Toyota Tacoma Headlights – Projector, LED & HID – Ultimate Guide

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular trucks in the USA and all over the world. The Tacoma is built to last and has one of the best reputations for being one of the best trucks on the market.

As the Tacoma racks up miles (with some going over 1 million miles!) many people want to replace their factory headlights or upgrade their Tacoma to the latest aftermarket headlights to give the truck a new look and to replace the dull and poorly lit old stockers.

In this ultimate guide, we’re going to talk about all the various Toyota Tacoma headlights available out there, what to look out for, what is the best for your Tacoma and why Redline360 is known as one of the premier sources for Toyota Tacoma headlights out there!

Toyota Tacoma Headlights styles

There are a few different styles of Tacoma headlights available. There are OEM Factory Replacements, Aftermarket Projector lights, Aftermarket LED lights, aftermarket sequential, aftermarket switchback and HID lights. So what’s the difference between all of these? Which is right for you? Continue reading our guide to help you in your decision.

Toyota Tacoma Headlight Brands

At Redline360, we carry many different brands of headlights for your Tacoma and we’re adding new ones all the time. Check out our listings for Toyota Tacoma Headlights and if you don’t find the brand you’re looking for, just send us an email and we can see if we can get you the one you like. Currently we have AlphaRex, Anzo, Spec-D Tuning, Spyder and XTune.

AlphaRex Toyota Tacoma Headlights

AlphaRex has been around for over 20 years and they have been developing some of our favorite headlights on the market today for the Tacoma. AlphaRex is an LED projector headlight meaning the bulbs it uses are LED bulbs which are much brighter than halogen, last longer and run cooler. AlphaRex has headlights available in various styles but for the most part they come in either black or chrome housing with a clear lens. If you are looking to get an ultra bright, direct plug and play headlight, look no further than AlphaRex.

Click to see the full line up of AlphaRex Tacoma Headlights and check back often to see if we have new updates and new lights added.

AlphaRex has three different styles of lights, each one more distinct than the next: Pro Series, LUXX and NOVA. AlphaRex at this time does not make standard OEM replacement lights.

Anzo Toyota Tacoma Headlights

Anzo is one of the oldest names in the book. Anzo has been around for over 30 years and has a huge catalog of OEM replacement and aftermarket performance headlights for the Tacoma with more coming. Anzo’s line of OEM headlights is called their Crystal lights and are designed to be no more than a factory replacement for those Tacomas that need to change their cracked, leaking or hazy headlights for something new so it’s easier to see at night.

Next level up from OEM would be Anzo’s halo projector headlights. The halo headlights are two rings in each light that light up during the day to make your Tacoma more visible and provided an added layer of safety and appearance upgrades. Most of the time since the Tacoma does not have Halo’s from the factory, you do need to spend some time to wire the halo lights into the parking lights. You simply turn the parking lights on and the halos will illuminate while driving. Sometimes the halo can be called a U-Bar where instead of being a round halo, it’s actually in the shape of a U, for those who like to add a bit of flare over the traditional round halo.

Next up is the switchback. Switchback projector headlights light up a bright white during the day for an added DRL (daytime running light) but turn amber color when you activate the turn signal. They “switch-back” to amber when turning. This way you have the DRL and turn signal all in one light.

In the photo above you can see the amber light is activated during a turn while the white is activated during normal driving.

Click to see the full line up of Anzo Tacoma Headlights and check back often to see if we have new updates and new lights added.

Spec-D Toyota Tacoma Headlights

Next up are the Spec-D Toyota Tacoma Headlights that are available in OEM replacement, Projector, Sequential and Switchback. Spec-D also has Tacoma headlights for a wider range of years than most other brands, with Tacoma lights going back to 2001.

Spec-D has been around a long time, and they continue to innovate with every batch of lights they produce. Spec-D lights are one of our best priced lights and they pack the most features. You can get OEM replacement lights from only $99 per pair, which is by far cheaper than the factory or your local Toyota dealer which can charge 10x more!

Spec-D offers projector (where the light beam is projected outward for distance and depth) as well as projector halo and sequential. Most of their lights do come with brand new bulbs and are plug and play except for Halo lights that do require wiring to give power to the halo with the parking lights. Many of our customers daily drive their Tacoma and many also go off roading and require a headlight that can pave the day in the dark when they are going through a terrain that is difficult to see and has no street lighting. Spec-D lights can take HID upgrades if you want to have an even brighter light. We have HID upgrades that are so good we offer a full lifetime warranty on them! Spec-D headlights with our HID upgrades can not be beat.

