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If you drive a car you’ve had to deal with headlight issues at some point. Sometimes you’ll drive around with your headlights on but they are so dim you wonder if they make any difference. Other times you find yourself replacing them so frequently that you wonder if there is a better way.
Luckily there is another lighting system that can help you deal with both of these issues and several others. HID lighting is High-Intensity Discharge lighting. This style gives you bright lights, that cover a large area and have a long lifespan. While this style of lighting comes standard, you can track down the best HID kit to swap your current headlights out for a new and better option.
Now, this process isn’t exactly plug and play. While you won’t need an advanced degree you’ll need to be comfortable with a number of different systems and be ready to get your hands dirty working on your car.
With some know-how, good tools and some time, converting your headlights won’t cause you too much of a problem. And once you see the results and realize how long this style of headlight lasts for you’ll wonder why didn’t you make the switch years earlier?
And to top it all off, we at the GarageChief.com will even review some of the best hid conversion kits on the market today. Let’s start, shall we?
Best HID Conversion Kit – Comparison Table
Here are the TOP picks of what we consider to be the best HID conversion kit (plus, you will find individual product reviews in the following sections of this post). See below table.
|editors-choice||Best Value||Best Product|
|item-title||SDX HID Headlights™ Xenon "Slim" Conversion Kit||Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit "All Bulb Sizes and Colors" with Premium Ballasts||Xentec H13/9008 10000K Advanced Slim Alloy Ballast HID Xenon Kit w/ Hi-beam Halogen||Xtreme Vision® 35W HID Xenon Conversion Kit with Premium Slim Ballast||Morimoto Elite HID Kit System With XB55 50W Ballasts and XB35 H11 5500K Bulbs||Innovited AC 55W HID Xenon Conversion Kit With "Slim" Ballast|
• Plug-and-Play Installation
• 100% Weather-proof, shock-proof, water-proof
• 3x Much light than a 55w halogen bulb
• Plug-and-Play Installation
• 100% Weather-proof, shock-proof, water-proof
• 3x Much light than a 55w halogen bulb
• Plug-and-Play Installation
• 100% Water resistant construction
• 3x Brighter light than halogen
• Plug-and-Play Installation
• 100% Weather-proof, shock-proof, water-proof
• 2 to 3x Much light as a halogen lamp
• Heavy Duty Double Relay Harness
• 20% Brighter
• 20x Longer than halogen bulbs
|editors-choice||Best Value||Best Product|
HID Kit Reviews: Our Picks for The Best HID Kit on the Market
Before you make a purchase you are going to want to do some research to look for the best HID kit on the market. You’ll want to take a look at some of the contenders for the best HID kit brand and probably the best installation method. You want to make sure your money is money well spent and there is nothing wrong with that. We’ve come up with a list of the top 8 prospects for this crowded field and have even flagged out top choice and a value option so you can quickly find a stand out in the crowd. Here go our HID Kit Reviews:
Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit “All Bulb Sizes and Colors” with Premium Ballasts – 9006 (HB4) – 6000k
If you are looking to upgrade your car’s headlight system to a HID set up, but looking to do it and save money, there is no doubt that the Kensun HID Xenon Conversion Kit with Premium Ballasts is the right option to go with. To start with they support a full array of stand bulb sizes, making it easy for you to match the bulb size with the one that is currently on your ride. Also, you have a choice of color, either pink or green, or the temperature of Kelvin to allow you to pick what range your lights will work with.
The company also claims that most standard installations can be completed in under 20 minutes. There is a note that with certain vehicles it could take more time, but they have an experienced technical support staff, whose help is included in with the purchase of a kit to help you smooth out any bumps in the road that you may come up against.
This system gives you a pair of xenon filled HID bulbs, premium ballasts, mounting brackets and the required installation instructions. At less than $70 you can’t beat that set up, but it would be nice to have a relay harness or at least a set of capacitors, though either can be picked up as additional pieces. Even without those, this set is a great bargain, showing that you can step up to amazing headlights without having to break the bank. That is why these are our pick for the best HID conversion kit for the money.
Morimoto Elite HID Kit System With XB55 50W Ballasts and XB35 H11 5500K Bulbs
From one of the best HID kit brands, we have the Elite HID Kit System from Morimoto. While other kits give you this huge range of bulb color options, this kit makes it clear that they are just going to focus on the most useful options for bulbs. While you only have two options for color (5500K and 6500K), these two are the ones that will give you the most usable light in the spectrum, which is really what you need on a dark road. The kit has everything that you need to set up. You get a pair of bulbs and matched bulbs but you also receive a heavy-duty relay harness so that you can set everything up as needed.
You do have the option of going with a 50 watt set up or a 35 watt set up. If you are looking for the most light possible, the 50-watt option is the better choice as it will throw more light onto the road. However, it does produce a touch more heat than the 35-watt choice. If you have any questions about the level of quality you’ll have to look no further than the warranties. While most companies extend a two-year warranty over their products the 35-watt ballast is covered by a 5-year warranty and the 50-watt ballast has a 3-year warranty. These high-quality pieces will surely be welcome additions to your vehicle for years to come.
The installation of this kit is quite simple as all the wiring is set up to merely be plugged in and then it is ready to take out for a test drive. With all this quality and a focus on what is truly important, there is no doubt that this kit is our stand-out pick for the best HID kit on the market.
Innovited AC 55w HID Xenon Conversion Kit with “Slim” Ballast – H11 H9 H8 – 6000K – 2 Bulbs & 2 Ballasts
If you are looking to have a wide selection of colors, the Innovited AC 55w HID Xenon Conversion Kit is the choice for you. This one offers you a choice of a whopping 12 different colors, giving you the chance to pick just the one that you want to run. Also, this means that if you feel like a change you can then go through and later order a different pair of bulbs running at a different color from the same company. (As a safety note though, you always should run headlights that are matched in color temperature).
This is the second kit on our list that runs at 55 watts, meaning there is more power, which can translate into more light on the road than kits that only run at 35 watts. The kit comes with a pair of bulbs and their matched ballasts. It does not come with a relay harness or a set of capacitors, which could be purchased separately if you are concerned about flickering lights or bulb out warnings. The ballasts are the waterproof slim models that will take up less space under your hood.
SDX HID Headlights™ Xenon “Slim” Conversion Kit, 9006, 6000K
The HID headlights Xenon “Slim” Conversion Kit is a plug and play installation kit that gets you and your car up and running quickly. The company claims that for the vast majority of vehicles it should take 20 minutes or less to swap from a halogen system to an upgraded Xenon HID lighting system. In addition to the pair of HID bulbs, sized to meet the exact bulb that you require from a large list, the kit also includes a pair of slim ballasts that are shockproof, weatherproof and waterproof. Also included in the kit are the mounting brackets that are needed as well as instructions for converting your headlights.
With 12 different choices, you will have lots of options (12!) when it comes to the color of your lights. This also means that you can get a set of lights that are more to the yellow range as your fog lights and then get something that is more to the white light area of the balance for your main headlights, giving you a great range of uses in a wide selection of weather conditions. The kit does not include a wire relay, while not always needed it is nice to have.
Xentec H13/9008 10000K Advanced Slim Alloy Ballast HID Xenon Kit w/ Hi-Beam Halogen
From Xentec we have the Advanced Slim Alloy Ballast HID Xenon Kit. This kit gives you the option of 16 different bulb sizes that will fit a wide range of vehicles that are on the market today for easy installation. You also are given 7 different color options that let you pick the coloring option that you feel is the best to help your car stand out from the crowd. One of the biggest things that this kit claim are that it has only a 0.2% failure rate which they claim is far better than the majority of the conversion kits on the market. This warrants a closer look and its spot in the running for the best HID kit.
