The Best Headlight Restoration Kits in 2022

This is our review of the best headlight restoration kits. 

If your vehicle’s headlights have become foggy or yellow, you have a couple different options for restoring them. You could get it done by a professional, or even use the DIY method with some supplies you already have at home. 

However, we recommend using a headlight restoration kit that comes with specific tools and cleaning products to do the job more effectively. 

As such, we think Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit is your best bet. This kit comes with all the tools necessary, simple and easy-to-follow instructions, and we can attest to best-in-class results. 

We’ve been working on and restoring headlights for over a decade. So if you need help picking the best one for your needs, leave it to us. 

Keep reading for more of our thoughts on the best headlight restoration kits.


Overall Best
Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit
Pros
  • Comes with 2 applicator pads for cleaning compound and protective coat
  • Generous amount of compound provided
  • Protective coating can last up to 1 year
  • Prevents dirt and contaminant buildup
  • Pads are made of soft, non-abrasive material
  • Do not leave micro scratches on the headlight
  • No tools necessary 
  • Instructions are clear and easy-to-follow
  • Cleaning compound goes on smooth with minimal effort
  • Removes oxidation, dirt build up, and yellowing
Cons
  • Applicators will need to be replaced in between for every restoration

Best Budget
Headlight Restoration Kit by Armor All
Pros
  • Pre-moistened wipes
  • Single-use/disposable
  • Easy to use 
  • Ideal for less severe oxidation on headlights
  • ‘Step 2’ wipe provides great protection against UV damage and yellowing
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Protective layer only needs 3 hours to cure
  • Long lasting protection
Cons
  • Not the most effective for very heavy oxidation or dirt buildup

Best Premium
CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit
Pros
  • Proprietary cleaning compound
  • Pre-moistened applicator pads
  • Different grits of sandpaper included
  • Foam applicator allows for even pressure when sanding
  • Ceramic coating provides best-in-class protection from UV damage
  • Prevents dirt build up, oxidation, yellowing, etc
  • Allows for easier washing of the headlight
  • Longer lasting than protective compounds in other kits
  • Sanding helps remove the deepest layer of oxidation
Cons
  • The process will take a bit longer than with other headlight restoration kits
  • A bit more expensive than other kits

Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit

Overall Best

Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit gives you everything you need in one package. We have always been fans of the quality of Meguiar’s products, and this one is no different, be it the pads, the compounds, or anything else. 

The reason we put Meguiar’s headlights restoration kit at the top of our list is because of how high quality their products are. 

We’ve been using Meguiar’s compounds, and other automotive cleaning products for ages, and their headlight restoration kit benefits from the same attention to detail as those. 

In the box, you get a bottle of headlight cleaning compound, a canister of Meguiar’s proprietary headlight protective coating, and two applicator pads. This is one of the simplest headlight restoration kits, in that it doesn’t require any tools to give you best in class results. 

Speaking of the cleaning pads, we found them to be quite soft. This is ideal for restoring headlights, as the rough surface of some other pads can leave tiny micro scratches that give dirt and contaminants a place to embed themselves in the headlight surface. 

And the reason they give you two applicator pads is so that you don’t have to use the same one for the cleaning compound and the protective one, which can actually harm your headlights. 

The main cleaning compound is Meguiar’s tried-and-tested headlight Cleaning Solution. We liked how easy this compound is to use and how effective it is. If you follow the included instructions, you’ll find that it goes in really smooth, unlike other compounds that need to be worked in with a lot of force. 

And while you can use a power drill, it’s not really necessary. That’s already more than we can say for a lot of other headlight restoration kits we’ve tested. 

As for how effective it is, we tested it on headlights with varying levels of oxidation, yellowing and dirt build up. This headlight restoration kit easily removed even the thickest of oxidation from the headlight surface and brought it back to its former glory. 

The second step in this two step headlight restoration kit is the protective coating for the headlight surface. This is another Meguiar’s concoction that works really well. It sprays on and protects the polycarbonate surface from dirt buildup, tiny scratches, and the like. 

Meguiar’s claim that this coating can last up to a year with one application, and that it also provides limited protection against UV rays, which helps prevent yellowing to an extent.

Finally, we think this headlight restoration kit provides a ton of value, in that you only need to use a little bit of product to restore the headlights, and there’s a generous amount of cleaning compound, and protective coating in each package. 

That said, we recommend changing applicator pads every time you restore the headlights, as the older pads could have residual cleaning compound that could harm the headlights the next time you go to restore them. 

Pros
  • Comes with 2 applicator pads for cleaning compound and protective coat
  • Generous amount of compound provided
  • Protective coating can last up to 1 year
  • Prevents dirt and contaminant buildup
  • Pads are made of soft, non-abrasive material
  • Do not leave micro scratches on the headlight
  • No tools necessary 
  • Instructions are clear and easy-to-follow
  • Cleaning compound goes on smooth with minimal effort
  • Removes oxidation, dirt build up, and yellowing
Cons
  • Applicators will need to be replaced in between for every restoration

Headlight Restoration Kit by Armor All

Best Budget

If you’re balling on a budget, the Armor All headlight restoration kit provides a nice alternative to the Meguiar’s. This one isn’t as long lasting, but it’s still just as effective for removing oxidation, restoring yellowed headlights, and cleaning away dirt buildup. 

