of use. Available in shades of blue, white, and yellow, HID headlight bulbs are available in all kinds of different options to suit different makes and models. They’re even reasonably priced. To discover which HID headlight bulbs are worth adding to your car, check out our favorite picks right here.

Best Overall
Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb
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Summary
Summary

An OEM bulb that offers factory-level quality and impressively reliable performance over many miles.

Pros
Pros
  • Offers a perfect fit and easy installation
  • Flawless match compared to your factory Philips bulbs
  • Solid brightness
Cons
Cons
  • Bulbs create a yellow-tinted light
  • Difficult to install on certain vehicles, like BMWs
Best Overall
Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb
Best Value
Agptek HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs
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Summary
Summary

An affordable, highly bright pair of HID headlight bulbs that plug right in for easy installation.

Pros
Pros
  • IP68 waterproof and able to be reliable in bad weather
  • Last for 3,000 hours or more
  • Very reliable even after many miles on the road
Cons
Cons
  • May not fit all vehicle headlights
Best Value
Agptek HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs
Honorable Mention
Heliolite D3R HID Xenon Headlight Bulb
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Summary
Summary

A more specialized HID bulb that’s made with high-quality materials for up to three times more brightness.

Pros
Pros
  • More efficient with 35 percent less power consumption
  • Up to 3,500 hours of use per bulb
  • High temperature resistance for better durability
Cons
Cons
  • Bulbs will change cover over time as they age
Honorable Mention
Heliolite D3R HID Xenon Headlight Bulb
Amazon

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Best HID Headlight Bulbs Buying Guide 

If your factory headlights aren’t shining so brightly anymore or are due for an upgrade, HID headlight bulbs are one of the best options to consider. Why replace outdated halogen bulbs with yet another set of inefficient, somewhat dim bulbs that’ll burn out just as quickly? HID bulbs can offer you so much more, and they don’t have to cost you very much more.

HID headlight bulbs give you more options and, over time, can save you money, energy, and effort. Available in a number of different sizes to suit different vehicles’ headlights, you can choose a color temperature and a brightness — and some even offer a different beam pattern. We’ve got all of the information you need to make a smart decision and pick out the perfect pair of new bulbs.

The Advantages of Owning HID Headlight Bulbs

HID headlight bulbs are significantly better than your standard halogen bulbs. When you swap out your old headlight bulbs for HID bulbs, you’ll discover an array of different benefits. Made with xenon gas, these particular bulbs have become a new favorite since they first hit the market in the 1990s. One of the most important benefits? HID bulbs are pretty affordable, and you can save money by installing them all on your own.

Additionally, HID headlight bulbs are able to outperform halogen bulbs in a number of ways. From their lower heat output to their reduced power consumption to their impressive number of lumens, you’ll quickly find that HID headlight bulbs are better in every way. They’re even more attractive when turned on. Other advantages include perks like:

  • Higher energy efficiency, with HID bulbs using about 25 percent of the power that halogen alternatives use.
  • A considerably longer lifespan, with the ability to last thousands of hours instead of simply a few hundred hours.
  • Increased visibility in darkness, with intense white light that’s sharper and makes it simple to see clearly.
  • Cleaner, crisper appearance without the yellow tint that’s common in halogen bulbs.
  • Easy installation that takes no time at all and requires no professional expertise. 

The Most Common Types of HID Headlight Bulbs

HID headlight bulbs are their own specific type of headlight bulbs. So, when you’re shopping for a set for your vehicle, you’ll find that there really aren’t different kinds of HID bulbs. As long as you’re considering HID light bulbs made just for vehicle headlights, they’ll all be almost identical in their size, installation method, and applicability.

However, there is one small difference you’ll want to look for. HID headlight bulbs are marked with a particular notation. These bulbs can be marked as either D1R, D1S, D2R, D2S, D3R, or D3S. These markings simply differentiate the kind of ignition module — or lack of an ignition module — that’s used in the bulb’s construction. You’ll want to check your vehicle’s manual in order to determine which marking is best for your headlights. 

The Most Important Features with HID Headlight Bulbs

Picking out a pair of HID headlight bulbs might seem easy enough. After all, they’re bulbs meant to illuminate. But there are some smaller details and features that can affect how reliable, bright, and durable your bulbs are. Look for the following features so you know you’re getting a good bulb.

