10 Best HID/Xenon Headlight Bulbs – Reviews and Comparisons
Vehicle headlights have the simple task of providing visibility at night, but their different methods of producing this light create lots of complexities.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs came into the automotive scene in the 1990s, introduced by the German car maker Audi. They are also called Xenon bulbs because they use Xenon gas to produce their light.
The advantage of HID bulbs over the halogen bulbs that they replaced include a higher light intensity and brighter colored lights. These two advantages combine to produce better visibility for the driver than with halogen bulbs, making HID the preferred choice.
If you've decided to upgrade your stock halogen lights to an HID/Xenon system or if you just want to replace your old HID bulbs, then this best HID headlights review is for you.
It provides you with a list of the top HID bulbs in the market, as well as a buying guide to help you make the right choice, plus a step by step installation guide to help with the correct installation.
- HID Headlight Bulb Review
- 1. Philips D1S – A 35-Watt Bulb with 3,350 Lumens Output
- 2. OPT7 Boltzen 9012 – High-intensity 4,200-Lumen HID Bulbs
- 3. CougarMotor DS2 – Produces 7,600 Lumens of Light per Pair
- 4. HID-Warehouse 9006 – A pair of HID Bulbs in 9 Available Colors
- 5. Xentec HID Kit
- 6. Zenex HID Kit
- 7. XtremeVision HID Bulb
- 8. Kensun HID Bulb
- 9. SDX HID Kit
- 10. Innovited HID Kit
- How to Buy the Best HID Headlights
- How to Install HID Headlight Bulb
HID Headlight Bulb Review
35 W, 55 W
1. Philips D1S – A 35-Watt Bulb with 3,350 Lumens Output
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
- Lumens: 3,350
- Color Temperature: 4,200 Kelvins
- Lifespan: 1,500 hours
If all you need is a top-rated HID headlight bulb that you can trust, then check out this offer from Philips. It offers you a very energy-efficient HID bulb with the right color temperature, brightness, and long lifespan.
Philips needs no introduction when it comes to light bulbs and other electrical items. With over 100 years of experience and market dominance, Philips is without doubt, one of the best HID headlight brands.
This light bulb is 3,350 Lumens bright and it has a color temperature of 4,200 Kelvins, which is a perfect Xenon headlamp color temperature.
One disadvantage of this Philips Xenon bulb is its price. It costs a lot more than other bulbs and this price is even for just one bulb, but then, it's a Philips bulb and quality has its price.
2. OPT7 Boltzen 9012 – High-intensity 4,200-Lumen HID Bulbs
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
OPT7 is another top HID headlight brand that makes some of the best HID headlights, so, you should pay some attention to this offer. It comes with lots of interesting features, which include an easy Plug-n-Play installation, a weatherproof case, very bright light, and a choice of colors.
Unlike most other offers on this list, this one delivers 3,900 Lumens of brightness at 6,000 Kelvins of white daylight. You can also choose other colors if you wish, and they include Fog Yellow at 3,000 K and ICE Blue at 8,000 K.
The ballast is compatible with CANbus equipped vehicles and it comes in an extra-tough aluminum casing for long life. The bulb itself will last for over 5,000 hours, making OPT7 confident enough to back it with a 2-year warranty.
3. CougarMotor DS2 – Produces 7,600 Lumens of Light per Pair
Editor's Rating: (3.9 / 5)
You could only need a pair of good but affordable replacement bulbs and not an entire conversion kit if your vehicle comes with stock HID headlights. In such a case, CougarMotor offers exactly what you need.
This offer of 2 HID headlamps comes at a low and attractive price, plus the bulbs offer impressive features, like different color temperatures, different HID sockets, a 3,000-hour lifespan, and 7,600 Lumens to make it the brightest HID headlights in this review.
It's important that you remember to change both bulbs together, so you can keep up an even headlight color. These bulbs have an IP-67 rating against water and dust ingress and CougarMotor backs them with a 2-year warranty.
4. HID-Warehouse 9006 – A pair of HID Bulbs in 9 Available Colors
Editor's Rating: (3.7 / 5)
HID Warehouse makes its HID bulb to fit a variety of sockets and this package includes two HID bulbs plus any matching socket wire of your choice, and they are up to 16 different types.
There are also 9 different color temperatures to choose from, including the classic 3,000-K yellow and a lovely 4,300-K daylight color, plus other colors.
One issue with this offer is the lack of a ballast. So, while it's offered at a very low price, it won't work on a headlight that doesn't already have a ballast. This means you can either replace a stock HID headlight or an already converted one.
On the plus side, the bulbs will work with both 35-Watt and 55-Watt ballasts. Once everything's there, then it's a Plug-n-Play installation that'll only take a few minutes.
HID Warehouse backs it with a 2-year warranty, including live tech support on both phones and via email.
Editor's Rating: (3.7 / 5)
With an over 5,000-hour expected lifespan and 3,500 Lumens of brightness, Xentec's HID headlight conversion kit offers you lots of value at a great price.
