When driving at night, I like to have bright headlights that can pierce through the darkness. I want to see the road ahead as far as possible, especially during inclement weather. For this reason, I had HID bulbs installed in my car.
HID bulbs provide an intense light source for me to see far ahead. If you want to see better, like me, you should find an aftermarket shop that gives quality ballasts to run your HID bulbs.
In my search for the best HID ballast, I discovered ten items that captured my interest. Here, I will share what I think about them. I’ll also give my insights into picking the best aftermarket HID ballast and answer some of the more frequently asked questions about them.
Table of Contents
- Best HID Ballast Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying HID Ballasts
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best HID Ballast Reviews
1. HYB Digital HID Ballast
I once worked on a newer car model which has a Canbus system. For a ballast to work appropriately, it has to be Canbus compatible; otherwise, an error message will appear in the dash. I got these HYB Canbus Slim Digital HID Ballasts for that vehicle, and I loved it!
When I turned it on for the first time, the lamps took less than 3 seconds to reach their full brightness. It has a pretty fast reaction time, perfect when you’ve just entered a tunnel, and you need your eyes to adjust to the darker environment quickly.
I like that it’s also brighter than other lamps that I’ve tried. I think it uses an AC inverter technology to reach higher lamp levels and have a stable operation at that level.
The company claims that it has a 35,000-hour working life. That’s approximately six years of using your headlights for 12 hours every day, which I think most drivers wouldn’t reach.
I remember when I first took it out of the box, I was pretty surprised at how small this unit is. Nevertheless, it worked well, and I had no problems placing it anywhere in the engine bay. Installation was a breeze, with its plug-and-play system.
- Fast response – maximum brightness is reached in less than three seconds
- AC-inverter technology provides brighter light than other bulbs
- Extended working life, tested up to 35,000 hours
- You can place the small unit anywhere in the engine bay
- The ballast is easy-to-install and is plug-and-play for many cars
- Some vehicles required decoding after installation to remove dash warning light
2. Xentec Slim HID Ballast
I once worked on a small subcompact hatchback with minimal space in the engine. My lady friend asked for help on upgrading her small car’s lights to HID, but most of the ballasts I find are too big to fit in the cramped space.
Good thing I came across the Xentec Slim Ballast – its small size fits just right, and it allowed her to have bright headlights at night.
I liked how it was compatible with most bulbs; when I ordered it, I had no qualms that it won’t go on the car. Also, its small build will fit almost all vehicles. I can’t think of a car that this slim ballast won’t fit in.
Despite its build, it provides a bright, consistent light for me. I am amazed at how Xentec built something so small yet give out so much power. The ballast itself is fully waterproof, so I’m sure that even if I install this in my truck that I use for offroading and fording rivers, it won’t short out.
Given its small size and universal compatibility, I didn’t have a hard time installing this digital HID ballast. The length of its power cables and its standard ports make upgrading vehicles a breeze.
- Its tiny build will let if fit even in the smallest of vehicles
- Will work with most bulbs
- Provides consistent, bright light despite its size
- Fully-waterproof housing makes it safe to use for most applications
- All its features make it easy to install on almost all vehicles
- The case is susceptible to warping; not recommend using this near heat sources
3. COROTC Xenon HID Ballast
The COROTC Super Slim Xenon HID Ballast is another for you if you’re focused on value. I like this one, too, because they come as a set. If you’re upgrading your vehicle from your stock headlamps, you should go for this one.
These ballasts are quite powerful at 35 watts. I tried it out one time, and I really loved the additional brightness it offered overstock lamps. I also liked that it has a built-in voltage regulator, protecting my bulbs from voltage fluctuations.
When I installed it in a car, it easily slotted in place over the previous ballast. I didn’t have to spend over one hour just to put it in. I also like that they included zip ties, making for a neat install. The slim size of the ballast itself makes it easy to fit anywhere in the engine bay.
When I checked the product housing, its waterproof characteristics protect it from splashes of water in the engine bay, especially when it rains hard. The heat resistant material will also make it last longer because these bright headlamps do get warm from extended use.
- Comes as a set – no need to make two purchases if you’re upgrading your lights
- Powerful unit provides twice the brightness over stock halogens
- Built-in voltage regulator protects the HID bulbs
- Fast and easy-to-install with included zip ties for cable manageme
- A slim device can fit anywhere in the engine bay
- The waterproof and heat-resistant unit makes product life last longer
- Not compatible for vehicles requiring decoders
4. DZG HID Headlight Ballast
I once installed an HID set up on a newer truck. Because of modern technology, its electronics require CAN-bus compatible parts. The DZG HID Xenon Headlight Ballast has this functionality while offering a more stable AC power source for the bulb at a very bright 55-watt power level.
I personally prefer AC ballasts because they provide a more powerful light output and a longer useful life than similarly rated DC ballasts.
