HID (Xenon) Color Temperature Chart for Headlights

Latest developments in car headlights have resulted in just as simple driving by night as driving by day. One of the key reasons why the bulbs are so robust today is because old halogen bulbs are replaced by newer technology.

The first jump was the HID technology, also known as xenon lights (high-intensity discharge). This technology has significantly enhanced both light intensity and energy consumption for car bulbs.

When BMW 7 series was launched in 1991, HID lamps first hit the market. Other luxury carmakers almost immediately took the suit and replaced the halogen bulbs with HID lamps in their vehicles.

However, these headlights have never been offered as standard even though they were an option on cheaper vehicles. The basic explanation for this – HID bulbs are considerably more costly than standard halogen bulbs.

Nevertheless, many people are adequate to pay the price for HID bulbs. And, honestly speaking, HID headlights will significantly increase visibility, thereby enhancing the protection. They are also longer-lasting – quality HID headlights last for about 10 years.

So, surely the xenon headlights are the way to go but do different HID bulbs differ? You're betting! The light intensity emitted (in lumens), power consumed (in watts) and light template produced by xenon bulbs vary (in Kelvins).

The lumens and watts are fairly self-explaining and are basically there to make sure that the bulbs match your car. The color temperature of the xenon, on the other hand depends on your specifications and requests. Here we will help you to determine the right HID color temperature for your car.

What are the functions of the HID bulbs?

HID lamps use noble gases, including xenon, while halogen lights generate light using a tungsten filament. As electricity is brought into the bulb by an electric arc between two electrodes, Xenon lights up. These bulbs are obviously much cooler than halogen bulbs that convert most power to heat. HID bulbs are both more effective and more intensive.

HID Map for Color and Temperature

The light temperature simply indicates that light production is "warm or cold." That said, the temperature in HID color is the feeling you see and the visibility on the way.

Shall we describe stuff to nature? The sun is really bright in sunset. This results in a saturated appearance of the colors but also decreases the total contrast and accuracy of the scene. On the other hand, when the sun is on the horizon, the color temperature is a lot colder, and the contrast and sharpness are felt increasing. In other words, if the sun is on the horizon, you can probably see things even better than at sunset.

Same with headlights – more contrast is possible with cooler colors. Warmer shades, however, have other benefits, such as coping with fog. Warmer light can cut the fog more quickly and shed light on the lane, while colder colors illuminate the fog. Let's look at the next segment in more detail.

HID color temperature breakdown

Yellow gold light yellow (3000K)
This is the warmest color xenon headlights to be found (even though there are warmer temperatures on the HID color chart). It is the same color temperature as the older halogen bulb versions and is good for fog driving. 3000K HID is nevertheless not the safest choice to drive at night. The explanation is obvious – the scene looks sharper and less contrasting. However, golden yellow light may be perfect in the case of fog lights.

White-yellow (4300K)
Far more natural temperature, closer to light day is provided by yellow-white or 4300K HID. You have equilibrated headlights for both night driving and fog with a set of K bolts at the front. However, this color temperature is also not the safest way to drive at night to make headlamps.

Glossy white (5000K)
This is the best-known color temperature for xenon headlights. The 5000K HID bulbs lie right between the yellow and the blue end of the spectrum as you can see in the HID color map. The light on the horizon is similar to daytime. The night scene appears clearer with a collection of such bulbs, and objects can be seen from afar more easily.

White Alps (6000K)
6000K HID bulbs have a 5000K output of "whiter," which is favored by some people. The disparity between them will be difficult to detect at night, but the Alpine White will increase the contrast on the stage at night. However on foggy days or evenings, these bulbs are not very visible. Consider fitting warmer fog lights to them.

Blue Ice (8000K)
Blue headlights are often used for decorative purposes, such as the "Ice Blue" option 8000K. They literally look much "cooler," and make cars look more modern. However it can contribute to eye strain at night, even though this color temperature is still useful. The light output also decreases dramatically.

Blue Pure (10000K)
Pure blue lights have no big benefits, except that they look calm and cool.

Cardinal (12000K)
Purple HID light bulbs are by far the worst option and can cause extreme pressure on the eyes. If you're looking for an elegant car, however, violet bulbs might be the best option.

HID headlights Blue & Purple (pros & cons)

Stylish look: we assume everybody will agree on it – blue headlights look amazing. Your car will be luxurious and sportier instantly.

Blue light in nature is not found, and our eyes are not equipped to do so. Therefore a lengthy view of blue light will cause eye strain and other human sight problems.

Bad for the incoming road: look at the head-on blue lights is worse and the view of cars coming into you can be seriously limited.

Unlawful in a few countries: verify that the blue lights on your car might be illegal in your region before installing them.

Unhappiness in fog: without the headlights, you might be better off driving.

What is the color temperature of the brightest HID?

The highest light output is produced by bright white HID bulbs (5000K). However, yielding to the light output are both yellow-white (4300K) and alpine white (6000K), and the difference is always insignificant.

Which HID color is the best?

5000K, due to the brightest performance and daylight similarity, is commonly considered to be the best xenon color temperature. It is also in the center of the HID color map, meaning it's the best in both worlds.

What's the best HID fog lights color temperature?

For hazy weather like fog, rain and snow, the warmer light temperature is much healthier. This is why we suggest trying fog lights with 3000K bulbs.