How Many Lumens Are Car Headlights? [The Definitive Resource] [September 2023]

How Many Lumens Are Car Headlights

When it comes to buying a headlight for your car, it is not only the appearance that matters, the lumens rating is vital too! 

The market offers varieties of headlight options such as LED lights, flashlights, lightbulbs, HID lights, etc. Which among them is perfect for your vehicle depends on its lumens rating. 

The lumens rating keeps changing depending on the kind of light you use and with the introduction of the new varieties, but the basics remain the same. 

Even, automobile companies use lumens for measuring the brightness of a headlight. Hence, you must have an in-depth understanding of lumens for a car headlight to make a fruitful purchase. 

What Are Lumens?

Lumens are the output of light released by a lamp or bulb. Its short form is ‘lm’ and tells about the brightness of the light. It measures the amount of light or brightness produced by a light source or bulb. 

Whenever you purchase a new headlight for your vehicle, you must consider the lumens rating or light output. 

The Different Types Of Car Headlights And Lumens

The car headlights are available in different types and lumens. Knowing about them will make it easier for you to make a buying decision.

1. Halogen Lights

The average life expectancy of Halogen lights is 500-1,000 hours with a 700 to 1200 Lumens rating. It is a commonly used headlight bulb available at the cheapest prices. The bulbs use a filament that releases a huge amount of heat. The high heat generated by its filament makes it a long-lasting light. 

Usually, these bulbs produce a yellowish light but with a limited range. If you are on a tight budget, you may go for halogen bulbs.

2. Xenon Or HID Lights

HID or High-Density Discharge lights possess a 3,500 Lumens rating and come with an average life expectancy of 2,000 – 10,000 hours. It uses vaporized metals and noble gasses to release a bright light. There is no filament present in these bulbs, and hence, it lasts longer than the halogen bulbs.

It releases a bluish-white light and blue light enhances visibility at the price of night vision. 

HID bulbs may take time to continue to run their complete output and if the light is bright, it may blind drivers. The light is intensely focused you may have trouble seeing the external region of illumination. You may expect to pay more for HID bulbs. 

3. LED Lights

The final type is the LED bulbs that are made using interlinked light-emitting diodes. They do not use electrical arcs to release light so they don’t generate excess heat, like other kinds of bulbs. Less heat implies the bulbs possess a long lifespan, which is suitable for car owners.

LEDs are popular as they are energy-efficient and can be programmed to release any color. 

Kelvin Vs. Lumens: What’s The Difference?

There is a difference between Lumens and Kelvin. The Lumens measure the complete brightness of the bulb while the Kelvin measures the color temperature of the bulb. 

Mostly, a lower K rating means a low color temperature that releases a yellowish color light output. Alternatively, a blub with a higher K rating produces a light color, which closely resembles the natural sunlight.

For example, headlights with a 4000K-5000K color temperature are brighter and whiter than bulbs with a 3200K rating. However, if the color temperature continues to increase, the light color alters from a white to a bluish-white color. 

Most of the headlight bulbs with high color temperatures are Hid or High-Density Bulbs.

Are 10000 Lumens Considered Too Bright?

10000 lumens are for headlights set at low beam. Such headlights allow you to easily see the items in front. However, it is distracting for the vehicles driving in your opposite direction, and hence, may be considered illegal in your country or state.

It is, therefore, better to avoid picking 10000 lumens for your car’s headlight. When the driver is distracted from the front headlight, it makes front-end collisions common. 

Which is Brighter – High Beams Or Low Beams?

  • A lot of individuals believe that high beam headlights are brighter in comparison to low beams and they possess a high Kelvin rating. But this is not correct always.
  • High beams possess a greater lumen rating because they let you see at a much farther distance than low beams. It is possible that the same Kelvin rating of the light bulb is used for low beams and high beams.
  • You can view it clearly with a high beam because it is positioned at a higher angle in comparison to the low beams. The low beams are pointed toward the road and allow you to see nearby objects. 

How Far Does 6000 Lumens Shine?

In normal circumstances, a 6000 lumens light bulb can light as long as 800 meters or 2600 ft. 

What kinds Of Headlights Are Considered Illegal?

Different kinds of colored headlights are permitted in various regions in the United States. However, the dominant light released from these headlights must be white-colored.

In California, crisp white light is allowed for headlights while amber light is permitted for turning signals. 

Around the world, blue or red headlights on automobiles are banned for standard drivers. Such colors are permitted for emergency automobiles only. 

Are 6000K Lights Legal?

Each state has different legality for 6000K headlights. It is because light with a high number of Kelvins (K) can reduce the headlight visibility to a great extent. Also, it can result in odd colors.

Like, the higher Kelvin, the more your headlight appears blue and this is illegal in most states across the world. 

How Much Bright Is The 55W HID?

The brightness of the 55W HID is duple the intensity of a standard halogen light. Consider 4000 lumens each headlight that render a comfortable driving experience for most drivers.

What Is The Brightest Headlight Bulb That Is Legal?

The brightest headlight bulb legal for a vehicle is the Ring Xenon150

The brightness of such bulbs is more than another lightbulb available on the market. They are 150% more illuminating than other bulbs in the dark. They are E-marked units that make them legal for every road. 

Which Is Better: LED, HID Or Halogen Headlights?

  • Each headlight has its benefits and disadvantages. In comparison to LED and HID lights, the Halogen lights are the cheapest. Halogen lights are readily available and convenient to replace. However, it uses more energy and does not release much bright light like LED or HID bulbs.
  • Xenon and HID are bright and if you buy their top versions, they can brighten up a black road. They are long-lasting and available in plenty of stylish designs. But they are quite expensive and need modification to distribute and emit the light efficiently. 
  • LED lights come with the benefits of both Xenon and HID lights. LED lights come in a different price bracket and designs. They are easy to install and need little energy.

How Many Lumens Are Car Headlights? [Conclusion]

If you compare a car headlight to an average flashlight, you would find it brighter. But the brightest is the High-powered headlight. Be specific about your requirement. For maximum brightness, you may pick brighter headlights. But make sure that it does not blind other drivers. In addition to considering the brightness, also take into account the longevity, durability, and performance of a headlight. If still in confusion, you can always consult your automobile expert! 

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