Differences Between Headlight Bulbs Explained

As you probably already know, not all headlight bulbs are the same as some are more powerful and produce various different colors. Another important factor is that certain bulbs will last far longer such as LED’s, which tend to last 8 to 10 times longer than halogen bulbs. Below we have put together a table stating the various bulb specifications with regards to color temperature and lifespan.

Table of Contents

Halogen Headlight Bulbs

Halogen is by far the bulb that most people would have heard of before and it is the most popular on the road today. This is because these headlight bulbs are the cheapest to produce and install on most vehicles on the road.

The majority of halogen bulbs produce between 3,200 to 4,500K but there are a few that will fall outside of this range. You can purchase halogen bulbs that produce similar color temperatures to that of a LED or xenon bulb but these will cost far more. The best halogen headlight bulbs are usually produced by brand such as Philips, PIAA, SLYVANIA and some others.

A significant disadvantage of halogen headlight lights is the truth they create heat . This is actually the consequence of the tungsten filament that's useful for the light. This sort of lighting is rather inefficient and specialists state how the filament generates 95% wasted temperature energy.


As you can plainly see from the desk above, there is also the disadvantage of having a brief lifespan set alongside the alternatives, therefore you will become replacing them more regularly.

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LED Headlight Lights

LED lights for car headlights have become far more favored by regards to contemporary cars. There are various brands that also present optional extras or aftermarket headlights that make use of LED bulbs as well.


  • Long life-span
  • Exclusive white light result
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • A lot more effective than halogen
  • Low wattage


In relation to changing the headlight style, this is needed because of the method the LED lights function. Because they are cooled from the trunk , the typical headlight style may possibly not be sufficient. Therefore, you might find yourself spending thousands to update the headlight device itself.

LED lights are also utilized a whole lot within DRL ( Day time Running Lights ) units due to their long lifespan and lack of parts that wear down.

HID Bulbs

Compared against xenon bulbs (discussed below), HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs can be fitted as an aftermarket part to virtually any car. Choosing the best HID kit you can get your hands on can completely transform the look of your car and look very similar to the more expensive xenon alternatives.

If you are converting from halogen bulbs to HID, you will need to purchase a conversion kit . This will usually include xenon bulbs, ballasts and individual power packs in order to provide the additional voltage required.

When it comes to choosing your desired color , HID bulbs offer a wide variety of selection. They range from 3,000K to 30,000K but its worth mentioning that not all colors will be road legal.


Xenon Headlights

Xenon headlights are usually an optional extra when you purchase the car and are relatively expensive. Unlike HID, xenon lights need not warm-up whatsoever and offer instant light and in addition give a even more day light . The xenon gas in the light bulb simply lighting up as a higher voltage is put on it.

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Xenon is certainly a sub kind of HID and they're often combined to create a headlight light bulb type referred to as Xenon HID. Xenon light bulbs do have got a disadvantage, which is right down to the quantity of voltage that's needed is to use them. This voltage is often as high as 30,000 volts . Nevertheless, you result is certainly significantly brighter light than halogen, which is certainly more organic.

Bottom line

Choosing between your various kinds of headlight light bulbs depends upon your personal choice. Some people aren't bothered by the colour and just desire maximum visibility of the road at night. Whereas others prefer the white/blue light output from xenon and HID bulbs. However, if you are on a budget, opting for premium halogen bulbs may be the best option.

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