Should I go LED or HID?
Technology: LED lights use electricity while HID uses gas (typically xenon). Energy use: Both have high energy use compared to halogen, but LEDs are slightly more energy-efficient. Life span: LED lights might last up to 45,000 hours while HIDs have a life span of around 15,000 hours.
HID bulbs are generally more powerful in the dark, however. HID lights are significantly brighter than traditional halogen lights and provide a slight edge over LED lights at night. Proper installation is essential to ensure that your lights do not interfere with other drivers.
Other downfalls to replacing your car headlights with HID bulbs is that in some cases, drivers may experience a start-up delay in the bulbs' illumination. Because HIDs use gas instead of a filament for illumination, the bulbs sometimes will take a moment to energize to full brightness.
The stronger light quality, long lifespan and lower energy use of LED lights make them a great choice in general, and replacement costs should come down as market adoption rates increase. Halogen lights still have their place in budget cars, as well as in the used car market.
While not applicable to all vehicles, many vehicles today can be upgraded from halogen to HID lights with a conversion kit. HID headlights give off a very bright, very whitish bluish appearance, illuminating the darkness much better than its counterpart. HIDs last longer, burning at least 2,000 hours and up 8,000.
HID headlights provide a larger range of coverage than LED headlights, but they can reflect glare onto oncoming traffic if they're not installed properly, so it's important to have them inspected by an experienced professional.
The Cons of LED Headlights
The glare associated with LED headlights is one of the biggest disadvantages of this technology. The glare can get so bad that it could affect other people on the road. Experts also worry that it can cause long-term retina damage. Also, LED headlights are more expensive than halogen lights.
HID lights that point straight ahead can blind other drivers, creating a safety hazard and a legal issue. Properly installed HIDs should be angled towards the road, and many use reflectors to ensure the light shines down and not up.
The amount of time you're able to get from a pair of HID headlights is more than double the number of driving hours and mileage you're liable to get from halogen bulbs. On average, halogen headlights last only 1,600 hours at the low estimates and 3,000 hours at the highest estimates.
HID lumen output can significantly deteriorate as the bulb ages. Some HID bulbs produce 70% less visible light after only 10,000 hours of operation. Most HID lighting emits a significant amount of UV radiation.
Which headlights are best for night driving?
LED and HID bulbs give the best coverage in comparison to standard bulbs, and they also extend the distance of vision at night, especially in dimly lit areas or off-road where there is no lighting available.
LEDs can last for a very long time, vastly outperforming halogen or xenon (HID) bulbs. This means you no longer have to worry about your headlights losing their brightness after a few years. This will also help you bring down your maintenance costs since you'll be replacing your headlights less often.
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.
You will get about a 50% brightness increase by going from a 35-watt ballast to a 55-watt ballast. So the 8,000K HID bulb will go from 1,000 maximum lux to 1,500 maximum lux at 25 feet, but the color will shift to a 6,000K color.
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.
So what does an HID headlight cost in order to replace it? The bulb alone can often exceed $100. The higher price comes from the fact that they are much more powerful than a halogen headlight. HID lights are also designed to last much longer than halogen headlights, but they can still burn out eventually.
By comparison, MH bulbs last roughly 10,000 hours, and HPS bulbs last 16,000 hours. Besides the longer life span, LEDs maintain their brightness throughout their life. HIDs will get dimmer as they're used, which means growers may need to replace them even sooner.
Xenon headlights are probably the brightest bulbs you can get for your car that are actually street legal and can, in fact, often be confused for high-beam lights. However, here is a set of super bright and low-power lights that can be used for parking lights, reverse lights, turn signal lights, or tail lights.
Longevity. Another great advantage to xenon headlights is their longevity. For starters, HIDs have a much longer lifespan than halogen bulbs. By most accounts, HID headlights last at least 2,000 hours, and in some cases, they can last as long as 8,000 hours.