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Different type of Car Headlights

Slowly car buyers are getting more aware of safety features that they were ignoring in the past – Car headlights are one of them, unlike conventional Halogen lights now a days there are many headlight options available in market Headlights help you navigate the road at night and improve visibility in bad weather conditions. Suffice it to say, having properly functioning headlights is important to your safety on the road. A malfunctioning headlight should be fixed as soon as possible to keep you and the vehicle safe

Types of Headlights

There are four common types of automotive headlights: halogen, LED, Xenon/HID, and laser. If you’ve ever wondered what type of headlight bulb you need, here’s a quick and easy guide that can help you choose the right one for your vehicle:


Composite/halogen headlights are the most common type of light source used in modern headlights. They are an improved version of the sealed-beam incandescent lights used in older vehicles. Like their predecessor, these bulbs contain a filament that burns and emits light. What makes them different is the mix of gases that surround the filament, which allows them to burn brighter and longer without blackening the inside of the bulb.

Halogen lights most common lights for cars

Pros Of Halogen Lights

The manufacturing cost for these bulbs is lower than other alternatives. This means that replacements can be purchased at a competitive price.

Cons Of Halogen Lights

The light that halogen headlights cast has a yellowish hue. This may be an advantage in foggy conditions, but if you prefer bright white lights, you may want to consider another type of headlight bulb.

Moreover, halogen headlights illuminate a shorter distance in front of the vehicle compared to LED, HID, and laser headlights.

Typical lifespan: 450 to 1,000 hours. These bulbs burn hot, giving them a shorter service life compared to some other headlight bulbs.


Light-Emitting Diode or LED headlight bulbs illuminate by undergoing the process of electroluminescence. This happens when electrons are shot towards positively charged holes in a semiconductor, causing them to release energy as photons and emit light.

LED headlights produce a bright, white light that illuminates up to a mile ahead without blinding oncoming traffic.

Pros of LED Lights

LED bulbs are equipped with small semiconductors that can be arranged to fit tight spaces. This makes it possible for manufacturers to come up with sleeker headlight designs and allows more flexibility in styling other assembly components, such as turn signal lights. Another advantage of choosing LEDs is that they can be designed to emit any colour of the spectrum. They can produce a bright, white light that illuminates up to a mile ahead without blinding oncoming traffic. Lastly, they are energy-efficient and can be switched on or off quickly.

Cons of LED Lights

The cost of LED headlights is typically higher than their halogen counterparts. This is because the structure of their assembly is a little bit different due to the heat sink that must be built into the lights to prevent the base-emitter from overheating.

Typical lifespan: 10,000 to 30,000 hours. Compared to halogen headlights, LED bulbs run cool and don’t produce much heat. This gives them longer hours of illumination which, in some cases, could span the entire service life of a vehicle.


Xenon, otherwise known as High-Intensity Discharge or HID lights, is a type of headlight that is commonly installed on higher-end vehicles. These headlights contain a combination of xenon and argon gases mixed with vaporized metals that emit an extremely bright light.

Xenon or HID headlights emit a bluish-white light that scatter less than yellow light.

Pros of Xenon/HID lights

HID headlights emit light in a bluish-white hue which allows it to illuminate for longer distances. Compared to yellow lights, the light these bulbs produce scatter less, so they greatly improve visibility down the road.

Cons of Xenon/HID Lights

Xenon or HID headlights have a delay of several seconds before reaching maximum output. Also, they can be too bright and may blind oncoming drivers. Another possible issue is that the bluish-white glare can impair the other driver’s vision in the dark. Since their light is so focused, you may not see anything else outside the headlights’ field of illumination. This can make it harder to park, switch lanes, or cross intersections.

Typical lifespan: 2,000 to 10,000 hours. HID headlights can last for years because they have no filament that can burn out.


Laser headlights are a recent innovation in automotive lighting technology. These lights illuminate through the process of chemiluminescence, which means they produce light by triggering a chemical reaction. Laser beams are shot through a chamber which causes the phosphorus gas inside to glow. What you see in front of your vehicle is the light coming from the gas, and not the laser beams themselves.

Pros of laser lights

Laser headlights are more efficient than LED bulbs. They can produce 1,000x the amount of light for half the amount of energy that LEDs consume. They are also 10x smaller than the latter, which allows manufacturers to design a shallower assembly. They are far-reaching, have good adaptability, and can easily be switched on/off as well.

Cons of laser lights

While they can produce more light, they also produce more heat than LEDs. This means the assembly requires more sophisticated built-in cooling systems. Also, they are only currently available for use in high beams, which means they must be paired with regular halogen, LED, or HID headlights.

Typical lifespan: 50,000 hours. Laser headlights require very low energy input which allows them to work for a very long time.

Two Types of Headlight Systems

Reflector headlight systems

Reflector headlight systems are basically bulbs encased in a metal bowl. Early headlights were sealed-beam assemblies that relied on the design of the headlight lens to direct the light beam towards the road.

Bulbs in sealed-beam headlights cannot be replaced without replacing the entire assembly.

Today, reflector headlight systems rely on mirrors strategically placed inside the housing. This means the assemblies no longer need to be sealed and bulbs can be replaced on their own.

Projector headlight systems

Similar to reflector headlights, projector headlights also come with an encased bulb surrounded by mirrors. What makes them different, however, is that they come with a lens that magnifies the brightness of the headlight.

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