The LED Headlight, The Better Solution!
With other lighting solutions like HID being power hungry, very hot and sometimes being problematic with certain vehicles other solutions were needed. Until recently LED Headlights were nothing more than just the LED 6000k color, the output was weak and not sufficient for driving. The time has arrived and within the last couple of years they have been rising among the ranks and many companies are competing to put out an, ” Over- The- Top ” LED Headlight that can match the HID output and the competition is tough. As of Feb/2018 HID Technology still holds as the brightest measured output with the 55-watt ballast, the LED is coming up behind it fast! LED Headlights are the simplest and easiest upgrades for almost any vehicle.
Talk Of The Town – Are LED’s Better than HID’s?
This question has been asked a million times and the question is based on many factors that are different from vehicle to vehicle and headlights styles. We will cover a few things that are important when considering here if you have additional questions I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments below.
Headlight Styles – Open Reflector Composite & Projector Lens
Open Reflector Composite: Standard Issue Headlight Style, Non-Projector is usually covered with a deflector to keep from blinding oncoming traffic, usually the factory bulb is halogen and has a yellowish tint.
Projector Lens: Has a globe style opening that the light has to pass through. The bulb can be Halogen, or HID and sometimes LED on your Premium Brand Vehicles like Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz that have some most sophisticated lighting systems of our days.
Open Reflector Composite: Standard Issue Style, This is my personal favorite for the LED Headlight. You can really get some great impressive results out of this headlight style with a quality LED system! Hands down this is my choice for LED lighting.
– I Like
Projector Lens: The LED Bulb works the same and the problem is that all projectors are not created equally and some really suck. The LED will work great in about 85% of these factories produced projectors. On the other hand in some cases, the applications may have undesirable output but it will always be brighter than halogen.
In some instances, the HID just works better in the projector as far as light output. Personally, don’t care for the Projectors that come from the manufacturer, often the cut-off point and the distance they seem to travel seem to be off and not so good performance to me.
They offer some really cool ones that are aftermarket which require some custom fitting and professional installation which I encourage to get the job done.
3 Reasons that more people like LED Headlight Systems VS. HID Kits.
- Easier to install with fewer components, no bulky ballast.
- The instant BRIGHTNESS at full power without the warm-up time & color of the 6000k LED bulbs for providing excellent driving conditions.
- Does not use a lot of electrical power to power the bulb and less heat output from the bulb
3 Reasons people will pick HID over LED headlights.
- The BRIGHTNESS is always there in Reflective and Projectors Headlight styles.
- Multi-color selection or different kelvin options. 3000k,4000k, 5000k 6000k 8000k 10000 etc….
- Options for 50 watts HID Kits that are unbeatable in Headlight output in your Premium Kits.
Well Which One – What LED Headlight Do I Need For My Vehicle
We will cover a few different styles and the way technology is moving so fast today, there can be something I have overlooked or something very new tomorrow. But these are a few common styles of cooling systems you will see as you venture into the LED Headlight market.
The Cooling Systems Styles:
- Fans with Heat Sinks: work more efficiently in closed headlight styles.
- Braided Belt Heat Sinks with no fan: works best in open tight areas where the belts can be manipulated and the air is circulating. Not having a fan is a plus if it is well constructed and designed.
- Heat Sinks: If space allows this is the best choice in the open area. Simple with less to go wrong.
When the LED Headlight is in actual use the bulbs actually start to heat up and this is where its important for the cooling system to be working properly. We don’t want the bulb to begin to overheat and flicker due to soldering connections or completely fail.
If you have a headlight style that has factory dust caps on the back, when installing LED Headlight Kit’s a great idea to use a Fan with Heat Sink style that will circulate the air.
Open back headlights where you can just reach under the hood and remove the bulb. I will choose Braided Belt Heat Sinks or Copper heatsink because the motor and circulating air should be enough to stop it from overheating. There is less to go wrong with the Braided Belt and Heat Sink Only.
For Maximum Headlight Output, the condition of your headlight assemblies are important, yellowish or heavy discoloration will kill the light output drastically.
Some Issues Again? – Headlight Solutions
Several times I have had customers call in to ask for a price and they thought it was too high and they go to eBay and purchase a $25-40 HID kit and put it on a 2017 Ram 3500 and the kit doesn’t work properly and they call me back upset and disappointed. I give the same advice again and they go and get a LED System this time and it’s doing the same thing and by now, they are upset that they have spent over $100 and several hours trying to figure this out. Then they ask “Why do I have the same problem I had with the HID kit when I use the LED system. And usually, the answer is that their buddy has a truck, with the same HID kit and that his work fine! Well being the fine gentleman that I am I ask, does he have a Ram pick up too? He answers no that he has an older model 2011 Chevy Silverado and just like that I understood that his understanding of mobile electronics is limited.
Listen up! If you are an installer or consumer and you decide to work on the latest vehicles without knowing the lighting system and the requirements for them to work correctly on the vehicle, there could be trouble! You must either test your vehicle with Digital Multimeter or Digital Probe yourself, Research the vehicle and trust others information or find a skilled Installer with a great reputation!
Some vehicles require additional parts to work properly. It’s important to know these things in the beginning of a successful install.
CAN bus, Load Resistors, Relay Harness and Capacitors are common, nothing to be afraid of at all? Knowing is half the battle and Knowing before installation will achieve desired results.
Knowing Your Vehicle Better – Vehicle Computers
Some manufacture monitor headlight bulbs for failure and they do this with control modules and onboard computers. When you remove the halogen bulb which it was designed to monitor, replace it with a LED or HID which doesn’t have filaments you are going to have a number of issues.
Research your vehicle, the most effective way to get the information. If you are not doing the installation yourself, find a local shop with a good reputation for doing Lighting. In my personal dealings with Mechanic shops they do motors and powertrains very well, but lack in the electrical department unless they have MECP installer or Electrical Engineers round the shop.
Well just to keep it simple a good LED Headlight is determined by what will work best for your application.
If you are using a passive heatsink in an enclosed headlight and no passing cooling air is available then this bulb could overheat and fail. It’s not that it was a bad LED Headlight failed because of the environment it was in. In this type of enclosed headlight, I recommend a heat sink with a fan or if you were forced to use the Passive Heatsink to fabricate the enclosure so that the belts could receive free-flowing air which most companies have a solution included, which requires a little extra effort!
- Look for reviews from real people that use the product.
- At least a one-year warranty, the high-end LED Headlight companies start at 2 years!
- The measured usable light that meets the road, not fake lumens and inflated numbers.
- Light patterns, reviews from YouTube video from reputable companies are good about comparisons no.
- $75-125 will get you decent set of LED Headlights to meet your electrical needs and installation is just as important!
LED Headlights – My Top Picks!
Cheap LED Headlights under $100
Let’s face it, we want bright upgrades that last a good length of time so we don’t have to constantly have to change our bulbs out. A few of these companies offered 3-year warranties!
We would love to hear from you and see some pics of your vehicles with these products or if you would like to share any of your use of other products. If you like to share any content with us you can do so here firstname.lastname@example.org