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Halogen vs HID vs LED—Which is Best?

Posted by Car Lighting District on
Most unmodified vehicles, especially from the last 20 years, will come with standard halogen headlights. We are all used to these and they form the baseline for car manufacturers when producing vehicles in mass.

Halogen lights may be low cost and simple to replace, but they do not have a very long lifespan. They also use a lot of energy and can quickly drain your car battery.

However, technology continues to evolve in every sector and car headlights have certainly not been left behind. The old model halogen lights have been outcompeted by newer more efficient types.

While high-end luxury cars come equipped with LED headlight kit, where does that leave you and me without the latest Mercedes AMG? Well, the good news is that you can swipe your old halogen lights for better HID or LEDs.

Halogen vs HID vs LED

What Are HID Lights?

HID or high-intensity discharge headlights work in a similar fashion to the halogen light bulbs. However, instead of using a halogen gas, they use xenon. By passing the xenon gas over an electric charge, it burns brighter giving you a better field of view.

In fact, HIDs are often brighter than LED lights but come with one major problem—they do not last long. This means that they are not a viable long-term solution as you will need to replace them frequently. They are also costly compared to their halogen counterparts but less costly compared to LEDs. Due to their very bright light, they can send a lot of glare to other motorists either oncoming or ahead via the rear-view mirror.

HID headlights may be a quick option if you are running on a tight budget, however, a better alternative are LEDs.

Understanding LED Headlights

LEDs are the other alternative to using halogen headlights. They are brighter, consume less energy and unlike the HIDs, will last a good long while. LEDs function by using the electricity from the vehicle to produce illumination through light emitting diodes.

These types of headlights continue to grow in popularity especially as the cost of components goes down.

Their main drawback is the heat. The lights themselves may not get hot but have a tendency to cause nearby wiring and assemblies to get quite hot. Because of this, they require more time to cool down.

Compared to both halogen and xenon HID headlights that use a gas to be able to function, LEDs are in a solid state. This is what contributes to their durability. In fact, in theory, you could use LED headlights for many decades without having to concern yourself with maintenance costs.

What’s more, installing them is a simple affair and you will not require any special knowledge to replace the halogen headlights with LEDs. The main downside is the cost. They come with a higher price tag than both the halogen and xenon HID headlights. However, considering their durability, efficiency and bright illumination, the price is well worth it. Motorists all over the world are now aware of the benefits that LEDs bring and are quickly switching over.

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