How Many Lumens is a Car Headlight

How Many Lumens is a Car Headlight Bulbs

How many lumens does an automobile headlight have?

Most modern cars typically use halogen bulbs with a light output of 700 lumens in low beam mode and 1200 lumens in high beam mode.

These values may vary depending on the make and model of the car, as well as the year of manufacture. Premium cars will have much higher values than budget cars.

How many lumens are in car headlights?

When looking at different car headlight options, the most common headlights, whether they are halogen, LED or HID headlights, usually have a light output of 700 to 4,000 lumens. So keep these numbers in mind when you decide to buy new headlights for your car.

To upgrade to standard OEM headlights, you need to know how many lumens your current headlights have. So, read the article next to learn more about headlights, lumens, and kelvins!

What are lumens?

A lumen is a unit of light output, a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source per unit time in the International System of Units. Simply put, it is a measure of the brightness of a lamp or the amount of light emitted from a lamp.

However, car manufacturers use lumens to measure the brightness of headlights, and motorists need to know what it means and how that brightness is determined.

When you are going to buy a new set of headlight bulbs for your car, you should pay attention to the brightness or luminous flux (LM) value of your headlights as well as the color temperature (K) of the bulb.

What are Kelvins?

Kelvin indicates the color temperature of the bulb, that is, it determines how warm or cool the light of the bulb is. In most cases, a bulb with a lower K or color temperature produces a more yellowish light. On the other hand, a bulb with a higher color temperature will give a color of light close to natural sunlight.

Lumens and Kelvin: what’s the difference?

Lumen (lm) refers to the light output of a lamp and should not be confused with Kelvin (K). The lumen indicates the total brightness or luminous efficiency of a lamp.

The most common color temperatures of car lamps are:

  • 3500 Kelvin (yellow) – suitable for fog lights, not suitable for mainstream lighting.
  • 4300 Kelvin (white-yellow) – Car bulbs with a 4300 Kelvin glow color are ideal for use in rainy and snowy weather.
  • 5000 – 5500 Kelvin (white) – The natural white glow color of a car lamp.
  • 6000 – 6500 Kelvin (cool white) Cold white car lamps with a glow color of 6000-6500 Kelvin are ideal for use in dry weather.
  • 8000 Kelvin (dark blue) – blue, light purple, the use of car lamps with this color of luminescence is very rare.


How many lumens do I need for my car?

The light output of your car’s bulbs can vary greatly. However, a halogen bulb typically gives you 700 lumens for a low beam and 1200 lumens for a high beam, which depends a lot on the type of halogen bulb in question.

So you don’t have to buy bulbs that are too bright, like 4000 or even 6000 lumens.

How to choose the best headlight bulb?

Determine how much brightness you need. Use the information in your car’s data sheet to do this. Do not use bulbs that are too bright. It may dazzle other drivers and be too energy-consuming for your vehicle.

Decide what color temperature you want to use. Modern automobiles now use a cool white color, but this is not very pleasing to the eyes, especially if you are traveling long distances.

Pay attention to the values offered by the manufacturer of the lamp. For example, the values of Chinese lamps will be deliberately overstated or will be listed to show the LM in two lamps, be careful when choosing.

Lamp manufacturers such as Philips or OSRAM often quote only the color temperature of a lamp in K.

The best lamp for the car

We recommend Philips, OSRAM, or Sylvania bulbs for your car.

Best halogen bulbs

  • Philips Racing Vision RacingVision Halogen Bulbs
  • Philips X-treme Vision Halogen Bulbs
  • Osram Cool Blue Intense Halogen Bulbs
  • Sylvania SilverStar zXe High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb
  • Optilux Hella XB Series Xenon White Halogen Bulbs

Best LED Bulbs

  • OSRAM LEDriving Cool White Led Car Lights
  • PHILIPS Ultinon LED Bulbs
  • Fahren Super Bright LED Headlights Conversion Kit
  • HIKARI Acme-X LED Bulbs Ultra Brightness

How many lumens does a halogen bulb have?

In most cases, standard halogen lamps give about 700 lumens at low beam and about 1200 lumens at high beam. Of course, this depends on the type of halogen bulb and the manufacturer.

Some halogen bulbs are only for high beam, while the bulbs on four-headlight vehicles are much brighter and emit more lumens, depending on the make and model.

The light output of halogen bulbs is usually the lowest compared to LEDs and discharge lamps. However, they tend to be very reasonably priced, last a long time, and are bright enough for the average driver and driving conditions.

How many lumens does a HID bulb have?

The main reason why HID headlights or xenon headlights are very popular with motorists is that they are quite bright and use less power. The average HID or xenon bulb is about 3000 lumens brighter than the average halogen bulb.

