Are LED Headlights Legal?

Many consumers are concerned with whether or not the headlights they are interested in will pass an inspection or be considered “DOT Approved”. It’s a safe bet that if your headlights are rated as “DOT approved” then yes they are legal to use. Many headlight products seem like they are just as good as others because of a certain Lumen rating or quality control, but a true head light should have two main characteristics:

1. Have a separate low beam and high beam (or only one beam)

2. Have some kind of focus of the beam pattern so it doesn’t blind other drivers

JW Speaker 8900

LED Projector Headlights from JW Speaker are among the best in the world!

If the LED headlights you are looking at do not advertise that they are certified or approved by the DOT then chances are they are not truly legal to use on the road. Another good indicator on whether or not the headlights you’re looking to buy are good quality is if they say “SAE Certified”:
SAE is an international professional organization of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries dedicated to continuing education and standards development. It exists to advance the interests of the mobility and related industries through development of performance standards and administration of quality assurance, accreditation, and certification programs as well as related activities for the benefit of industry, government, and the general public.

If a product is listed as “SAE Certified” it means that it was sent to the SAE for testing and certification and the stamp basically means “This is a really high quality product!”. If a product is listed as “DOT Approved” or “DOT Certified” it just means that the manufacturers built it to spec and regulation to meet certain standards. Nothing needs to be submitted to the DOT to achieve this certification, it’s actually up to the manufacturer to determine whether or not their product meets the requirements.

Right now there are only a handful of companies that are producing LED headlights, such as JW Speaker, Truck-Lite, Pilot Automotive, GTR Lighting, United Pacific, Oracle and maybe a couple others. That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. So, do your own research and look at what the manufacturer’s say about their own products. If they say it’s SAE Approved and DOT Certified, then take their word for it!

Is LED superior to HID?

When trying to decide which auxiliary off-road lighting or headlights for your vehicle, nowadays it’s a tough choice whether or not to go with HID or LED. For HID there are some reasonable options that are cost-effective when comparing to LED. However, HID cannot hold a candle to LED’s power consumption and lifespan. For headlights, it all depends on the application and your desired effect.

If you have a Jeep Wrangler, semi truck or an older vehicle that uses sealed beam headlights, then you can use LED headlights, or several different HID options. Starr HID makes vehicle specific projector HID headlights that are very high quality or you can just use a GTR Lighting HID conversion kit. If you have a 7″ round, 6″ Round, 4×6″ Rectangular or 5×7″ Rectangular sealed beam setup then you can use a full LED headlight from a company like Truck-Lite, JW Speaker or GTR Lighting. The differences will be this:

  • HID Headlights will Be Brighter, by about double
  • HID Headlights will not last as long. LED Headlights last 10x longer than HID
  • LED Headlights are the new technology, they look cooler and draw 1/10 the energy to operate
  • Some LED Headlights are brighter than stock
  • HID Headlights are available in a range of different colors
  • HID Headlights can be used in any application
  • LED Headlights have a narrow application range
  • Most LED Headlight Bulb replacements are not bright enough yet to be safe (hard to know which ones can be used safely)
JW Speaker makes some of the world's best LED headlight and LED off-road products.

JW Speaker makes some of the world’s best LED headlight and LED off-road products.

When looking at off-road lighting and comparing HID to LED it’s not quite as difficult of a choice but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • HID Headlights will be much cheaper. A 6″ 35w HID off-road light will run anywhere from $150 – $500
  • 35w HID will produce 3,000 – 3,600 Lumens of output. 55w HID will produce 4,500 – 5,500 Lumens of output.
  • LED is available in many configurations running from 900 Lumens (a single 10w LED product) all the way up to 35,000 Lumens (Vixion X XIL-PX7240)
  • LEDs will traditionally draw less energy than HID
  • HID and LED can both be found in long-range configurations

Overall, in terms of which is better for headlights, it’s a toss-up because the LED technology has not been developed far enough to be a universal application. But I predict in the future LED headlights will take over the world – they are the future.

In terms of LED off-road lighting, hands-down LED takes the cake, compared to LED off-road lighting, HID is old news. You will never find a viable HID option that will make over 40,000 Lumens (even that is stretching the imagination) and with LED it’s already easy to put 100,000 Lumens on the front of your truck.

Dodge Ram HID Lights

This 2010 Dodge Ram has a total of 9 HID lights on the front end! Talk about creating a wall of light! A total of 31,500 Lumens of light output!

What are LED Headlights?

LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode” and the technology has come leaps and bounds in just last last couple of years, and every 6 months or so the potential for LED forward lighting proves to be more and more the new industry leader. 10 years ago the idea of an LED headlight was unheard of because the only thing LEDs were being used for were indicators in electronic devices and they didn’t make nearly enough light output to be used to actually see anything with.

