Your Guide to LED Headlights vs. HID

LED headlights vs. HID headlights is a new debate in headlight technology. More people are moving away from reflective halogen lights and installing LED and HID lights in their cars. With conversion kits, many drivers can do this at home, but even manufacturers are installing them when making cars.

The two light types are similar in brightness and range but have important differences. Where you live, when you drive, and how frequently you travel at night are all factors to consider in this debate. We’ve compiled the following list based on expert recommendations to help you choose one over the other.

What Are LED and HID Headlights?

LED and HID headlights are the bulbs and equipment for cars that help drivers see at night. Until recently, most car manufacturers installed halogen lights in their cars that use nitrogen and argon gases to heat a filament and produce light.

HID headlights, or high-intensity discharge headlights, are headlights that use a combination of gas and metals to produce a bright blue-white light when the filament receives heat. Some HID lights don’t use filament and instead charge xenon through electrodes with high voltage. HID headlights are premium headlights used for their brightness and ability to last a long time. This type of headlight is ideal for driving at night.

LED headlights are light-emitting diode headlights. They use semiconductors to transmit energy-emitting photons that create light. These headlights can get hot, so some require additional fans or heat sinks to control the temperature.

How To Choose LED vs. HID Headlights

Determine what you need from new headlights. If you drive more during the day, consider the cheaper option of halogen or HID lights. You might also choose HID if you’re looking for a short-term solution. Our pick for people who drive nightly would be LED for their brightness, quick starting, and life span. Consider your location, too. If you live in a rural area with limited streetlights, convert to LED lights. If you live in a city, HID might be better.

How To Replace/Install LED and HID Headlights

Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.

Some cars already come with HID lights, and you just need to replace broken or worn-out bulbs. Other cars require conversion kits. If you aren’t changing the bulb type, you can simply unplug and remove the existing bulb and replace it with a new one without additional equipment.

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