Headlights are one of the key safety features of your vehicle, so it’s a crucial step to get right when you’re due to replace them. Whether you’re looking for brighter lights for country driving or trying to be more energy efficient, there’s different headlights for different requirements.
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There are three main types of headlights: LED, HID or ‘xenon’, and halogen. We’re going to take you through the features of all three, so you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your car.
Halogen headlights have been the standard for many years and are still the most common headlight in use today. They are affordable, last a long time, and are easy to replace. However, there are some downsides to this popular headlight. They are not as energy efficient as LED and HID headlights and tend to generate excess heat. The good news is that energy-saving halogen bulbs are now on the market and availability is on the rise.
Light emitting diode (LED) headlights are still relatively new to the scene, but they certainly bring a lot to the table. Unlike Halogen and HID lights, LED lights generate almost no heat, instead converting most of their energy into light. Low energy requirements mean LED headlights reduce emissions and help preserve your car’s battery.
Why isn’t everyone switching to LED? While some newer models of cars come fitted with them already, converting from halogen to LED can be a little trickier. Firstly, they are more expensive than regular halogen headlights. Secondly, there are some physical and legal obstacles to overcome if you want to convert from halogen to LED. In Australia, your state’s road authority will be able to advise on the legality of LED conversions.
HID headlights (Xenons)
High intensity discharge (HID) headlights - also called ‘xenons’ after the gas used in them - are known for their brightness. In fact, they tend to be up to three times brighter than the average halogen light, making them great for outback driving and country roads. Despite the extra brightness, HID headlights actually use less energy than halogen lights and have a long lifespan. Many new cars already have HID globes fitted as car makers look to more energy efficient solutions than the traditional halogen.
Converting from halogen to HID is similar to LED in the sense that they’re more expensive globes and you must fit them in accordance with Australian law. Most of the requirements are related to reducing the strong glare of the HID headlights for other drivers.
Which is the best type of headlight?
At the end of the day, this comes down to which type fits your needs. If you do a lot of night driving on country roads, HID headlights are going to be the brightest for you. If you’re sticking to a budget, halogen lights are going to be the most cost effective option. LED lights may interest anyone looking to lower their emissions without sacrificing on brightness.