The headlights industry is a labyrinth of utter confusion for the uninitiated. Despite the multiple numbers of fittings, there are also different kinds of headlights, quality, technology, etc. Terms like Xenon, LED and halogen to can seem like a different language to some people, so let’s indulge in the complex science of it all – which is which, and how do they all work?
Halogen headlights are one of the most popular, seen in approximately 80% of the cars today. These are cheaply produced, easily replaceable and lasts up to 1,000 hours. The bulb contains a filament produced from tungsten and halogen gas; electricity fills the filament making the bulb light up. The tungsten starts to glow when heated up, though the heat is not harmful to the vehicle. The majority of halogen lights produce colour temperatures of about 3200K to 5000K, which is a significant drawback as you won’t be able to deliver the effects that a Xenon or LED headlamp would produce.
Moving onto Xenon HID, the frequency of these bulbs has gradually increased over the years. They’re now a standard feature on several luxurious cars with its bold and chic design. Xenon bulbs produce a sharper white light in comparison to halogen bulbs and also have a longer life expectancy, lasting up to 2,500 hours. These High-Intensity Discharge bulbs function in a much different way than halogen bulbs do, using electrodes instead of heating filaments to charge the gas, creating the dazzling white light you see on high-end vehicles, whiter and with a greater lifespan than halogen cars. Though these are built to near perfection, there are a few drawbacks attached to a xenon light bulb. They may take a few seconds to reach their full brightness level once turned on and also need to be used a couple of times for the bulbs to adjust and settle to reach their maximum brightness. Price-wise a Xenon headlight usually priced in the thousands, whereas a brand new genuine halogen headlight sometimes is as cheap as a hundred dollars or so.
LED headlights and tail lights have recently created a buzz in the industry, becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to produce white light and also because of the exceptionally long lifespan. These produce an intense light from the use of negative electrons that regularly generate protons, a thousand times per second! LEDs are less likely to become worn out, as these do not contain a filament so subsequently, they have a longer lifetime than xenon or halogen headlights. However, these are not frequently seen on the road, as their use is a bit different than halogen or Xenon – these bulbs require to be cooled off from the back and the headlights also sometimes need to be designed differently. The LED technology is innovatively being used in vehicles and is taking over the industry slowly but surely.
Which Technology is More Expensive and Why?
Now that we’re aware of each of the headlights’ characteristics let’s move towards which is more efficient and why. Xenon and LED technology are more expensive as compared to halogen, and there are many reasons why. Xenon headlights last longer than halogen, over 2,000 to 2,500 in comparison to 400 to 1,000 for halogen. Similarly, LEDs are much brighter and also use only a minimum amount of power. In addition to that, according to research, drivers drive more accurately and with more precision when using xenon headlights rather than the halogen ones. Though halogens light up as soon as the vehicle is switched on, Xenon my take some time to reach its full brightness. LEDs have proved to become more efficient and safer than halogen lights. Although both generate heat, halogens generate it to a much greater extent.
Making the Right Decision
In conclusion, all three have their pros and cons. For all those wanting to stick to their budgets, halogen headlights are what you should go for though it’s essential to keep in mind that they’ll need frequent changes as compared to other bulbs.
However, if you have a flexible budget, Xenon or LED headlights could be perfect for you. They are by far the best types of lighting, new technology awaits you!