The build quality of this device is also impeccable. The aluminum case is solidly-built and withstands vibration, temperature, and even electronic interference. I love that it is both waterproof and dustproof, so I can install it even in vehicles that wade in rivers and other deep waters.
The features that this ballast has keeps me at ease when driving my car. It has short-circuited protection, automatically shutting down the unit and protecting your vehicle’s electronics. It can also monitor and control voltage that goes into the bulb, preventing it from burning out due to overvoltage.
I found the ballast easy to install. I didn’t have to make any modifications, and the plugs fit perfectly. When I tested it, the lights worked perfectly and heated up quickly – plus, the warning lights on the dash have now disappeared.
- Very bright 55-watt output
- The AC ballast allows for a more brilliant light and extended life
- The solid aluminum case protects the ballast from everyday wear and tear
- Waterproof and dustproof makes it useful in all situations
- Increases road safety thanks to short-circuit protection and voltage control
- Easy to install, plug-and-play solution
- One of the pricier models on the market
5. Innovited 35W 12V HID Ballast
I wanted to replace my old ballasts, which recently gave out, with OEM models. However, those are very cost-prohibitive, so I decided to go for third-party brands. I tried the more affordable Innovited Slim Ballast for my truck, which has worked wonderfully so far.
This ballast typically works with the most common bulbs, so I didn’t have to worry about compatibility. It is also small enough, so whether you have a truck like me or a small subcompact, you could easily install it anywhere.
What’s impressive is that it has a 5,500-hour service life – an equivalent of 229 days of continuous use. If you drive 5 hours every day at night, then that’s around 15 years!
I also like that it seems to be solidly built. The case holds up well to pressure; it didn’t creak or bend when I held it firmly to install on my vehicle. It’s rated to operate from -40°F to 221°F so that you can use it practically anywhere – from the polar tundra to the deserts of Africa.
They also have excellent customer service. One time, the product they sent me didn’t work. After a couple of emails, they sent me a replacement – free of charge! It doesn’t get any better than that.
- Compatible with most common bulbs
- The slim and small design will fit most vehicles
- Impressive 5,500-hour service life, can work continuously for at least 229 days
- Solid build; the outer case doesn’t creak or bend when installed
- Rated to operate in areas with different temperatures from -40°F to 221°F
- Excellent customer service
- The item comes singly, may need to reorder when upgrading or replacing both bulbs
6. Tiziri Xenon Ballast DC 12V HID
If you’re looking for an affordable HID ballast on the market, then look no further than the Super Slim Xenon Ballast DC12V HID. I absolutely liked this item because it comes in a pack of 2 – no need to make multiple purchases when upgrading a headlight set.
The high 55-watt output of this ballast gives me a very bright headlight for my vehicles. I can see clearly from further away, and I get a better awareness of my surroundings.
The DC technology they used for this ballast consumes 35% less power. Therefore less heat is generated inside the engine bay. Less heat also means a longer life span for both the ballast and the bulb.
I’m impressed because the ballast, even though it has a higher rating, is tested to work up to 3,600 hours. That’s 150 days of continuous use!
Its aluminum housing makes for a very stable mounting platform and protects the ballast from both water and dust. I can place it anywhere in the engine bay, and I’m sure it won’t give out. It’s also universal, so I didn’t have to worry that my bulbs won’t work with the ballast.
I loved these DC ballasts – they’re compact, easy to install, don’t heat up as much, and are very reliable!
- It comes in a pack of two
- The high 55-watt output will give out brighter light at longer distances
- Consumes less power and produces less heat
- Reliable operation – tested to work for up 3,600 hours or 150 days of continuous use
- Compact and easy to install, will work with most light bulbs
- Aluminum housing protects the ballast from the elements
- Drilling holes on the car body or frame might be required to mount the ballast
7. AA Ignition HID Ballast
If you’re driving a Nissan & Infiniti vehicle and need a replacement ballast, consider the HID Ballast with Ignitor. It has been specifically designed for these brands and will work without any issues.
When I compared the original Nissan ballast with this one, I can confidently say it has pretty much similar build quality – but at a fraction of the price. Since its design is specifically made for my car, I didn’t have to do any decoding or programming when I plugged it into my vehicle.
Installation is also a breeze; it’s a simple matter of unplugging the old ballast and then plugging this one in its place. Even the ballast itself slots easily near the headlight.
I also loved that the manufacturer’s website gives me advice and direction on how to check my bulbs – that way, I can be sure that it is the ballast that’s broken and not the bulb.
The company’s quick action on my purchase was also a pleasant surprise. The ballast arrived precisely one day after I bought it online. That means that my car was down for only one night after my stock ballast got busted.
