Written By
Published Nov. 9, 2021

You are driving along, minding your own business, when you see the dreaded red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. Your stomach sinks as you wrack your brain for what you did wrong. Surprise — your license plate light is out. This is a violation of the law, and you can get a ticket for having improper equipment on your vehicle. Thankfully, it is simple to avoid all of this hassle by simply replacing your worn-out stock halogen bulb with an LED one. They are longer lasting and more reliable, reducing our risk of it going out unexpectedly. Our guide will help you buy the best LED license plate light for your vehicle.

Best LED License Plate Lights Reviews & Recommendations

Replace your halogen bulbs with these high-quality LED license plate lights. They come in a pack of 10 and are compatible with 194, 168, 174, 175, 2825 bulbs. Installation is easy thanks to the non-polarity of the bulbs, so there’s no worrying about how you insert them for a direct plug-and-play halogen replacement. Each bulb has three 3030 high power SMD for plenty of light output. You’ll also appreciate that the bulbs have a useful life of 50,000 hours. The durability of these bulbs is impressive, with a high precision fiberglass circuit board for optimal current flow and heat dissipation.

Unfortunately, these bulbs emit more of a bluish light than a bright white light. So while the manufacturer claims that the bulbs produce 200 percent more light than halogen, you may not actually see the difference once installed. These lights also tend to flicker.

Specification
  • Brand SiriusLED
  • Model SiriusLED-T10
  • Type Omnidirectional
PROS

Pack of 10 bulbs

Fit bulb size: 194, 168, 174, 175, 2825

Non-polarity specific

Direct halogen replacement

CONS

Bluish tint to the light

Not 200 percent brighter

Flicker

Save money while still adding LED bulbs to your license plate light with this pair. They have a wired installation, come with plenty of wire to work with, and are clearly labeled red and black. The small size of these lights means they have a low power consumption. What you’ll like are the durable and waterproof housing that’s rated IP67 waterproof. The light these bulbs produce is a bright white light.

Unfortunately, there is only one LED chip in these bulbs, making them highly directional. You’ll need to line them up perfectly for the best lighting effect. If they move out of place, you could have no light on your license plate. The wires are also thin, making them susceptible to the cold and possibly breaking. The thin wires also make it difficult to hardwire the lights by soldering to your vehicle’s wires.

Specification
  • Brand Rupse
  • Model MT11KIT356
  • Type Directional
PROS

Easy to install

Low consumption

Rated IP67

CONS

Wires susceptible to breaking in cold temperatures

Thin wires

Light could be brighter

Upgrade your halogen license plate bulbs by replacing them with these festoon-style LED bulbs. They come in seven colors, but you should choose the bright white option to ensure your vehicle stays legal. There are two sizes available: 31 and 42 millimeters. A standout feature of these bulbs is the built-in CANbus driver that prevents error codes from triggering within your vehicle’s electrical system. In addition, the aluminum housing on these lights helps to dissipate heat for better operation.

Unfortunately, these bulbs can still trigger error codes in some cars, despite the CANbus driver. The bulbs are also quite long, making them hard to fit in tighter license plate housings even if they are compatible. The directional light also means you’ll have to perfectly align the bulbs for maximum lighting on your plate.

Specification
  • Brand Yorkim
  • Model YK2634
  • Weight Directional
PROS

Easy plug and play installation

Aluminum housing for heat dissipation

Built-in CANbus driver

CONS

Can cause an error message

Long size

Directional light

Replace your license plate bulbs with bulbs from this 10-pack of plug-and-play bulbs. They don’t have polarity, making them easy to install. These bulbs are compatible with T10, 147, 152, 158, 159, 161, 168, 175, 184, 192, 193, 194, 2825, W5W, and 194 OEM bulbs. This lets you use them throughout your vehicle and on a wide variety of vehicle makes and models. The all-over placement of the LED chips gives you a better beam pattern for more light coverage.

However, you won’t like that these bulbs can flicker because they don’t have a CANbus decoder. Unfortunately, this means they can also trigger error codes. Also, despite the broad compatibility, the size can be slightly off, creating too tight of a fit and difficult installation.

Specification
  • Brand ‎‎Marsauto
  • Model 13
  • Type Omni-directional
PROS

Better beam pattern

No polarity or flip

Can fit most light plugs in a car

CONS

May need a CANbus decoder

Can flicker

Difficult installation

Best Bright White

This 10-pack of LED bulbs can help you replace the halogen bulbs throughout your car, including your license plate light. They produce a bright white light at 6,000 Kelvins, with each bulb having two LED chips. You’ll find them easy to install with a simple plug-and-play process. They are compatible with 12V vehicles and replace OEM bulb sizes of T10, 147, 152, 158, 159, 161, 168, 175, 184, 192, 193, 194, 2825, and W5W.

Unfortunately, while the manufacturer says they are 6,000 Kelvins, the light has a blue tint. This can make them seem cooler and not as bright. The bulbs also have a conductive metal housing that can cause a short circuit, which can potentially damage your vehicle’s electrical system. Some of the bulbs in this pack could be defective.

Specification
  • Brand Sea Light
  • Model T10
  • Type Omni-directional
PROS

6,000 Kelvins

Easy installation

Versatile

CONS

Can create a short circuit with metal housings

Has a blue tint

Can include defective bulbs

How We Selected The Products 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.”

