Which Headlights Shine Best: Halogen, HID or LED?

Which Headlights Shine Best: Halogen, HID or LED?

When it comes to headlights, most of us only care about one thing - which headlights will shine the best and the brightest. Today's drivers have more options than ever before, which makes it tricky to figure out which headlights shine best. So, let's discuss the three main types of headlights on the road today - halogenXenon HID and LED - and help you determine which is best for your needs.

Halogen headlights

Halogen headlights are the standard headlights in most cars today. Halogen bulbs have been around since the 1950s and are an update to the old incandescent bulbs. Like incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs contain a filament made of tungsten. However, a halogen bulb is also filled with halogen gas. The tungsten filament heats up and produces light, while the halogen gas helps it to last longer and produce a brighter light.

Halogen bulbs certainly don't produce the brightest or the whitest light on the road, but they do have many advantages. For one, halogen bulbs are standard in many cars, meaning that you can replace them easily without the need for a conversion kit or a new bulb housing. They're also affordable, sometimes costing a fraction of some HID or LED bulbs.

Shop halogen bulbs here.

Xenon HID headlights

HIDs are a newer technology than halogen. They're becoming more popular, with many new cars having HIDs installed as standard. However, in a lot of older cars that use halogen bulbs, if you want to use HID, you'll have to install a HID conversion kit.

Xenon HID bulbs work by creating an arc between two electrons inside the bulb. The bulb is filled with Xenon gas, which helps to produce the light.

A lot of drivers think that HID headlights are the best, and it's clear to see why. They do produce a much brighter and whiter light than halogens can. HIDs can have a colour temperature of 5000K, 6000K, and sometimes higher. In order to compete with these new HID bulbs, many halogen bulb manufacturers have begun making halogens that are brighter and whiter, but they're still outshined by HID technology.

Whilst Xenon HIDs sound amazing, there are downsides. For one, HID bulbs are mostly much more expensive than halogen. There's also a lot of problems with counterfeit bulbs. If you think the price of a Xenon HID is too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you purchase from a trusted supplier to avoid installing fakes that can damage your car.

It's a lot trickier to replace HIDs in comparison to halogen. Due to the high wattages involved, we would recommend that you get in touch with your auto-electrician who can install them for you. If your car doesn't come with factory-fitted HIDs, you'll have to purchase and install a HID conversion kit. Additionally, you'll have to make sure the bulb housing is installed and aligned correctly, otherwise you risk dazzling oncoming traffic.

Shop Xenon HID bulbs here.

LED headlights

LED headlights are the newest technology out of the three we've talked about here. It's still very rare to see LED headlights on the road. LEDs have been used for other lighting purposes, including interior lighting, but are not commonly used as headlights just yet.

These headlights certainly have their advantages. LED bulbs produce a bright light that looks similar to a HID bulb. They also have the same high colour temperature, but produce a strong, white light instead of the blue tint that you usually see with HIDs.

Overall, LED headlights are fairly similar to HID. Like HID, LED headlights require you to install a conversion kit. This can be expensive, and LED bulbs already cost more than halogen bulbs. LEDs have similar road legality issues to HID, and can also dazzle oncoming drivers. 

The biggest selling point of LED bulbs over HID or halogen is their low energy use. Even though they shine as bright as HID lights, they consume far less energy and have a longer lifetime.

Shop LED headlight bulbs here.

So, which are best?

Overall, Xenon HID bulbs are most likely your best option when it comes to finding lights that shine the best. They're the brightest and have the highest colour temperature out of all three technologies. However, if your car uses halogen bulbs, you can still achieve some great results on the road.

If your car uses halogen but you'd like to switch to Xenon HID, you can shop our range of Xenon HID conversion kits here.