The first LED headlight bulb showed up in the market at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV in November 2011 from a Chinese company that actually invented the technology (yes, that’s right… the first LED headlight bulb was invented in China!) and the technology quickly ignited the imagination and excitement of the entire automotive aftermarket. After the first bulb styles hit the market it was a race for companies to build on the technology to find the best and brightest LED headlight bulb to sell to their customers.
We tested the Street Glow XHP Series, the Putco Silver-Lux, the new Oracle 4000LM bulbs, and the new GTR Lighting GEN 3 Ultra LED Bulbs.
The results are SURPRISING!
The interesting thing about LED bulbs is until that first one was displayed the LED technology wasn’t bright enough to work in an automotive applications. Ever since then, every 6 months or so the next generation of bulbs kept getting better. It was a building game between a better LED bulb and a better heat sink. First, the LED bulb got brighter and hotter, then the heat sink tech got more efficient, followed by a brighter LED chipset, then a more efficient heat sink. So on and so forth until we reach today where there are many LED bulbs that are successfully brighter than OEM bulbs, and have a fairly decent beam pattern! It’s taken a few years and early adopters got to experience the lacklustre performance of early bulb models.
As you can see the GTR Lighting GEN 3 bulb has the best beam pattern of all other LED bulbs, and it’s brighter. More light and a better beam pattern.
In the above diagram you can see from top left, to bottom right you see the stock halogen bulb and 520 lux, then the GTR Lighting GEN 3 Ultra Series bulb at 950 Lux, then the Putco Silver Lux with a decent beam pattern but less light output than the other one, only 610 Lux. The next one measuring 430 Lux is less light than stock, this is the Oracle “4,000 Lumen” LED bulb. The VLEDs SMZ LED bulb with the long flexible heat sink only measures 280 Lux in this housing (half as bright as the OEM halogen bulb), and lastly the black Putco Nite-Lux has the worst Lux output and the worst beam pattern of them all in this particular housing.
The reason for measuring Lux instead of just Lumen is because Lumen isn’t a very good measurement of the actual real-world brightness of a lighting fixture. You need to measure Lux at the same point in each bulb to get a good sense of which one is brighter. Then you need to examine beam pattern to see if the light is actually usable. as you can see the Oracle bulb (#4 in the chart) shows 4,000 Lumen but a lower Lux light output and the GTR Lighting GEN 3 bulb (#2 in the chart) shows a whopping 950 Lux, but only 3,700 Lumen, and an excellent beam pattern. So, Lumen doesn’t tell the whole story.
So, once you pick the correct bulb it’s time to make it work! Unfortunately, the Jeep Wrangler JK isn’t just plug and play due to the built-in CANBUS system the vehicle uses to control and monitor the headlights. It’s necessary to use a CANBUS integration module.
The Jeep Wrangler JK LED CANBUS kit includes a GTR Lighting GEN 3 Ultra LED bulb, a LED CANBUS integration module, and an adapter wire to make the whole thing plug and play.
Here is the Jeep Wrangler JK LED Headlight Kit all plugged in so you can see how it works. This assembly makes the kit an easy plug and play install.
This install system is a little large and bulky with the long wiring, but it’s the easiest to use, most effective LED system on the market, and it’s half the price of a full LED headlight housing replacement product! For example the JW Speaker 8700 J LED headlights sell for $500-$6000 for the kit, and this LED bulb system is half the price!
The GTR Lighting GEN 3 LED Bulbs are the best LED bulb for the Jeep Wrangler JK headlight. Cheaper than a full LED headlight, and better performing than any other LED bulb!