Armor All take a different approach to restoring headlights. This headlight restoration kit comes with pre-treated, single-use applicator wipes for both the cleaning compound and the protective coating. 

You get 6 in total; 2x ‘Step 1’ wipes for each headlight, and 1x ‘Step 2’ wipe for each headlight. That does mean you’ll only be able to restore your headlights once per kit, but if that’s all you need, this is a pretty good option. 

As for effectiveness, this headlight restoration kit works well enough, though not quite to the level of Meguiar’s offering. It’s only really suitable for less severe dirt buildup and yellowing on headlights. If you want to deal with heavier oxidation, this kit might leave you a bit disappointed. 

We suspect this lacking performance is due to the smaller surface area of the wipes, compared to the larger applicator pads used by other kits which let you apply more even pressure over a larger area. 

Those pads are also made of foam, as opposed to these moist wipes which are disposable and less effective for applying compound. 

To be fair, this headlight restoration kit works pretty well for cleaning minimal levels of oxidation off of headlights. It’s only very thick layers of contamination and dirt buildup that it struggles with. 

As for the ease of cleaning headlights with this restoration kit, we think it’s pretty easy and intuitive. All you really have to do is clean away oxidation with the ‘Step 1’ wipe and then use the ‘Step 2’ wipe to add a protective layer over the clean surface. 

This protective layer deserves praise, as it cures in just 3 hours and gives you long lasting protection after that. It prevents dirt buildup and also keeps your headlights from yellowing due to UV damage. 

All said and done, this is a pretty effective budget alternative to the Meguiar’s and you can expect decent, if not great results.

Pros
  • Pre-moistened wipes
  • Single-use/disposable
  • Easy to use 
  • Ideal for less severe oxidation on headlights
  • ‘Step 2’ wipe provides great protection against UV damage and yellowing
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Protective layer only needs 3 hours to cure
  • Long lasting protection
Cons
  • Not the most effective for very heavy oxidation or dirt buildup

CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit

Best Premium

Cerakote’s headlight restoration kit takes it one step above the rest by not only removing oxidation and dirt buildup, but then also adding a thick ceramic coating that offers the longest-lasting protection for your headlights. 

You pay a bit more for the Cerakote ceramic headlight restoration kit, but it’s well worth it in our opinion. You get the same high quality applicator pads and high-end cleaning compounds as the Meguiar’s, with the addition of a ceramic coating for even more protection. 

You get a lot more stuff in the box with Cerakote’s kit. It comes with pre-moistened wipes, similar to the Armor All kit. These have Cerakote’s unique cleaning compound that is designed to remove surface contamination and oxidation. 

Next, you have a couple different grits of sandpaper. This is the step that the Armor All kit was missing, and the difference in effectiveness is readily noticeable. These sandpaper pads are used to remove the deeper layers of contamination and oxidation from the headlight’s surface. 

We appreciate the inclusion of a foam applicator that the sandpaper pads attach to, giving you a more ergonomic way to sand the headlight surface. This also helps you apply even pressure when sanding, which prevents damage to the headlight surface. 

And the final piece of the puzzle, we have the ceramic coating. This is ideal for use on headlights, as it adds a thick protective layer over the surface. This has a couple different benefits. For one, it prevents the headlights from yellowing due to UV damage. It also prevents dirt buildup and oxidation over time. 

And perhaps most importantly, this coating has hydrophobic properties, which means it causes water to bead and roll off the headlight surface without accumulating anywhere. This is ideal as it prevents water spots, swirl marks, and other stuff that can ruin the look of your headlights. 

The ceramic coating is also by far the longest-lasting of all the methods used to protect the headlights. In fact, Cerakote are so confident in their ceramic coating that they claim it will last longer than you will own the car!

All we know for sure is, this is the best way to restore your headlights and then prevent them from getting dirty again. The inclusion of a sanding step in the restoration process means you get deeper cleaning and the ceramic coating is just the cherry on top. 

We do recommend applying masking tape around the headlight before you start the restoration process. This will help you avoid damaging your car’s bodywork when you start the sanding process. 

And lastly, we have to commend Cerakote on putting together the most intuitive instructions we’ve seen for any headlight restoration kit. And if you aren’t big on reading an instruction manual, there’s a helpful online video that takes you through the entire process from start to finish.

Pros
  • Proprietary cleaning compound
  • Pre-moistened applicator pads
  • Different grits of sandpaper included
  • Foam applicator allows for even pressure when sanding
  • Ceramic coating provides best-in-class protection from UV damage
  • Prevents dirt build up, oxidation, yellowing, etc
  • Allows for easier washing of the headlight
  • Longer lasting than protective compounds in other kits
  • Sanding helps remove the deepest layer of oxidation
Cons
  • A bit more expensive than other kits
  • The process will take a bit longer than with other headlight restoration kits

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Author

Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.