Click to see the full line up of Spec-D Tacoma Headlights and check back often to see if we have new updates and new lights added.

Spyder Toyota Tacoma Headlights

Compared to the rest, Spyder Auto is a relative newcomer and has been around producing headlights for about the last 10 years. Spyder has come on the scene strong and has been a big sponsor of the SEMA show as well as many other shows where they have quickly become a strong name in the automotive lighting category. Spyder has a massive 140,000 square foot warehouse in California and house a massive assortment of headlights for all makes and models.

The Spyder Toyota Tacoma headlights are most popular in the Plank Halo / Sequential style pictured above and are a direct replacement for the factory Tacoma lights. Spyder has lights for the Tacoma going back as far as 1997. These square shaped lights feature halos and projectors and really upgrade the look and performance of your older truck.

Click to see the Spyder Toyota Tacoma headlights that we have on our site and check back as we add more to the catalog.

Xtune Toyota Tacoma Headlights

Next in our ultimate guide are Xtune headlights, which are made by Spyder. Spyder has used the Xtune brand to create a wider variety of lights, and more OEM replacements which are either sold as a pair or just the driver side or passenger side headlight. Xtune has OEM Replacement and Sequential offerings as well as Halo lights as well. Check out the link above to see the latest lineup of lights offered by Xtune that we carry on Redline360.

How to Install Tacoma Headlights

Now that you see what we offer, we want to show you a few videos that show how to install Tacoma headlights on various model years. For the most part, the installation is pretty straight forward and if you have a few basic hand tools you can perform the job yourself and save a lot of money on labor over having to go to the Toyota dealer.

In the video above, we show you to install Spec-D headlights (but the process is the same for other brands) into a 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011 Tacoma. These are the specific sequential headlights being installed. These are also some of our highest rated lights with lots of positive customer reviews!

For those of you with a 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 Tacoma we have this DIY install video:

We recommend using this video as a guide and you can always pause the video while working on your truck to help with your install.

Headlight Adjustability

Some of our customers have said they do not like their lights because the lights are dull and not as bright as their factory lights. In almost all cases this is because when the new lights are installed, the shop did not adjust them during or after install. The lights are generally pointed too high up so it looks like nothing is being lit at all. We recommend to have the truck pointed toward a building with the lights on so you can see where the lights are pointed and you can have it adjusted from there. Some smog shops or other repair shops offer free headlight adjustments so we would check in your local area to see who can adjust your Tacoma headlights to ensure they are bright and lighting up the road properly.

Halogen vs LED vs HID

A common question when upgrading your headlights is what kind of bulbs they come with or what kind of bulbs you can upgrade to. Almost all headlights come with standard halogen bulbs which are inexpensive, not that bright and are just like the factory bulbs on a Tacoma. The next upgrade would be to get an HID conversion kit to convert your Halogen set up to an HID set up. HID is High Intensity Discharge and can be very very bright. Have you ever seen a car turn it’s headlights on, and the lights almost seem to warm up and go from dull to bright over the course of a few seconds after turning on? These are HID and are a popular upgrade. The best are LED bulbs which are Light Emitting Diodes and light up as soon as current flows through them. They are SUPER bright, run cool and will last longer than your Tacoma! We recommend upgrading halogen bulbs with LED when possible.

One downfall to LED light bulbs are they are often long and don’t fit into most housings. So the housing will need to be modified for the bulb to fit. The issue with this, is because it’s not fully sealed, you will get moisture and condensation in the housing.

Condensation and Moisture in your Tacoma headlights

Condensation is a big complaint when customers get new headlights. Condensation happens when air is allowed into the housing. The warm bulb mixed with the leaking air causes condensation to build up inside of the housing. Often times the cap on the back of the housing wasn’t fully tightened so it causes condensation or sometimes the housing itself could have a super small air leak. We recommend checking to see if you should silicone your housing to prevent condensation.

We know many customers say “What? I bought brand new lights, no way am I going to seal them, they should be sealed already!”. We agree, but even brand new OEM headlights can have condensation. It’s just par for the course.

If you would like information on how to properly seal your headlights, please contact us.

We hope our Toyota Tacoma Headlights guide helped you to understand the differences with the various styles as well as given you information on install DIY. While we always recommend professional install, many of our customers tackle the job themselves.

Check out our full line up of Toyota Tacoma Headlights as well as our catalog of Toyota Tacoma Parts and Accessories.

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1 Comment

  1. I had the Spec-d projector light for 2012-2015 Tacoma. Under a year I decided to uninstall them due to the shutter being stuck on high beam. A headlight with a moving part that can malfunction… thank you.

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