Identifying the best headlights for your vehicle really comes down to price. You can save initially with inexpensive bulbs, but they have to be replaced more often than a premium product.
No matter what bulb you choose, it is critical to ensure they function when driving at night, or in dangerous weather. They must be dependable and durable, as well as long-lasting.
The four different types of headlights – Halogen, Xenon, HID and LED – vary greatly in how long they last, and how much they cost. Here’s what to look for in the best and worst headlights.
Tungsten-halogen bulb headlights
Tungsten-halogen bulbs are the standard bulbs used for mass-produced cars. They’re cheap to make and cheap to buy. Given how often you’ll need to replace these inferior bulbs, you’ll may want to consider a better product.
They must be replaced every 500 to 1,000 hours – more often than any other headlight. This is because tungsten-halogen bulbs can become contaminated by grime and dust, or even the oil on your fingertips if you don’t handle the bulbs with gloves.
LED bulbs are a premium product. Not every driver uses them due to their price, but in exchange for spending more money, they’re extremely durable and energy efficient. These headlights have a bright and clear light, making it easier to see the road in tough conditions.
They last the longest of any headlight type at 30,000 hours, which is not only cost-efficient over time, but safer than other bulbs. Having even one of your bulbs burn out on the highway can be hazardous, making these durable and bright bulbs particularly valuable in the event of inclement weather.
Xenon headlights are more expensive than halogen headlights. They use xenon gas rather than a tungsten filament to emit a powerful, white light – the brightest of the four different types of headlight bulbs.
They can last for up to 10,000 hours of usage, second only to LED bulbs. It’s an excellent choice for nighttime driving at a lower price point than LEDs, though a Xenon bulb will last at most one-third as long.
High-intensity discharge (HID) lights work similarly to spark plugs, using a spark to ignite xenon gas within the headlight. As a result, they emit a very bright light, but they also are prone to damage and failure in rough driving conditions.
Expensive as they can be, HID bulbs only last up to 2,000 hours – two-to-four times the average Halogen headlight. This still falls short of Xenon and LED bulbs, and the lower durability could mean an even shorter trip.
No matter which bulbs you choose for your headlights, they have to suit your driving activity. A less active driver may stick with halogen bulbs, while Xenon and LED bulbs are excellent for highway drivers.