February 1, 2023
Think of installing smoked headlights, but you are not sure about visibility at night? Or you are not sure what’s the difference: smoked vs clear when it comes to the headlight lenses? We keep getting numerous e-mails from people asking about smoked headlights. What are the best-smoked projector headlights between $65 – $150 per lens? Are smoked headlights legal? What are the best-smoked headlights for BMW, Ford F-150, Mustang, Honda Civic, etc.? We keep replying to these e-mails directly, while we feel there is much room for improvement at this point.
So, we have compiled this article as a complete guide for those, who plan to work with their headlights or just consider smoking their lights. In fact, smoking headlight is something one can do by themselves, and there are several methods. We provide explanations, step-by-step instructions, and detailed guides right here! Our experts worked hard to provide clear and simple instructions to make sure you will understand them, regardless of language, geolocation, or technical skills. If you would rather just pick a set of new aftermarket headlights with smoke lenses and get them installed in your local shop, just check our recommendations and then google ‘ headlight shop near me ‘. Alternatively, you can use our guides to install your new lights by yourself.
Black headlights are aftermarket headlights that feature a black background and a clear lens. Today many manufacturers offer such headlight assemblies as an alternative to the OEM headlights. They look very different from the stock ones and add that exciting aftermarket touch to the front fascia of any car, truck, or SUV. So no wonder they are so popular!
As a rule, black aftermarket headlights come equipped with extra design elements, such as LED accents, halo rings, LED strips, and more. Also, there are black headlights with tinted lenses. You may find them listed as black-smoked headlights.
Common Black Headlights Types
In this guide, we will cover every possible aspect and type of the black headlights, including DIY black headlights. So, see the specification below as we will explain what types and kinds of black headlights are available on the market and what are the major differences between them. We will also provide different pictures to explain the key aspects. For your convenience, we will note the brand names and the links to shop these headlights. If you are interested in the black headlights for your vehicle, consider the detailed guides we have below for the specific makes and models.
Most Popular Color Options
There are matte black and gloss black headlights. Both types feature black headlight housing and come equipped with a clear polycarbonate lens. However, there are also smoked black headlights. They feature black background and light- or dark-smoke lens. When selecting a set for your vehicle, mind not only the design you are into but also the laws of the state you live in. Note, that there are states, where it is illegal to tint headlights at all. Though, the majority of US states are quite okay with this headlight mod.
If you are looking for something very special, you may put a color-changing wrap on the lenses of your headlights. So, your lights will look even more exciting with the chameleon wrap on them. Note, that the color-changing headlight wrap does not influence the light output and almost does not steal the light. So if you are concerned about smoked lenses that really impact visibility, you can consider chameleon wrap as a good alternative.
Projector and Reflector Lights
When the name of the product says Black Projector Headlights, the headlight assembly comes equipped with a built-in projection lens. When the name is just Black Headlights, you are getting simple reflector style headlights. Note, that the projector headlights are considered more advanced since they employ an optic lens that forms the high and low beams. Reflector lenses just use the reflective surface of the headlight shell to form a beam. Usually, black projector headlights are more expensive, than reflector ones.
Black Halo Headlights
When the name of the product says halo headlight, you are looking at the headlight assembly that comes equipped with a halo ring. If it says dual halo, there will be 2 halos in each headlight. There are 3 main types of halo rings you may be offered when shopping for black halo headlights online:
- CCFL halo;
- plasma halo;
- LED halo.
- If you pick a CCFL halo, you are getting headlights that feature halo rings that are filled with gas. This gas provides an even glow, yet the halo itself will have a small gap. This is the place where the glass tube is connected to the wire.
- LED halo rings may have small LED chips on the surface. Note, that some LED halo rings may give not that smooth glow if you take a closer look at them.
- Plasma halo rings are very similar to LEDs, as they have got solid-state LED lighting technology. They come powered with Chip-on-Board (COB) technology and provide an even glow. It’s fair to say, that plasma halo rings are the brightest ones among these three.
Black Headlights with LED DRL Bar
Such style of black headlights comes equipped with a bright LED accent line that works as daytime running lights (DRL). The installation is normally just plug-and-play, and the DRL wire is hooked up to the factory DRL wire. If you own an older vehicle that does not come equipped with the daytime running lights and you use low beams as DRLs, you can just connect the DRL wire of the aftermarket headlights to the low beam wire, and then hook both to the vehicle low beams. However, there is also an option to add a separate switch that will turn the DRLs on and off. Note, however, that this kind of mod will take you extra time and technical skills.
