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Projector Vs Reflector Headlights: Which Is Better?

Educational  ·  May 2, 2023

Projector Vs Reflector Headlights: Which Is Better?

When talking about car headlights, people tend to focus on the kind of bulbs being used. To those familiar with the topic, there's also a minor debate surrounding the differences between projector and reflector headlights.

Reflector headlights have been around forever. Their light source is surrounded by reflective housing that reflects the beam outwards when the light is on. Projector headlights use similar principles, though it has a lens that concentrates the light beam, making it significantly brighter and more even.

This guide will walk you through the reflector headlights vs projector discussion so you can see the differences and decide which one is best for you. Then, of course, by the end of this article, you’ll see our thoughts on which one is better and why that’s the case.

Projector Vs Reflector Headlights: What Are the Differences?

Before jumping straight into the projector vs reflector headlights debate, it’s essential to understand how each type works and how they differ.

Let’s begin with reflector headlights which have been around the longest among both types.

The reflector headlight has been around ever since automotives began using headlights. It uses a straightforward design with a light source (e.g., a light bulb or LED) in the middle surrounded by a reflective dome- or cup-shaped housing.

When the bulb is turned on, the light bounces off the reflective housing (i.e., reflects) and creates a light stream pointed straight ahead.

That reflective design is timeless and continues to be used today, despite how projector headlights have become more common.

Projector headlights are similar in their basic design. A light bulb or something similar sits in the middle of a reflective housing that bounces light outwards. However, projector headlights are different because they also include a condenser lens.

That lens functions as a magnifying glass that concentrates the light, making it significantly brighter. As a result, the road ahead is much clearer to see, especially in low-light or low-visibility conditions.

As you’ve read earlier, projector headlights have become a popular alternative. Still, many carmakers continue to use reflector lights as a standard vehicle feature.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Reflector Headlights?

Reflector headlights have been around for much longer and continue to be used today. That’s because it has several timeless benefits that make it a better option than projector headlights.

Their benefits include the following:

Naturally, even timeless car parts like reflector headlights have their shortcomings. Some of their cons include the following:

Despite these drawbacks, reflective headlights remain the timeless norm in automotive design. As you’ll see below, projector headlights are superior to reflectors in several ways.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Projector Headlights?

Projector headlights are the newer and more high-tech kind of headlights. So, it’s normal to find them on higher-end vehicles these days.

It’s no surprise that people increasingly prefer projector headlights, especially with the benefits they offer like:

As impressive as projector headlights are, they have their fair share of drawbacks, including:

Evidently, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for many people. As a result, projector headlights continue to be a popular alternative to the timeless design of reflector headlights.

Bottom Line: Are Projector or Reflector Headlights Better?

The primary purpose of your headlights is to maximise your visibility while driving. That’s why projector headlights are better than reflector headlights. They generate a brighter, more consistent beam without fading away from the centre.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with having or choosing reflector headlights. They’re still perfectly safe to use and will help you drive safely.

Whether you’re looking for projector or reflector headlights, you can find them through CarpartAU. The Marketplace is full of deals on used parts with plenty of value to offer. Alternatively, you can submit a request for new parts through the Part Finder to get the headlights you need quickly!


By Ray Hasbollah

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