HID, otherwise known as High-Intensity Discharge lighting, is a type of lighting commonly used in vehicles today. HID lights produce light by generating an arc between electrodes inside a transparent quartz tube, which heats the gas and metal salts inside. The excitement of the gas and salts produces an intense plasma which efficiently produces light- consuming 20 amps for ignition but drawing only 3 during continuous use. Compare this to a halogen lamp that requires about 15 amps continuously. HID light sources provide the brightest illumination when compared to LED and halogen lights, providing enhanced driving visibility and peripheral vision at night. They also last much longer than normal halogen lights because they do not contain a filament which is prone to degradation.
Auto & car lighting has come a long way since the introduction of halogen light bulbs. Most cars made today will use halogen, LED lights or HID headlights. While LED lights are longer lasting and have a certain ‘coolness’ factor, HID lights have certain advantages that make them desirable to use:
- Up to 3x the output of standard halogen lights
- More efficient; Bi-xenon lights use only 40% of the energy of standard lighting
- Slightly reduces CO2 emission of a vehicle by up to 2 grams per mile
- HID kits have more variation in brightness and color, and therefore offer a wider selection and more personalization options than LED or halogen lights.
What to look for in a kit:
When choosing a HID kit, manufacturers usually have a color range that you can specify based on the coloring temperature (K). The most usable light will come from kits in the 3-6000K range, while the more colorful lights will be in the 15,20 or even 30000K range. Higher K ratings may come in blue, purple pink and green! The higher the kelvins (K), the more color, but less useable light.
2700-2800K : Warm, yellow LIGHT. Similar to most modern light bulbs.
3500-4000K : Neutral, brighter light.
5000-6500K : Simulates Daylight. 6000K is close to pure white.
7000K+ : Blue/Purple/Colored Light.
Quality of the Kit
You’ll want to be certain that your lights are made of high quality glass that can neutralize UV light. Since HID bulbs emit UV light, this can damage the headlight if not properly accounted for.
Most kits today can be purchased for less than $100 USD. We’ve taken the time to individually review the best bang-for-your-buck HID lights, chosen based on light performance, longevity, brand trustworthiness and user feedback. Take a look below to see which HID kit is best for you.
|Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit||4.7/5||$60|
|Apex HID Xenon Conversion Kit||4.5/5||$30|
|Xentec Advanced Slim Alloy Ballast HID Xenon Kit||4.0/5||$38|
|XtremeVision HID Xenon Conversion Kit||4.0/5||$30|
|OPT7 Blitz HID Conversion Kit||4.7/5||$40|
|Safego HID Kit||4.0/5||$30|
1. Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit
The Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit uses a Fused-Quartz Xenon Bulb, ignited by a 23,000v charge. The bright and clear Kensun bulbs are incredibly easy to install, with clear, easy to follow instructions. With a short, almost instantaneous warm up time of 6 seconds, the bulbs are incredibly bright and can even outshine an OEM high-beam halogen light on its ‘low’ setting while drawing lower power. The bulbs are available in a wide range of colors, from 3000K, to 30000K, as well as pink and green. The real value of the Kensun kit, however, lies in their customer service. One of the bulbs came faulty in our received package, and Kensun responded to our email with hours and had a replacement shipped out immediately. You will pay a slight premium for the quality and service offered with their kits, but it is well worth the extra few dollars.
2. Xentec Advanced Slim Alloy Ballast HID Xenon Kit
The low price and wide range of colors (3000K, 4300K, 5000K, 6000K, 8000K, 10000K, 12000K, and 30000K) of the Xentec Advanced Slim Alloy Xenon Kit prove a crowd favorite of car and auto enthusiasts. In our tests, the Xentec HID lighting featured superior construction, with water resistant alloy casing. One of the advantages of the Xentec bulbs is a low failure rate- just 0.2%, compared to 5% or even higher for other OEM HID manufacturers. We didn’t test enough bulbs for any of them to fail- so you’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. The package comes with a 35w alloy slim ballast, zip ties, wires and the 5000-hour rated bulbs (200 days). In our tests, the bulbs produced a brightness of about 3500 lumens.
