Automotive headlight globes aren’t as simple as they used to be. There’s HID, LED, and even laser technology coming onto the market alongside good old Halogen. So what are the best headlight globes for you? Let’s take a look.
What is a Halogen Light?
The Halogen Light is an incandescent light that heats tungsten metal and halogen gas to increase light produced.If you want the cheapest headlight globe replacement, these are for you. The lifespan of a halogen globe is up to 1000 hours in the right conditions - and modern headlight reflector designs ensure they deliver good performance. If you’re happy with the life and beam distance you’re achieving with standard halogen globes; then this is a good replacement option.
Halogen Upgrade Lights
Halogen globes are often available with increased percentage of light output, or higher colour temperatures for a cleaner white light. While these don’t draw any more current than the standard globes (important for your wiring looms) or run much hotter (important to avoid melting today’s polycarbonate housings); the filament does run hotter than a standard globe, and life expectancy is only around 400 hours.
What is a HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Light?
Like a halogen light, it uses gas but with one main difference. It doesn't have tungsten filament; it uses a high voltage electrical arc from a ballast to flow between two closely spaced electrodes passing through the gas creating a bright light.
HID has been standard fitment on many premium vehicles such as BMW since 1991 and offers longer life, lower power consumption, greater light output, and a whiter light than halogen. For vehicles fitted as standard with these globes, replacing them with another HID globe is your only option. Most headlights using halogen globes can be upgraded to HID using a conversion kit, although these are not ADR approved and should only be fitted for off road use. How long will HID globes last? About 2000 hours in good conditions.
What is a LED (Light Emitting Diode) Light?
An LED is a semiconductor device that converts electricity into light. These are very energy efficient compared to halogen and HID Globes but have more direct light.
LED globes are seldom seen in anything but the most premium vehicles - but you can choose them as an upgrade to your halogen system. Why upgrade headlights to LED? While an LED headlight upgrade kit will cost a bit more initially; they offer performance as good as HID, with power draw lower still, and enormous life spans - possibly up to 30,000 hours. LED replacement globes are approved for off road use only, just as with HID upgrades.
What are Laser Headlights?
This technology has only entered production vehicles in the last 2 years, and still - they’re only seen in top of the line luxury and sports cars. This technology uses the lasers to excite a cloud of yellow phosphorous which is reflected through a series of mirrors, so as nobody goes blind. A laser headlight upgrade is not possible in older vehicles, as no such conversion kit exists yet - but we may see laser headlights enter the lower end of the market in years to come.
Now you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to choose the best headlight globes for your vehicle; head on over and check out our range.
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