Best HID Headlights – Buyer’s Guide 2017 (Updated)
Best HID Headlights Kit – MaintainYourRide Recommends:
Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion Kit
Buy Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion Kit
Introduction – Best HID Headlights Kit – Buyer’s Guide 2017
HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge and are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts which facilitates the arc’s initial strike. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metal salts forming plasma, which greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption.
As you can see from the definition of the lamps, the challenge is building enough energy to initiate the arc. For this reason, all HID kits require a Ballast. The job of the ballast is two-fold – first, it is responsible for providing the large amount of electricity necessary to ignite the lamps. And second, it regulates the flow of electricity to the lamps, once lit, to provide the most efficient, reliable performance.
Installing replacement or aftermarket headlights is generally a very easy job. There are numerous guides for almost any application available on Google or YouTube. This is definitely something you can do yourself at home with just a few basic tools.
HID’s have a few benefits over standard Halogen bulbs that most manufacturers use. They provide a noticeably brighter light which provides more visibility to the driver. They also have a range of different color temperatures (measured in kelvin) that they can produce. HIDs are generally known for their bright white or blue tint. A bit of a fringe benefit, but whiter light has been scientifically proven to suppress the body’s natural melatonin production at night. This can lead to increased awareness when driving at night helping make your car safer.
They also have a few drawbacks that may influence your decision. First, the brighter light can lead to serious distractions for other drivers on the road if not properly aimed. Second, the combination of elemental gasses used to manufacture the bulbs is more harmful to the environment than your standard Halogen or LED bulb.
While HID’s are mainly talked about as Headlight replacements, they are generally compatible with fog lights as well. Make sure you use a reputable fitment resource to verify the bulb sizes of your fog lights and the installation should be just as easy as headlights.
When looking for the best HID headlights kit, there are a few things we considered:
- Waterproof Rating
- Ease of Installation
- Compilation of Real-World Customer Reviews
All of the major HID manufacturers make kits of all Color Temperatures: 3000K, 5000K, 6000K, 8000K, 10000K, 12000K, 15000K, and 30000K.
They also make kits that fit all of the standard bulb sizes:5202, 880, 881, 9004 (HB1), 9005 (HB3), 9006 (HB4), 9007 (HB5), D1, D2, D3, D4, H1, H10, H11, H13 (9008), H3, H3C, H4 (HB2) (9003), H7, H8 and H9.
** MYR NOTE: ** Be sure you never touch the glass part of the bulb during a headlight installation. The natural oils from your skin can drastically reduce the lifespan of your headlight bulbs.
** MYR NOTE: ** After installing any type of headlights, take the time to properly adjust the angle of your headlights using the standard manufacturer techniques. This can drastically reduce the glare that other driver’s see which can cause distraction and endanger lives.
XtremeVision has been the budget offering in aftermarket headlight kits for a long time. They aim to provide the best quality product at a lower price point. As you could expect, it doesn’t have quite the same quality and durability as some of the more expensive brands. As the competition has increased, the prices of the other guys has dropped and now they are only a few dollars apart.
The XtremeVision’s 35w HID Xenon Conversion Kit includes a pair of slim ballasts, a pair of 35w HID bulbs, plug-and-play wiring harnesses and mounting brackets for each ballast, and a detailed instruction manual. They are advertised as 100% weatherproof and shockproof with an ISO9001 rating and European E-Mark for quality. They come with a 2-year warranty and have a great customer service record with an easy warranty process if something goes wrong.
The XtremeVision Kit has a good size following of over a thousand reviewers giving an average of just under four stars. It’s not the highest rating, but it is by no means low. This kit is still a good consideration if you’re looking for a budget option that has great customer service and a lengthy warranty period.
SDX is a subsidiary of Kensun and seems to be their budget option for HID Headlights. The benefit of this is that you get the same great customer service that Kensun products do, however, the advertised warranty on this kit is parts-only meaning they only guarantee it is not dead-on-arrival.
The SDX HID Xenon Headlights Conversion Kit includes a pair of weather-proof, shock-proof slim ballasts, a pair of performance 35W HID bulbs, wiring kits, mounting brackets, and instruction manual. The plug-and-play design allows installation in as little as 20 minutes.
This kit features a large consumer following with thousands of reviews and just under four stars. The reviews in combination with the backing of a large brand like Kensun for customer service and quality assurance makes the SDX kit a top choice amongst our team. We would have rated it higher if it had any form of extended warranty.
Apex seems to be a broad consumer brand with reach into many different consumer spaces. While they aren’t necessarily known for their automotive parts, they provide a great warranty and a great price.
The Apex HID Xenon Conversion kit features a plug-and-play design with a pair of weather-proof, shock-proof ballasts, a pair of performance HID bulbs, wiring & mounting kits, and installation guide. They run at 35 watts and are backed with a 2-year warranty and great customer service.