What you get here is a complete package that's ready for quick installation straight out of the box. The package includes two of the best HID hadlights in the market, a 35-Watt ballast for control, and a wiring harness to get it all working together easily.
The bulb is available in 10 different color temperatures, including 3,000-K yellow, 5,000 K daylight, pink, and others. You can also select from over 15 different socket options to get the right package for your vehicle.
Xentec's 35-Watt ballast accepts an input voltage from 9 to 16 Volts, making it compatible with most vehicles. It is digital and includes a built-in CANbus decoder and driver to help cut down onboard computer errors.
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
This offer from Zenex has a relatively high price, which makes it an unlikely candidate for the best affordable HID headlight system but it has still got a few things to offer.
In addition to being available in 6 different colors and many halogen socket options, it's also backed by a 3-year warranty. This is a strong statement from the manufacturer when you consider that most other HID kits on this list are only warranted for 2 years.
The package includes two Zenex HID bulbs, two ballasts, and two harnesses. This makes its installation a simple and quick Plug-n-Play event that'll take less than a half hour.
Unlike some other kits though, the ballasts that come with this package may just be too thick and may not fit into certain places that other slim ballasts will easily fit into. This is not a general problem though since it depends on the type of car that you have.
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
XtremeVision is another maker of good HID headlights and this offer proves that. This bulb is available in 6 different color temperatures for you to choose from, including blue, yellow, and pink.
The package includes everything you need for the installation and unlike the Philips offer above, this offer is for a pair of HID bulbs, plus a pair of the ballast and installation harness, as well as an installation manual.
This kit is fully plug-and-play and it's available for a range of halogen bulb sockets, so you can easily choose the right socket to replace.
XtremeVision backs this package up with a 2-year warranty, plus it's IP-67 waterproof and ISO9001 certified for quality.
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
Kensun is another good maker of headlight bulbs and it makes an interesting offer here, which comes with an aluminum carrying case, to set apart from the rest.
This package will fit a range of halogen sockets and conversion takes less than 20 minutes. You additionally get to choose a specific color temperature here, with everything ranging from 3,000-Kelvin yellow to over 15,000-Kelvin blues.
You get everything you need for installation in the package and this includes the wiring harness, the ballasts, and installation manual. It has an 85-Volt operating voltage and a 23,000-Volt startup voltage and Kensun backs it with a 2-year warranty.
9. SDX HID Kit
Editor's Rating: (3.8 / 5)
This SDX HID conversion kit is another great option for those looking for the best HID conversion kit for cars with stock halogen lights. The full package includes everything you need for the conversion and the price is also right.
You get two HID bulbs, two slim ballasts, which are 100% weather and shock-proof, plus a wiring harness and an installation guide.
The color temperatures you can choose include 5,000 Kelvin, 6,000 Kelvin, and all the way up to 30,000 Kelvins. The range of halogen sockets you can convert with it also stretches wide and are more than 10.
Editor's Rating: (3.7 / 5)
This Innovited HID headlamp conversion kit features some of the best HID headlight bulb offers for all kinds of vehicles including trucks, sedans, and off-road 4x4s.
It offers 11 different color temperatures from a 3,000-K yellow up to purple, allowing you to choose a color that fits your car's style perfectly. It will also last for more than an impressive 5,500 working hours.
Unlike most other kits on this list, this one consumes 55 Watts when working, making it less energy efficient. On the other hand, though, it's backed by a 2-year warranty.
It's additionally rated IP-68 as well, which means it can get immersed in a 1-meter depth of water for up to 30 minutes and it won't break down.
How to Buy the Best HID Headlights
Xenon/HID bulb technology is such a complex technology, that although it's been made as simple as possible, it remains relatively complicated for most car drivers.
If you want to buy good HID headlights for your car, you'll need to understand the important features of HID/Xenon bulbs, so that you can choose correctly.
Following is a closer look at these important HID headlamp features.
Although Xenon/HID headlight lamps are different from other types of headlight lamps like halogen and LED bulbs, there are still further differences within HID bulbs and you'll need to understand and look out for these differences.
If you're changing your car's old headlamps, it's important that you replace it with a similar HID bulb type to avoid problems. There are 4 types of HID bulbs and they are D1, D2, D3, and D4.
D1 and D2 bulbs run at 85 Volts, while D3 and D4 bulbs run at 42 Volts. Another difference is their starter pack placement. D1 and D3 have theirs fitted to the bulb, while D2 and D4 bulbs have theirs combined with the ballast.
There are two further divisions to differentiate between those bulbs designed for complex surface headlight units, which have an R suffix and those designed for projector headlamps, which have an S suffix.
You get a total of 8 HID bulbs types as a result, and they are D1R, D1S, D2R, D2S, D3R, D3S, D4R, and D4S. As you can see, you really don't want to mix up your HID bulbs.
HID headlight legality depends on a lot of factors. Firstly, if your car comes with HID headlights pre-installed, then it's definitely legal. If you're talking about conversion kits to upgrade your stock halogen headlights, then the story changes.
