Headlights are one of the most important safety features of a vehicle. They allow drivers to see the road ahead and make other drivers aware of their presence. Over the years, there have been significant advances in headlight technology, with two of the most popular types of headlights being HID headlights and LED headlights.
These two types of lights have greatly improved visibility at night, but they also have important differences that you should know about before choosing which of the two types to go with.
In this article, we will explore the differences between HID and LED headlights and help you decide which one is best for your vehicle.
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
What Are HID headlight Bulbs?
(Types of HID Headlight Bulbs)
HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlight bulbs are a type of headlight bulb that produces light using an arc of electricity instead of a filament. They are also commonly known as xenon headlights, as the bulbs contain xenon gas that helps to create the bright white light that HID bulbs are known for.
HID bulbs work by sending an electric current through a small gap between two electrodes within the bulb. This creates an arc of electricity that ionizes the xenon gas and causes it to emit light. HID bulbs produce a much brighter and whiter light than traditional halogen bulbs, making them a popular choice for many drivers.
What cars have HID headlights?
HID (High-Intensity Discharge) headlights are most commonly used in newer high-end cars, especially in luxury and sports vehicles. Some popular car brands that use HID headlights include BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Acura. HID headlights are also commonly found in trucks and SUVs from brands like Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
What are LED headlight bulbs?
The LED headlight bulb is a type of automotive lighting technology that utilizes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to produce bright, energy-efficient illumination. Unlike traditional halogen or incandescent bulbs, which use a filament that heats up to produce light, LED bulbs rely on semiconductors that emit light when an electric current is applied. LED headlights offer several advantages over traditional bulbs, including brighter and longer-lasting illumination, lower power consumption, and a more focused beam of light that can improve visibility and reduce glare.
Which cars have LED headlight bulbs?
Although most cars are still equipped with halogen lights, LED headlights have become increasingly popular in recent years, many newer luxury cars and high-end models from brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus are more likely to come equipped with LED headlights as standard or optional equipment. Additionally, some mainstream brands such as Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have also started to include LED headlights in their higher-end models or as an optional feature.
LED vs HID Headlights: Which is Better?
LED advantages over HID headlights
1. Longer Lifespan: LED bulbs have a much longer lifespan than HID bulbs. LED bulbs can last up to 50,000 hours, whereas HID bulbs usually last between 2,000 and 5,000 hours.
2. Better Visibility: LED headlights produce a brighter and more natural light than HID bulbs, which can help improve visibility and reduce eye strain during night driving.
3. Instant On/Off: LED bulbs turn on and off instantly, while HID bulbs require a warm-up period before reaching their full brightness. This means that LED headlights provide better visibility immediately upon turning on, which can improve safety.
4. Easy Installation: Most of the LED headlight bulbs are design with plug-n-play solution, while the HID lights require a ballast to stabilize the light.
HID advantages over LED headlights
1. Distance: HID bulbs can illuminate objects at a greater distance than LED bulbs, providing better visibility of the road ahead.
2. Cost: HID headlights will initially be slightly less expensive than LED headlight bulbs.
3. Better in Projector: HID provides better beam pattern through projector while LED may cause glare light.
LED vs HID headlight: Full Comparison
|LED Headlight Bulb||HID Headlight Bulb|
|Efficiency||High||Lower than LED|
|Lifespan||30,000 – 50,000 hours||2,000 – 3,000 hours|
|Cost||More Expensive||Less expensive than LED|
|Color||Mainly in two different colors||Wide range of color options|
|Warm Up Time||No warm up time||Short warm up time|
|Light Distance||Up to 500 meters||Up to 300 meters|
|Housing Compatibility||Best for reflectorCan be used for projector||Best for projectorShouldn’t be used for reflector|
LED vs HID. Color Temperature
LED: Most LED headlight bulbs with a color temperature in the 6000-6500K range. White is the natural light color and closely resembles natural sunlight. This makes it easier for drivers to see and distinguish objects on the road, because the light is similar to the natural light they would experience during the day.
HID: HID bulbs come in a variety of colors ranging from yellows (3000K – 4300K ) to white (5000K – 6000K) to blues and purples (8000K and above). HID with a higher color temperature over 8000K emits bluish-white or purple color, it is easy to cause a traffic accident, unsafe for the road driving.
WINNER: LED Headlight Bulb
LED vs HID. Efficiency
LED: LED headlight bulbs are known for their high efficiency and brightness compared to HID headlight bulbs. LED headlights typically have an efficiency of around 80-90%, which means that they convert most of the electrical energy they consume into light, with minimal energy wasted as heat. The most efficient commercially available LED headlamps have efficiencies of 120 lumens per watt (LM/W).
HID: High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are more effective when compared to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Incandescent lights. However, HID lights are not as efficient as LED lights, primarily because their system efficiency is significantly much lower (only 90 lumens/watt). This is due to the losses associated with producing light in all directions and then redirecting it to the desired area.
WINNER: LED Headlight Bulb
LED vs HID. Lifespan
LED: LED headlight bulbs are made of sturdy 6063 aluminum, which means that they are shockproof, vibration-resistant, and anti-corrosion. In additional, most LED headlight bulbs are equipped with efficient cooling system, which helps to dissipate most of the heat from the chips. Due to their design, LED headlight bulbs are able to last for about 30,000 – 50,000 hours.
