What does the color temperature values in HID headlights mean?

If you have been looking around to upgrade the on your  car or truck I’m sure that you have seen different color temperature values associated with the various headlight kits.  What do the numbers mean?  These numbers are measured in degrees Kelvin.

Check out these HID Kits to see examples of each.

OK, what does that mean?  Basically when light is emitted it can view as different colors.  The smaller the value, in Kelvin, the “warmer” the light and conversely a higher number would indicates “cooler” light.

Your warmer colors, color temperature around 3000K will come from your standard halogen headlights and appear to be yellow in color.  Moving up from there something like a Sylvania Silverstar headlight bulb will be around 4000K.  Above 4000K you are getting into HID headlight bulb territory.  Values between 4000K and 5000K will trend from yellow to bright white.  At 5000K you will have almost perfect white light.  At 6000K you will start seeing a blue tint to the white light.  Once you reach 8000K the light will be a distinct blue.  At 10,000K the light appears to have a blue green tint.  Once you reach 12,000K the tint becomes purple.

Where would you want to use these various color temperatures in your car?  For the longest time fog lights have been popular with yellow tinted light.  With that said, you may find that a very well performing fog light can be around 3000k and use standard halogen bulbs.

You will find a nice sweet spot for headlights is between 4000 and 6300.  With this you can opt for upgraded halogen bulbs and obtain greater night time visibility.  Moving on from that you are going to be looking to add a Xenon HID headlight kit to your car.  HID headlight kits range from 4300K and 12,000K. You are going to want to choose the color temperature that gives you the style that you are looking for to best compliment your ride.

LED Headlight kits arrive right around 6000K and will have a blue tint.

For more technical information about the different types of headlights discussed in this article you can take a look at these other articles:

Halogen Headlights

LED Headlights

HID Headlights