Expected Lifespan

Lifespan is one of the biggest reasons to choose a pair of HID bulbs. Made to last thousands of hours compared to the hundreds of hours a halogen bulb lasts, HID headlight bulbs can offer you quite a long lifespan. However, in order to know you’re picking a long-lasting product, you’ll want to take a close look at a bulb’s product specifications.

While halogen bulbs last between 300 and 500 hours on average, HID bulbs last between 2,000 and 4,000 hours. If you want a solidly long-lasting option, aim for something from 3,000 to 4,000 hours; 3,500 is a common option.

Color Temperature

Color is an important factor in choosing a HID bulb because it can affect brightness and visibility. While HID bulbs are generally far brighter than your standard factory headlight bulbs, if you’re upgrading because you need increased brightness, you’re going to want to pay close attention to a bulb’s color temperature.

Most HID bulbs emit an intense white light with a slight blue tint. However, some may have a bit of a yellow or “warm” tint like a traditional halogen bulb. If you want the maximum crispness, clarity, and brightness, go for a cool blue, ice blue, or another brilliant blue-white. This is measured in Kelvins; look for bulbs that produce 4,000K or more.

Beam Pattern

If you think all bulbs deliver the same pattern when used in your car’s headlights, you’ll want to take a close look at your beams the next time you’re behind the wheel at night. Different headlight bulbs can create different beam patterns — some are more narrow, some stretch out over a longer distance, and some are wide and far-reaching. There’s a lot of variety, so you’ll want to consider what beam pattern is your preferred pick.

Wide beams tend to cover more area. A wide beam pattern can make new HID headlight bulbs better for your visibility. If you’re having trouble seeing everything in your path while driving at night, wider may be better.

Best HID Headlight Bulbs Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb

If you are looking to replace your burnt-out factory HID bulbs, we found the best overall HID replacement bulb is the tried and true Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb. Philips maintains a level of quality that sees them being recommended by many OEM manufacturers. Philips offers its replacement HID bulbs in the most common OEM HID sizes. The color of the bulb is 4200 K which will allow for a neutral white color. To avoid a difference in color between your headlamp bulbs and to keep your lighting even, it is recommended both bulbs are replaced at the same time. With such an important role that your headlights play, it is paramount to purchase a brand that is trustworthy. Philips is one of the most trustworthy brands in the world and we find it to be the best on the market.

Best Value
Agptek HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs

Agptek HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs can give you the bright illumination you need behind the wheel without costing you a ton of money. These affordably priced bulbs shine brightly and offer excellent value, making them a worthwhile investment no matter what kind of vehicle you drive. With plug-and-play design, absolutely anyone can install these bulbs at home. They’re made to help you see clearly at night, with 8,000K Xenon light — and there are several colors available to choose from. Each pair of bulbs offers up to 3,000 hours of life, and their SSTC technology makes them consistent and reliable. You’ll get approximately 3,200 lumens when these bulbs shine. And they’re durable too. Each set of bulbs has an IP 68 waterproof rating, meaning you don’t have to worry about weather interfering with your headlights. Just make sure that these 85 volt, 35 watt bulbs will suit your exact make and model before buying.

Best Premium
Heliolite D3R HID Xenon Headlight Bulb

If you aren’t afraid to invest more money into high-quality HID bulbs, then you’re going to want to check out the Heliolite D3R HID Xenon Headlight Bulb. This premium HID bulb uses less energy than a traditional halogen bulb, and it delivers up to three times more brightness so you’ll see easily and clearly in even the darkest environments. The bulb is able to produce more light at a lower heat, making it a more energy-efficient choice. It shines with a sharp blue-white light color, though the color and intensity can change over time. Light is created by a plasma discharge inside the bulb, and you’ll get up to 3,500 hours of life thanks to this more efficient process. There’s just one drawback you won’t want to overlook: for the higher price, you’ll only get one headlight bulb. If you’re looking to have a perfectly matched set, you’ll have to pay more to get two.

