Are LED Headlights Really Better?

front view of a cars led headlights

Although other lighting technologies like (HID) and the traditional halogen bulbs had a long run, LED headlights are the next generation of headlights. Next are a few questions and answers aimed at shedding light on the HID vs. LED debate. 

What are LED Lights? 

LED light sources use semiconductors that emit light when electricity flows through them. Premium brands were the first to use this technology in their vehicles. Lexus and Audi were the first cars to equip LED headlights as original equipment. 

This type of lighting source has become increasingly common in vehicle interiors and exteriors in the last decade. 

What is the Difference Between HID and LED Headlights? 

Both HID and LED are used in vehicle headlights, but LED offers many advantages over HID. For instance, a LED light has a longer lifespan and consumes less power than an HID one and does not need to heat up to reach full brightness. 

Additionally, HID headlights waste energy producing UV and infrared light that cannot be perceived by the human eye. In comparison, LED headlights virtually do not emit these types of light unless they are specifically designed for it, saving energy. 

Are HID or LED Lights Better? 

mechanic in front of car headlight holding led, hid and halogen bulbs

Both light sources are useful for automotive applications. It’s common to find a combination of both technologies in today’s vehicles. HID and incandescent lights are the industry standard, for the most part, thanks to their reliability and the quality illumination that they deliver. 

However, the automotive industry is moving toward implementing LEDs because they are even more efficient and reliable and have a longer lifespan. 

Are LED Lights More Expensive?

The prices of LED technologies are higher initially, but their longevity and efficiency compensate for that in the medium and long terms. On average, LED has a useful life of over 50,000 hours compared to the 1,200 hours of incandescent bulbs traditionally used in halogen head and tail lights. 

Using LED eliminates the costs of burned out bulbs and those of shop visits to replace these components. 

Are LED Lights Suitable for Cars? 

As electric cars slowly become the new normal, automakers adopt power-saving components such as LED headlights that can reduce battery-strain without compromising illumination. It is also possible to buy LED options and substitute older HID and halogen headlights. Conversion kits now allow drivers to retrofit their older cars and switch to more efficient LED bulbs easily. 

Are LED Lights Legal in the US? 

In general terms, yes, but the specifics vary from state to state. As long as the LED headlights meet the local requirements for brightness, height, and position, you are good to go.

In California, LED headlights are not explicitly prohibited. They can be used as long as they are located at a height ranging between 22in and 54 inches and meet a few safety requirements on the projected visibility in darkness and bad weather.

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