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As time goes on and technology advances in the automotive industry, there has been an increase in the types of headlight bulbs available to drivers.
Some high-end luxury style car manufacturers are experimenting with laser headlights.
However, laser headlights are still a long way away from being a consumer product.
That being said, the top headlight bulbheads being used today are Xenon (HID), Halogen and LED, with halogen being the primary style used in the majority of car models today but transitioning to HID bulbheads.
So, what one of these three choices is the best headlight?
Well first let’s look at how each bulb works and some aspects to each.
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In This Article
These bulbheads were developed in the 1950’s and are upgraded technology of the incandescent light bulb.
They work by having halogen gases inside of them, these gases heat up, causing a tungsten filament to heat up and this produces light.
The gases inside of the bulb cause the tungsten to be recycled allowing the bulb to burn longer.
But, eventually, the filament will burn out causing the bulbhead to stop working.
These are the most commonly used headlight and fog light headlight bulbheads in today’s society.
They have a very good light output increasing the visibility of the driver at night and in bad weather conditions.
They are not an overwhelming amount of light for other drivers on the road and are available in several degrees of brightness and color variation.
The advantages of halogen bulbs are that they are very cost efficient for a good quality bulb they are usually around 30$.
Halogens typically last about 1000 hours of use. However, by no means are halogen headlight bulbs the brightest headlights.
That’s because they are not the most efficient bulb as the heat output needed to produce the light from the tungsten filament leads to a large loss of energy and the filament doesn’t last as long as other types.
For more on how a halogen bulb works check out this article.
Light Emitting Diodes, these bulbs could be thought of as the “digital” equivalent to halogen bulbs.
They have a wire that heats up using the electricity from your vehicle to a chip covered in a substrate that produces light when heated.
This process doesn’t require a large amount of heat to produce the light resulting in cooler or whiter light and because the light is “whiter”, this allows the use of different kinds of materials to be ran through and produce a different glow.
There’s a wide variety of different colors and options to choose from for more on Led Headlights
LED headlight bulbs aren’t the brightest headlight bulbs available. However, the amount of light they produce provides an excellent amount of visibility at night time.
Even though LED headlights aren’t the brightest style of light bulbs, they are a often chosen over xenon headlights.
Often times, the high-intensity light that is produced by xenon headlights overwhelms drivers on the road and may cause an accident.
A popular choice among owners as they produce a large amount of light at a fraction of the heat and electricity a halogen bulb produces while still being very affordable.
LED’s are very efficient at producing light with a lifespan lasting between 10 000 to 50 000 hours depending on the brand and quality of the bulb, meaning in most cases it will last the entire lifetime of your vehicle.
Headlights designed for LED use tend to be more sleek and stylish looking available in an array of colors which is a benefit to people who are going for that sleek and custom style look.
However, if your vehicle didn’t come factory with LED headlights or bulbs, you may need a conversion kit to get the headlights to work.
There are a lot of different bulbs out that will fit your stock headlight casing but if yours doesn’t you will either need to choose a different size bulb or get a different headlight housing. Refer to the headlight manufacturers specifications for the sizing of your headlight bulbs.
High-Intensity Discharge bulbs are unique in the sense that they don’t utilize a filament like the other bulbs do.
Think of a xenon bulb as a neon sign, it is an arc lamp.
They contain gases and rare metals inside of a glass chamber that produces a bright white (blueish) glow when heated.
HID headlight bulbs can be overwhelming to other drivers and distract them causing accidents.
For this reason HID bulbheads are typically used for drivers who are out in the country where they don’t encounter other drivers often.
These bulbs are very efficient, they require less power to function and produce a brighter light.
Typically drivers can expect to get around 2000 hours of life out of a xenon headlight but their cost can sometimes be fairly expensive.
While they are very effective, much brighter than halogen and a good choice of bulb majority of vehicles require a headlight conversion kit refer to vehicle manual for specifications.
HID are definitely the brightest headlights commercially available to vehicle owners.
Xenon headlights are the best choice if you’re constantly out in the backwoods where you need the brightest headlights possible to avoid animals on the road.
Typically, HID headlights aren’t the most common option and they will be better suited for a light bar so you can choose when you need the extra visibility and not overpower other drivers on the highways.
Xenon headlight bulbs are available in a spectrum of colors as well because they burn such a pure white.
If you’re interested in checking out some HID headlights.
For more on how Xenon or HID headlight bulbs check out this article.
In terms of what bulb type is the best is a hard topic to answer as it depends on intended use, and other factors.
If you’re just a daily driver looking for the most efficient light while still affordable, the best choice would be LED as they last the lifetime of your vehicle and provide a powerful white light that illuminates the road very effectively.
If you need very bright light to shine out at camp or wherever you may be, the best choice would be to get a light bar installed on your truck and you can get HID bulbheads to light the bush.
The lifetime time that you can expect to get from an HID headlight is around 2000 hours.
LED headlight bulbs are very efficient at producing light. They have a lifespan lasting between 10 000 to 50 000 hours depending on the brand and quality of the bulb. In most cases, it will last the entire lifetime of your vehicle.
Halogen headlight bulbs are the lowest-cost option. They have an expected lifetime of roughly 1000 hours.
The prices for headlight bulbs vary depending on the type:
- Halogen headlight bulbs are about $15 – $20 each
- LED headlight bulbs range between $30 – $75
- HID headlight bulbs are $75+
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