Foggy headlights not only look bad but can also impair nighttime visibility on even the best cars, creating a safety hazard. If you’re not willing to shell out the money for new headlight lenses, your wisest alternative is to search for the best headlight restoration kit.

Whether you’re looking for a wipe-on, wipe-off polish, or a multistep kit, we’ve done the research for you and have narrowed your options down to a few of the top headlight restoration products.

We’ll give you the rundown on each product’s performance, features, and customer reviews, plus offer a few pointers on what to look for when choosing the best headlight cleaner for your car.

#1 Overall Best Kit: Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

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Known primarily for its automotive lighting parts, Sylvania also sells products that can help restore your existing headlight lenses. The Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit has a three-step process that produces some of the best results in terms of clarity, proving it can tackle heavy-duty yellowing. This is why we’ve chosen it as the overall best headlight restoration kit.

When using the Sylvania product, the first step is to spray on the surface activator to soften the plastic. Then, you sand off the initial clear coat and apply a polishing compound. The last step is to rub on a UV blocker that will prevent future sun damage.

Sylvania is so confident in its product that it offers a lifetime warranty, which is a nice perk for a product that retails for less than $20.

Key Features

  • Comes with surface activator, clarifying compound, UV-blocking clear coat, three sheets of waterproof sandpaper, three applicator cloths, and one vinyl glove
  • UV protection
  • Lifetime warranty

Our Experience

Overall4.5 out of 5
Results5 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions5 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

Headlight Sylvania before

In terms of improving clarity, Sylvania was hands down the most effective of the headlight restoration kits we tested. The instructions were simply laid out and the liquid compounds had Step One and Step Two written on the bottle, so figuring out the process was a breeze.

Headlight Sylvania after

The product utilizes wet sanding and calls for the sanding process to be done by hand, which can be more time-consuming than a drill-oriented kit. We also found that Sylvania isn’t as generous with materials as other manufacturers. Our kit only provided enough materials to restore two headlights, whereas other manufacturers included enough materials to tackle several cars.

What Customers Are Saying

The Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit has almost 17,000 ratings on Amazon and an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Positive customer reviews mention benefits such as an easy application process and longevity of results, but some buyers report difficulty with customer service when trying to use the lifetime warranty.

#2 Best Drill-Oriented Kit: Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit

Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit

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Another name with some brand power behind it, the Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit aims for high-quality results and a leisurely restoration process. This earns it a spot on our list of the best headlight cleaners.

The kit includes a drill attachment, coarse restoration discs, a foam ball polish applicator, and a bottle of polish. The instructions call for a mix of dry sanding and wet sanding, so you’ll want to double-check as you move through the cleaning process. The only items you’ll need to supply are painter’s tape, gloves, and a microfiber towel to dry your newly shined headlights.

If you only have light oxidation on your headlamps, you may only need to apply the polish. However, for light scratches, debris buildup, or pitting, the Mothers NuLens kit still gets the job done.

Key Features

  • Comes with disc-holder drill attachment, three restoration discs, a foam polishing ball, and polishing solution
  • Can tackle a high level of oxidation
  • Works with a power drill for easy application
  • Plenty of materials for later applications if needed

Our Experience

Overall4.5 out of 5
Results4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions5 out of 5
Value5 out of 5

Headlight Mothers before

Similar to the Sylvania restorer kit, Mothers NuLens did an excellent job in repairing our sun-damaged headlight lenses. Where this brand excels is instruction clarity and volume of materials, since we probably could have taken on a few more headlights after our first batch.

Headlight Mothers after

Two roadblocks kept the Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit from being our best headlight restoration kit: The drill attachment system isn’t for everyone, and the manufacturer doesn’t explicitly say the product protects against UV rays. So while the results are good, clear headlights months or years down the road are not guaranteed.

What Customers Are Saying

This heavy-duty headlight restoration kit stands strong with 4.2 out of 5 stars based on more than 8,000 Amazon customer reviews. According to most users, results are fantastic when they follow the instructions. However, some users say Mothers NuLens doesn’t go beyond the level of quality offered by competing brands.

#3 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System

3M Headlight Lens Restoration System

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The 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System offers visible results at a competitive price. What you get out of the box is a power-drill attachable system that includes a disc holder, 500-, 800-, and 3,000-grit sanding pads, a foam buffing pad, and a buffing solution.

