By on September 6, 2019

best auxiliary lights

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

If you’re eating from the instant ramen end of the automotive menu (*ahem Ace of Base ahem*), chances are your new whip won’t have all the snazzy options a manufacturer has to offer. While economy of scale and common platforms increasingly ensures that base cars have some kit they would not have had just a few short years ago, costs have to be cut somewhere.

Binning fog lights or auxiliary driving lamps is usually one of the first stops on the Cost Cutting Express, causing a certain amount of forward illumination on cheap wheels to vanish like an ice cream cone in the sun. Sure, not all of those things are efficiently designed to cut though fog (recall the useless but stylish bumper buckets on the 1993 Bonneville SSEi) but the loss of light can’t be denied.

It’s important to note that some of the aftermarket fog and auxiliary lights on this list are intended for off-road use only, so be sure to check your local laws before lighting them up out on the freeway. Also, don’t be a Chad or Kyle and blind people ahead of you in traffic. Dim these things for oncoming cars, in other words. And seek installation help if you’re unsure what goes plugged in where. Car electrical fires are never fun.

With that legal mumbo jumbo out of the way, let’s check out the best auxiliary lights available. As Gul Madred asked Captain Picard: “How many lights do you see?”*

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

1. Editor’s Choice: Quad-Row LED Light Bar & Amber Marker Light Kit

yuguang led light bar

A proliferation of cheap LEDs has allowed manufacturers to create some powerful lights in very small (and affordable) packages. Your author paid much more than this for a simple set of incandescent fogs of approximately the same size as these unit. Difference was, those old lamps put out as much illumination as a couple of fireflies in a jam jar.

By adding a strip of amber light above and below the bright white LEDs, these lamps can be wired up for extra signal duties or forward-facing clearance markers. The twin rows of LEDs heave out 6K light from their sixteen points, while its aluminium alloy housing is designed to exhaust what little heat these things produce. Life span is an estimated 50,000 hours, meaning you can drive for five hours a day for over 27 years and not have to replace a bulb. At that point, there will probably be other maintenance issues.

Pros: Consistently great reviews, twin amber lines of light, IP68 waterproof rating

Cons: Amber is visible when turned off

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2. Editor’s Retro Choice: KC HiLITES 152 Apollo Pro 6″ 100w Fog Light System

kc hilites apollo pro fog light system

I’m listing a brace of Editor’s Choice units in this post, since I’m writing this thing. A good dose of retro cool is fantastic when it’s done right, and this modern take on KC HiLITES is just tremendous. Yes, they still deploy a halogen bulb but are now of a 100-watt rating and can crank out 200,000 candlepower. The system includes a complete relay wiring harness, switch kit, and those too-cool integrated stone guards.

A fog-beam pattern is said to offer improved visibility under rain, fog, snow, and dusty conditions. Just remember that you’re the one mounting these things, not automotive engineers with years of experience. If one illuminates the International Space Station while the other is searching for nightcrawlers, that’s on you.

Pros: Happy customer base, awesome retro looks

Cons: You’ll have to sell your mullet to pay for them

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3. Nilight 2-piece 18W Spot and Fog Light

nilight fog lights

Cube lights are nothing like cube roots or cubed cheese but they are infinitely more useful than either. Okay, with two rows of three LEDs, they’re technically a small rectangles but nothing rhymes with rectangle. The pod can be adjusted by about 45 degrees, making the alteration of light beam direction much easier.

IP67 waterproof rating means you can dunk these things in 3.3 feet of water for up to thirty minutes without worry. Its construction is also dustproof, according to the seller, so feel free to take them on the Rubicon. A huge sample size of reviews are largely positive, showing these lights mounted on vehicles from Wranglers to F-150s.

Pros: Very cheap, very bright, very small

Cons: Scattered reports of intermittent quality issues

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4. Zmoon 7-inch LED Fog Lights

zmoon led light bar

At 24,000 lumens, these sub-$30 lights should be capable of illuminating the dark side of the moon. Throwing 240W per pair, they cast a spotlight measuring 15 degrees and a wider beam of 170 degrees. Putting that in perspective, the average vertical range in the visual field of humans is around 150 degrees.

They’re lightweight, too, tipping the scales at just 1.5 pounds each. A die-cast aluminium profile should keep the lamps in good shape for a long time, given its extra resistance to wear and corrosion. The anterior side is covered in a heat sink for optimum cooling. Like others on this list, they should shine brightly for 50,000 hours.