The kit gives you a pair of 35w ballasts and a pair of Xenon 35w bulbs. Also included are zip ties and tape to keep your installation looking neat. This kit has the required wiring, but it should be noted that this is not a relay harness. They do make a note that some cars will require a relay harness or a canceller to avoid issues such as flickering lights. For many cars, all you will need is the included wiring, but it doesn’t hurt to be ready to pick up those few extras, to be on the safe side.
Xtreme Vision® 35w HID Xenon Conversion Kit with Premium Slim Ballast – 9007 6000K
The Xtreme Vision 35w HID Xenon Conversion Kit gives you a great launching off point for swapping out your car’s halogen lighting. As the company puts it, these lights are “3x brighter than Halogen bulbs, lasts 5x longer”. And on top of that, they draw less power while doing it. This kit comes with the standard pair of 35-watt bulbs and the matched slim waterproof premium ballasts. They do point out that some newer model cars may require a relay harness or cancellers. However, unlike other companies, they invite you to contact them prior to placing your purchase to verify if you need these extras or if your car can just have the hassle free installation working with what is in the basic kit.
This support extends to the installation, which assistance available by both phone and email to give you just the help you need. But with the simple plug and play installation, there probably won’t be much help required to get this headlight system in and ready to brighten up your darkest nights. All the components of this kit are covered by the company’s two-year warranty.
What Makes the Best HID Kit on the Market?
What is HID Lighting and What it Does
To start off with, HID stands for high-intensity discharge and in the case of vehicles, it is a type of headlight that you can install. This light is similar to a halogen style bulb, but often uses Xenon (a noble gas) to fill the bulbs and provide light. In addition to this gas, there are also metal salts inside the bulb that add to the intensity of the light. This style of light requires a very high voltage to start up, but then the electric needs drop back down to a much more manageable level.
These bulbs tend to be brighter than either halogen or LED bulbs, but one downside is that they are much more fragile. If you don’t break the bulbs though, they have a lifespan of over 2,500 hours, while most halogen bulbs tend to only last around 300 hours. It is important to remember though if you want the brightness that comes from the best HID bulb you have to do more than swap out light bulbs. You will need to purchase and install an entire HID conversion kit. When considering this you’ll want to also ensure that your battery is ready to handle the load that may come from these lights.
Why Do You Want to Convert to HID Lighting on Your Car?
The most common head light in North America is a halogen style bulb. It is a safe guess to say that is what is in your car now. These bulbs are inexpensive and familiar, but they have their downside. They don’t last very long, they generate a lot of heat and consume a lot of energy. These bulbs aren’t bad if you need to drive for short distance in the dark, but there are better choices.
When you compare HID lighting it becomes obvious why you should swap over from a standard Halogen bulb. You will find yourself with a brighter bulb to start out with. When you add to that higher level of brightness the broader coverage and the further reach of the light that HID bulbs give you, you end up with a better view of the road and can help alert you to things that are coming up. This style of bulb needs less power overall (though they need a lot when the first turn on) and they produce much less heat, making them a more efficient bulb to choose.
If getting better visibility in the dark weren’t enough to get you to consider swapping your headlights, HID lighting tends to last a much longer time than halogen lighting. This means while you will pay more for each replacement, you’ll find that overall you may be paying less since you are replacing the bulbs less often.
Important Features to Consider Before Purchase
The color of a given bulb is based off its temperature rating in Kelvin. There is a range of color options available when working with HID illumination. The lowest temperature rating is in the range of 3000K. This produces a golden yellowish light that many people opt to use as a fog light. This is due to the fact that this color of light penetrates rain, snow, and fog better than any other color of light.
If you bump up to the next step, 4300K, you move to a slightly off white color of light. It is similar to sunlight and is the default answer for factory systems. This will give you the most usable light. A small bump up will take you to 5000K to yield a pure white light with no tints of other colors. When you move up to 6000K and beyond the light appears to be more bluish to slightly purplish but these higher temperatures won’t yield any boost in brightness or usable light.
