HID conversion kits have been available for quite some time now so there are many different types and styles available to choose from and it may seem very confusing. A common question that gets asked is the difference between a 35W and 55W HID conversion kit. Besides the wattage, there are other differences such as brightness, heat, reliability, and color. Choosing the correct one for your needs is very important and there will be several factors that will play a role in your decision. This article will summarize the differences and provide a clear understanding of these two conversion kits.
The first difference is in the wattage and name itself. 35W HID lights is the standard output for most kits on the market as well as factory installed HID lights from manufacturers. 55w kits produce a significant increase in power output which results in a much brighter light. 35w HID kits are approximately three times brighter than the standard incandescent halogen bulb; 55w HID kits are even brighter and provide up to four to five times more output. These would be ideal for those looking for the best and brightest light available, but with the increased brightness does come with some downsides. The overly bright 55w HID bulbs may also cause excessive glare on many reflector based headlights, but to be fair, a 35w kit also causes some glare as these types of housings were not intended for HID usage. Having a projector housing will help with distributing the light to where you want it to.
One issue that a 55w HID conversion kit may face is overheating. Typically, HID lights run cooler than most incandescent halogen bulbs they replace, but a 55w kit creates excessive heat that can melt the housing or even the wiring that connects to the light. There are headlights that are made of metal which can withstand the heat better, but there are many headlights that are made from plastic that are susceptible to this kind of damage. The wiring can be upgrade to ceramic plugs instead of plastic to better handle the heat, but there will still be risks involved.
Next up is the reliability, 35w kits are designed with brightness and longevity in concern whereas 55w kits are not. 55w kits are intended for superior and maximum light output. The higher wattage allows the 55w kit to be brighter, but it does cause more evaporation of the electrodes and gasses that make up the HID bulb over time. 35w kits may outlive your vehicle when used properly, but a 55w kit may only last as long as a regular incandescent halogen bulb or shorter as the material evaporates every time the light turns on.
The last difference is the color for the HID bulbs. 6000K will look different on the two HID kits despite coming from the same manufacturer and this is due to the output. The colors in 55w HID conversion kits tend to be more “washed out” and stepped down so a 6000K will look similar to a 4500-5000K color. This difference in color is acceptable for most as white is the best color for the human eye to see in and would function very well in limited visibility conditions. While there are higher Kelvin temperature 55w HID kits available, it makes little sense to get it as the higher you go in HID Kelvin temperature, the output reduces; this would cause a 12000K 55w HID conversion kit to produce similar output compared to a 8000K 35W HID kit.
In concluding this article, there are obvious benefits of using a 55w HID conversion kit for your vehicle, but there are also downsides to it as well. In the end, the variables will have to be analyzed and studied as some may not apply to the application and some may. With this being all stated, there is a specific reason why factory HID systems are only rated at 35w. 55w kits are available for those who want the brightest light out there and like what basic economics state; when there is demand, there is always usually a supply.