What Are the Best ATV-UTV Headlight Types?

For ATVs and side-by-sides, there are various headlight type options you can choose from that perform both similarly and differently in brightness, heat generation, voltage and current draw.

For the video above, we used the lighting system off our 2009 Yamaha YFZ450R ATV as a test bed for comparing some different headlight options: stock headlights, PIAA brand aftermarket lights, LED and HID lights

ATV headlights which are the best?

If you spend most of your time riding your ATV or side-by-side during the day, then headlight performance probably won’t matter much to you. However, if you like riding at night often, you may need better and brighter headlights or different color lights than what your machine came equipped with. 

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In the video above, we look at the differences between stock halogen, aftermarket halogen (PIAA), LED and HID headlights. We review measurements for current draw, heat, voltage and lumens at a standard distance to determine which light type is the brightest. For these tests, we used a battery, a charger and a multimeter. 

Best ATV-UTV headlights test

Also for measuring the current draw, we used a different multimeter changed from circuit to circuit, depending on whether we were looking at high or low current. 

Best ATV-UTV headlights test multimeter

We also used an app to measure the output of the lights to find the percentage difference between the lights. 

Best ATV-SxS headlights testing

Finally, we used an infrared temperature gun to measure (after 4 minutes) heat dissipation from the lens, because some of these lights are known to get so hot that they can melt the housing. 

ATV Headlight Type Testing Results

Current Draw Amps

  • Stock light: High 2.4; Low 2.4
  • PIAA halogen light: High 2.9; Low 2.9
  • LED light: High 1.4; Low 1.4
  • HID light: High 3.2; Low 2.9

ATV-UTV headlight types current draw

Lumen Light Output (Brightness)

  • Stock light: High 410; Low 410
  • PIAA halogen light: High 475; Low 380
  • LED light: High 415; Low 340
  • HID light: High 1480; Low 555

ATV-UTV headlight types lumens


  • Stock light: High 12.8; Low 12.8
  • PIAA halogen light: High 12.6; Low 12.6
  • LED light: High 12.6; Low 12.6
  • HID light: High 12.6; Low 12.6

ATV-UTV headlight types voltage

Lens Temperature

  • Stock light: 145F
  • PIAA halogen light: 140F
  • LED light: 120F
  • HID light: 150F

ATV-UTV headlight types lens temperature

Next up, we remounted the light enclosure back onto the unit and did a real world comparison with the lights turned off, so we could get a better idea of what they really look like when used on the machine. 

Stock headlight: Shoots a straight path right down the middle. 

ATV stock headlight

Aftermarket PIAA halogen: Lights a similar path or pattern as the stock light, but much brighter, and has more of an elliptical shape to it that spans higher and lower than the stock did. 

ATV aftermarket PIAA headlight

LED headlight: Shows a good pattern that lights far off and close up, but is not very bright. 

ATV LED headlight

HID headlight: Is the brightest, and has the best illumination pattern that would go further down the trail and close up. 

ATV HID headlight

ATV headlight types comparison

Conclusion: The best headlight type for your ATV or UTV really comes down to how much illumination you need and how much you’re willing to spend for it, but the HID headlights proved to be the most powerful overall. 







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