Should You Swap Your Headlight Bulbs to LED?

Should You Swap Your Headlight Bulbs to LED?

We all know that LED lighting offers lots of benefits, including energy efficiency, optical performance and durability. This is no exception in the case of car bulbs. If you're interested in upgrading, there are a number of factors you need to consider if you want to get the best results.

Keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of LED car bulbs and if they're the right option for you.

Advantages of LED

1. Energy efficiency

LED lighting is extremely efficient when converting electric power into a lighting output. This means that you get the same light output from an LED, but using much less energy. 

In car speak, lights are powered by the alternator. By switching to LED, you'll benefit from the following:

  • Up to 40% less energy consumption than Xenon HID
  • Over 60% less energy consumption than halogen
  • A positive impact on fuel economy.

2. Service life

As well as saving lots of energy, LED lighting also has a longer lifetime. LED headlight bulbs typically have a lifetime of over 20,000 hours - a much longer lifespan than halogen or Xenon HID can achieve.

Basically, you can forget about replacing your LED bulbs for a long time. We'd say that's a pretty big win!

3. Optical performance

Unlike other lighting technologies, LEDs allow a great degree of control regarding the direction of the light beam. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, including:

  • LED headlights can direct the lighting output precisely where it is needed the most, to maximise visibility on the road
  • The high optical precision of LED technology can also be used to avoid the projection of light at a high angle above the floor. This means that you won't dazzle other drivers on the road

Pitfalls of LED

Although we've sung the praises of LED here, there can be lots of pitfalls when upgrading. The most important thing is to make sure you're purchasing a bulb from a reliable manufacturer. If you can't trust the quality of the bulb, you may experience some of the following performance and safety issues.

1. Overheating and service life

Even though LEDs produce less heat than their HID and halogen counterparts, they're actually also more vulnerable to heat. To counteract this, LEDs are usually designed with heat sinks and small fans that keep heat under control. A cheap bulb made by an unreliable manufacturer may not incorporate these feature, meaning that the bulb cannot achieve effective heat dissipation. Your bulb will prematurely fail due to overheating.

2. Glare issues

LED headlights are capable of producing a strong, bright beam. It's very important to avoid directing this at oncoming drivers. A lot of cheaply manufactured bulbs do not take proper precautions to deal with glare, and these bulbs can therefore potentially cause serious problems when out on the road.

What is a retrofit kit?

Some manufacturers offer LED headlight bulbs as part of complete retrofit kits. They're designed to upgrade existing headlights with minimal modifications to the existing housing and circuits needed. It's a good idea to use a retrofit kit - they include the necessary components for optimal LED lighting performance, including:

  • A ballast that controls the electric power delivered to the bulb
  • A cooling system typically composed of a heat sink and a fan

As with all other upgrades, LEDs can be a great addition to your car. It's very important to make sure that the bulbs are manufactured to a high standard from a reputable company. Here at PowerBulbs, you can purchase LED headlight bulbs supplied to us directly from Philips.

Shop our range of LED headlight bulbs here.