Lumens are a measure of how bright a given bulb is. Often times in order to give an even comparison the number of lumens is given at stated power level. This way you don’t end up comparing a bulb that draws more power against one that draws less. As an example with 35 watts, a HID bulb can produce as many as 3,000 lumens. This can be compared to a similar halogen bulb, which produces a mere 1,400 lumens. A simple swap of the lighting system can produce more than twice the amount of light.
Wattage is a calculation of how much energy a given system will draw from your battery. This will give you an idea if your battery can handle the load of an electrical system. As with most electric systems, there is two number that you need to deal with. Generally, when a system turns on they draw more power while first turning on, a spike. After that, systems will tend to settle back down to a steady state of power required. In a HID bulb when you turn the headlights on there is a short spike between 24K and 27K watts, but then it will settle down to a lower draw. You’ll find that both the ballast and the bulbs will come with a wattage rating. The system will work best if you match both, but the system will run even if you don’t.
The ballast is basically a connection to the rest of the electrical system. This system has a few important tasks. The main one being that it regulates the amount of power drawn from the vehicle to power the bulb. If you left the bulb to be wired directly to the electrical system most bulbs would draw too much power that would end up burning them out more quickly and shorten the life of the bulb.
Additionally, this part of the system helps to regulate the start up power required to ensure your lights come up quickly. These pieces of the system are rated to a certain wattage level, and while they will work with differently rated bulbs the system will work better with them all on the same rating.
The beam of a bulb should be considered as another highly important feature. While brightness is good, a beam that is narrow and short, no matter how bright it is will be of limited usage. HID beams, in general, tend to throw light both wider and longer than other comparable halogen bulbs. This can be a blessing and somewhat of a curse, because if the beam covers too large an area for the brightness you may have a driving condition that seems dimmer overall. However, due to how bright this style of bulb is there is no need to worry.
The biggest thought for compatibility is looking at bulb sizes. You will find that most conversion kits offer you a fair to a rather large range of bulb sizes so that you can stay working with the standard size bulb that your car is running. The second compatibility thought that may come up with the wiring system to get power to your new lights. It is possible to wire a HID lighting system via the old lighting wiring that your current set of headlights are using, but you’ll find that many of the best HID conversion kits are including a relay harness to bypass that wiring totally and capacitors to save you from problems like flickering lights.
Variety of Different Applications
One of the things to note from the various colors available in this style of lighting is the range of uses for this lighting system. As you have no doubt seen, you can put in one set of lights that handle inclement weather with no problem when a brighter, whiter light might reflect back and actually reduce visibility. This means that you can have some powerful lights for both your headlights and your fog lights and maintain visibility no matter what mother nature throws at you.
With the aftermarket industry ever expanding to offer more and more choice you no longer have to be satisfied with the headlight system that your car’s maker thought would be a good choice for it. While some cars come with HID lighting as a standard feature you can now add in this style of lighting to just about any car that you are driving.
Size Reference Guide
Getting the wrong size bulb for your system can be a major non-starter for any headlight system. The first thing that you need to consider is the type of system that you have. Some other HID systems are reflector based, while more of the newer ones are projector based. You’ll find that many bulbs specifically made for HID lighting solutions will end in either an S or an R. The R signifies reflector type bulbs and the S is the projector type.
There is also a DSC that is considered a universal type bulb that will work with either. Most HID type bulbs have a similar size and start with a D, with some of the newer ones being mercury free (look for a D3 or D4). There are a full range of bulbs in halogen sizes if you are converting from an older style of light system to HID.
Price Isn’t Everything: Considering Quality and Warranty
A light bulb is a light bulb, it has a lifespan and eventually, that will end. However, if the lift span of a given bulb is 3000 hours and the bulb dies after 100 hours, something has gone wrong. When this happens, you’ll want the company that made the bulb to pay for the replacement, and that is a possibility based on what bulbs you get. When you only compare price for bulbs you’ll end up with the cheapest possible option. But in this case, when something goes wrong, you are on the hook to shell out to fix it. The sad truth is that often times those cheap options have cut some corners in the process in order to offer a cheaper bulb while still making a profit.
