Save Money or Buy Quality?

The age old dilemma. Are high priced LED Headlight bulbs actually any better than the cheap ones you can find at places like Amazon, Iowa80 or Raney’s? We hear this a lot, and it is severely clouded by false marketing claims by Chinese bulb makers that make it difficult for consumers to make a proper decision.

Generic LED Bulb
Generic Cree LED Bulb

If you go on Amazon and look up LED Headlight Bulbs, you’ll find a infinite amount of colorful and nicely packaged bulbs, all at a very attractive price. They compete in a very saturated market so in order to get noticed, they have started resorting to misleading marketing claims because there is no recourse to do so. If a person takes some time and digs into this, you’ll find that many of these LED bulbs are very generic and seem to closely resemble each other, and for good reason. Many of them are in fact the same bulb, just painted a different color or repackaged, some without a name, but they all have one thing in common : the price is very tempting.

Comparing Cheap vs Expensive

As a consumer, it’s hard to know if a bulb you are considering is of high quality or a pile of trash. You must rely on the word of the seller, and that is difficult with so many false claims and misleading marketing. There are generic LED headlight bulbs that claim 12,000 Lumens that sell for $50, so why would you ever consider a bulb that sells for $175 and only claims 2600 Lumens? This is where you need a trusted middle ground, this is where BTS Lighting comes in. BTS Lighting was founded by truckers for truckers. After a decade of spending thousands upon thousands of our hard earned dollars on garbage lighting for us, as well as our drivers, we were able to hone in on the best options. We finally decided to turn it into a source for fellow truckers to find reliable, high quality lighting without wasting their money. I say a couple of things that sounds clich√© but are very true…..

We spend our money, so you dont have to.

We have spent way more money on lighting than any trucking company should ever need to, especially seeing as these companies all claim very long life and unmatched reliability. We have now started BTS Lighting to be a voice for truckers who want great uncompromising lighting options, which is why we are now starting to bring in all sorts of lighting options to test out and compare. We will be starting to release videos soon, comparing our results so you, as a consumer, can see with your own eyes what the bulbs look like in big rig specific housings that matter to you.

We don’t tell you our products are good because we sell them, we sell them because they are good.

This is the most important thing that we need to tell people. It is the base that we built our company on. Every product that we test was sent to us by a potential supplier, and will be tested as potential products we sell. We are not testing products to make the ones we sell look better. If we come across a product in our testing that holds up to the rigors we put them through and does what it say it does, you will start seeing us selling that product. We are loyal to no supplier, only to our customers. If any product in our lineup starts to show weakness, it is instantly removed from our website because, we know you aren’t out there in Honda Civics. You demand reliability and proper output.

What Makes a High Quality Bulb Better?

Higher price doesn’t necessarily mean its a better bulb. We’ve seen many North American companies start selling rebranded Chinese bulbs for high end price points and get away with it, because they market it right and know that their bulb is an improvement over the horribly weak halogen bulb it replaced. This is why finding a trusted source is of utmost importance.

sl1 morimoto xenondepot
Diode Dynamics SL1 vs Competitors

Lets look at the Diode Dynamics SL1 LED Bulb for a quick second. The SL1 literally changed the way high end bulbs are made when it was released. Diode Dynamics does things a little differently. They focus much of their attention on selling the most reliable product on the market and although no LED replacement bulb (regardless of claim) is street legal, Diode Dynamics tried to make theirs so when the laws get updated, it may fall into that category. The SL1 does not usually test as bright as some of the other high end bulbs, but then again, it never tried to. It is very superior to generic bulbs in testing, but clearly states on its package “Street Legal Output”. Diode Dynamics also uses superior cooling technologies, including direct solder copper PCB boards in order to create the most reliable bulb possible. The difference is a bulb with unmatched reliability and output. There are many generic LED bulbs you can buy that have bright output as well, the problem is more times than not, they over clock the LED chip and they cannot cool the bulb enough due to a weak heat management system. You will see some generic bulbs actually burn their anodized coating off the bulb in a short amount of time, this is due to the bulb running too hot. Not only will this bulb be unreliable, it can actually damage your headlight housing. With high quality build material used and proper LED chips, Diode Dynamics can make the bulb brighter than most generics out there and also last longer.

Diode Dynamics SL1 Kenworth T700
Diode Dynamics SL1 Kenworth T700

Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0

Our favorite option is the new Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 (Not to be confused with the version 2.0 in the Diode Dynamics picture above) The 3.0 is hands down, the most innovative LED bulb we’ve ever laid our eyes on!

Morimoto 2-Stroke 3.0
Morimoto 2-Stroke 3.0

Morimoto has been around a long time, they always made higher quality products that tried to be the brightest, but in recent years they have started to focus much of their attention on even distribution of light over max raw lumens, and the results are a thing of pure beauty. When we compare LED headlight bulbs, we see the beam patterns shift drastically between bulbs, they all have bright spots and severe voids. You may not notice these voids as the other headlight fills it in but when you meet another vehicle, these voids are where you lose sight of the road. The Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 very closely mimics the factory beam pattern, and has great distribution with no voids in light. This is probably the most overlooked part of a LED bulb.

The Untold Tale of the LED Chip

When you go out and buy a new Mercedes with intelligent LED Headlights, they don’t have CREE LED chips in there. Its OEM Automotive grade chips made from Osram or Philips, why? Because they are much more reliable and can be focused much better than generic LED chips, meaning they can run a lower wattage and still produce more light. Of course, this goes against some generic bulbs claims of 360 degree light output being a good thing. If it were, why wouldn’t the OEM be using this?

The Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 use the same logic, they run Osram HKL LED chips. They come at a higher price tag, which is why generic LED bulbs don’t use them. The automotive grade LED chips alone costs more than many Generic bulbs do! The result is so worth it. Once you’ve seen these bulbs in action, you’ll never go back! 2001 called, they want their CREE LED back..

The Rest is the Gravy

Morimoto 2-Stroke 3.0
Morimoto 2-Stroke 3.0 Heat Management

Lets start with the heat management system, the Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 does things differently here as they do with everything else on this bulb. This is a closed system, nothing external of the headlight. It has a intake and an exhaust just like your engine, with the intake sucking air in one side of the bulb and exhausting the dissipated heat out the other side via a 12,000rpm fan. The result of this is the air being circulated in the headlight assembly, slowly warming the housing and lens, melting snow and ice and keeping it from building up! We’ve tested this in a article written HERE.

The Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 has bulb specific designs with focal points very closely matching the halogen bulb it is replacing. For a H4 bulb, they use shade cups to direct some of the light upward, resulting in a 10% increase in light being directed onto the roadway just by this addition alone. The H11 bulb uses a tension spring that tilts the bulb slightly downward, which is a little known fact that your halogen bulb does this. The bulb can be easily rotated to line the LED chips up horizontally like they were designed to, this is a very important point as not all bulbs fit in all housings the same. The 2 Stroke 3.0 will run at 10% power if you have a low voltage DRL circuit, making the bulb last longer by not running at full power when its not needed.

The Results?

I will put the new Morimoto 2 Stroke 3.0 against any Amazon LED headlight bulb any day, and I already know who the winner will be. Claim 12,000 Lumen all you want, we know its a lie.

There are brighter LED hedlight bulbs out there. Morimoto, nor I, claim this is the brightest. Out of any bulb I’ve seen, this one gives you the most usable light when and where it matters. Find us on social media, check out our Youtube channel and stay tuned because your about to start seeing just how drastic of a difference there really is.

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