Black aftermarket headlights with LED accents look very stylish and are extremely popular these days. So, if you are looking for that show car look for your car, truck, or SUV, you should consider them for your project. Sure thing, prices are very different and depend on the manufacturer, headlight style, extra light elements in the assembly, and certain other factors. So, it’s hard to say what is the average price for the black headlights with an LED DRL bar.
Switchback and Sequential Headlights
So, what is a sequential headlight? This is the dynamic style of the headlight where the turn signals show the way where you want to turn. The light looks like moving as the LEDs move in sequence in the direction you want to turn. Such headlights look sharp and are available with clear and smoked lenses, with chrome and black background. Though, if you are having a hard time finding the proper style of the smoked headlights with the sequential light and the manufacturers do not have it, you can always have the clear lens tinted on your own.
Just keep reading on, and you will see several great DIY methods that will explain how to smoke headlight lenses. Note, that there are certain tools and technical skills required for this. Besides, once you purchase aftermarket headlights and alter them, you automatically void the manufacturer’s warranty. So, before modifying any aftermarket headlights it is a good idea to test them for some time to make sure your assembly is free of defects and you will not need to replace them under the warranty.
Another good piece of advice for those, who seriously consider a pair of black smoked aftermarket sequential headlights. There is one installation thing you need to consider for the switchback function to work. So if you have just installed such lights and you notice that the turn signal does not work properly, most likely you have simply made an installation error. Check out this guide to make sure you install sequential light modules properly.
Lights with Fiber Optic Accents
Aftermarket headlights offered by different manufacturers feature so many different designs. And adding fiber optics allows for making the design even more attractive, distinctive and aggressive. Manufacturers love this kind of LED element, as fiber optics is extremely durable and easy, and inexpensive to manufacture. As a result, customers benefit from attractive prices and the lasting service of black headlights with fiber optic accents.
Principles of work are very simple. Fiber optic lighting utilizes optical fiber (flexible fiber made of glass or plastic) to transmit light from a light source (LED) to a remote location. In our case, LEDs lit up a properly shaped fiber element that evenly glows in the darkness. So, it takes just a piece of material and a couple of diodes to make those elements glow in your lights.
Things to consider
If you are shopping for quality aftermarket headlights for your vehicle, any product that meets your expectations from the visual point may seem to be an option, and you will then look at the price and consider the least expensive option. Let us consider certain other factors that we recommend paying attention to, to make sure you are getting a quality product.
- See what the warranty is. A quality product will always be backed up with a warranty. So it’s better to have at least 6 mounts warranty. Check the product description for this information before placing an order. Good news, that the defects (if any) will show up almost right away, or within the next couple of days after installation.
- Who will do the installation for you? If you plan on installing your new black headlights by yourself, make sure you have all the necessary tools handy. To do that, just check out the installation instructions for the headlights on your vehicle online and see, what’s needed. If you plan to hire someone to install the lights for you, consider labor costs.
- Check the headlight tint laws in your state. If you are willing to get black headlights with smoked lenses, you need to be careful. Some states are ok if you have tinted headlights, some are not. And it is always better to know that before you purchase something you will get a ticket for. There is no single federal law about this question, as weather conditions differ from state to state.
- Buy new headlight bulbs right away. From our experience, we can say, that 90% of aftermarket headlights come with cheap headlights bulbs, and it is a good idea to get quality replacement ones right away. Consider Osram or Philips, and you will be happy with the brightness and light output. Note, that bulb sizes for the aftermarket headlights normally differ from the OE ones, so the bulbs that you have in your stock headlights will not fit into the new aftermarket assembly. To find out the bulb size you need, just check the product description or contact the manufacturer for this information.
- Consider the type of your OE headlights. If your vehicle comes equipped with HID headlights from the factory, make sure the aftermarket headlights you are looking at will work with stock HIDs. This is because the length of the HID bulb differs from the lens of the halogen bulb, so if you pick the wrong lights, the light bulb will just not focus properly. Just check fitment notes for the new headlights to find out this information.
Steven is a certified mechanic and technical writer at Halo Headlights. Steven is excited about fast cars, loud music, and car mods. On yearly basis, he visits SEMA, as well as other car shows.
He has installed thousands of HID and LED kits and done hundreds of custom headlight retrofit projects. Now, he is ready to share his experience with Halo-Headlights.com readers.