A 20,000 LM LED Headlight Bulb: Myth or Reality?

The automotive industry has witnessed significant advancements in recent years, particularly in the field of automotive lighting. LED headlights have become increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency, longevity, and superior brightness.

Within the wide range of LED car lights available in the market, high-lumen LED headlight bulbs have emerged as a popular choice among customers. As they delivery a superior brightness and increased aesthetics look. As a result, certain LED car lights are being marketed with exaggerated ratings, reaching as high as 20,000LM and even 50,000LM for one bulb, leaving consumers curious about the possibility of such powerful LED headlight bulbs.

In this blog, we delve into the field of automotive lighting to explore whether a 20,000 lumen LED headlight bulb can truly exist or if it’s merely a product of exaggeration.

Lumens & Wattage

Before we find the answer, we need to understand the two most common parameters of LED car headlight bulb – lumens and wattage, and their relationship.

Understand Lumens:

Lumens (lm) measure the total amount of visible light emitted by a light source. In the context of LED headlight bulbs, lumens indicate the brightness of the light produced. Higher lumens signify a brighter light output, while lower lumens indicate a dimmer light.

Understand Watts:

Watts (W) measure the amount of electrical power consumed by the LED headlight bulb. In general, higher wattage corresponds to higher energy consumption and more heat generated by the bulb.

Understand Efficacy (Lumens/Watt):

Having gained an understanding of both watts and lumens, we can now employ both terms to calculate lumens per watt, also known as “efficacy” or “luminous efficacy.” This is a measure of how well a light source converts energy into lumens. The conventional halogen headlight bulbs only had an efficacy of about 15-20 lumens/watt. Depending on the chip and manufacturer, LED technology typically products 75-120 lumens/watt.

Fable or Proven: Can An LED Headlights Have 20,000 LM?

Most automotive LED headlamps are use high-power white LED lamp beads, and currently the upper limit for this type of chip is around 120 lumens/watt. Therefore, achieving 20,000 lumen per bulb would require a power consumption of 166 watts or more.

In this case, raising the power of LED chips to 166 watts would result in a core temperature of 600 degree, while the conjunction temperature of LED chips is only 150 degree. If the temperature exceeds this limit, the LED bulb would burn out.

That is to say, with the existing technology, a single LED headlamp with 20,000 lumens is challenging to achieve. However, if it is two lamps with a total of 20,000 lumens, it is still possible.1

Step By Step Verification

Let’s take Lumileds’ widely used chip, Z ES, as an example.

Lumileds Z ES spec

First, let’s take a look at the specifications of Z ES, examining its light output and the correlation between temperature and current.

Additionally, following conventional design, we will calculate using 6 pcs Z ES chips for each LED headlight.

Generally, we will choose 6500K white color LED chip, and their typical value is as follows:

PerformanceJunction Temperature (℃)Currant (mA)Luminous Flux (Lm) * 1 ChipLuminous Flux (Lm) * 6 Chip
Typical Value857002701620

In general design, LEDs are often overused, meaning the current exceeds the typical value, and we set it at 1200mA. In that case, the luminous flux will be multiplied by a factor of 1.56.

At the moment of illumination, assuming Tj is still at room temperature 25°C, the luminous flux will be multiplied by a factor of 1.13.

And the light output will be as follows:

PerformanceJunction Temperature (℃)Currant (mA)Luminous Flux (Lm) * 1 ChipLuminous Flux (Lm) * 6 Chip
Typical Value857002701620
lighting instant251200270*1.56*1.13=4762856

After a period of time, reaching a steady state, the junction temperature will exceed 160 degrees Celsius. At this point, the temperature coefficient changes from 1.13 to 0.8.

And the light output will be as follows:

PerformanceJunction Temperature (℃)Currant (mA)Luminous Flux (Lm) * 1 ChipLuminous Flux (Lm) * 6 Chip
Typical Value857002701620
Lighting Instant251200270*1.56*1.13=4762856
Steady State1601200270*1.56*0.8=3372022

After the LED bulb is installed inside the headlight housing, due to overheating, the lamp will automatically reduce the current, assuming a reduction of 15%, but the junction temperature remains high.

As a result, the current coefficient decreases from 1.56 to around 1.36.

And the light output will be as follows:

PerformanceJunction Temperature (℃)Currant (mA)Luminous Flux (Lm) * 1 ChipLuminous Flux (Lm) * 6 Chip
Typical Value857002701620
Lighting Instant251200270*1.56*1.13=4762856
Steady State1601200270*1.56*0.8=3372022
Current Down 15%; Steady State; Installed In Assembly1601020270*136*0.8=2941763

The result is obvious, assuming that the lamp can still maintain its peak lumen after being lit for a moment, that is 2856 LM.

