Battle of the Headlights: Halogen vs. Xenon vs. LED

- Oct 12, 2017-


Halogen headlights are currently the most popular in the automotive world and, in case you're wondering why does this happen, it's mostly because of their primary.

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


• easy to replace

• simple construction

• different dimensions

• cost effective


• energy wasting

• extra care required


Xenon headlights, 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. The first xenon headlight appeared on the BMW 7 Series in 1991 and slowly became the number one option for several car companies, which avoided however to offer it as standard equipment.

So, to review the pros and cons of xenon lights:


• longer lifetime than halogen lights

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

• better visibility for the driver


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

• high costs

• more complex system than halogen bulbs

• possible harmful materials could be used

• 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