The original style LEDs are not suitable for headlight applications.

The original style LEDs are not suitable for headlight applications.

Back in the day, way back when, one of the first types of automobile or carraige “head lamps” were glass jars which held a candle inside. This probably didn’t do a whole lot in terms of being able to see a long distance, but the vehicles of that age didn’t go very far so it didn’t matter. As automobile technology and average speed increased, the need for brighter and more reliable headlights did as well. The evolution of the headlamp started at that very rudimentary candle setup to incandescent halogen, then to HID and just recently LED technology has begun to overtake all other options. This is because of lifespan, durability, power consumption and ever-increasing Lumen production capability. LED tech is quickly proving to be the lighting source of choice for everyone.

Jeep Wrangler JK no flashing problems

The JW Speaker 8700 LED headlights will replace any existing. 7″ round housing.

Today there are several companies specializing in high-power LED headlights, and most are even DOT approved for use on city streets and highways. JW Speaker is probably the best known LED headlight manufacturer because currently they produce what is considered to be the best LED headlight in the world. The JW Speaker LED headlights are brighter than competitors, and are quite nice looking overall. Next you have Truck-Lite who is also a pioneer in the LED headlight market, when they came out with their Phase 6 7″ round light several years ago. Today, Truck-Lite LED headlights are much brighter than stock lights, cheaper than JW Speaker and use new parabolic reflector technology. Lastly, GTR Lighting has recently entered the LED headlight market with a 4×6″ and 6″ round products that are far cheaper than the others, but GTR Lighting LED headlights are still brighter than stock.

Jeep Lighting

The Jeep Wrangler is a fantastic platform for using LED headlights because many manufacturers sell the 7″ round size of LED headlight.

If you’re interested in upgrading the forward lighting of your vehicle, I would strongly encourage you consider the LED headlight option due to it’s superiority to halogen incandescent or in some cases even HID. I suspect that within the next 5 years HID technology will be obsolete when compared with LED in terms of the best fit for automotive lighting.


Jeep Wrangler Specific LED Fog Lights? Yes! They’re here!

On April, 3rd 2013, American manufacturer JW Speaker Corp. announced they are working on a new LED fog light product designed specifically for the Jeep Wrangler JK:

“As promised, we unveiled our latest Jeep product at Easter Jeep Safari last week! Introducing the new drop-in replacement LED Jeep fog light…a little something we’re calling the Model 6145!”

The new 1,100 Lumen Jeep-Specific LED fog light from JW Speaker, Model #6145.

The new 1,100 Lumen Jeep-Specific LED fog light from JW Speaker, Model #6145.

JW Speaker also said “On the flickering side of things, we’ve tested the new fog light with the Jeep PWM duty cycle and frequency and we’re pleased to say that no flickering was present” so there is no worry about the strobe effect like the issues found when using the LED headlights on the JK’s. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem anyway, seeing as though no LED fog lights (from Truck-Lite OR JW Speaker) have ever had flashing or flickering issues.

The new foglights are a drop-in factory replacement!

The new foglights are a drop-in factory replacement!

These new fog lights come with the same type of mounting setup that the factory Wrangler fog lights use so they will be a direct drop-in replacement for the stock bumper OR any other type of aftermarket bumper designed to take the factory fog light housings. In fact, the JW Speaker 6145 Jeep Fog Lights will fit more than JUST the JK Wrangler. These new lights will also fit the following vehicles:

* 2007-2012 Jeep Wrangler
* 2011-2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
* 2009-2012 Dodge Journey
* 2011-2012 Dodge Charger
* 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum
* 2005 Chrysler 300
* 2006-2010 PT Cruiser

This wide array of applicable vehicles is a coincidence after JW decided to make fog lights for the Jeep Wrangler JK they discovered that it will also fit other vehicles that happen to use the exact same fog light housing from Chrysler.

JW Speaker also states on the Facebook page that “The price hasn’t been finalized yet, but our network of authorized dealers will have pricing for the June release.”

You can find more information and pictures about these exciting new lights at the Headlight Revolution here.

JW Speaker 6145 1,100 Lumen Headlights Installed and look great!

JW Speaker 6145 1,100 Lumen Headlights Installed and look great!

The Revolution is Here!

So, this will be a short post, I just wanted to tell you about a new website called the Headlight Revolution:

The revolution is here!

The revolution is here!

This new website is designed to help people break the chains of conventional and boring halogen lighting and introduce the newest, most powerful, cutting edge lighting options for different applications in the world! If you ever need to find the hottest and wildest new lighting products, they WILL be hosted at the Revolution!

Check it out here:

The Headlight Revolution is here!

The Headlight Revolution is here!