So, how many lumens should fog lights be?

Short answer: 1,200 lumens on the absolute minimum and around 2,000 lumens for an optimal driving experience in foggy conditions.

Longer answer: it depends!

Fog lights usually have a brightness rating between 1,500 and 2,000 lumens. You should choose the brightness of your fog lights based on how much you’re willing to pay for brighter light bulbs. Brighter bulbs cost more than dimmer ones.

Fog lights are not intended for distance illumination, but rather for producing broad light to let you be seen by other motorists and “cut” through the fog to ease teh identification of potential obstacles.

Is Brighter Always Better?

A popular trend today among many car and truck owners is to install extremely bright headlights. It’s an easy mod that most anyone can do themselves at home with a few tools. Is it worth it you ask?

I’m sorry, I don’t believe that. When an auto lighting company claims its headlights are brighter than the competition’s, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better product. This is true of car audio companies that talk about watts without mentioning RMS ratings or usable power. It’s important to look at the output of headlights / auxiliary lights in the context of how the light is projected, not just how bright the bulb gets.

Rather than just bragging about how many lumens a headlight or auxiliary fog light can crank out, it is important to understand the beam pattern. The beam pattern describes how the light is focused. Without the proper beam pattern, you have a bright light that gives you poor illumination. You want a light to illuminate the road ahead of you. If you are building a show car that doesn’t drive at night then that is fine, but most people need to see the road ahead. It goes without saying that there are always going to be companies making claims about how bright, loud or fast their products are. Companies with products that don’t focus the power into something refined only have hype. The best advancements combine power (extended visibility and pure brightness) and finesse (the ability to adjust light direction and brightness for example).

What (Else) Really Matters when Choosing Fog Lights

Now that we’ve covered your main question on how many lumens fog lights should be, let’s take into consideration several other factors you may want to consider before purchasing new fog lights or fog light bulbs:

  • Beam Pattern – Fog Beam Pattern is a Must

While spot beams illuminate a narrow path for long distances, fog lights typically produce wide beams that are short in length. The goal of the fog beam is to offer as much illumination as possible in the close-quarters conditions of driving on thickly overcast roads.

  • Mounting Location

Fog lights are most effective when mounted as close to the ground as possible. They should be below the headlights and on the bumpers. The lights should also be aimed slightly downward for optimal visibility of nearby vehicles.

  • Legal Considerations

Using fog lights is allowed in different states under different laws. Usually, it’s legal to use them, but only when visibility is limited by foggy conditions.

  • Color Temperature Profile

Fog lights are used to illuminate the road in low visibility conditions, when rain or fog affects your visibility. The temperature of the light produced by them is measured in Kelvins, with lower values around 3,000 Kelvins producing a yellowish tint and referred to as warm, while higher values around 6,000 Kelvins and above containing blue and are cool. Most fog lights you’ll find have an average temperature of 5,000-6,000 Kelvins. This temperature produces very crisp images but causes eye strain after a while because of their blue color content.

  • Installation Process

When choosing a car light bulb, you should be sure to check the compatibility of your bulb with your vehicle as some vehicles have different types of sockets for lights. It is important that your light bulb has a matching plug type so it will fit perfectly into your car’s headlight socket.

  • Fog Light Safety

There is a standard for how well-built the bulb’s housing is and features like anti-shock and ingress protection are often included. The reason for safety features is because LED chips get made with fragile materials, so they need protection from dust or water. A minimum ingress protection rating of IP-67 is ideal for LED light bulbs—with an IP-67 rating it means that the bulb can be submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes and it won’t break down.

  • Fog Light Cooling Features

Fog lights are essential for your safety if you drive in fog, and they can also illuminate your path in the dark. The light they emit is more intense than regular headlights, but it comes at a price: unlike regular headlights, fog lights require extra cooling to prevent their LEDs from overheating. While not all manufacturers offer these, those who do usually supply an efficient heat sink or even an air duct, which helps keep the temperature down and prolongs the life of the product.

A Bit Too Much to Consider?

Well, we have you covered with some useful product recommendations and comparisons: