Best HID Color: Headlight Color Guide

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What is the best HID color? This question comes up a lot so we wanted to put this to rest.

If your vehicle doesn’t come equipped with HID headlights from the factory, consider a HID conversion kit.

The Best HID Color: 5000K – 6000K

The color temperature of 5000K to 6000K most closely resembles sunlight, in which the human eye sees best. It’s that simple. So to answer the question once and for all: What is the best HID color? 5000K or 6000K is the answer.

Read on to learn more about what this means.

HID Color Guide

Looking a suitable Hid color headlights is easy if you know their types and purpose. Each color in the light spectrum has a certain usage for lamps but this chart will simplify those considered by most drivers.

headlight color temperature guide

COLOR COLOR TEMPERATURE DESCRIPTION
Yellow 3000 K Pure Yellow light emission commonly found in halogens.
OEM White /OFF- white 4300K Yellowish-white emission similar to dim white light.
Pure White 5000K Pure white light emission. Simulates natural light
Crystal White 6000K Pure White light emission with a bit of blue.
Light Blue 8000K A bluish-white light emission with more blue percentage.
Blue 10,000K Dark Blue light bordering on violet.
Violet 12,000K Dark Violet. 

What is Color Temperature?

Color temperature is the color designation given to each hue in the spectrum depending on how it is seen by the naked human eye. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin which is the unit of absolute temperature and can be converted to Lumens which is the brightness emitted. As seen on the chart, the higher the color temperature, the less useful the light becomes and visibility decreases, contrary to popular belief that a higher temperature equals more brightness.

Deciphering Color Temperature and Light Purpose

Yellow Light (3000K)

  • Yellow light is the commonly found in the form of Halogen lamps and is often found in old car models. Yellow light is suitable for bad climate because it can cut through air moisture as compared to white light. It is perfect for conditions involving fog, snow, sleet, rain and storms thus it is the best HID color for visibility.

OEM/Original Equipment Manufacturer HID Light (4300K)

  • White light with a hint of yellow is a usual standard for factory released HID. The light resembles dim lighting or the natural sunlight output. This color maximizes light output.

Pure White Light (5000K)

  • Pure white light imitates clear sunlight and is considered the best HID color temperature. This hue is most compatible to people’s eyes because it is a compromise between blue and yellow.

Crystal White Light (6000K)

  • Crystal White Light is the highest perceivable Kelvin color. It is a white light with more blue undertones and can also be considered a good color temperature. This is also known as an aftermarket HID install and may be bought in HID kits. 5000-6000K is the best range in the color temperature spectrum the human eyes were made to detect such and the best HID color for night driving.

Light Blue (8000K)

  • Anything higher than 6000K is only used for aesthetic purposes. Bluish light is not recommended for road use due to intense glare and decreased visibility. 8000K and to 12,000K lights are customized as car show cosmetics.

The best HID color for headlights should mimic natural lighting or near sunlight conditions. The human eyes are intended to detect light color conditions in its most natural form.

Yellow Fog Light

Fog lights are a major necessity in any vehicle, particularly in places where the climate is unpredictable. Fog lights also light the sides of the road giving the driver a wider path to see letting him manipulate the vehicle better.

Fog lamps have been traditionally colored yellow and the origin of the practice is hard to determine. A nugget of history shows France having a big role in the yellow fog light fever. The French apparently made use of yellow head lamps as a strategic way to identify foreign cars and foreign nationalities at night. They completely removed any other color tinge in the light spectrum leaving only a blast of pure yellow light. This movement was known as the “Selective Yellow Light”.

For many years, the most common bulbs used was either incandescent or halogen bulbs but these days people have the option to use Xenon bulbs or LED.

Advantages of a Yellow Fog light

  • A yellow fog light performs better in poor visibility: Many would claim that yellow “slices” through the haze, fog, smoke and similar conditions but light does not have the ability to do so. Actually, yellow light is better in these conditions because human eyes can detect them better than other colors like blue or violet.
  • Warmer colors as such would be easier on the eyes as compared to whites and blues.

Disadvantages of Yellow Fog Lights

  • Amber lights leave most dark objects invisible: Although most reflective signs can be spotted a mile away, animals, rocks, debris and small things are hard to spot with these lights. Similar lights at home, it is often harder to spot stuff when the light is dimmer.
  • Yellow fog lights produce less cornering illumination: Yellow lights used in beaming sides would be less efficient compared to using brighter versions like white.

Blue Headlights

With the surge of technology, cars can now be easily equipped with stylish functional accessories or customized as a whole. HID bulbs became a hit due to their ability to produce crisp, bright lights and most luxury vehicles are sporting blue headlamps.

