Best Aftermarket Headlights
Aftermarket headlights are a cost-effective alternative to the OE headlight assemblies for replacing damaged lights. Also, this is a cost-effective alternative to the headlight retrofit and is an excellent solution for those who want to make their vehicle’s front fascia different and custom. Yet, when selecting a particular headlight assembly, it’s a real challenge to determine the best brand on the market as of 2024.
A dozen well-known and recognizable aftermarket headlight brands are popular in the USA. Like every product, aftermarket lights by these brands have fans and critics of every brand we will cover. But it’s fair to say that, on average, the products by these brands feature similar quality and easy plug-and-play installation. So, when you decide which brand to go with, we recommend relying on your needs, budget, expectations, and design preferences.
TOP-5 Aftermarket Headlight Assembly: Brand Comparison
We have picked the five most popular brands that offer custom and aftermarket headlights in the USA. Each of these brands has plenty of good reviews, yet, just like with any other product, some people did not like something about aftermarket headlights. So, we’ve compiled the comparison table of America’s most popular headlight brands to make the selection process easier for you.
The best and the least expensive aftermarket headlights
So, what will you be looking for when selecting the best aftermarket headlights? First, think of the budget and your expectations. If you want headlights that look close to what you had on the vehicle from stock, you can find a quality aftermarket headlight set for $100-$150. You can consider such manufacturers as Spyder, Eagle, Depo, Spec-D, etc.
The best custom headlights: things to look for
If you are seeking something custom, think of the design you like. Prices for custom headlights vary based on the technologies the lights employ. The American custom lighting aftermarket leaders are ANZO, Spec-D, Spyder, IPCW, and Recon. Here are some things you may be looking for when shopping for the best aftermarket headlight assembly for your truck, car, or SUV:
- LED accents;
- LED strips;
- halo rings (LED, CCFL, plasma);
- projection lenses;
- compatibility with OE HID (xenon);
- switchback DRL.
Are aftermarket headlights worth it?
We keep getting many questions like this. And, unfortunately, there is no single answer. Everyone has their views towards getting the aftermarket headlights on the vehicle. Plus, everything depends on the budget and brand you select.
Besides, if you do not plan to install the headlights by yourself, consider the installation cost and the fact that you will have to leave your vehicle in a shop for some time. We have collected the list of strengths and weaknesses of most aftermarket headlights. This will help you better understand the specs of aftermarket headlights vs the OE ones.
|Aftermarket headlights look different from the OE-style ones and add custom look to your car, truck or SUV.
|Repairs of aftermarket headlights are costly, since the repair parts for them are not sold separately.
|The majority of aftermarket lights you will find on Amazon or major automotive stores are SAE DOT approved, which makes them 100% street-legal.
|Some headlights come without headlight bulbs (high, low beams and turn signals).
|Custom headlights feature CCFL or LED halo rings for even more aggressive look. In the majority of the design options, these halo rings can be replaced when needed.
|Headlights that feature LED strips that work together with turn signals might require additional load resistors for some vehicles.
|Aftermarket headlights are available with projector and/or reflector beam pattern. They can be easily adjusted using the adjustment screws.
|The majority of aftermarket headlights that feature built-in LED strips come with non-replaceable LEDs (when one burns out, it cannot be replaced).
|Many custom headlights feature colored or color-changing accents, LED halo rings and other attractive details, that are unavailable with the regular stock headlights.
|Many aftermarket headlight brands feature poor weather resistance, so it is a good idea to get the headlights sealed once you get your new assemblies from UPS.
|Aftermarket lights come with everything needed for installation, including wiring and headlight bulbs.
|Many aftermarket headlight manufacturers offer 30- or 90-day warranty. As soon as it is due, you cannot get them replaced or fixed if something goes wrong.
|Installation of aftermarket lights is plug-and-play. This means that you will not have to cut into the wiring of your vehicle or rewiring. Also, it is easy to install aftermarket headlights, so anyone with basic technical skills can do that.
|Aftermarket lights use CAD technology in order to boost performance and ensure precisely adjusted beam pattern.
Euro headlights: Things to know
Euro headlights is an affordable way to jazz up the vehicle’s exterior. These headlights usually come without bulbs, but the housing differs from the stock. Aftermarket Euro headlights typically take the same bulb size as the original headlights. So, if that is the case, you can install the OE bulbs into the new Euro headlights. Upgrading aftermarket headlights to HIDs is not recommended, as xenon bulbs are not likely to focus right in the aftermarket housing.
Color-changing halo headlights
Regarding headlights with different designs and colors, color-shift headlights by Oracle Lighting are the absolute leaders. This is the most popular aftermarket lighting solution among those who want their vehicle to look different. Color-shift technology allows you to change the color to the one you like and back to white, not get a ticket from a police officer. Oracle Lighting features pre-assembled headlight assemblies with built-in halos and halo ring kits that one may want to wire in by themselves.
Note that there are quite impressive designs of color-changing demon eye headlights available on the market. Note, however, that some of these headlights may not be street-legal in certain states, especially if the color of LED accents is blue or red. These colors are forbidden to use for the vehicle lighting to avoid confusing with police cars.
A PRO tip. Some aftermarket headlights feature plastic exterior plastic lens, which are more fragile compared to the polycarbonate lenses used by the majority of carmakers. So, it is a good idea to think of headlight protection while the assembly is still new. You can have headlight protector film installed before the headlight installation to prolong the lifespan of your lights and protect the plastic from damage, chips, scratches, and UV fading. Make sure the film you select is made specifically for headlight protection. Otherwise, it may negatively influence the output and the formation of headlight beams.
Susan is a technical writer with years of experience in the technical sphere. Besides, she is a car enthusiast and never loses an opportunity to visit car events and racing. She is anxious about everything fast, loud, and bright. Now, she is a technical writer at HaloHeadlights.com and is glad to share her knowledge of car lighting with readers. You can ask Susan a question using the form.