Honorable Mention
Xentec HID Xenon Bulb Bundle

When you couple an HID bulb with a quality projector lens, you have one of the most effective lighting solutions on the market. If you’re looking for an HID conversion kit for your car, the Xentec HID Xenon Bulb Bundle is our pick for the best HID conversion kit on the market. We love the Xentec brand because it meets the perfect threshold between price, reliability, and options. These bulbs come in a variety of sizes and colors to match your needs. A correctly specified HID conversion can drastically outperform your OEM lighting solution, this is especially true on older cars. The HID lights not only outperform aesthetically, but they also project light further down the road, allowing you to prepare for obstacles further away. 

Best Budget Factory Replacement
DMEX 35W 6000K Xenon Headlight HID Bulbs

If you are looking to replace your burnt out factory HIDs and you don’t want to break the bank, the DMEX 35W 6000K Xenon Headlight HID Bulbs represents our pick for the best budget factory replacement HID bulb. DMEX offers their bulbs in a range of sizes and colors meant to give you as good of a match to your factory bulbs as possible. We greatly appreciate that DMEX also includes a two-year warranty period with these bulbs, giving you peace of mind that you’re getting a quality product. That warranty is unprecedented given the price point. What is also somewhat shocking, at least given the price, is that these come as a pack of two bulbs. Each bulb can provide up to 3800 lumens of power while increasing 50m irradiation distance, giving you up to 4.5 extra seconds of break reaction time. DMEX makes a great budget option for HID bulbs that will allow you to drive with safety without spending a fortune.

Honorable Mention
Lindmeyers D1S 35W 6000K HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs

Need better clarity on dark, poorly lit roads? A pair of Lindmeyers D1S 35W 6000K HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs will brighten your path, allowing you to cut through even the most overwhelming darkness easily. These wonderfully bright bulbs, which are sold as a set of two, use HID technology to deliver brighter light from your vehicle’s headlights. They’re a real upgrade over your factory headlight bulbs; you’ll get more visibility and improved efficiency. The bulbs are designed to last approximately 2,500 hours in total, and they deliver a high-intensity white light. They make a perfect replacement for stock Philips Osram HID bulbs, and they’ll work with any 12-volt power source — meaning they can suit more cars of all makes, models, and sizes. They’re also quite easy to install, an added benefit if you’re changing your own headlight bulbs for the first time. Just keep in mind that they aren’t plug and play in design, so you may find the installation process takes a little longer.

Honorable Mention
Sylvania D1S SilverStar zXe HID Headlight Bulb

The Sylvania D1S SilverStar zXe HID Headlight Bulb is a great option if you want something different from a standard headlight beam. It’s a bulb that’s more stylized, delivering a beam of light that’s crisp, bright, and designed to stand out. One of these HID headlight bulbs is fueled with xenon, making for improved efficiency and a crisp, white light color. When turned on, you’ll see increased light output from this bulb, with a wider beam and better coverage across the front of your vehicle. This HID bulb can also help you see road markings more easily — the bright white color actually stimulates and reflects road paint, allowing you to see even faded lines. You’ll have better visibility across the board and increase your safety at the same time. With a 5,000K color temperature and three times the brightness of a basic halogen bulb, you’ll also enjoy a longer lifespan. However, installing this bulb can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren’t very experienced in headlight bulb installation.

Honorable Mention
General D3S 6000K HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs

General D3S 6000K HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs, a two-piece OEM D3S headlight bulb set, will take your vehicle’s headlights from fine to flawless. These impressive HID headlights, which use xenon to shine brightly along dark roads, are made to be a factory-level replacement part both in quality and performance. They’re brighter and offer better visibility, and they make a perfect fit for any car that’s already using a set of D3S headlight bulbs. These HID bulbs will replace any Osram D1S and Philips D1S bulbs — and installation is simple. With an exact focus point and highly accurate hyper blue-white color temperature, you’ll see your headlights shine a whole lot brighter. Because they’re HID bulbs, you’ll get more lumens (3,200 for the pair), a longer lifespan of up to 4,000 hours, and 35 watts. One feature that customers who’ve purchased these bulbs love is their quality for the price. Instead of paying high dealership prices, these bulbs give you OEM results for less.

