You may be tempted to buy that flashy multi-sided LED bulb, but should you? Getting the best headlights for your vehicle is extremely important. And there are so many to choose from, how do you decide which is best? All headlights are not made the same, and one of the biggest mistakes shoppers make is assuming they are. Let's find out If multi-sided LED headlight bulbs are worth the money.
Multi-Sided LEDs vs. Halogen
Many vehicles today come equipped with standard halogen bulbs while others sport LEDs. Whether it's a halogen or multi-sided LED bulb style it's fitted by the manufacturer to exact specifications which allow for an excellent light source/reflector relationship.
That relationship is very important to achieve the best lighting results. If you have a standard halogen bulb, the highly polished mirror surfaces of the headlight housing will be placed for optimum reflection of the halogen's filament. And all halogen bulbs are essentially built the same — they create a single light source.
Multi-sided LEDs present the problem of multiple light sources in the wrong places to match the polished mirror surfaces of a housing designed for a halogen. The physical dimensions vary which leads to out-of-focus performance. Check out these caliper measurements.
|Halogen Bulb Filament||4-Sided LED Headlight Bulb|
|Width: 1.45mm||Width: 13mm|
|Height: 4.5mm||Height: 11mm|
That's ten times as wide and three times as tall! And that just won't work.
PCBs with LED Chips
If not a multi-sided LED bulb, what kind of bulb can replace the original halogens? One with a thin, dual-sided printed circuit board and an LED chip. This type of headlight represents the best technology today and comes the closest to mimicking the original halogen.
Here are several examples of this type of LED bulb:
Max Lux and Multi-Sided LED Headlight Bulbs
What is max lux and why does it matter? Max lux stands for "maximum luminous flux," a measure of the intensity of a light source as it hits or passes through a surface. As seen by our eyes, of course.
Multi-sided LED bulbs do not make a headlight better, regardless of max lux. The goal is precision alignment and a narrow beam pattern that is focused and clear. A 3-sided LED headlight bulb orientation will be misaligned with the polished surfaces in the housing, making it a downgrade even with a higher max lux.
A halogen bulb produces a yellowish beam at 370 max lux on low beams. Let's look at several different multi-sided LEDs for a comparison. We ran a few tests, and here's what we found from the competition:
- Bulb 1: 4-Sided LED headlight bulb - 150 max lux but with a blinding wall of light
- Bulb 2: 3-Sided LED headlight bulb - 320 max lux but with a terribly unfocused beam
- Bulb 3: 360-degree LED headlight bulb - 570 max lux but with a worthless beam pattern
- Bulb 4: Black/Silver 4-sided LED headlight bulb - 450 max lux but with the beam pattern out of alignment and a dark shadow in the middle
However, we also tested the S-V.4 LED and it came in at 1430 max lux with a focused beam and a great left to right spread
Dual Beam Headlights
When looking at dual beam headlights, you want those that will give you a hotspot at top-center and a very sharply defined cutoff line. Your original halogen will have two filaments inside and come in at 320 max lux. We looked at a 3-sided LED which measured 520 max lux but had a diffused beam pattern because, once again, it sits incorrectly in the headlight housing.
The H13 2-sided bulb came in at 1,100 max lux with the hotspot and shape of the beam mimicking the halogen. This is not only a vast improvement over the 3-sided bulb, but it also outdid the original halogen. This is a great choice for driving at night!
It is the same with projector-style headlights. Multi-sided LED headlight bulbs just don't work. The original projector halogen we tested registered 210 max lux with a center bright spot and sharply defined cutoff line. The competition?
- Projector bulb 1: 90 max lux with no hotspot and sides curved up
- Projector bulb 2: 60 max lux with an unsafe, out-of-focus hotspot
Now look at these options:
- Diode Dynamics SL1 LED: 350 max lux with hotspot and sharp line definition
- XenonDepot Xtreme LED: 400 max lux and retained same beam pattern as halogen
Forget Multi-Sided LED Bulb Options — Find Exactly What Your Vehicle Needs at Dynamic Appearance
When you're ready to upgrade your vehicle's headlights, remember: multi-sided LED headlight bulbs just don't do the job. They may look cool or be priced to sell, but don't be fooled. What you need is a bulb with a thin PCB and an LED chip if you want to outshine the competition. For all your automotive lighting solutions, visit Dynamic Appearance today. We have the best brands and the best people for your needs.