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Halogen headlight, LED headlight and Xenon headlight: Which is better?

Today we will focus on the four major headlamp configurations. Although people generally believe, and it sometimes happens to be true, that the newest is also the best. We will try to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Some of you may agree with our statements, others won’t, but anyway, each of the four kinds of headlamps has its own pros and cons. Now, let’s see what this is all about.

Halogen Headlamps

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As we all know, halogen headlights are the most popular in the automotive world. Maybe you are wondering why this happens. It is mostly because of its main advantage: they’re very simple and cheap.

Normally a halogen bulb has a lifetime of around 1000 hours under normal conditions. Besides, the replacement costs are usually very low comparing to the other types below.

In just a few words, there are the pros and cons of halogen headlamps:


1. easy to replace

2. simple construction

3. different dimensions

4. cost effective


1. energy wasting

2. extra care required



Xenon headlights, which is officially known as high-intensity discharge headlamps (HIDs), are usually defined as a more efficient solution, mostly because of the color temperature and the amount of light they generate.


1. longer lifetime than halogen lights

2. more efficient than halogen as they use less power and create more light

3. better visibility for the driver


1. too much glare and thus, potential problems for the incoming traffic

2. high costs

3. more complex system than halogen bulbs

4. possible harmful materials could be used

5. they take up a few seconds to reach full brightness


The automotive industry has evolved a lot, that's for sure. Along with it, headlamps have reached another level and, after carmakers closely analyzed the way halogen or HID lights influence their models, turn to another option: LEDs. At least on paper, LEDs seem to be the solution for mass-produced cars but there are also several setbacks that could change the world's perspective over this type of technology.

To wrap it up with the LED headlights:




small size, allow great manipulation for various shapes

very low energy consumption

brighter than halogen headlights while still offering a warmer light than HIDs




high production costs

high temperature created around adjacent assemblies

more difficult to design and cope with the already high engine bay temperatures





• very energy efficient

• small packaging

• 1,000 times brighter than LED headlights with double the range


• extremely expensive

• currently they can’t be used for both low- and high-beams, requiring a regular LED or HID system to work in tandem

• they still need cooling, as they create much more heat than LED systems


LEDs are brighter, they put out a whiter light and they do last longer than halogen bulbs. But their greater expense and complexity make people favor halogens as a replacement. LED manufacturers have put a lot of work into making replacement as simple and hassle free as possible, and LEDs are becoming more and more popular.


It should be noted that many jurisdictions do not allow the replacing of halogen light bulbs with LED lamps for safety reasons. It’s possible to get away with it if you’re careful, but make sure you’re up to date on local laws. This is also a reason why some people opt for DOT/SAE approved halogen bulbs instead of LED or HID.

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