Like the Sylvania kit, the 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System lays out a three-step process during which you sand down the grit on your headlights using a series of coarse Trizact™ discs. One video reviewer goes so far as to call the sanding pads “magical” for the way they remove debris.

Since the kit is drill-based, you can expect it to take less time than hand-buffing, although total work time will depend on the cloudiness of your headlamps. If you want to get into hard-to-reach areas, you can also use the sanding discs by hand.

One important note is that although the manufacturer does offer it separately, no coating to protect against future UV damage comes with the 3M headlight restoration kit. So, you may end up using the 3M kit more often.

Key Features

  • Comes with a disc-holder drill attachment, three sanding discs, a foam buffing disc, and buffing solution
  • Works with a power drill for easy application
  • Simple step-by-step instructions
  • Plenty of materials for up to two applications

Our Experience

Overall4 out of 5
Results4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions4 out of 5
Value5 out of 5

headlights 3m before

Our review team’s results with the 3M headlight restoration kit were comparable to our results with the Mothers NuLens brand. Again, instructions were clearly labeled and simple, but material quality placed 3M lower on our list.

headlights 3m after

Some of the sanding discs we received were poorly cut. This didn’t impact performance, but at times it was difficult to determine the grit of a certain disc because the clarifying number had been cut off.

We also ranked this product lower because it only polishes headlights and doesn’t include a UV protective coating.

What Customers Are Saying

The 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System comes highly reviewed, with more than 34,000 ratings on Amazon and an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Customers applaud the value, quality results, and simple instructions. However, some users of this product also say the results may not outshine those of competitors.

#4 Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit

Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit

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Cerakote offers the best headlight restoration kit if you’re looking for a ceramic coating that not only protects from UV light but can also restore light output on highly oxidized headlamps.

The Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit uses a three-step process that begins with an oxidation removal wipe. Sanding comes next, and finally, after washing and drying your headlamp, you’ll wipe on a durable ceramic coating to protect your car long-term.

Unlike a few of the other multistep systems on this list, the sanding pads in this kit don’t attach to a power drill, so you’ll have to use a little elbow grease for a high-shine outcome. However, it’s a great product for someone who enjoys the hands-on experience and time of a DIY project.

Key Features

  • Comes with oxidation remover wipes, surface prep pad and discs, and pre-moistened ceramic coating wipes
  • Can tackle advanced oxidation
  • Plenty of materials for later applications if needed
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Our Experience

Overall4.5 out of 5
Results4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions5 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

headlights cerakote before

Cerakote did well restoring one of the foggiest headlights we threw at it. Similar to the Sylvania packaging, each step of the process is clearly labeled, and the kit even comes with two gloves (other kits typically include only one).

headlights cerakote after

While the Cerakote did its job, it didn’t necessarily perform any better than any of the drill attachment kits or outperform the Sylvania kit. The plus side is that Cerakote includes plenty of materials if you’re willing to try a ceramic coating on more than one car.

What Customers Are Saying

With more than 11,000 reviews, the Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit holds a 4.6 out of 5-star Amazon customer rating, and 76 percent of reviewers give it a full 5 stars. Customers mention being pleased with the product’s ease of use and great value. However, some say the ceramic coating doesn’t provide much clarity.

#5 Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer

Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer

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Geared toward the car owner who wants an all-in-one option that works either by power tool or elbow grease, the Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer offers simplicity and customization with materials you trust.

After washing and taping off your headlight lenses, you can apply the restorer to any microfiber cloth and start rubbing it onto the headlight. This process can take several minutes depending on the amount of oxidation you have.

After the initial scrubbing, clean the headlamp and reapply the compound to polish. You can repeat this process until you achieve the desired level of clarity. Chemical Guys also recommends that customers use 2500-grit sandpaper if there’s severe discoloration.

While the compound offers terrific results, you’re probably paying more overall for essentials such as microfiber cloths and sandpaper if you don’t already have them lying around. But, if you already have these materials and need a new polish and sealant option, the Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer might be the best headlight restoration kit for you.

