Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Ever since I upgraded to projector headlights I have been using 5000k xenon bulbs. The bulbs I am using are mediocre eBay bulbs and I have been giving some thought to nicer Philips or Morimoto bulbs.

If I decide to get nicer bulbs what color should I go with? I know that OEM bulbs are 4300k, but those look a little orange to me. The 5000k seem very white but not as white as some of my 6000k flashlights.

6000k should be the ideal color, but I always see that in those stupid "HID upgrade kits" that people put in Civics (no offense). I feel like there is a reason that dealers use 4300k, but 6000k really should show all of the colors on the road.

What is the safest?

share|improve this question
How would you measure the safety of bulb color? Are you trying to allow for male colorblindness? Without a "safest" metric, this is a "what's your favorite color?" question which is directly addressed in the FAQ: – Bob Cross Apr 9 '13 at 13:36
yellow conventional light because I think we most used to it as it same as sun – Dimensionless Apr 10 '13 at 14:49

The all of the "super white" headlights (which look blue-ish compared to normal headlights) are safety hazards for multiple reasons:

  1. They have a much greater effect of blinding oncoming drivers -- and, if you have them adjusted improperly or use your hi-beams at inappropriate times, drivers in front of you two.

  2. The "white" light produced by these headlights is not actually white (equal in all frequency components across the visible spectrum), but mostly concentrated at the red and blue ends of the spectrum. This means, for drivers like myself who wear high-power corrective lenses, the chromatic aberration is extremely serious. Instead of seeing a single white point or a slight blur, when we see your headlights out the edge of our lenses, we see one red point and one blue point, with the distance between them being greater than the width of the headlight. In other words, your headlights look like police lights!

share|improve this answer
Well, I am not using a cheep HID kit in a halogen reflector. I am using legitimate projector and high quality, OEM parts (except for the actual bulbs). I think that the first point you make is really regarding the use of HID bulbs in reflectors. As for your second point I did not know about that, and I am very glad I reached out - so I can learn things like that. – Sponge Bob Apr 9 '13 at 16:57

I would have thought the amount of additional information you'd get from the whiter bulbs would be negligable compared to the difference between halogen and HID lamps, and I would suspect that the more orangey bulbs would cause slightly less glare than the whiter/bluer ones, and would therefore be safer. That's purely speculation though...

share|improve this answer

I think safety only comes into play if you plan on speeding through the rain. If you live in southern California, it doesn't really matter. If you live in Seattle, maybe go with the 4000k so that you stand a chance of your headlights cutting through the rain. If I were you I would just stick with 5000k.

share|improve this answer
If there's ever fog in the area you drive, you'll wish you didn't have the whiter ones too! Having those bright whites bouncing back at your eyeballs in the fog is "a bad thing". Put me down as a fan of the standard factory color temperature for normal driving. Night racing is the only reason I can think of for going whiter. Normally it's not worth blinding yourself in the fog to gain that extra percentage at night (which you'd normally have to be going over the speed limit to take advantage of). – Brian Knoblauch Apr 9 '13 at 17:11
Yes exactly, moisture is your enemy. – hillsons Apr 9 '13 at 22:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.