How Many Lumens Car Headlights have

How many lumens do car headlights have?

Have you ever wondered how many lumens do car headlights have? The number of lumens in a car headlight varies greatly, but before we answer the question, let us address more pressing issues concerning the lumens

Did you know that your headlight bulbs are made up of hundreds of lumens? Of course, most people may not know or even care about the lumens in their bulbs. Whereas, the number of a lumen in a car headlight bulb depends on the type of headlight and how bright its beams shine.

But first things first – what exactly are lumens? 

 What are lumens?

What Are headlights Lumens

Sometimes, you may realize that some bulbs are brighter than others and some headlights illuminate better than others. This usually owes to the lumen output of the car. 

In essence, lumens are the measurement of the brightness of a car headlight bulb. Think of how electricity is measured by watts, so are car bulbs measured by lumens. Additionally, it goes without saying that if you ever find yourself needing new light bulbs or a situation where Headlight maintenance is paramount, it is important you check the lumens first. That is how important lumens are. Sadly, most people do not consider this as paramount importance. 

How many lumens do my bulbs have?

As earlier stated, the lumen in car headlight bulbs may vary greatly. However, generally, in halogen bulbs, 700 lumens are usually emitted in a low beam, while 1200 lumens is the measure in a high beam, this also depends greatly on what kind of halogen bulb is in question here. The aforementioned are just a general basis. There are halogen bulbs specifically for high beam illumination, what this means is that they would be far brighter than the usual car, (of course, this is available in sleeker car models), the lumens of vehicles like these fall anywhere between 1600 – 1700. Again, it depends greatly on the brand or model of the vehicle. 

major types of headlights and their lumens

As earlier said, lumens depend greatly on the type of bulb in question and also on the brand and model of the vehicle. 

In this section, we would be examining the three major bulb types and their lumens

  1. Halogen headlights

Generally, Halogen lights have become a classic and a standard for most vehicle types. It is a step further from incandescent lights, and even though the latter bulbs are still being used in cars, halogen lights are the leading and most common headlights in vehicles today with easy DIY Headlights restoration tactics

Halogen itself can be further broken down into five different types, but the two major ones in this context because they are the only ones used for car headlights; Iodine and Bromine. These two are essentially gases that work to ensure that the tungsten filament does not break. 

Lumen Output: 1,500 

  1. LED headlights

These lights are a major hit especially in newer, sleeker cars, and allow headlight restoration with home products such as vinegar. They work through Diodes, converting electricity through these diodes, they produce their lights. It is a process called ‘’Electroluminescence’’. 

LED lights are more preferable to the previously examined Halogen lights, the former emits less heat and thus, has a longer lifespan. However, they might be more than a tad bit more expensive than the halogen lights, but they are worth every penny.

Lumen Output: 4,000 – 12,000 

how much lumen in xenon headlights

These lights are not like the rest, they can be restored with either a restoration kit or WD-40, they also do not make use of certain filaments to emit lights. What they do is that they create one arc of high voltage wedged between electrodes and that is how their light is produced. Imagine for a second, a lightning storm inside a very small tube. 

Lumen Output: 3,000. 

How many lumens are deemed illegal/dangerous?

Generally, it differs from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction but the average and safe lumen in car headlights should fall between 2,000 – 4,000 lumens.  

Also, for instance, if you consider that just 60 lumens in a flashlight can blind a human person in a dark place which is why it’s important to avoid bright blinding headlights, you would realize that when the lumens are too bright, it becomes too dangerous. 

LED lights can be dangerous as well, anything beyond 2,000 -4000 lumens can become potential dangers, but again, it is hard to pinpoint facts as this differs from state to state. 

So essentially, lumens are very powerful, and depending on the lumen measurement, your vehicle may be a potential hazard or just fall below standard. This is why as earlier mentioned, when you need your headlights bulbs, be very particular about the lumens, if possible, read up on what is acceptable in your state and the standard for your type of headlights/bulb. That way you can stay safe and keep other drivers safe as well. 


From types of bulbs and headlight restoration kits to types of car models, jurisdiction, country, or state, car headlights differ greatly. 

So when considering the lumens, you may need to look at other factors as well. Yes, having bright headlights may seem great to have in a car, but maybe a potential hazard to other drivers. Essentially, all you need is light enough to see in the dark and be seen as well, and generally, 2000-4000 lumens will do the trick. 

While some states sanction brighter headlights, some states do not. While some car models have limited lumens, some other models have way higher lumens and make others look like they’re scratching the surface. 

We have examined the three common types of headlights and their lumen range. This should give you a more informed idea of the lumens of your car headlights provided you know the type of bulb you are using. Understanding your car model also helps. 

But if you are unsure about anything, it is usually best to hand over your car to a trained and qualified specialist to change your bulbs or fix in the best and most appropriate type depending on the model and state. 

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