The Apex kit is our choice for the best HID headlights kit in the budget category due to the combination of price, warranty, and feedback. The kit has over five hundred reviews and an average rating of right around four stars. It is an easy choice if you’re looking to save some money and get a quality product that is backed by quality customer service.
Innovited is a relative newcomer in the HID Headlights world, established in 2008, they seem to now be a part of the OPT-7 umbrella of lighting products. OPT-7 is one of the largest brands in the aftermarket lighting world meaning their products are high-quality and fully backed by a reputable brand.
The Innovited AC 55W HID Xenon Conversion Kit features a pair of slim ballasts, a pair of HID Bulbs that support full plug-and-play integration with the current wiring of the car or truck. They have an advertised service life of 5500 hours and a 1-Year warranty which is slightly below the average of 2 years. They are rated to run at 55 watts and draw 4.2-8.2 amps of current. While no waterproof rating can be found, the ballasts do have what appears to be a rubber weather seal.
While it doesn’t quite match up with the Kensun kit, this kit is a solid choice for 2nd place due to its features and reviews. Just under four and a quarter stars with almost two thousand reviews means that the product is tried-and-true. All indications we can find point to excellent customer service if any issues do arise.
The Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion Kit features a smart aluminium carry-case, pair of super-bright performance HID xenon bulbs, mounting brackets, installation instructions and 100% weather-proof, shock-proof, water-proof universal high-performance premium ballasts. The Kit also features a 2-Year warranty and based on the feedback we have seen, the company has excellent customer service. They run at 35 watts with an operating voltage of 85 volts and a current draw of 3-5 Amps.
They are advertised as 100% plug-and-play meaning effortless installation. With just over four and a quarter across thousands of reviews, in combination with the feature set they provide, it is easy to see why we selected the Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion kit as the best HID headlights kit.
Common Questions about HID Headlights
What are HID Headlights
HID Headlights are an improvement upon the classic halogen headlight. They are significantly brighter than standard halogens but require additional power to produce more light. Kits usually include a pair of HID bulbs, a pair of ballasts, and a pair of wiring harnesses for full plug-and-play installation.
How do HID Headlights Work
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights produce light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a quartz or fused alumina arc tube filled with both gas and metal salts. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metal salts forming plasma, which greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption.
Why upgrade to HID Headlights
Improved performance and color selection are typically the reasons people upgrade their halogens to HID headlights. They typically come with a bit of a price premium relative to halogens, but the light output and color selection are significantly better.
Are HID Headlights legal
Most HID Headlights are legal nowadays. As always, be sure to check your local laws if you’re worried about it. Also be sure to double check the product information page or packaging of the HID kits you intend to purchase. It should list DOT-Approved or Street Legal somewhere. If not, feel free to contact the manufacturer for more information.
Which HID Headlights are the best
This is subjective. Some may prioritize cost, while others may prioritize reliability or light output. We have done extensive research into the top brands and provided recommendations for value, performance, and overall above.
Where to buy HID Headlights
Some automotive stores have started to carry HID kits, however, you can expect to pay a pretty hefty premium in a brick-and-mortar store for a quality kit. We recommend buying them online and have provided links directly to our recommended kits for your convenience. Feel free to take the information and use it however you’d like.
What HID Headlights fit my car
Most stores and websites, including the ones we have linked to, provide a tool for determining compatibility for your specific car or truck. There are also resources available online to help determine which bulb-type fits your current headlight housing.
How to install HID Headlights
Installing HID Headlights is typically a very simple job. The kits we have recommended are all plug-and-play compatible and generally take about 20 minutes to install. It is typically as simple as removing your old bulbs, connecting the ballast and harness to your current wiring, and then screwing the new HID bulb into the headlight housing.
Are HID Headlights too bright
This is widely discussed as the most glaring (pun intended) issue with HID Headlights. The additional brightness can cause glare issues to other drivers on the road. The solution here is proper alignment and aiming of your headlight housings. Projector headlights contain a lens that focuses the light and provides a strict cut-off so there’s nothing to worry about with them. Normal headlight housings may cause some annoyance to other drivers, but they’re legal so they’re not “too bright.”
MYR Recommended Best HID Headlights Overall – Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion Kit
MYR Recommended Best HID Headlights Performance – Kensun HID Xenon Headlight Conversion Kit
MYR Recommended Best HID Headlights Value – Apex HID Xenon Conversion Kit
While HID is the pinnacle of lighting technology for pure brightness, LED headlights are the newcomer to the industry and offer some very interesting benefits over both HID and Halogen headlights. Be sure to check out our Best LED Headlights Buyers Guide before you make your decision!
You might also want to consider upgrading your stock Halogen headlights if you’re on a budget. Check out our Best Halogen Headlights Guide for more information.
If you’re interested in getting the most light output from your car, our Best LED Light Bar Comparison will help you pick the best LED Light Bar for your car or truck. You also want to make sure you’ve got a battery that can support the increased electrical strain by checking out our Best Car Battery Buyer’s Guide