LED vs Halogen Headlights – Which Is Better For Your Car?


By  AIS Windshield Experts

Category:  Headlight Restoration

LED Vs Halogen Headlight

Choosing new headlights for your car involves more than just picking the brightest bulbs. LED and halogen lighting rely on divergent technologies, influencing factors like visibility, energy use, costs and longevity. This step-by-step article simplifies the complex variables to consider when selecting optimal headlights.

Step 1: Understanding Halogen vs LED Headlight Composition

The first step is grasping how halogen and LED headlights structurally differ:

Halogens utilise tungsten filaments encased in glass bulbs filled with halogen gas. Electricity heats the filaments, producing light when driven by a vehicle’s DC power source. Halogens offer a modest luminosity upgrade over conventional bulbs.

Comparatively, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) incorporate compact semiconductors that emit light when electric current flows through. Unlike fragile tungsten wires, solid-state LED chips prove rugged and longer-lasting. No gases get utilised in LED operation.

Their contrasting architectures give rise to further performance variances, including brightness potential, lifespans and costs.

Step 2: Comparing Brightness and Beam Distance

Brighter headlights increase driver visibility and reaction time by illuminating more of the road ahead. Here is a comparison between halogen and LED headlights:

  • Brightness

Halogens: ~1,100 lumens

LEDs: 1,600+ lumens

Best-in-class LEDs are over 30% brighter and focus directionally, concentrating more light on the road over longer distances.

  • Beam Distance

Halogens: ~150 metres

LEDs: 200+ metres

Superior intensity expands LED high beam reach over halogen equivalents by 25% or more. Consequently, LEDs provide earlier visibility, allowing slower reactions to hazards ahead compared to halogens.

Step 3: Evaluating Efficiency and Lifespans

Beyond performance, assessing electricity consumption and lifespan estimates before failure also influences headlight choices:

  • Efficiency

Halogens: ~55 watts

LEDs: ~30 watts

LEDs achieve equivalent or better outputs while pulling nearly 50% less wattage from the electrical system. This converts into improved fuel efficiency for the vehicle.

  • Lifespans

Halogens: 800 hours

LEDs: 25,000+ hours

On average, LEDs outlast halogen bulbs by over 30 times before needing replacement. So LED owners avoid costly rebuys for years or decades rather than months with halogens. This also reduces vehicle downtime and safety risks if bulbs happen to burn out at inopportune times.

Step 4: Factor Colour Temperature Into Visibility

Headlights also differ in emitted hues described via colour temperatures as follows:

  • Cool White: Bluish tone with temperatures exceeding 5,000 Kelvin
  • Warm White: Yellowish hue with sub 3,500 Kelvin temps

Cool white LEDs enhance contrast, improving the visibility of obstacles and road markings in the dark, while halogens mute the crispness of details. Cool LEDs expose hazards for quicker reaction. Note some LEDs can toggle warmth, but cool provides the best discernibility.

Step 5: Installation and Vehicle Compatibility

Bolting on new headlights seems straightforward. But fitment issues can arise with LED upgrades. Two aspects hold importance:

  • Shape/Size: LED assemblies or bulbs match halogen dimensions. However, some vehicles have limited housing depth, potentially requiring modification.
  • Wiring/Electronics: LEDs integrate with modern CANBUS systems. But electrical quirks on older cars may demand adding resistors to synchronise properly.

Check for a specific year, make and model fitment guidance when standardising on LEDs. Halogens swap directly on most vehicles.

Step 6: Pricing Breakdown and Savings

Upgrading vehicle lighting costs substantial money regardless of the technology chosen. But here is how halogen vs LED expenses compare:

  • Halogen Costs

Bulbs: ₹500-800

Labour: ₹0 (DIY installation)

  • LED Costs

Complete Assembly: ₹8,000-25,000

Labour: ₹1,500+ (professional installation recommended)

Though stickering higher initially, LEDs offset through energy and replacement bulb savings down the road. Properly installed LED headlights seldom need servicing in the first 5-8 years of operation.

Step 7: Additional Maintenance Aspects

Beyond weighting variables during selection, ongoing maintenance helps sustain optimal visibility and safety:

  • Lens Care: Regardless of halogen vs LED selected, practising consistent headlight restoration by cleaning and restoring outer lens clarity helps maintain peak luminosity and beam distance over their entire lifespans.
  • Headlight Restoration: Regular external lens cleaning sustains clarity, enabling maximum light transmission from any bulb type.
  • Alignment Checks: Improper alignment creates hazardous glare, blinding oncoming traffic. LEDs and halogens must sit squarely flush.
  • HID Comparison: LED vs HID headlight provides a middle-ground option between halogen and LED in terms of price. When evaluating, compare the tradeoffs.


LED and halogen headlights differ in visibility, efficiency, maintenance, and pricing. Consider budget, car compatibility, and brightness to choose the best option. Upgrading lighting enhances safety, so invest wisely.

Get in touch with AIS Windshield Experts for additional information about headlight installation and replacement for your vehicles.

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