When you look at some of the bulbs that cost a little bit more you’ll find that the quality will improve. A sign that the bulbs have a good level of quality is when they come with a warranty. This shows you the company believes in what they sell and are willing to fix problems that are their fault. One thing to remember though is that most warranties are written to address manufacturer defects, but not necessarily user error. Be sure to read the fine print and handle your system correctly.
What Should the Best HID Headlights Come With?
While it isn’t what shines the light onto the road, this is a key part of your new headlight system. In some ways, you can consider the ballast the throttle for the electricity flowing into your bulbs. When you first flip the switch to turn your headlights on, you need them on right away. The ballast essentially “floors it” and gets a good surge going to help the bulbs light up quickly. Once the lights are on the battles will throttle back to a steady state that keeps the bulbs burning longer. The best HID ballast will help ensure a long life for your bulbs.
The bulbs in a HID system in some of the most basic ways are like those of any other headlight system. The differences become clear when you look at just how the bulbs convert electricity into light. They are filled with a gas other than halogen, often times it is xenon. They tend to also feature some metallic salts to help get the arc established. This environment helps to convert more of the electrical power into light. That means the bulb produces less heat than other types. It also means that the best HID bulb will burn brighter with a longer life than competitors.
HID Relay Harness
A relay harness for HID systems is strictly speaking not necessary. Some cheaper conversion kits will not include one. However, if you are making the switch you need to make sure your kit comes with one. While you can use the existing wiring to run power to the lighting system it isn’t always as robust as you need. A relay harness runs power from the car’s battery to the ballast (and lights) and connects to the headlight switch from your dash. Having a dedicated wiring set up like this ensures that you will have the correct amount of power provided when you require it.
A canceller is sometimes known as a warning canceller as well. It can be very helpful in fixing two major problems with a HID system on a car that didn’t come with it factory installed. The first is flickering lights, some car systems will send pulses to the lights to run diagnostic tests when they sense they have been changed. This pulsing can lead to the lights coming on and off, giving a strobe-like an effect. The second issue is a bulb out warning. Some newer cars have sensors to tell when a bulb burns out and they run off how much power is drawn by the bulb. If the car is set to the level needed for a halogen bulb, the lower draw of a HID bulb can set the dash warning light off. This device can stop both of these issues from arising.
HID capacitors are another answer to the issues discussed above. These devices are easy to install, as they merely get pulled in as another link from the relay harness to the ballast. They smooth out the electrical draw, meaning that if a car’s power system is sending pulses the bulbs will see a consistent power on their end. As a note though, you have to install these with the correct polarity or else you will end up burning out your capacitors. It is relatively simple to make sure they are connected the right way, but it is a good idea to double check the exact instructions for the set that you have.
As with any installation, the first and most important thing to do is go through the instructions completely and then look through each of your components making sure you know which is which and what step you’ll need to put in each. Then do a check of your tools (screwdriver set will be needed) to make sure that you have everything needed ready before you begin. Also, you’ll want to determine how long the process should take and block out a good amount of time for yourself, installations rarely go well when rushed.
A bonus to the modern world that we live in is that in addition to the written instructions there are a number of web resources to help you out. While forums and discussion boards can be a great help, perhaps the biggest help online is to find an online video that shows the process. While words are great there is something to be said for getting to see the process you are about to do and be able to re-watch parts until you feel comfortable with it.
TIP: It’s always good practice to disconnect your car battery first so that the work is safe both for you and your car.
For most conversion kits, you’ll have to remove the stock bulb and some of the housing. After that, you’ll be able to put in the HID housing and install the bulbs. The main part that will take some review is connecting the power system from the bulb power supply to the electrical system. This will depend on the particulars of your kit and your vehicle.
Safety & Maintenance Tips
While these lights provide much more light for your nighttime drives, they are not without their needs.