Pros of Blue Headlights

  • Blue headlamps are stylish: Blue headlights are now a status symbol. Cars fitted with such seem more expensive not to mention maintaining HID lights are definitely costly.

Cons of Blue Headlights

  • Blue headlamps are annoying to incoming traffic: Many people complain about these headlamps because of the unpleasant experience of being flashed with blinding brightness.
  • Blue lights are illegal in some places: Even though it is now a trend, most states still consider blue lights illegal so having one would definitely cause problems if driver is not aware of the road policies in a certain area.
  • Blue lights cause eyestrain: Similar in gadget use, constant exposure to blue lights can trigger eye problems, as blue light is unnatural for human sight.
  • Blue headlamps are useless in poor weather: High intensity lights produce a wall of glare when it hits smoke or fog and is therefore inefficient in such conditions.
  • Blue headlights often don’t conform to automotive standards in most countries: Drivers might have a hard time traveling with their cars or bringing them along in case they move to a different location because not all locations approve the use of blue headlamps. Often, drivers end up refitting their lights or removing and replacing them completely just because they won’t be able to follow safety regulations. The process is an additional cost and very heartbreaking to the owner.

HID Headlights

High intensity discharge lights also known as HID lights are bulbs composed internally of a gas and conductor where electricity passes to create a bright, bluish-white light. This innovation became a hit in the 90’s luxury cars for both its functionality and stylishness. Xenon is the common gas used for such coupled with either a tungsten or aluminum conductor. The base of HID lights also plays a big role in its performance and light intensity, thus most HID users prefer projector type inlays as compared to the traditional reflectors.

Benefits:

  • HID lights work similar to a fluorescent lamp. It gives of a bright light that is useful in night driving conditions thus increasing road safety features of cars.
  • HID lights look sophisticated in any chassis and car type.
  • HID lights are more efficient than regular halogen as it can reach about 2,000 hours in operation.
  • HID lights are energy saving because these use less fuel to be sustained once they have reached optimum temperature.
  • HID lights or xenon bulbs have no delicate filament making them sturdy and therefore ideal headlights.

Disadvantages:

  • HID lights in the wrong color and brightness produce a bright glare that can is bothersome and dangerous to incoming traffic.
  • HID lights have poor performance in foggy conditions as blue light easily scatter at the presence of water. Visibility is difficult as the light bounces back to the driver.
  • HID lights are costly. Its elegance comes at a high price and replacement is a special service.
  • HID lights pose a possible health hazard due to the presence of toxic metals.
  • HID lights drain battery faster because they need a constant ballast or power source to maintain the illumination.

Purchasing HID lights

Luxury vehicles often come with HID headlamps, which are custom-fitted therefore ensuring its safety features and appropriate installation. However, since many people can’t afford expensive cars, they settle for instead for Aftermarket HID headlight kits which can be done DIY or professionally for a fee. Manufacturers nowadays also add the option to add these to affordable brand new cars for an extra hefty fee.

With all the information given in this article here are the important points to remember:

  • High Intensity Discharge lights work best at lower color temperature. The higher the color temperature the less useful it becomes.
  • HID lights still have questionable legality.
  • HID lights are not only fashionable but also functional.
  • HID lights must have proper car accessories for optimum performance.
  • HID lights are expensive upon purchase but will prove to be much cheaper in the long run.
  • HID lights may have health implications.

Headlights and other car lights are certainly important for both safety and aesthetic purposes. The popularity of HID lights has certainly created a demand in the car market that is beneficial to the manufacturer and its employees. However, the efficiency of HID lights is still vague partly because its reliability depends much on the human eye’s function and a person’s color perception. It’s undeniable that HID lights have benefits and prove to be promising but it may take a while to convince everyone that it should be the new level of standard for headlights.

Blue headlamps are far from not being a trend. The disadvantages of owning one outweigh the benefits. Manufacturers need to research more to upgrade this beauty and make them affordable and acceptable for the mainstream.

Owning a car should be more functional rather than fashionable. We must remember that vehicles transport people and the welfare of the passengers will rely on the car’s quality performance. Owners should definitely have the right to customize their vehicles according to their preference but it should not compromise the safety of the users.

Conforming to trends for showing-off or for the sake of imitating does not make a car owner “cool”. It just reflects the level of maturity the owner has, which is often times unappealing. Upgrading a car must be done with respect to the vehicle’s capacity and original purpose because the act might pose more risks than gains.

The trend with HID lights has just begun and it is not surprising to find more products promoting the use of such technology. Until then, its actual superiority remains to be seen. By then, some new “awesome” product maybe attracting all the attention and HID lights recedes to the background.

In the end, consumers will finally realize this was all just a marketing hype.

Images/Photos: Flickr, Medium