Honorable Mention
Zento Deals D1S D1R HID 10K Xenon Headlight Bulbs

A pair of Zento Deals D1S D1R HID 10K Xenon Headlight Bulbs is just the right choice if you’re a driver who prefers a bit of a blue tint in your headlights’ beams. These bulbs shine with a cool “ice blue” color that’s crisp and incredibly bright. Thanks to their HID technology, both of the bulbs in this two-piece set are brighter than your average halogen headlights, yet they consume less power for better efficiency. The xenon gas that illuminates each bulb makes the light three times brighter, too. These bulbs offer improved visibility every day and night — but they're particularly excellent for bad weather, as you’ll be able to see more easily in rain, fog, and other limited visibility conditions. Each time you turn on your headlights, these HID bulbs will offer consistent, even, and accurately bright light. Waterproof and stable, they last up to 2,500 hours and can save you money and effort in the long run.

Honorable Mention
Mega Racer D3S/D3R/D3C HID Headlights

HID headlight bulbs seem pretty simple, but some offer more versatility than others — like the Mega Racer D3S/D3R/D3C HID Headlights. These bulbs can either be used for your high beams or your low beams, allowing you to customize your beam pattern and brightness for better visibility across the board. Designed with HID technology and xenon gas, these bulbs create beams of light that are a whopping 300 percent brighter than your average halogen bulb. Each 35-watt bulb also delivers a better visual field, shining with 8,000 lumens (as a set) in a focused pattern. Though you’ll see impressive brightness, these bulbs won’t blind oncoming drivers or create glares. Each bulb is constructed with anti-UV quartz glass, which is highly resistant to pressure and better able to create powerful light beams. However, you’ll want to double-check that these HID headlight bulbs work in your car. They’ll only fit vehicles with a stock halogen D3S, D3R, or D3C bulb.

Tips for Buying and Using HID Headlight Bulbs

As you shop for and compare different HID headlight bulb options, you’ll find there are small yet significant differences you need to keep in mind. However, it’s important to remember the goal of your new headlights: better brightness, consistent reliability, and great on-road performance. You depend on your headlights to guide you safely at night, so you’ll want to choose a pair that won’t let you down.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking for the right pair of HID bulbs:

  • Know what size or specific kind of HID bulbs your vehicle needs before you start shopping to ensure you’re only looking at bulbs that actually fit into your headlights.
  • Determine whether or not you’re able to install the new bulbs at home, as some vehicles may make it more difficult to remove your headlights and work with the bulbs.
  • Some HID bulbs are plug-and-play while others are more complex; use your experience and comfort level with headlight installation to determine which is right for you.
  • HID headlight bulbs do burn out over time, so you’ll notice that they dim and change color once they begin to reach the end of their lifespan.
  • Some HID bulbs may take time to “warm up” or reach their full brightness, so you may not see immediately brighter results during your first few drives.

Best HID Headlight Bulbs FAQ:

Have questions about HID headlight bulbs? With so many different details to consider, we don’t blame you. We’re answering some of the most common questions about these particular headlight bulbs right here. 

Q. Which are better: HID or LED headlights?

Both HID and LED headlight bulbs are brighter, more efficient, and longer lasting in comparison to halogen headlight bulbs. However, there are differences that can make HID or LED bulbs better for some drivers. HID bulbs are impressively bright, but they can produce glare and last for around 3,500 hours of use. LED bulbs are also very bright, but they’re even more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than HID bulbs, often lasting 10,000 hours in total. It’s up to you to decide which is the better pick for your car.

Q. Are HID bulbs illegal?

As long as you install HID headlight bulbs that are certified for road use, you’re perfectly fine to use them. HID bulbs may be very bright, but they’re still legal.

Q. Which is better: HID or halogen bulbs?

Halogen bulbs may have been a standard choice in the past, but today HID bulbs are a more modern and energy-efficient choice. With a significantly longer lifespan, lower heat output, reduced energy consumption, and far better brightness, HID bulbs are the clear choice above halogen bulbs. 

Our Top Pick

If you’re looking for the best HID headlight bulb around, we love the Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb. This OEM-approved option makes for the perfect fit into many vehicles’ headlights, and it offers excellent quality and reliability. You’ll get improved performance over your stock factory bulbs, and you don’t have to shell out a ton of money at the dealership. You’ll get automaker-approved results and better brightness — and you can do the installation right at home.

Final Thoughts

We like the Philips Standard Authentic Xenon HID Headlight Bulb because of its OEM design and construction that makes for a perfect fit in most vehicles. If you’re interested in a quality alternative at a more affordable price, then a pair of Agptek HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs is a wonderful choice.