Your Questions Answered: Xenon bulbs

Your Questions Answered: Xenon bulbs

Your Questions Answered: Xenon bulbs

Xenon headlight bulbs are becoming increasingly popular in the automotive lighting market, but how much do you actually know about them? Never fear: you asked, we answered! We've colleced your questions and answered them in this handy blog post. Read on and get clued up on Xenons...


What are Xenon HID bulbs?

Xenon HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs are made using Xenon gas, which means they burn bright, reach full intensity quickly, and have a long lifespan. The colour produced by the bulbs is close on the colour spectrum to natural daylight, which will help you to feel more alert and awake during night time driving.

In comparison to halogen bulbs, Xenon HIDs are brighter, last longer and use less power.

How do I know if I have HID bulbs?

The easiest way to check if you have Xenon bulbs is to look at the light output at night by pointing your headlights at a wall and switching the bulbs on. If the light output is a crisp, clear white, then you will have xenon bulbs. The light produced from halogen bulbs has a yellowish tinge.  

How do I know when my HID bulbs are about to blow?

The colour of the light will change from crisp white to a pinkish tint.  If one bulb has failed, it is likely that the other will follow shortly after. We recommend you buy a pair of bulbs, just in case - and if you do, you'll save 20%* for buying two at the same time! 

How long do HID bulbs last?

They will last approximately 5 years.

If my bulb has failed, how do I know if it's the bulb or the gas ballast?

Don't be too hasty to replace a Xenon bulb if it has failed unexpectedly. It could be a problem with the gas ballast. Some bulbs have the ballast attached, and so with these you will need to replace the bulb. If your ballast is fitted into the car, try the following steps:

  1. Switch the bulbs around (put the working bulb in the headlight that isn't working). If the suspect bulb works in a different headlight, it probably will be the ballast.
  2. Check your wiring and connections - you're looking for any loose ends or worn patches.
  3. If all seems fine with the wiring, then try changing the fuse.

If it is the ballast that has failed (and it is not attached to the bulb), then we suggest you either contact your vehicle manufacturer directly or an auto-electrician, who can best advise you on the correct ballast for your car.

Why are they so expensive?

Xenon HID bulbs are more expensive than halogens due to the different technology and gases used to produce the bulb but on the flip side they do last a lot longer than halogen bulbs.

Will LED bulbs be cheaper?

We think that eventually, yes, LED bulbs will be cheaper than Xenon HIDs. This may take time, though - automotive technology first needs to adapt to incorporate LEDs.

Can HID bulbs be upgraded?

Xenon HID bulbs can be upgraded in the same way as halogen bulbs. At PowerBulbs, we have three categories: Standard, Styling and Maximum Performance.

With the rise of LEDs, will HIDs remain a solid middle ground between halogen and LED, or will LEDs eventually overtake their use?

Quite possibly. LEDs last longer and are more economical to use in comparison to Xenon bulbs. However, this may take time. The light produced by LEDs cannot be directed so you lose a lot of light on the road, and unlike factory fitted Xenon HIDs, LED bulbs are not road legal. Furthermore, LEDs work at a lower wattage than Xenons and halogens, which triggers a warning light on the dashboard of your car.

Once automotive technology catches up and adapts to LED technology, we think they will become more popular.


Shop our range of Xenon HID bulbs, and benefit from free worldwide delivery and a free 12 month warranty.