HID: HID headlight bulbs are significantly last longer than traditional halogen bulbs but not compared to LED bulbs. On average, the lifespan of HID bulbs can last from 2,000 to 3,000 hours of use. It’s important to note that HID bulbs can gradually fade out in brightness over time, even if they are still functioning. This can make it difficult to see the road at night and may eventually require replacement.
WINNER: LED Headlight Bulb
LED vs HID. Upfront Cost
LED: LED headlights are generally more expensive upfront than HID headlights. This is because LED technology is newer and more advanced than HID technology, so the cost of production is higher. However, LED headlight bulbs will last up to 3X as long as HIDs. Meaning that car owners will save money in the long run by paying more initially.
HID: HID headlight bulbs are cheaper than LED for the first replacement. However, HID headlight bulbs require more sophisticated components, if they broken or fade out, they will require more maintenance in the long run, similar to classic halogen bulbs.
WINNER: LED Headlight Bulb
LED vs HID. Warm Up Time
LED: LED bulbs do not require any warm-up time, meaning they produce full brightness almost instantly upon being turned on. LED bulbs offer a clear advantage in providing immediate illumination.
HID: HID bulbs can take several seconds to reach their full brightness level, as they require time to heat up the gas inside the bulb.
WINNER: LED Headlight Bulb
LED vs HID. Design
LED: LED headlight bulbs are typically composed of LED chip, heat sink, locking tab, driver, and connectors. LED bulbs have a simple design compared to HID, but they are typically larger than the latter because of the fan inside the heat sink.
HID: HID on the other hand, have a similar design to halogens. It contains a pressurized tube filled with gas and metal salts, as well as two tungsten electrodes at each end.
Why LED Headlight Bulbs Better Than HID: 3 Main Reasons
Although HID has its own advantages, but in the long run, choosing LED headlights will bring you more benefits. Here are three main reasons that make LED headlight bulb better than HID.
1. Energy-efficient: LED bulbs are more energy-efficient than HID bulbs, consuming less power while providing brighter and more focused light.
2. Longer lifespan: LED headlight bulbs typically have a longer lifespan up to 30,000 hours compared to HID bulbs which only last up to 3,000 hours.
3. Brightness: LED headlight bulb produce a brighter, crisper light than HID, making them better for nighttime driving. LED headlights also offer better visibility in inclement weather conditions, such as rain and fog.
Choose the Right LED Headlight Bulbs For Your Car
LED vs HID headlights, which one is better? Although HID bulbs have been the popular choice for many car owners. But with current improvements in LED technology, LED bulbs are becoming the new standard for car headlights. If you want to convert your HID to LED headlight bulbs, keep these considerations in mind.
The electrodes of HID can wear down and the gas inside can become depleted, resulting in a reduction of light output. So if you drive at night frequently, we highly recommend NAOEVO ND LED headlight bulbs. With five times the brightness of HID headlights at 140W 16800LM per set, and a clear cutoff that prevents glare, the ND LED headlight bulbs will make it easy for you to travel even on the darkest nights.
The design of LED headlights are more flexible than HID bulbs. If you are looking for easy plug-n-play LED headlight bulbs, we suggest NAOEVO NR LED headlight bulbs. Featuring a mini design to halogen headlights, these NR LED headlights fit perfectly into your headlight housing and factory sockets without needing any additional wires.
Some HID headlight bulbs are designed with purple or blue light which is illegal in some states and regions because they can be distracting and cause glare to other drivers. White LED headlight bulbs provide better visibility but weak penetration on foggy and rainy days. For this reason, you should consider the NAOEVO S4 Three Color LED Headlight Bulbs. With three color – 6500K white, 4300K warm white, 3000K yellow and flashing mode. The S4 LED bulbs allow you to drive safely on foggy, rainy, and snowy days.
✅Lifespan and Durability
LED headlight bulbs have an average lifespan of more than 30,000 hours, which means they need to be replaced far less often than HID headlights, which have an average lifespan of 3,000 hours. The design and material makes LED bulb more durable. If you are looking for long-lasting, high-brightness LED bulbs, we suggest NAOEVO NG LED bulbs. With a bigger copper heat pipe and high speed fan, it can achieve 3 times faster heat dissipation than other bulbs, thus extending its lifespan up to 30,000 hours. The upgraded flip chip helps to produce 180W 10800LM brightness, so you can keep these quality LED bulbs for a long time use.
Q1: HID vs LED bulbs, which is better for projector headlights?
A: HID. HID bulbs tend to produce more light and often shine further down the road through the projector headlight.
Q2: Can I replace my HID bulbs with LED bulbs?
A: It depends on your specific vehicle and headlight assembly. In some cases, it may be possible to replace HID bulbs with LED bulbs using an adapter or conversion kit, but in some car modes, it may need an additional wiring to install.
Q3: Which is more expensive, HID or LED headlight bulbs?
A: LED bulbs are generally more expensive than HID bulbs upfront, but they typically have a longer lifespan, so they may be more cost-effective in the long run.
Q4: HID vs LED headlight bulbs, which is better for night driving?
A: LED headlight bulbs are considered to be brighter than HID headlights in the same lumen rating. As LED headlights are more effective illumination than HID, and able to reach their maximum brightness almost instantly.