Head to Heads & Advice 

Comparing LED to HID Headlights

Don’t worry halogen headlight fans: we won’t leave you out entirely. However, most people today are caught between deciding whether they would rather have LED headlights or HID headlights. Laser system headlights may become the newest and greatest in headlight technology in the future, but today you’re probably primarily wondering what the differences are between LEDs and HIDs. With that, AutoNation Drive has you covered.


A Quick Chat about Halogen

Once the most common headlight used, halogen lights are rapidly being overtaken in the market by LEDs and HIDs. Halogen lights generate light by using tungsten filaments encased in a bubble of halogen gas. These bulbs draw roughly 55-watts of power and a great deal of that is converted not into light but heat. Because of the relative inefficiency of these bulbs, auto manufacturers have turned to LEDs and HIDs for the solution.


LED Lights

Known officially as light emitting diodes, LEDs today provide most of the lighting used in instrument panels and car interiors. LEDs feature a small size that can be utilized in tight spaces, much to a car designer’s delight. LEDs hit their maximum brightness within a millionth of a second when turned on. This lightning-fast response helps dramatically when they’re used in brake and indicator lights, aiding other drivers in knowing what’s about to happen much faster. These lights also convert most of their energy directly into light and not heat, a significant advantage over the halogens.


HID Lights
Volvo S60 headlightsHigh intensity discharge headlights, on the other hand, boast being significantly brighter than both halogens and LEDs. They light up roughly a half a second after being turned on, and generally draw only around 35 watts. This is less than both halogen lights and LED lights. HID headlights offer a cool white low with a blue tinge around the edges which is impossible to miss on the road given their vibrant glare. Like halogen lamps, HID headlights convert energy to heat as well as light, and will be hot to the touch after being used. They’re made of a mixture of rare metals and gases, which have kept prices relatively high.


The Headlights for You

What you use is up to you. Certain cars and manufacturers offer one or the other, which may affect your car-purchasing decision. Consult your nearest AutoNation dealership to discover what cars and what headlights options are available to you today. Members of our salesforce are ready and waiting with the information you need.

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