Most HID bulb kits have about 80 lumens per watt. For example, if you have a 30 watt HID kit, that equates to about 2400 lumens. 40-watt HID kits have a light output of 3200 lumens. There are lamps for 50-watt systems with 5,000 lumens, these are some of the brightest you can buy.

How many lumens does an LED bulb have?

On average, this figure is 2000-4000 lumens. However, the power of LED headlights depends on many factors. One of the most important factors is the number of LEDs contained in each bulb.

You can find bulbs that say 10,000 lumens or even 20,000 lumens. But you have to understand that this is just a marketing ploy. A 6,000 lumen bulb will be enough for you.

What’s better: halogen, HID or LED headlights?

Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Compared to halogen and LED bulbs, halogen bulbs are the cheapest, most common and easy to replace without additional parts. On the other hand, they consume much more energy and are not as bright as halogen or LED lamps.

In terms of absolute efficiency, discharge lamps are still the best today: they give the brightest light. But when you consider other factors – price, headlight design and the need for auxiliary devices – the other two types also have very significant advantages. One type is more affordable, the other is more promising, and the third can be made multifunctional.

HID and xenon headlights are very bright, so bright that in the more expensive versions, the black road can seem like bright daylight. They also last much longer than halogen bulbs (probably the longest your car has ever lasted!). And the cherry on the cake is that they look very stylish. The downside to them, however, is that quality kits are expensive. They also require modifications to the reflector housing to effectively distribute and “cast” light. In addition, other additional parts are required, making the investment very expensive.

LEDs have the same advantages as gas-discharge and xenon lamps. Honestly, if you’re comparing a set of LEDs and HIDs at a comparable price from a reputable manufacturer, you probably won’t even notice the difference between the two. And while the merits are almost the same as the HIDs, there are drawbacks as well.

For example, xenon bulbs should only be used in headlights with special lenses, these headlights must be equipped with a washer and automatic tilt correction.

Halogen bulbs cannot be used in headlamps with a reflector, which are designed specifically for conventional incandescent bulbs. The use of LED lamps in conventional headlights is also unacceptable because the brightness of the road will not meet the safety standard.

Is 10,000 lumens too bright?

If your headlights are set to low beam, 10,000 lumens will be more than enough to see what’s in front of you, but it will also blind the drivers in front of you and may be illegal in your country or state. So for your safety and the safety of other drivers, we don’t recommend using 10,000 lumens bulbs.

How far can a 6,000 lumen bulb shine?

Under certain circumstances, a 6,000 lumen bulb should have a range of 800 meters, which may be enough for you.

Headlights for 6000k may be illegal depending on where you live. Because of the change in light as the Kelvin (k) degree increases, they can darken the headlight beam too much and take on strange colors. The higher the Kelvin level, the bluer the headlights look, which is illegal in all states and most countries.

How many lumens are considered illegal / dangerous?

The degree of light bulb brightness varies from state to state, but the average and safe brightness of car headlights should be between 2,000 and 4,000 lumens, that’s our recommendation for you.

Is the high beam brighter than the low beam?

Most people think that the high beam has a higher Kelvin temperature just because it’s brighter than the low beam, but that’s not always true. High beam has a higher Kelvin temperature because you can see farther and better when the high beam is on. However, high and low beam lamps often use the same Kelvin value. The reason you can see better when the high beam is on is because it is pointed higher than the low beam, which is essentially just pointing at the road, hence the term “low and high beam.”

  • H1
  • H4
  • H7
  • H11
  • HIR2
  • 9005
  • 9006
  • 9007
  • 9008
  • D1S
  • D2S
  • D3S
  • D4S


While we’ve looked at the various features and major differences between many types of halogen, discharge and LED bulbs, it’s clear that the number of lumens in a car headlight is determined by many factors. But one thing is certain: out of the many options available to motorists today, there is sure to be a headlight that meets your desires and needs.

Car headlights vary greatly from the type of bulbs and replacement headlight kit to the type of car model, country or state. Therefore, you may need to consider other factors when choosing lumens. Yes, bright headlights are good for the car, but they can be a potential hazard to other drivers. Basically, all you need is enough light so you can see in the dark. Usually 2000-4000 lumens is enough for your car’s headlight. A higher brightness can also mean danger to an oncoming vehicle.

While some countries allow brighter headlights, some countries prohibit it. While some models have a limited number of lumens, other models have more lumens, making other models look like they scratch the surface.

We recommend that you use the type of bulb that is listed in your car’s service manual and choose a color temperature of the bulb based on your preference.

My friends and I created this site to tell you a lot of useful things from the world of cars. I worked as a salesman in a big auto parts store and gained a lot of experience in this field, now I am sharing my experience with you.

Rate author
auto mechanic guide