Even with the 3570 chips currently used in the market, where 1 chip is equivalent to 6 Z ES chips, and 2 chips are equivalent to replacing 12 Z ES chips, the total luminance of one lamp is 5712 lumens.

Even if two lamps are combined, the total lumen output is still only slightly over 10,000 lumens (the most common on market).

With the improvement of the luminous efficiency of LED chips, there is indeed an LED headlamp on the market that can emit around 10,000 lumens of brightness (20,000 LM / Set), but it is also necessary to consider whether the light beam pattern is safe and whether the heat dissipation is effective.

Choose The Right LED Bulbs – Why Wattage Matters

The efficiency of LED bulb decreases as the temperature rises during operation. Therefore, the luminous efficiency is unstable, and consequently, the luminous flux is also unstable.

When considering which LED car light to choose, it is more appropriate to inquire about the power rating rather than the lumen.

All in all, it depends on your requirement. However, before that, you need to understand the two important factors of LED car lights: brightness and lifespan.

Although the theoretical lifespan of LED lights exceeds 30,000 hours. However, this data is based on standard current condition, which is only 1A. The standard voltage of automobile is 12V, making the standard power 12W.

LED headlight bulbs with 12W are only 40% brighter than halogen lamps, and probably not as bright as halogen bulb.

Choosing an LED headlight bulb with over 50 watts is essential, as it provides 2-3 times the brightness of halogen bulbs. Although the lifespan may decrease, it is still sufficient for 8-10 years of use.

Top 3 LED Car Light With High Brightness

Top 1 – NAOEVO NL LED Car Lights 10800LM

The NL LED headlights are designed to deliver a high-lumen of 10800LM 90W/bulb, which is 700% brighter than halogen.

In order to maintain a stable power wattage, the NL LED bulbs are equipped with 4575 6 pcs 70 mil large size flip chip, which reaches a high luminous efficiency of 120LM/W.

The chip arrangement developed by the NAOEVO team enables NL low beam to emit a clear cutoff line, providing a wide yet focused beam that allows drivers to see farther without causing glare to oncoming vehicles.

Continuous high-temperature operation of LED lights will reduce their brightness.

NL LED lights use larger dual copper tubes for heat dissipation, combined with a fan and aluminum fins, achieving three times faster heat dissipation compared to regular high-brightness LED lights.

Lighting Effect

(Low Beam and High Beam of NL LED)

Top 2 – NAOEVO NR LED Car Lights 6600LM

NAOEVO NR H4 55W 6600LM LED Headlight Bulb

Many high-brightness LED car lights in the market have large lamp bodies because it facilitates heat dissipation. However, NR LED lights perfectly combine the features of high brightness and a compact design.

Equipped with 6 pcs 3570 55mil flip chip, the NR LED lamps tend to delivery a stable high brightness of 55W 6600LM per bulb. An upgraded copper pipe helps to conduct 20W of heat each time, achieving longer lifespan than others.

The 1:1 lighting position as halogen bulb contributes to a standard and safe light beam pattern without causing glare to oncoming traffic.

The 55W has the same amount of energy as your original halogen headlight bulbs but produce 5 times brighter light. The intelligent Canbus driver makes it compatible with most headlight models.

Lighting Effect

(Low Beam and High Beam of NR LED)

Top 3 – NAOEVO ND LED Lights 8400LM

NAOEVO ND H7 70W 8400LM LED Headlight Bulb

NDLED lights are widely favored by consumers in the market. Among the numerous products from NAOEVO, they are one of the most stable in power and have an excellent light pattern among LED headlights.

They are able to deliver a high power of 70W 8400LM per bulb. The patented design of LED chip makes for a perfect light beam pattern, delivering a clear cutoff line, wide and long reaching beam.

ND LED lights use double copper tubes to conduct the heat of the chip to the base, and then distribute the heat to the air by high-speed fans and aluminum fins.

ND LED headlight bulbs are available in various models, such as h4, h7, h11, etc. Contact your supplier for the best wholesale price.

Lighting Effect

(Low Beam and High Beam of ND LED)


What are the key factors to consider when choosing a high-lumen LED headlight?

Brightness; Beam Pattern; Compatibility; Heat Dissipation; Legal Compliance

How to know the real brightness of high power LED headlight bulb?

Know the light efficiency of the LED chip, use the formula to calculate its approximate lumens. You can also use a light meter to measure lumens emitted by the bulb.

What is the highest lumen of LED headlight bulbs?

The NAOEVO NL LED Bulb. This LED bulb offers one of the highest lumen output of LED headlight bulbs, reaching a real high brightness of 21600LM.


In conclusion, the a 20,000 LM LED headlight bulb remains uncertain due to challenges in achieving such high brightness. While skepticism persists, NAOEVO emerges as a potential solution, offering quality LED headlight bulbs with impressive high brightness. Their expertise may bridge the gap between expectation and reality.

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