When choosing the best LED light bulbs, we looked for ones with broad compatibility. We considered the quality of the bulb housing and LED chips to determine the light quality and bulb durability. Finally, we considered the ease of installation and the bulb’s effectiveness at illuminating your license plate. Finally, we compared each LED light’s ability to perform to ensure long-term satisfaction and reliability. 

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

There are two types of LED lights that will illuminate your license plate: directional and omnidirectional. The type you choose depends on your vehicle’s current setup. Once you know your vehicle’s compatibility, you can find a light with an installation method you are capable of. Finally, consider the light brightness and color of the light. 

What to Consider When Buying LED License Plate Lights

Types of LED License Plate Lights

Directional 

Directional lights point their illumination in one specific direction. This is nice because it provides a focused and directed light for maximum illumination where you need it. The downside is that if the light bulb shifts, your light is now pointed in the wrong direction. This can lead an officer to assume you don’t have a light and pull you over. If your vehicle currently has a directional light, then you could be fine replacing it with another one. Typically, these vehicles have a locking mechanism that secures the bulb in place. 

Omni-Directional 

These LED bulbs have diodes on all sides and the end of the bulb body. This creates illumination that points in every direction. If you only have one bulb illuminating your license plate, then it is likely to be this type of design. This will give you a wash of light in multiple directions to ensure the entire plate gets illuminated. Be careful with this type of bulb. Lower-quality manufacturers will try to convince you that their bulbs are better because they have more chips on the bulb. This is not true if the diodes on the bulb are also low quality. 

LED License Plate Lights Key Features

Vehicle Compatibility 

The main requirement when shopping for bulbs is vehicle compatibility. First, the bulb needs to have the right type of connection to make it possible to install the bulb. Then it needs to have the right operating system to not trigger error codes within your vehicle. Finally, the physical size of the LED bulb needs to fit in the available space inside the bulb housing. LED bulbs can be longer than halogen, so know the measurements of the bulb and compare them to your current bulb to ensure it fits. Finally, the LED chips should line up with the reflective material inside the housing. Otherwise, it will never be as bright as you want it to be. 

Installation Method 

There are two standard methods for installation of your lights, plug and play or wired. Plug and play are nice because you remove the stock bulb and directly replace it with your new LED bulb. These bulbs typically come with a CANbus decoder to reduce the occurrence of error codes from your vehicle’s computer. If you go this route, you’ll need to find a bulb compatible with your vehicle. Wired LED bulbs are more complicated to install, requiring you to solder your new bulb into your vehicle’s wiring. This can give you more options when choosing a replacement LED bulb. However, the wires are typically short and delicate, creating a high risk for error. 

Brightness and Color

You should choose a license plate light that emits a bright white light. This will make your license plates easily seen. A warm yellow light may not be bright enough. A cooler light will have a blue tint to it. If it’s too blue, a picky officer may decide to give you a hard time. Somewhere in the 6,000 Kelvins range should be a solid bright white light. Lumens are the measurement for how bright a light is. The higher the number, the brighter and more powerful the light is. A cleaner white light or one that’s slightly on the cool side can look brighter at lower lumens than a warm light on the slightly yellow side. 

LED License Plate Lights Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and LED license plate lights. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • If you’re struggling to get the stock bulb out during replacement, try wearing latex gloves, using rubber-coated spark plug pliers, or wrap a towel around it and use regular pliers to pull the bulb out gently. Don’t squeeze too hard, or you’ll break the bulb. 
  • Sometimes you don’t need to replace your light bulb. You may just need to clean the dirt or replace the aged and yellowed lens cover. Doing both of these can increase the amount of light shining through. 
  • If you buy a vehicle that doesn’t have a rear license plate light, you can buy an aftermarket housing in addition to the bulb. This can also help if the stock light doesn’t effectively illuminate the entire plate.

FAQs

Q: Are blue LED tag lights illegal?

Yes, blue lights are prohibited. You should only have a bright white and steady light for your license plate. Because red and blue lights are used on law enforcement vehicles, having a blue light on your vehicle could confuse other drivers.

Q: How many lumens is a license plate bulb?

The average license plate bulb is 300 lumens. However, you can find bulbs that produce lower and higher lumens.

Q: Can a cop pull you over for a license plate light?

Yes, a police officer can initiate a traffic stop if your license plate light is out or missing. This is called an equipment violation. In addition, all of the exterior lights on your vehicle need to be in operating condition.

Q: Do you need a plate light?

Yes, you are required to have a license plate light on the back of your vehicle illuminating the rear plate. Because of this, newer vehicles come with a light already installed to ensure you are in compliance with the law. Some vehicles only have one light located above or below the middle of the plate. Other vehicles have two lights located on either side of the plate.

Q: What is the purpose of license plate lights?

The license plate light is supposed to illuminate your rear license plate so that other drivers can easily see it. That way, other drivers or police officers can read your plate for vehicle identification purposes. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for the best LED license plate light is the Sirius LED Ten Pack of LED Bulbs with their plug-and-play installation and bright light production. 

For a more affordable option, the Rupse Two Pieces License Plate Light Kit is a good choice because they are easy to install and durable, with a waterproof rating of IP67. 

MORE TO READ

Load more...