In the United States, most jurisdictions want headlamps to conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 108, which wants all replacement headlamp capsules to exactly match the original ones from the factory.
The problem, therefore, is with conversion kits that far exceed the intended output of factory-fitted headlights and blinding oncoming drivers in the process.
To be road legal, your car's headlight unit must either get completely replaced with headlights designed for HID lamps or the headlight unit needs re-assessment and an E-marking (ECE-R99 certificate), which clears it for HID use.
Once you've cleared compatibility and legality issues, your next consideration is brightness. When it comes to light bulbs, brightness gets measured in Lumens and the higher the Lumen-value, the brighter the light is.
An average halogen bulb will produce a maximum brightness of about 1,400 Lumens, while HIDs produce up to 3,000 Lumens of brightness and above.
#4. Color Temperature
In addition to brightness, color temperature is the other important factor that makes HID and LED lights to stand out from stock halogen bulbs. It's measured and stated in Kelvins or K for short.
Color temperature refers to how warm or cool a light is as a result of either having plenty of red and yellow, or plenty of blue. Warmer colors rate lower while cooler colors rate higher. Color temperature is important when choosing the best HID replacement bulbs.
As a reference, a candlelight has a 1,500-Kelvin rating, while a sunrise or sunset rates 3,200 Kelvins. Halogen bulbs rate around 3,200 Kelvins, which is warm, while HID bulbs average 4,500 Kelvins.
If you want a higher Kelvin-rating than what HID/Xenon bulbs offer, then you'll need to get LED headlamps because they can easily produce 6,000 Kelvins of pure white daylight.
The ballast is another important part of an HID installation. It's not part of the bulb but rather sits separately and controls the bulb's voltage. HID bulbs need over 20,000 Volts of AC (Alternating Current) to start up and they then run normally on either 42 or 85 Volts after that.
This high voltage is what turns the Xenon gas into a plasma filament that glows very brightly but it needs proper control and that's what the ballast does. In addition to managing voltages, it also converts the car's direct current into alternating current.
Hid bulbs also offer another advantage over halogen bulbs and that advantage is a longer lifespan. Halogen bulbs typically last only a few hundred hours, averaging between 250 and 500 hours.
HID bulbs last about 10 times longer than halogens with an average lifespan of 2,500 hours. This usually means about 5 years for the average driver or less for those who do lots of night driving.
Warranty doesn't mean much when it comes to HID/Xenon bulbs but some manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty with their bulbs. This is especially important when you're buying from an unknown brand for the first time.
The rule with warranties is simple. If you've got to choose between two completely similar products, then the one with the longer warranty should get a plus vote.
HID bulbs cost more than halogen bulbs, with top brands costing about $100 for the bulbs alone, while lesser-known brands cost less, and that's including their conversion kits. Your decision here will depend on your budget.
How to Install HID Headlight Bulb
If you need a little help with upgrading your stock halogen headlights to a Xenon/HID system, then the following step by step guide will show you the necessary steps you need to take to guarantee a successful installation.
Step 1. Warning
The high-intensity discharge system works with high voltages that pose a health threat, so you need to make sure that you turn off the ignition and light switch before attempting any installation on your vehicle.
You should, in fact, remove the negative (-) battery terminal as well, so you are completely safe. When removing your car's battery though, remember that some vehicles will need you to reset some features after you reconnect the battery.
Do not touch the bulb's glass at any time. It's recommended that you wear gloves while carrying out this installation.
Step 2. Open Hood & Headlight Assembly
Once you're ready to begin, open your car's hood because that's where you'll access the back of your headlights from. This is true for most cases, except if you've got a special car with a special design, then find the rear of its headlights on your own.
Once you've found the headlight's rear, open it up and remove the stock bulb in it.
Step 3. Attach the Bulb to Connectors
Next is inserting the bulb into the wiring harness or housing from where you removed the old stock bulb. This will include several connecting cables and a mounting frame for the bulb.
Step 4. Insert the Bulb into Headlight
Once you've correctly coupled the bulb with the connectors, you'll now need to insert the bulb into the headlight housing and make sure that it fits and sits tight.
Step 5. Connect Power Supply
This last step is connecting the power cables. Remember that red wires connect with positive (+) connectors, while black ones connect with negative (-) connectors.
Simply connect the different parts together after the instructions that came with your conversion kit. You'll need to connect the battery or halogen socket to the ballast, and then from the ballast to the bulb.
Step 6. Do the other Side
Headlights come in pairs, so now is the time to install the other headlight, starting from step 2 of this guide.
Step 7. Test
If you've connected everything well and it all looks good, then it's time to connect the battery and turn the ignition to test the light. If all goes well, then congratulations, you've successfully installed a Xenon/HID bulb in your ride.
We've reached the end of this best HID headlights review and as you've surely seen, there's a range of offers out there, designed to offer specific features or solve specific problems
This makes it impossible to have a single HID headlamp offer that's the best, because someone may need a very bright light, while you may just want to convert your car's light and make them look cool.
For this reason, the final decision and the choice of an HID system are yours to make.