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HID Vs. LED Headlights

close-up of a car's headlight

Everything You Need To Know Before Choosing The Right Fit

How do you know which of these two is a better option for you?

Having proper headlights is essential for driving.  If you want to be able to see clearly at night you need to have an excellent pair of headlights at the front of your vehicle. This means replacing your headlights when needed.

It is surprising the number of people who simply wait for their front headlights to give out before going to the auto centre for maintenance.  It is a much better idea to make inspections on your headlights a regular part of your routine vehicle maintenance.

In this article, we will walk you through the differences between HID vs. LED headlights. We will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to know which will better suit your needs.

Here’s a closer look at these two popular types of headlights. We’ll talk about their histories and advantages first.


What Are HID Headlights?

HID headlights are also known as Xenon headlights.  The width they work is by heating a filament using gas and atypical metals.  This will admit a whitish-blue hue that is exceptionally bright.

The first HID headlights were used by BMW back in the 1990s.  Since then, they have been known as the distinctive premium option for headlights amongst almost all car manufacturers.  Nowadays, most updated safety regulations actually require this level of brightness on the roads.

HID lights are significantly brighter than the standard halogen lights. They are also much more efficient in terms of energy usage on your vehicle.

Unfortunately, they are one of the more expensive options although in recent years HID headlights have become a much more affordable and reasonable choice for the average car owner.


What are LED Headlights?

LED bulbs or light-emitting diode bulbs do not work in the same way as HID bulbs. They work differently by pushing current through a semiconductor. The process of doing this admits photons that released light. LED headlights have become more popular than halogen over the last several years.

LED headlights do have some downsides, however. They require additional heat sinks and fans to help them stay cool enough to operate. These both increase the overall price tag and also make it more difficult to install an LED headlight into traditional housing.

However, they have a lower operating temperature which makes them more eco-friendly and ensures that they can run almost indefinitely.

The Key Differences between HID vs. LED Headlights  

LED or HID? Which is better for your upgrade? Here are some of the key differences between these two popular models:


Without a doubt, one of the best HID headlight features is that they are the brightest available lights on the market. They also admit light over a broader area than both halogen and LED bulbs.

Overall, the amount of field that is covered by HIDA headlights is about one-third larger than LED bulbs. They are also more effective at casting light out on the sides of the road.

The downside is that if they are not properly installed, they can reflect a very high amount of glare onto other drivers. This is dangerous for you and the surrounding environment. This is why it is absolutely essential to install your headlights via a safe and experienced professional.


No matter which type of bug you choose, you will need to purchase a conversion kit if you are updating from a halogen bulb. This is because neither of the 2 bulbs will fit into the traditional housing used for the halogen bulb. In terms of the size of the bulb, LED bulbs tend to be more compact while HID bulbs are usually slightly bulkier.

Lifespan and Durability  

One of the best aspects of these headlights for consumers is that they have very high longevity. One of the LED headlight benefits is that they can run for more than 20,000 hours. They will almost never need to be replaced over the life of the car.

They also do not have many small or moving parts within them which could make them prone to breakage. This improves their overall durability, even over HID bulbs.

HID bulbs also have a longer battery life than would otherwise be expected. They can last for up to 5000 hours, which is far greater than a traditional halogen bulb’s lifespan.


LED bulbs usually come in one of four colours, including white, blue, yellow, and purple. You may be able to find an LED headlight conversion kit only in white. However, certain retailers supply HID bulbs and up to seven colours. There is a wide array of colours available, including pure white, blue, and purple.


When you are factoring in the cost of upgrading to new headlights, you need to think about this decision as a long-term investment.

Remember that LED headlights can operate at cooler temperatures that improve energy efficiency. They can run more or less indefinitely over the long term. It will cost significantly less over the long term if you can purchase a more expensive set of LED bulbs during the initial upgrade.

HID lights are going to be slightly less expensive at first, however they will require more maintenance down the road. This is similar to traditional halogen bulbs.

Which One Is Better For Night Driving?  

Both HID and LED lights provide excellent vision while driving at night. Despite their differences in production and cost, both types of auto lighting create a safe field of vision when you are rounding corners or on the highway after dark.

HID bulbs are generally more powerful in the dark, however. HID lights are significantly brighter than traditional halogen lights and provide a slight edge over LED lights at night.

Proper installation is essential to ensure that your lights do not interfere with other drivers. Even though this doesn’t appear to affect you, it could make your surroundings less safe by affecting others on the road.

Which One Should You Choose?  

For many people, choosing HID’s is a smarter decision when upgrading their headlights. This is because they are slightly brighter and more efficient, and offer a lower price point at first.

However, many of the same drivers will eventually switch over to LEDs because of their improved longevity and reduced cost over time. However, HID is already a fantastic solution for the short term.

Nonetheless, if you are a long-term-oriented person, it may be a smarter decision to switch to LEDs from the outset.

Can I Install Them On My Own?  

Ultimately, the ease of installation depends on your car model type and skill level. While it is possible to DIY your own installation, it isn’t recommended.

Because high-powered lights can affect others on the road around you if not properly installed, you should have new lights installed by a certified professional.

At AudioMotive, we provide top-of-the-line auto services that include installations of both HID and LED lights. If you want your new lights to function perfectly on the road, contact us today to set up an appointment for installation.

The Bottom Line  

Whether or not you choose HID vs. LED headlights, once you upgrade you will have a different relationship with driving at night. You should be able to feel comfortable driving at any time of day regardless of the conditions.

The same feeling should be present when driving at night. This is why it is essential to make sure that you get regular headlight inspections. This way you will know when it is time to upgrade to a newer set.

If you want to have a more durable and efficient set of headlights that gives you clear visibility, it may be in your best interest to purchase a headlight or conversion kit available at AudioMotive. Please contact us today if you have any questions or would like to discuss an upgrade or conversion.