Pros: Dual duty illumination, not expensive

Cons: Not exactly sleek

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5. AutoSaver LED Offroad Pod Lights

autosaver88 led offroad pod lights

Looking for all the world like a set of arachnid eyes, these round pods dispense with a shiny background between the LEDs and put black plastic in its place instead. This results in a distinctive lamp, one whose symmetrically positioned LEDs are easy to see when turned off. Measuring 7 inches in diameter by 2 inches thick, a quartet of them would line the front of a brodozer quite nicely.

An IP68 waterproof rating should make for a condensation-free performance, while an aluminium housing with heat sinks promote fast cooling. A spot beam throws focused light to add a punch of illumination down the middle of a lane, giving drivers a good distance of vision through the dark. You’d have to be travelling a good clip to overdrive these lights.

Pros: Slim construction, IP68 rating

Cons: Weirdo spider-eye style

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6. KaTur 2pcs High Power 3.5″ Projector MultiColor

katur high power projector rgb led fog light

Not every aftermarket fog light has to be deadly serious in its work, which is why your author selected these multicolor units from the Vulcan-sounding company called KaTur. Measuring just 3.5 inches in diameter, these little projector pods will snug in behind a grille or into a base model’s empty fog light bucket with ease.

Choose from seven different colors across the RGB spectrum, including blue and red. Note well: any use of those shades on public highways will likely end with a stern impromptu roadside chat with the local gendarmes who get quite cross when civilians flash reds and blues. Output is only 30W max for each light anyway, so best to keep these for the auto show.


Cons: It’s a bad idea to use them on the street

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7. Universal Chrome Housing Yellow Front Driving Fog Lamps

hk5 universal square fog light

If the KC HiLITES listed above are charmingly retro, these things are straight out of an old JC Whitney catalog. Yellow lenses in a chrome housing will look right at home on the bumper of your K5 Blazer or GMC Vandura. Incandescent bulbs, which will surely heave off a lot of heat, are in a housing measuring 5 inches wide by 1.75 inches high and 2.5 inches deep.

Old school screws are used for beam adjustment and seem to be of the type that will rust and seize after the first winter’s use. Standard H1 bulbs are used here, casting a 55W beam of light. The lone customer review mentions that the lens cracked after cold weather, probably a function of extreme heat and cold cycles. Your author had this same problem with the old aftermarket fogs on his car.

Pros: Old school cool, unique yellow lenses

Cons: Ancient tech, lens could crack in cold weather

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8. EEEKit 9-LED Fog Light Kit

eeekit universal led lights

Recall those LED strips of lights sold to jazz up items like toolboxes and car interiors? This nine lamp unit takes the same tack, as it is able to be curved ever so slightly around a car’s bodywork or truck’s bull bar. This flexible installation is marketed as good for auxiliary backup lights, turn signals, or fog lamps.

Equipped with 3M tape on its anterior side, these things are just about ten inches long and not quite an inch high, meaning the opportunity for creative placement is high. Customers report the connecting wires are small and thin but have plenty of slack with which to work. Recommendations abound to add your own adhesive in addition to the 3M gunk.

Pros: Creative install possibilities, dirt cheap

Cons: Dainty wiring

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*answer: there are FOUR lights!

[Images provided by the manufacturer. Lead image: kwanchai.c/Shutterstock]

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6 Comments on “In a Fog: Best Auxiliary Lights...”

  • avatar

    I would like a second opinion from Daniel J Stern.

    • 0 avatar

      Here here!

      I have two sets of the Nilights in flood in each of my trailers, I believe they are 7″.

      They are mounted at the front outer edges up near the winch pointing rearward.
      Invaluable for loading equipment in the dark and backing into narrow drives with steep ditches. They are outside 24/7 going on 4-5 years now with zero issues.

  • avatar

    I’m a little interested in the final lights as back up “cornering lights”, but wish they actually stated the number of Lumen or Candle Power.

    Regarding mounting them with 3M VHB IF that was what was on them I wouldn’t have any concern at all. On the average car there are a number of feet of that material holding on much of the trim. HOWEVER, when you look at the pictures it shows that it has M M M double stick tape, not 3M.

  • avatar

    The lights require SAE or DOT stamped into the lens to be certified “street legal”. That is what is required in Canada and both are USA ratings.
    Any lights that aren’t “legal” need to be covered when on public roads.

    • 0 avatar

      Rigid Industries (not Ridgid) makes some very nice LED lights, some of which are “SAE Compliant” for on-road use. They aren’t cheap, but are very well constructed.

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