The first thing that should be considered is that you don’t want to touch the bulb. Doing so could leave oil residue that can cause a failure point in the bulb. If you accidentally touch the glass you can clean it before installation with rubbing alcohol.
This also means that you will want to replace any headlight housing that is cracked or otherwise damaged, as water and dirt that leak in could have the same effect on the bulb. A cracked bulb can still function but can end up causing damage to the surrounding areas since the inside of the bulb gets so hot during operation.
Finally, while it is a good idea to periodically inspect the wiring to your lighting system, you should only do so after making sure that it is disconnected from the battery.
Halogen, HID or LED, What is the Difference?
Halogen lights are the most common auto headlight and most likely what is currently on your car. These have a filament to provide light. While they provide a good amount of light they aren’t necessarily stunning. A HID system has fewer parts, which leads to a much longer usable lifespan for the bulb. The system also is more efficient, meaning that it uses less power, produces less heat and ends up giving you more light on the road. A LED is a solid-state system, with no moving parts to break it is the least fragile choice. It doesn’t put out as much light as a HID option, but it can last longer and is even more efficient, so you’ll save power even over a HID system.
Why Did My HID Lights Change Color?
Over the course of their lives HID bulbs will go through a process known as color shifting. The electrodes inside the bulb will degrade over time and will cause the bulb to burn at a higher temperature, giving a different look to the light produced. Generally, you will find that white bulbs will start to put off the more blueish light and will appear dimmer. Since this happens gradually over time the biggest different most people notice is that the lights don’t seem as bright. This can be highlighted if you replace a single bulb.
What Color Light Should I Choose?
While the ultimate color choice is up to you, with many companies offering greens, pinks, blues, purples and so on, you should consider what you expect out of these lights. The most usable light would be an off white around 4300K. 5000K would get you a pure white light. 3000K yields a light that would be a wonderful choice for fog lights. If you mostly drive in very well lit areas and are only looking for something to stand out, go with your favorite color from the available choices.
Do I Need to Realign My Headlights After Installation?
This is a question that is best answered by, it depends. For the most part, you should at least consider it. If your headlights were properly aligned prior to installing a conversion kit then they were set up for the distance those bulbs could send light. Since the HID bulbs that you just installed most likely offer you a larger beam of light it would make sense to consider realigning them to yield the most usable light while driving.
How Complicated is Installation?
For most cars installation is a plug and play set up. In some cases, you only need to pull the old bulbs out, pop in the new ballasts and bulbs and plug in a few wires. Even if you have a newer car and need a capacitor or a canceller in your set up these are designed to plug into the wiring system. You might have to do a touch more if you require a relay harness, but this is mostly plug and play as well, with the biggest tool usage simple attaching some grounds to your vehicle’s frame.
One important thing to remember when you are dealing with any electrical system, such as a headlight conversion, is to be safe while installing it.
Luckily most kits now are strictly a plug and play system, but if you find you have a reason to cut any wires make sure that you triple check both that you are cutting the right wires and that you are cutting them to the right length. The last thing you want to do is to have a set of wires too short and have to uninstall the system until you can get replacements parts delivered to you.
Best HID Kit – Wrapping Things Up
If you are in the market for the best HID conversion kit you should now know everything that you need to in order to make a great choice. You’ll need to make a few considerations, primarily what color lighting you’ll want to use and if you want a 35 watt, 50 watt or 55-watt system.
Remember that some newer cars will need a relay harness, cancellers, or capacitor cables and these don’t come in every kit. If you just want the easy answer of a kit that will work and offer you quality, go with our pick for the best product, the Elite System HID Kit. Most all the kits are now featuring a plug and play installation set up which should make them quick and easy, but still, go through the instructions and make sure you are comfortable with everything required prior to starting the install with one of these kits.
In no time flat, you’ll find that you have some extremely bright lights on your vehicle.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you. Which of these choices did you go with and why? Let us know in the comment section below.
How To Install Kensun Hid Conversion Kit
Last update on 2020-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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