What is the Difference Between HID and LED Headlights?

When it comes to headlight upgrades, people often wonder which is best — LED or HID lights? We're examining the color, components, brightness and beam pattern of each option to help you decide which is right for you.

Color in LED and HID Lights

Color is certainly an important aspect of both LED and HID lights — especially on the road. In this section, we're taking a closer look at how they differ in color.

HID Lights Color

When you use HID lights, you have many color options at your fingertips like yellow, pink or green. However, that means you can also get a lot of variations from one manufacturer to the other and from one batch to the other. For instance, you might get a 6,000k bulb with a hint of green and another 6,000k bulb with a hint of blue. More reputable brands typically have more reliable color, but this is something to be aware of when considering HID lights.

LED Lights Color

Unlike the volatile chemical reaction of gasses and electricity found in HID lights, LED lights are essentially a circuit board. The power from your headlight switch going into the LED bulb is essentially a solid state set of light emitting diodes.

When atoms and electrons move back and forth, they release energy that creates light on a white LED light. But did you know that light is actually blue? LED lights come with yellow chips which put a yellow phosphor filter over the blue light to make the end result white. When you use LED headlights, you'll get different shades of white, depending on how much phosphor is over the LED chips.

  • White LEDs are bright like natural sunlight and will greatly improve your visibility at night.
  • Yellow LEDs are similar in color to halogen bulbs. We recommend yellow LEDs if you are looking to match your stock halogen bulbs.
  • Blue LEDs provide a stylish ocean blue color. Improves nighttime driving.
  • Purple LEDs is the preferred color for the street racing look but are the least brightest.

Dynamic Appearance LED Lights Color Tip

LED filters can provide a variety of colors. For example, a phosphor with a lot of yellow will provide more of a warm shade like 4,000 or 5,000k. On the other hand, less yellow offers a cooler shade of 6,000 to 8,000k.

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Components in LED and HID Lights

What components make up LED and HID lights? In this section, we're explaining what they are and how they work to create excellent visibility while you drive.

HID Light Components

An HID bulb comes in two different types: single and dual beam. Many vehicles are equipped with one specific light bulb for low beams and another just for high beams. As a result, your headlight might have two separate bulbs. In comparison, other vehicles may use dual beam bulbs that provide both high and low beams.

Single beam bulbs are the most common, and they include one glass cap that creates a low or high beam. They include a bulb with wiring and a grommet. Since the ballast is too large to fit inside the headlight housing, you need to pass the wiring through it.

In comparison, dual beam bulbs create both high and low beam lighting in one bulb. Unlike single beam bulbs, they also require a dual beam relay harness to work properly and project the right amount of light while you drive.

LED Light Components

The components of LED light bulbs are much more simple, refined and concise than those in HID bulbs. Single beam bulbs feature one bulb that does low beam or high beam lighting and one set of LEDs. Compared to single beam LED bulbs, dual beam LED bulbs consist of one light bulb that projects both high and low beams together. Dual beam LED bulbs require one LED that fits into your headlight and plugs into your wiring. In general, an LED headlight bulb is much easier to install than HID headlight bulbs.

Brightness in LED and HID Lights

The amount of brightness projected from your headlights is a very important factor to consider as you debate between LED or HID lights.

HID lights get quite dim when first turned on. They'll actually be dimmer than your original halogen bulbs. Within 8 to 15 seconds, however, HID lights warm up and glow a massive amount of light.

In comparison, LED lights brighten up instantly. Why? This type of bulb doesn't require charging or warming up.

Beam Pattern in LED and HID Lights

A beam pattern is so much more than just glare and appearance. The better the beam pattern, the better and safer your headlights are in the long run.

Most LED and HID headlight bulbs will work in a reflector headlight to some degree. However, even the best HIDs have a little bit more scatter in the beam pattern and glare to oncoming drivers. LED bulbs, on the other hand, provide a more precise optical alignment that makes the best beam pattern.

Dynamic Appearance Beam Pattern Tip:

Mimic the original pattern. Avoid putting an LED bulb in your car that takes your slim, wide beam and blows it out of proportion. Instead, a tight and controlled beam pattern will help you see better while you drive and prevent dangerous glare for oncoming drivers.

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Conclusion: LED or HID Lights?

Deciding whether to use LED or HID lights to replace the bulbs in your car is a big decision. At the end of the day, it's important to do your research and make sure you have headlights that will work. The Dynamic Appearance team is here to make the experience stress free with our advice and expertise.

With emerging new technologies, LED lighting is the best of the best on the market and is only continuing to progress. As a result, regarding the LED or HID lights debate, we typically recommend LED bulbs for headlights. That said, if you are partial to HID lights and wish to use them, they can provide excellent lighting, too. Ultimately, the choice between LED and HID lights is a personal preference.

Get the Right Headlights for Your Vehicle at Dynamic Appearance

Whether you're driving during the rain, snow or even a clear night, it's crucial to reliable lighting. Choosing between LED and HID lights shouldn't be difficult, and the Dynamic Appearance staff is here to ensure it isn't. Our team has conducted extensive testing on LED and HID lights to help you make an informed decision. As part of our commitment to safety and quality, we offer the best HID bulbs and LED bulbs on the market. For premium products and unparalleled customer service, shop our LED and HID lights today!

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