- Specifically designed to work with Nissan and Infiniti vehicles
- It has the same build quality as the stock OEM ballast – at a fraction of the price
- Quick and easy installation, no programming or decoding needed
- There’re instructions on how to check whether the bulb or the ballast is broken
- Fast one-day delivery by the company
- Have to check your cars make and model to see if it is compatible
8. Xenon HID 12V 35W Ballast
The Xenon Universal is an affordable HID ballast brand that provides power for Xenon HID headlamps. The best thing that I liked about this device is that it’s one of the more economical options available. Despite that, it is still solidly built and works well with one of my vehicles.
When I switched to Xenon headlamps, the light was definitely brighter than my previous halogen bulb. I like that the power consumption is less than half of my last set up and I expect this system to last much longer than the stock halogen.
I didn’t have a hard time installing it in my car; it was a pretty straightforward plug and play unit. My only issue is that it is relatively larger than other ballasts – you might run into problems if you have a smaller car.
- One of the most affordable models available in the market
- Brighter, higher intensity light as compared to my previous halogen setup
- Less power consumption will mean longer battery life for your car
- Solidly-built and will probably last longer than the stock system
- Easy-to-install plug-and-play system
- The large unit will take up some space and might not fit for smaller vehicles
9. Yikesai HID Headlight Ballast
If you have a Nissan or Infiniti with a broken headlight ballast, you should look at this device. It’s specifically designed to replace your OEM ballast and offers the same quality as the original item.
This Xenon HID Headlight Ballast meets and even exceeds the specifications set forth by the manufacturer of your Nissan car. For this reason alone, it is guaranteed to work and will be a breeze to install.
I find that this headlight gives off precisely the same brightness as the stock HID headlight, so I am satisfied that it performs up to par. When I checked the device’s body, its build quality is consistent with what was initially installed.
I know that ballasts are negatively affected by moisture and heat. I have seen some HID kits that have stopped working because of water ingress or due to warped cases. I liked this Xenon HID ballast because its case is tightly sealed, preventing water ingress. The plastic material they used is also heat resistant to stand up to the engine bay’s heat.
I ordered this product because it has been tested before sending – that means that there is a slight chance of me getting a busted product. This is particularly useful if you need a reliable replacement quickly.
- Specifically designed to work with Nissan and Infiniti headlights
- Meets and exceeds the original specifications of the vehicle manufacturer
- Performs and built like the original ballast
- Offers water protection, and resists engine bay heat
- Product is tested before being delivered
- Higher price as compared against other universal ballast brands
10. Innovited HID Digital Ballast
If you’re looking for a more powerful HID conversion kit and you’re willing to invest some money, then I would recommend these for you. The Innovited 55W AC HID Slim Digital Ballast will pretty much work on any vehicle while giving out extra bright light.
I like this digital ballast because it comes in two pieces – perfect when I’m upgrading car headlights. They’re also AC powered, meaning they’re brighter as compared with DC setups while offering a longer life span.
This HID consumes less power as compared with the previous halogen bulb. That means it will run cooler and have a longer life versus the halogen bulb.
What I love about this specific model is that it is IP68 water and dust resistant certified. Those certifications mean that I can confidently place this anywhere in my car, and it will stand up to the rigors of daily driving.
It is also tested to last up to 6,000 hours of continuous use. If I’m driving 5 hours every day with the lights on, that’s more than three years!
- Compatible with most vehicles
- Comes in two pieces, perfect when you’re upgrading your headlights
- HID ballast consumes less power and runs cooler than stock halogens
- IP68 dust and water-resistant rating protect the ballast from the environment.
- Tested for up to 6,000 hours of continuous use
- Customer service needs improvement
The Innovited AC HID Slim Digital Ballast is a good option if you want to upgrade your headlight system and can afford to spend a little more. It is a higher model as compared to the DC Ballast; it provides brighter light and a longer life span for your bulb.
What to Look for When Buying HID Ballasts
The ballasts that I have shown so far are all pretty good options. While I would recommend them all, you also have to know what you need to get the best ballast for HID. Ballasts come in different shapes and sizes, so you have to understand your vehicle’s specifications.
Upgrade or Replacement?
If your car already runs on HID, chances are you don’t need to purchase a ballast. You will only need this if the one in your car is broken. The signs of a defective ballast are the following:
- No light coming from the bulb
- A change in the bulb color
- Flickering headlights
- Delayed response time from off to on
Those signs that I’ve mentioned can either be a problem with the ballast or with the bulb. If only one bulb is not working correctly, you can move it to the other headlight and test it there to determine if it or the ballast is the problem.
However, I’d recommend that you have your car checked by a professional if you’re not familiar with its systems.
On the other hand, if you’re upgrading your car, you should buy a complete kit. You need bulbs, ballasts, and igniters to make an HID system work. Without any of those parts, the HID headlights will not turn on.
There are primarily three different power levels for most HID bulbs. They are 35 watts, 55 watts, and 70 watts. The most common rating is 35 watts because it is what most car manufacturers have installed as stock on their vehicles.
