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The 4 best headlight restoration kits, according to reviewers

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According to research, nano crystals may soon turn a regular pair of eyeglasses into night vision glasses, which would certainly make driving in the dark easier. Until then, we'll have to rely on headlights to illuminate the road ahead. If you're looking to restore clarity to hazy lenses, the best headlight restoration kits will do the trick. With results that last for up to a year in some cases, these kits give you all the supplies you need to remove lens haze in just a few simple steps — and one even makes use of a power drill to speed up the process.

While all of the best headlight cleaners require a bit of elbow grease, you can choose just how much effort you want to put into it. The outer damaged surface requires a bit of sanding, and many kits come with simple sandpaper so you can do it manually, but if you don't want to wear out your wrist, you can opt for a kit with an abrasive pad that attaches to your drill, requiring a little less work on your part and making the sanding process a bit easier on the arms. However, while using an electric drill is fast and effective, you will have to use masking tape — and a steady hand — to ensure you don't damage the paint job surrounding the headlights.

You may also want to consider the number of steps required. If you're looking for minimal complication and don't mind spending a few extra bucks, opt for a two-step kit, but if you're looking to stick to a budget, you may have to jump through a few more hoops to get your headlights crystal clear again.

As far as results — and how long they last — I've scoured Amazon reviews and Consumer Reports to find the best of the best, so if you're ready to take your headlights from dull to bright, read on for the best headlight restoration kits on Amazon that’ll make the lenses look as good as new.

1. The best overall

The Sylvania headlight restoration kit is an excellent choice for getting foggy headlights to look like new, and Consumer Reports found it offers the “greatest improvement in illumination and appearance with no noticeable degradation over time.” And with 10,000 Amazon reviews and a stellar 4.6-star overall rating, plenty of reviewers agree.

Although it's touted as a three-step process, it's a bit more involved, but may be worth it considering the clear, long-lasting results: Apply the surface activator to break down lens gunk, use the sandpaper to manually remove corrosion, apply the clarifying compound, reapply the surface activator, then finish off with coat of UV-blocker to prevent future damage. Sylvania is generous with supplies, too; the kit includes 400-, 1,000-, and 2,000-grit sandpaper, along with two applicator cloths, a lint-free UV clear coat applicator cloth, and vinyl gloves. Reviewers are happy with how long the results last — about one year.

According to a reviewer: “Works great. Took my '07 Honda Accord headlights from frosted to crystal clear. Couldn't have been happier with the results. One caveat - takes longer than what the directions say, but worth the extra time."

2. The best budget

To save a bit of money, you can opt for the Turtle Wax Lens Restorer Kit, which also has thousands of reviews, albeit a slightly lower overall rating. According to testing and reviewer feedback, it offers fantastic immediate results, but doesn’t last as long as the top pick, with many users reporting that you'll have to redo the process in about six months. Still — if you're looking to save some money, this is a great short-term fix.

This kit involves four steps: First, you apply a repairing compound that helps remove scratches and oxidation, then use the double-sided sanding pad to buff dull and damaged areas, then reapply the compound before finishing off with the ceramic acrylic sealing wipes to create a protective layer. A pair of gloves is included.

According to a reviewer: “I used this on my 2005 honda civic for which headlights were really yellow and i was having lot of difficulty during night driving. Used this and wow... headlights are like new.”

3. The kit that uses an electric drill

If you prefer using a power drill while sanding, the 3M headlight restoration kit is for you. The kit comes with a disc pad holder that attaches to your standard drill to secure the included abrasive discs, and the process takes four steps: Apply masking tape (not included) around the lenses, sand away damage, apply a rubbing compound that adds shine and clarity, then remove the masking tape. Of course, using a power tool for the job comes with the risk of damage and requires a steady hand — but it does mean less work, and it’s a good option if you’re comfortable working with an electric drill.

A foam pad is included to use while applying the rubbing compound, as well as multiple 500-, 800-, and 3,000-grit sanding discs. As far as results, reviewers are pleased but report that you'll need to re-perform the process in about six months.

According to a reviewer: “Polished up the fogging on our Mazda headlights. Nice and easy with my drill. Instruction specify colors to determine which pads to use.”

4. The kit with the simplest restoration process

If you want to follow fewer instructions and steps, Meguiar’s headlight restoration kit might be the best choice. First, clean the lenses using the included solution and abrasive cleaning pads, then apply two rounds of headlight coating spray to restore and seal the lenses. The two abrasive cleaning pads should remove plenty of gunk buildup, but since there’s no separate sanding process, this may not be the best choice for significantly damaged lenses. Nonetheless, if you're dealing with minor damage, this is a great fix, and several reviewers write that it lasts for up to a year.

According to a reviewer: “I did a ton of research and ended up buying this kit because of the ease of use. Many of the others require a bunch of time and additional steps, but this kit worked great for me. I even have more than half of the product left so I will be able to use it again.”

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