LED vs Halogen Headlights: What to Pick?

led vs halogen headlights

LED headlights are becoming popular nowadays for their brightness, white light production, and many other features.

Headlights are one of the integral parts of the vehicle and these have their roots back in the 19th century when acetylene lamps were used for lighting up the road at night or low-light conditions.

In 1898, first electric headlamps were made for cars. As you can guess, those were not so great in terms of producing lights and the right hue. In 1912, Delco’s electric lighting system was the first step towards modern headlights.

Coming to the present, you’ll find three types of headlights that are common in the automotive industry.

  1. Halogen Headlights
  2. LED headlights, and
  3. HID (Xenon) headlights.

In this article, we will discuss all these three types of headlights, one to one comparison, and their pros & cons. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

What is Halogen Headlight?

This type is named after halogen gas that is used in the glass bowl. The concept is simple but the outcome is amazing!

When electric current passes through the tungsten filament, it lights up. Since the filament heats up and can blacken the glass in front of it, the glass compartment is filled with halogen gas.
It prevents blackening of the glass and extends the lifespan of the filament allowing you to light up the dark road when needed.

What is LED Headlight?

LED headlights are one of the modern inclusion in the automotive industry and still revolving. You must have already some LED lights at your home, and the LED headlights are almost similar to those, except some tweaks.

LED headlights instantly light up when you pass electric current through the semiconductor diode. The diode does not heat up and does not require anything to keep emitting light for a long time.
Although the diode does not heat up, the circuit board heats up in the LED headlights and requires some heat sink or cooling mechanism to keep it cool and preventing meltdown.

halogen vs led headlights

Advantages of LED Headlights

The usage of LED headlights is increasing day by day. Don’t you know why? Here are the reasons behind the car owners replacing halogen headlights with LED nowadays-

1. LED is brighter than halogen light. So, when it comes to visibility in front of the car, LED headlights give you more visibility compared to its halogen counterparts.

2. The second thing is - LED headlights light up more area than the halogen headlights. Halogen headlights light up the area in front of the vehicle. But LED headlights cover more radius.

For example, if you are driving through a highway in the jungle, halogen headlights won’t allow you to see if any animal is coming from the jungle to the road. But LED headlights will light up the surroundings also and you’ll be able to see any possible conflict with animals in the road.

3. In terms of the color of the light, the LED emits white light while halogen is yellowish. Although none of the light gives you the natural daylight like feeling, LED is eye soothing. Because of the bright and warm color, it prevents the driver from sleeping.

4. Another great advantage of LED headlights is it lights up instantly. LED requires no warm-up and can change between low beam to high beam without flickering.

5. LED does not require any glass compartment or gas to properly light up. And thus, it takes less space allowing the designer more freedom to make it even more stylish.

6. When it comes to the durability of the headlights, LED leaves behind every other type without any doubt. Because LED is solid state light, it does not have any moving parts. When the circuit is properly cooled, it does not heats up and the consequence is – long lifespan.

Disadvantages of LED Headlights

With advantages, there are some disadvantages also for which people think twice before upgrading their conventional headlights to LED. Here are some of the key cons that we feel triggers manufacturers not to use LED headlights in the first place-

1. Although the semiconductor diode does not heat up, the circuit board of the LED light heats up and can melt due to overheat. So, for tackling the heating problem, manufacturers use heat sink under the board.

While eliminating heat from the ordinary home LED lights is easy with a heat sink, it is not that easy in the car. This is because of the heat of the engine. So, the small LED lights become almost the same or more in size than the Halogen headlights with the heat sink and other cooling mechanisms.

2. The most important disadvantage of LED lights is their price point. LED headlights come at an expensive price point than the halogen headlights. Although the durability and other benefits worth the price, still car manufacturers are reluctant to include LED headlights instead of the halogen headlights.

Advantages of Halogen Headlights

As you have gone through the pros and cons of the LED headlights, you might have been curious about the headlights of your car. So, here are the advantages of the halogen headlights-

1. The first and the most important advantage for which the manufacturers are still going with the halogen headlights is its price. It comes at a cheap price point than all other counterparts. So, it relieves the manufacturer and the car buyers from additional burden while purchasing the car.

2. When it comes to replacement, halogen headlights come at the top of LED headlights. These do not require any professional or technical knowledge to replace and thus, you can simply buy a pack and replace your broken headlight with a new one.

3. Halogen headlights are universally used. So, no matter where you are, you can find halogen headlights in auto repair shops. Universality is a great advantage for the people who moves a lot in their car.

Disadvantages of Halogen Headlights

Now about the disadvantages!

1. Halogen headlights are generally rated for 800 hours of usage. So, the lifespan is shorter than the LED headlights. When it comes to durability, halogen headlights lag behind the LED headlights. While LED headlights last for a long time, halogens break easily.

2. As you already know, LED is extremely energy efficient and takes very little power to give you a bright white environment at night. But halogen headlights are not so great in terms of energy efficiency. They take a lot more power to run than an LED.

Brief About HID Headlights

HID popularly known as Xenon lights work like neon signs without any filament. Xenon gas lights up when current pass through it.

High-intensity discharge (HID) headlights emit brighter light than LED and other fluorescent lights causing irritation and problems for the drivers coming from the opposite side.

This is why many car modifiers do not recommend using HID headlights.

What is the difference between HID and halogen headlights?

The key difference between halogen and HID headlights is their light-up process. While HID headlights use xenon gas to light up the road, it is the filament in the halogen lights that lights up.
So, one is based on filament or conventional lighting system, and the other works like neon signs.

Which is Better Halogen or LED headlights?

The answer can vary depending on the preference. While LED headlights are expensive in the first instance, these are durable. So, at the end of the day, you spend less amount of money on headlights when using LEDs.

On the other hand, most of the cars come with halogen headlights to date. So, you don’t need to put extra money on it to install like an LED.

Apart from the money factor, LED covers more area than the halogen and the bright white hue makes it easy for the driver to locate everything in front of the car. On the other hand, halogen headlights are focused on the road and do not light up surroundings. So, drivers of the vehicle coming from the opposite side feel comfortable with it.

Recommending one between these two is very hard because halogen headlights are conventional. So, people get used to those and are easy to replace. While LED headlights give you some promising advantages, these are not available everywhere and you’ll find it difficult to replace it.

So, we leave this on your shoulder to answer and pick one. Let us know in the comments what you think is better.

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