3. XtremeVision HID Xenon Conversion Kit
The Xtreme Vision HID kit is cheaper than the aforementioned Xentec, but has a smaller color selection to choose from (you still have the main 3000K, 6000K, and 15-30000K options). This isn’t going to be a huge problem as you’ll likely want one of the normal 5-6000L lights. In our test, we found that, compared to the Kensun HID lights, they flicker more often and take longer to reach full brightness. The color grading is not as accurate. Once again, in our tests, the high beams were a bit yellow-ish when they should have been pure white. These are a decent, cheap option, however, and the installation is easy straightforward. The Xtreme XID conversion kit is a solid mid-range purchase.
4. SDX Slim HID Headlight Conversion Kit
SDX’s Slim HID is another popular HID conversion kit. 3000K, 4300K, 5000K, 6000K, 8000K, 10000K, 12000K, 15000K, 20000K, and 30000K.
- Includes: pair of 9006 super-bright performance hid xenon bulbs; 100% weather-proof, shock-proof, water-proof universal high-performance slim ballasts; mounting brackets and installation instructions
We tried the SDX slim HID kit in our test motorcycle for fun- you can mount these lights to any vehicle as long as it fits the harness- and we found that this kit performed at a mediocre level. The lights are nice and bright, but not as bright as some of the other options listed. It seems that the two lights were also not manufactured to the same standards, as one was slightly dimmer than the other and flickered a bit more (we tested both lights). Overall quality is decent- we had a bit of trouble installing the lights because of the poor quality of instructions. At a very cheap 30 dollars, however, it might be worth it to roll the dice.
6. OPT7 Blitz HID Conversion Kit
The OPT7 Blitz HID is a complete package without the need for extra parts. This kit features two ballasts along with the HID bulbs which are rated to last over 5,000 hours. The kit also come with relay harnesses and capicitors. When installing this kit in our test vehicle, we had little trouble getting it to fit. The lights were bright and durable; they withstood the shock and waterproofing tests 100%. There’s also a wide range of sizes to choose from; the kit we received fit snugly without any problems.
7. Apex HID Xenon Conversion Kit
We purchased this kit in Sep 2015 and unfortunately had a HID bulb go bad in Feb 2016. After sending an email through Amazon, USADepot.Inc promptly sent us another bulb. They flood the night and put the Xenon 8500k’s to shame- perfectly easy to install and great lighting. Makes a world of difference in visibility at night, but the connectors are prone to fall out. We used a ton of electrical tape to tape the negative and positive prongs into the cables so they won’t fall out while driving.
The high beam is worth the few dollars (non-HID high beam option) just to have a way to flash cars for attention if needed – but they are NOT a focused light at all. The low beams are solid, and true to the 5k color we ordered. The wiring is great quality, and the kit was complete minus the correct instruction set. These are cheap and look great, but are not as well built as some of the other brands.
8. Safego HID Kit: Xenon Headlight Conversion
Last but not least, this waterproof kit provides 55w power and shines incredibly bright. These HID Xenon Headlight Bulbs with Lumen Flux 3200+/-200LM, provide up to 3x brighter light then halogen bulbs, improves visibility. With a large Alloy HID Ballast, the Safego gives greater heat dissapation than other kits. Overall, a solid choice.
What You Get With an HID Conversion Kit
So, you’ve decided to buy a lighting kit! What do you get in the set? Usually, you’ll receive the following parts in your HID kit:
– Two Bulbs (one for each light)
– Two Ballasts for mounting the lights
– Extra hardware such as harnesses. You might need to buy separate relay harnesses if your vehicle isn’t able to supply power for the new ballast.
Safety Tips for Installing a Light Conversion Kit
There are many precautions one should take when installing anything in their vehicle. Pay attention to the following and be sure you are careful not to injure yourself.
– Always wear gloves and do not touch the headlight glass. Touching the bulbs may result in you getting oil on them which can damage the glass. If you notice your bulbs are dirty, clean them with alcohol but do not immerse them in water.
– Wait until the bulbs have cooled off before changing out bulbs and upgrading them. Headlights can get very hot and cause serious burns as well as lighting parts on fire if it is touching the wrong surface. It’s best to wait 15-20 minutes at least.
– Disconnect the battery before installation as a precaution. Electrical problems can occur if lights are not installed correctly, so it may be advisable to contact a local technician
– Don’t disassemble the ballasts or harnesses if you are unsure of what you are doing. They are designed to be installed as is.
– Don’t stare directly into your HID lights; they are made to shine incredibly bright and it may cause eye damage to do so.