Headlights can be a difficult decision if you’re conflicted on the colour temperatures. Or, are simply torn between two types. A blue light may be too bright for your car’s headlights at night, or a too yellow light may be too dim for your preference.
If you’re leaning to buy either a HID or a LED light, we will explain the features and benefits to help you make an informed decision to choose one over the other. So, what light is better overall?
HID Or LED, Which Is Better?
LED lights are better as they last longer and turn on with instant light. They are more energy-efficient and are very bright. Unlike HID headlights, they won’t be too bright with a glare to potentially blind the other drivers.
In this led vs hid headlights article, we will dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each light. Keep reading to justify how LED lights are better than HID lights.
HID (High-Density Discharge) Light
HID lights provide a blue-ish white colour. These lights use electrical energy to create a metal halide. The high output and small HID output enable the electrodes to activate and illuminate the light.
- Very bright. Light can reflect a glare to far distances when driving.
- Variety of temperatures. Can have options of a variety of colour temperatures to choose from. However, the average colour is icy blue.
- Used in any weather condition. Bright enough for a safe drive in pouring rain or hail.
- Extremely efficient. Bright light and more efficient than LEDs in the short term.
- Colour. The blue-ish tint may not be ideal for night driving. Especially if it exceeds more than 8000k in colour, it can be dangerous to other drivers.
- Too bright. The charged brightness may be too bright for drivers passing by if drivers aren’t used to HID lights.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
An LED light emits light when electric current run through it making it a semiconductor device. Light is produced when the particles (electrons and holes) carry the current chain together within the semiconductor material.
- Energy-efficient. The energy is designed to last long which is appreciated for any driver.
- Longer life. They are designed to be sustainable over time, so you don’t need to replace them very often.
- Great colour. LED lights emit a warm, yellowish hue that is great for driving.
- Improved vision. Bright enough for drivers to see in and improves safety on the road.
- Price: LEDs cost more than HID headlights. However, due to their high quality and advanced technology, LED headlights are worth it. Due to their long lifespan, LEDs can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
- Extra component: LEDs don’t emit heat. But, they do produce a small amount of heat at the emitter (where electricity runs through.) They may need an extra cooling add-on to protect other car parts.
HID And LED Features: Side By Side
LED Headlights can range from $40 to $80 or more depending on the type of LED and brand.
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On the other hand, HID Headlights can range from $20 to $45 or more depending on the brand and type of HID lights. Therefore, HID headlights are cheaper, however they aren’t as sustainable as LED lights are overtime. It is worth spending a little more to reap in the benefits and quality that LED lights provide.
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The colour of a bulb should be bright enough to drive safely. Bulbs that are between 3,500 and 5,000 are an ideal number to drive on the roads. LED have a more yellowish tint to them that gives off a warmer look as they fall into this low numerical category of colour. LED lights make for great lighting indoor and outdoor, that is bright enough for driving.
HID has a more blue-ish tint to them. However, HID headlights are only slightly brighter than LEDs, as LEDs can look like high beams. HIDs may be too bright if they are over 5,000 in colour.
LED light on the average consumes 30-35 watts per hour. HID light in comparison consumes an average of around 100 watts per hour.
HID light doesn’t work to give enough brightness as a single 30-watt LED would provide though.
Normally, LED headlights have 4,000-6000 lumens but sometimes they can go up to 8,000 lumens which is the absolute maximum a driver should be using.
HID headlights have around 4,500 to 5,500 lumens and can go even higher as LEDs do.
Therefore, LEDs are slightly more luminous efficient than HIDs. They are relative to every lighting type on the market and are ideal for driving.
HID vs LED Headlights: Additional Important Features
- Glowing gas. Headlamps use a capsule of glowing gas to create light instead of a heated filament bulb, which is average in most vehicles.
- HID blue light. HIDs produce more light in the blue end of the colour spectrum. Emits a blue light that makes the vehicle stand out to drivers to make them more alert.
- Brighter. HIDs are typically brighter than LED lights on the road as they emit a glare to see in further distances.
- Exceptional colour range. LEDs also have a colour range but in the white-yellow colour spectrum.
- Pedestrian responsive. When there is an illumination between the headlights of a vehicle, pedestrians can cross the road easier.
- Instant illumination. Right when you turn a LED light on, it will instantly illuminate the headlight it’s installed in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better, LED Or HID?
LEDs are better. They are ideal for driving as they are bright enough to not create a glare, unlike the headlights that HIDs produce. LEDs are more energy-efficient than HIDs for long periods of time and are sustainable in the long run.
LED headlights automatically provide light when turned on instantly. The HID headlights shine almost too brightly, and can be assumed a person is using their high-beams. This can be dangerous for other drivers as they can be blinded passing by.
Is HID Brighter Than LED?
High-intensity discharge (HID) headlights are brighter than LED lights. They allow you
to perceive road threats, and pedestrians at farther distances with its function
of a glare.
However, HID headlights may be unsafe to drive as it could potentially blind other drivers. They are only slightly brighter than LED lights, as LED can mimic high beams.
Is It Illegal To Have HID Headlights?
In some areas, it is illegal to drive with HID headlights. In Canada, they are currently 100% legal. This may alarm some drivers, but just ensure the HID lights don’t exceed 8000k or above. Higher colour temperatures with a blue tint can be blinding if they are charged with this amount or more. Always follow your country’s rules and regulations regarding HID headlights to ensure everyone on the road is safe.
Use HID if:
- You prefer a blue-ish tint light
- You want a long-distance glare
- You want very bright lights
- You want a variety of colour temperatures
Use LED if:
- You want to feel safer on a night drive
- You prefer a white-yellow light
- You want more energy-efficient lights
- You want headlights with long-life
In conclusion, these two lights have great features standing on their own and can serve many needs of users. However, users may prefer certain features that are better suited for car headlights, especially for driving at night.
In our opinion, you should buy LED over HID lights. As mentioned above, they are more energy-efficient, instantly luminous, and have a wide range of colour temperatures to fit your car’s needs more safely.
The bottom line is that LEDs are generally safer to drive on the road and last longer over time.
Related Resources: Are HID and LED Headlights Worth Buying?