Good headlights are the difference between seeing and not seeing. They can wind up being the difference between knowing what’s around the dark corner and being surprised by something.
There isn’t a ton of clarity surrounding the different types of headlights available on the market, and their distinct advantages over one another, so we’re going to try to help.
Standard headlights feature a forward facing bulb in a reflective box or case. Early models through the late 20th century were incandescent, similar construction to home light bulbs.
These incandescent bulbs are very hot, don’t last long due to the heat and vibrations. Halogen bulbs improved lighting using halogen gas instead of a filament. This provided a much more uniform forward-facing light. Still in use today, halogen standard headlights are the most common headlights on the road.
Projector Beam Headlights
Projection beam headlights work similarly to standard headlights, but feature a special rear-facing bulb. This bulb illuminates the reflective case of the headlight to cast a brighter, more focused and more uniformly lit spot.
Halo headlights are some of the most aesthetically-appealing options out there. Very rarely standard, halo headlights surround a projector beam with a halo of light to make a vehicle’s headlights appear like eyes. In practice, they add very little light to the total projection, and are primarily valued for their stylish and sporty appearance.
HID (high-intensity discharge) lights not only provide some of the furthest available visibility in a headlight, but they feature a distinctly “cool” radiance, as opposed to the warm colors exuded by standard and projector beam halogen headlights. HID Headlights are also called Xenon headlights, as Xenon is one of the gases inside the bulb that allows it to glow.
LED Headlights are some of the most energy efficient bulbs available. They’re also some of the most recent to appear, and some of the most attractive. Featuring a more concentrated and uniform appearance than other types of headlights, LEDs can be utilized in shapes beside a bulb. This versatility has allowed some of the coolest headlight and taillight design to pop up in recent years. LEDs also run cooler than pretty much any other headlight technology, meaning they last longer.
Perhaps the most insanely cool combination of two words we can think to include on an automobile description, laser headlights are a newer technology on the market.Note that a laser isn’t actually emitted from the vehicle’s headlight casing. Instead a laser is used in place of electricity to excite a gas that produces photons (like HID lights). Laser headlights are versatile, allowing different shapes and designs than LED headlights, but with over 1000 times the energy output at a fraction of the energy cost.