Key Features

  • Doesn’t come with an applicator
  • Acts as both a sealant and a UV protector
  • Easy to use
  • Works on headlights and taillights
  • Sanding is optional

Our Experience

Overall4.5 out of 5
Results4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions5 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

headlights cg before

As the most stripped-down option we profiled, the Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer lets customers choose how much effort they want to put into the headlight restoration process. For our review, we used the restoration liquid in its most basic form and applied it with foam pads. Chemical Guys says you can also pair its product with sanding pads and a drill, but those components aren’t required.

headlights cg after

After we applied a few dabs to a polishing pad and thoroughly scrubbed away at headlight lenses, it became clear that if you choose to do this by hand, it will take several tries with the Chemical Guys compound to achieve noticeable results. We completed three passes and managed to lift much of the cloudiness.

That said, finishing two headlights took almost an hour. Other options on our list included more materials, and we managed to finish the job in less than 15 minutes. However, if you want a single-step headlight restorer, Chemical Guys is hard to pass up.

What Customers Are Saying

Consumers really enjoy how easy the Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer is to use, and they appreciate the amount of product you get for your money. The Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer has a 4.4 out of 5-star Amazon customer rating based on over 5,600 reviews, and 70 percent of reviewers give it a full 5.0 stars. Those critical of the product report less-than-satisfactory results, with fogginess returning to their headlights sooner than expected.

Why Do Headlights Get Cloudy?

The cloudiness that appears in plastic headlight lenses comes from exposure to the elements.  While plastic lenses last longer than the glass headlights that used to come in vehicles, the downside is that continued exposure to the sun’s UV rays causes oxidation and clouding. Manufacturers put a clear coat on the headlights to protect them from UV rays, but this breaks down and becomes less effective over time.

If your headlights are cloudy, you may simply need to wipe them down with a lens-clarifying compound. However, you may need a heavy-duty headlight restoration kit for more severe issues.

Key Factors In Choosing The Best Headlight Restoration Kit

A few high-quality headlight restoration products are available on the market, and each has its pros and cons. When choosing the best headlight cleaner for your car, you’ll want to consider a few factors.

Single Product Vs. Full Kit

Depending on your level of experience with DIY automotive projects, you may only need a bottle of polish to restore your headlights if you already have items such as microfiber applicator cloths or sandpaper readily available. If not, you’ll likely want to purchase a full headlight lens restorer kit.

Time And Labor Commitment

Restoring your headlights can be fairly difficult, and you may have to repeat the cleaning process a few times to get your desired results. Using a drill attachment can speed up the process, but you may have trouble cleaning hard-to-reach areas such as corners. At any rate, you should probably block off a few hours for restoring your headlights.

Sun Protection

Some products do a great job of restoring headlights from severe discoloration, but the main cause of discoloration is UV rays from the sun. If you don’t buy a product that offers a strong headlight coating, you could end up repeating the process in a few months.

Tips For Headlight Restoration

After you’ve chosen the best headlight restoration kit for you, it’s time to begin the real work. You should consider a number of things before you start taking sandpaper and chemicals to the front of your car. Here are a few tips for avoiding vehicle damage and making the most out of your headlight restoration:

  • Wash the car beforehand: While easy to overlook, this is an important step since you want to avoid sanding any grime or debris into your headlights. Use a high-quality car wash soap and wipe it with a good car-drying towel before working on your headlamps.
  • Protect the area around your headlights: This will ensure you don’t damage your frame when sanding or applying chemicals. Some of the materials in headlight restoration kits can damage paint, so you’ll want to line any surrounding areas with masking tape.
  • Protect yourself: Cleaning solutions can be harsh on the skin and cause eye irritation, so wear gloves and protective eyewear as directed.
  • Follow the directions: You’ll be working with materials that have the potential to damage a headlight lens if not used properly, so follow the product’s directions carefully. For example, be sure you know the difference between wet sanding and dry sanding. Wet sanding works by water lubricating the surface of an object, and it removes tiny particles that could clog dry sandpaper or create deep scratches.

Our Review Standards

Our team narrowed down the best headlight restoration kits by looking at factors such as product reputation, performance reviews, quality of materials, customer ratings, and price.

To test each of the headlight restoration kits, we applied them to a heavily oxidized headlight to compare results. Except for Chemical Guys, we limited each product to one complete run-through of the manufacturer’s instructions. Chemical Guys calls for multiple attempts to achieve the desired results, so we made three attempts for that test.

We focused on three criteria for each of the hands-on tests: results, clarity of instructions, and overall value.

FAQ: Best Headlight Restoration Kits

*Data accurate at time of publication.