If you are replacing your ballast, you should find out its power requirements as it won’t work if the ballast and bulb are not compatible.
If you’re upgrading, you have to determine which one would work better for you. While some say that a 70-watt HID bulb is the brightest HID kit you can buy, decide whether it is vital for your application. You also have to consider that higher-powered ballasts and bulbs produce more heat. If your headlight assembly is not rated for those temperatures, you might damage it in the long run.
Canbus or Not?
Some newer vehicles require ballasts to be Canbus compatible. It is an electronic communication system that allows electronic parts and devices to communicate with each other. Suppose you install a non-Canbus ballast onto a Canbus-equipped car. In that case, you will consistently get warning lights on your dash, even if you have installed a new and adequately working HID kit.
Both AC and DC ballasts are available in the market today. While DC ballasts are more affordable and work with most bulbs, I recommend going for the pricier AC versions. HID Bulbs are typically designed with AC ballasts, so they last longer using those devices. AC Ballasts also give higher brightness for the same watt output.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m going to answer the most common questions that people around me ask about HID ballasts. Read through them below and find answers here.
What are the most trusted HID Ballast Brands?
Two of the most trusted brands that I have heard are DZG and HYB. They’ve been in the market for some years now and have experience making thousands if not hundreds of thousands of bulbs and ballasts.
Do HID Ballasts Wear Out?
Most high-quality ballasts don’t wear out slowly – it’s either they’re working, or they’re not. The most common reason for ballasts to stop working is either through water or heat damage – or a combination of both.
Ballasts contain electronics sensitive to water, so any build-up of condensation or moisture inside its case will probably short out something inside. If the ballast case is also affected by heat damage, then it will lose its water integrity.
How Do I Know if My Ballast is Bad?
The most common symptoms of HID lighting system problems are buzzing sounds, dimming or flickering lights, changing colors, or the HID bulb just won’t turn on. But it doesn’t mean that your ballast is already down for the count. Here’s a list of some of the things that you should check before going in for service.
- Check the Ballast Physically
Look for the following signs on your ballast first. If you see any of them, then most likely, your ballast needs replacement.
- Burn marks
- Swollen or melted casing
- Damaged or perforated case
- Look for Loose Connections
Sometimes, the plugs weren’t properly attached, or they might have come loose over time. Check each connection to see if anything is loose. Also, make sure that there is no damage to the plug. If there is damage, a simple plug replacement will suffice – you don’t need to change the entire assembly.
- Bulb Swap
In most cases, bulb or ballasts will give up singly – not together. That is why simply swapping the bulb between the driver and passenger side is an effective way to determine which part is having a problem.
If you switch the inoperative light from, say, the driver to the passenger side, and it still doesn’t work, then the problem is with the bulb. If, on the other hand, it works and the previously working bulb from the passenger side no longer lights up at the driver side, the problem is with the ballast.
- Multimeter Testing
If you have one of these at home, you can also try testing the ballast with a multimeter. Just unplug the device from your car and test each connection if you get a reading. If you don’t get any results, then your ballast is definitely out.
What does a Ballast Do in an HID System?
The ballast is required to turn on your HID lamps. A high voltage is necessary to jump-start your HID bulbs, but it doesn’t require that much power once it is on. The ballast will regulate the energy it provides so that the light produced will be steady and avoid flickering.
Without a ballast, HID bulbs will continuously receive more energy than required and significantly shorten its lifespan and reliability.
How to Install an HID Ballast?
Most of these devices are simple drop-in replacements, especially if you already have an existing HID system. You just have to make sure that the bulbs you have are compatible with the ballasts you bought.
On the other hand, if you upgrade your headlights from ordinary halogen lamps, you should consider getting a whole kit instead. These kits include bulbs, ballasts, and igniters. Installing these might be a bit more complicated, and I recommend that you get a professional’s services. You don’t want to mess with your car’s electricals if you don’t know what you’re doing!
Do HID Ballasts Get Hot?
Ballasts can get hot, but they’re typically designed to work in those temperatures. If you’re concerned about it, you can purchase heat sinks online and then install it on the ballast. Just make sure that you don’t damage the case when you attach it to your ballast.
If you already have an existing HID system, then you don’t have to worry too much about choosing the best HID ballast for your vehicle. As long as it works with the bulbs that you have installed, then you’re fine. If you’re saving money, you could go for the DC ballasts, but I still recommend the AC ballasts if you can afford them.
However, if you’re upgrading, I highly recommend that you go for kits – they’re more affordable. You would need all of the parts included there to make your HID lighting system work. If you want to know more about it, we will tackle the best HID kits in another review.
I am Edwin Jones, in charge of designing content for Galvinpower. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. It has been fun to work with Andrew and apply his incredible knowledge to our content.