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.
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.
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.
We also used an app to measure the output of the lights to find the percentage difference between the lights.
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
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
- 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
- Stock light: 145F
- PIAA halogen light: 140F
- LED light: 120F
- HID light: 150F
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.
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.
LED headlight: Shows a good pattern that lights far off and close up, but is not very bright.
HID headlight: Is the brightest, and has the best illumination pattern that would go further down the trail and close up.
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.