High-Intensity Discharge Headlight often referred to as HID headlights; provide more focused and brighter illumination. Compared to halogen lights or even LED headlights, they are more energy efficient and provide a better quality of lighting.
HID headlights work by creating an arc between the two tungsten electrodes found inside a glass bulb that has Quartz, highly pressurized Xenon gas, and trivial amounts of metallic salts and Mercury.
The Xenon gas heats up because of the running current and gets to a temperature where it begins to emit a brilliant beam of light.
When compared to the standard halogen headlights, HID headlights provide 80-100% more light. This makes them an active safety feature because they drastically improve the nighttime driving experience of motorists.
HID kits allow you to upgrade from regular halogen headlights to High-Intensity Discharge headlights.
Tips for Choosing the Best HID Kit
Choosing a product that plays a role in dictating your safety behind the wheel is challenging. A lot of time and effort needs to go into evaluating each product in detail before making a purchase.
For me, research for any automobile safety product involves learning about the reputations of different brands and comparing their products side by side to determine their worthiness and effectiveness.
Even though choosing an HID conversion kit ultimately comes down to making a personalized decision. Here are a few key factors to consider when selecting the product to buy.
This is perhaps the most crucial aspect to consider when choosing an HID kit. Lumen is a term that refers to the brightness of a headlight bulb.
Even though HID lights generally produce more intense light than halogen bulbs, it is crucial to understand that light intensity and illumination quality are two different things.
To get it right, check the lumen count on the bulb package before purchase. In case the indicated number is high, this assures you of getting bright lights. Usually, a less intense bulb can still have a considerably high lumens count.
This refers to the electrical power used by a bulb. When the wattage number is higher, this means the bulb will use more energy. You need to choose a bulb that has a lower wattage count if you want an energy efficient product.
Typically, HID kits come with 35 or 55-watt bulbs. 55 wattage bulbs are more powerful, and the 35 wattage bulbs produce less heat. You need to put the pros and cons of both options on a scale before making your final decision.
The temperature of the bulb mainly determines the color output and overall illumination produced by HID kits. Do not get me wrong; the color output has nothing to do with the light intensity or the lumens count. It only indicates the frequency at which light is being emitted.
It pays to understand the laws of your state before making any decisions on color output. If you reside in the US, for instance, all street racing vehicles should have bright, white lights. Otherwise, you are free to choose whatever color you prefer.
Some of the popular light output options available are golden yellow and light blue. Again, ensure that it is legal to drive at night with these lighting hues within your area.
The temperature or color of an HID bulb is measured in K (Kelvins). Bulbs with a higher Kelvin count are cooler than those with a lower Kelvin count. Therefore, headlights with white or yellow color outputs have a lower kelvin count than their blue and purple color output counterparts.
Here is an HID color chart and headlight temperature scale;
- Yellowish (3000K)
- Bright white/yellow (4300K)
- Purest white (5000K)
- Bright white/blue (6000K)
- Blue/White (8000K)
- Light blue (10000K)
- Medium blue (12000K)
- Dark Blue (15000K)
- Violet (20000K)
- Indigo (30000K)
From my very qualified perspective, HID headlight bulbs with 3000K -5000K are the best. Even though the purple and blue lights are a real appeal for those who want to give their rides a fast a furious flair, they have a low light output. This makes them impractical for use during inclement weather.
Moreover, these color outputs are not legal in some jurisdictions because they could blind oncoming traffic.
Whether you are buying HID conversion kits or sneakers for your kid, longevity is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook. I like to think about the durability of a product as the aspect that assures me of a good return on investment.
Remember, I mentioned that 55 and 35 wattage bulbs have unique pros and cons. Well, one of the drawbacks of having those bright 55W bulbs is that they produce more heat, and this can affect the wiring and hosing.
Generally, 35W bulbs last longer than their 55W counterparts. The wattage of a headlight is even so not the sole factor that determines the longevity of an HID kit. It is also crucial to consider the quality of the construction of a unit. As well, take into account its temperature and recent customer reviews.
There are two main classifications of the ballasts of HID kits; DC and AC. DC ballasts run at a single, continuous voltage, and this gives them a greater energy output. They are, however, less energy efficient and tend to drain the battery faster. Another con of using DC ballasts is that they produce more heat.
AC ballasts, on the other hand, first convert the current and then send it to the bulb. They are cheaper, more energy efficient and produce less heat.
For the manufacturers of safety features for cars, it is unfortunate that good reputations do not just happen. It takes doing some serious heavy lifting for any brand to have an above-average reputation.
That said, I find it best to settle for products from renowned brands that have the backing of numerous impressive client reviews and testimonials.
Even manufacturers have to start from somewhere. I’m not saying that lesser-known brands are not worth it. Some of them have hit the markets with a bang and use innovative technologies to produce quite remarkable products.
In case you want to buy a kit from a brand whose reputation cannot be established, at least make sure the unit comes with a reasonable warranty and possibly a money-back guarantee.
Ease of Installation
Let’s face it; a product that is hard to install can threaten your sanity. I once bought a cheap kit that got me so frustrated during installs that I dumped it in the bin instead of calling customer support. The unit shuttered my last bits of endurance because getting the installation steps right was rocket science.
Whether you intend to do a DIY installation project or enlist a mechanic, it is best to choose plug and play systems. This means you merely need to uninstall your old halogen bulbs, plug in the new kit, and before you know it, your headlights are upgraded!
Apart from considering the ease of installation of a product, also make sure it comes with all the required components. It is equally frustrating to have to order for capacitors or resistors separately.
Your Unique Needs
I recommend first ascertaining that a specific HID conversion system can retrofit your specific kind of car. Even though most kits are universal, some of them are not compatible with all vehicle models.
Additionally, consider how you intend to use your car. In case you plan to drive off-road frequently, for instance, nothing restricts you from choosing a unit with any color output that tickles your fancy.
In this case, however, it is of paramount importance to ensure that your product of choice is well constructed and water-resistant.
What makes HID conversion kits highly sought after is that they make upgrading headlights easier. HID headlights produce a brighter and more focused beam, and this can enhance your safety when driving after sunset.
These lights also look good, are easy to install, and are customizable. You can choose from 7 color outputs to give your ride a truly personalized flair.