In the past, cars used to use incandescent lights. Then brighter halogen bulbs came into use in the '80s. In recent years, however, auto manufacturers have begun the transition to "high-intensity discharge" or simply, “HID” lights. Also referred to by some as xenon headlight, these headlights use metal halide lamps operating in xenon gas.

JLM HID Xenon Conversion KitBecause they are newer technology, they are most often found on today’s high-end, expensive rides, although some cars may have foreign knockoffs that are cheaper, but do not comply with U.S. regulations (especially where brightness is concerned). Cars with HID xenon light kits installed are extremely easy to spot because the lights have a more bluish tinge to them than a yellow one, and they are also by far the brightest lights on the road at night.

So, what’s so great about these newer headlights? HID light bulbs increase peripheral visibility as much as 70 percent more than other headlights, such as ones using halogen bulbs. Properly installed HID light kits also provide much more illuminated coverage than their predecessors. As a bonus, these headlights can instantly make a car look more expensive, even when installed on older, less costly and less recognizable vehicles. Basically, using quality HID light kits can help the everyman feel like a king— while driving, at least.

HID Xenon LightsOn that note, what if you want these bright headlights but don’t want to spend all the extra money on a brand new vehicle? Fortunately, you can buy HID light kits separately and install them on your existing car. HID headlight kits are some of the easiest auto parts to install, even for those who are not very mechanically savvy. Only the most basic of non-electric hand tools are required, such as a screwdriver, socket wrench and wire cutters. Still, read what is included in each light kit before buying, so you know whether you’ll have to buy other tools as well.

HID LightBefore installing your new headlights, be sure to check out your state’s regulations on HID light kits to make sure yours are legal and follow road standards. Remember that states have different statutes, so look up the ones where your car is registered, not necessarily which may or may not be where you spend a lot of time driving. You want to be able to see while driving at night, but illegal headlights can be too bright, which can temporarily blind oncoming drivers and put you both at risk.

HID technology is not just limited to headlights— your car’s fog lights can have them has well. If anything, HID lights are best used for fog above any other condition. They can cut through dense fog much better than other types of car lights can, and this not only increases your safety but that of other drivers. HID fog light kits are typically a little smaller than regular HID headlight kits, but the components and installation procedures are very similar.

HID light kits are not just limited to cars. Motorcycles can have them as well, although if you are planning on installing it on your own motorcycle you’ll need to look into special HID motorcycle light kits (naturally, the shape and size difference between cars and motorcycles means you need different bulbs and supplies).

HID Light ConnectorsThere are also separate HID light kits for trucks. Drivers of large, commercial trucks may have to specially order them through a trucking company if they work for one. If independent transporters, truck drivers should go through the manufacturer of their vehicle to make sure they get the appropriate headlights. On the other hand, small pickup trucks and the like can pick up HID light kits at many of the same auto parts stores that drivers of other cars can. Dodge Ram has even come out with their own set of these high-quality headlights in recent years. Although not all new Dodge Ram trucks come equipped with these lights, drivers can purchase Dodge Ram HID light kits that they can install themselves.

HID lights are not always meant for vehicles, however. In fact they can be used for entirely different purposes. For example, HID lights can be used for indoor gardens or growing projects. HID lights are actually the most popular lighting for growing indoors because of their intense light and high energy, although LED lights and Fluorescent lamps are also popular indoor lighting choices for these conditions. HID grow light kits are very different from those meant for vehicles. Because growing projects vary so much, HID grow light kits come in a wide range of materials. A typical grow light kit consists of ballasts, light bulbs and some small extra materials that are used to put everything all together. Last but not least there is the hood, which helps to angle the light in the desired direction. This is the most important component aside from the bulb itself, and there are many different kinds of hood shapes. Once you know what you are going to grow, be sure to research which HID light kit will best help your plants thrive.

No matter what your intentions for HID lights are, be sure to buy only trusted, established brands. If looking for grow lights, head to gardening stores and online retailers. If care headlights are what you want, look up HID light kits for sale in auto parts stores or recognized online sellers of other auto necessities and accessories. As mentioned earlier, this is especially important for cars because certain kinds of HID lights are actually illegal and can be very dangerous for other drivers. So, do the appropriate research, read reviews and check out which brands are now being installed in the newest car models. Philips, for example— also known as Philips Xenon— is a very trusted brand among car manufacturers. A Philips HID kit may be slightly pricier than one you could get from an unknown (and potentially illegal) brand, but shelling out the extra dough now will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.