LED Headlights vs Halogen Headlights

July 29, 2019 4 min read

Curious about swapping your halogen headlights for LEDs?

Look no further. We present to you the key differences between these two popular choices, so that you can make your decision and be sure that it is the best for you.

Keep in mind that LEDs and halogen headlights are both good productsoo. LEDs will provide more quality service for your money, while halogens can provide a more economical alternative, even if it is not the most modern technology. Read on and see the key differences between the two.

But first, a little refresher:

Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is the most state-of-the-art and reasonable alternative to traditional halogen headlights. If your vehicle is in a higher price bracket, or is a modern model, it is likely that it runs on LED headlights. However, if you have an older vehicle, or a base model vehicle, chances are that your car is running on halogens headlights.

We are not saying that there is anything wrong with your halogen headlights. After all, these bulbs light up the majority of vehicles out there. Yet, like everything else in life, even headlights must evolve, grow up, and get better.

LED headlights have paved the way in modern lightning technology, offering drivers an alternative headlight that is brighter, more durable, and much more reliable. Here is a list of differences and similarities so you can decide which is your choice in the great debacle: LED vs Halogen headlights- which is the best?

LED vs Halogen: Looks

Let’s start with the type of headlight most people use. Halogen headlights comprise up to 80% of all headlights in the market. You may recognize them as the “golden yellow” type of hue or, like we like to call it, the 1970s retro yellow look. These bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, and operate at a high voltage. You may have even driven a car or two with these headlights, so you may be already quite familiar with them.

LED lights emit a white glow with a slight blue hue. Since these headlights utilize less heat, at around 20% compared to halogen’s 80%, all the energy emitted by LED headlights goes straight into light production. The result is a brighter, crisper, more powerful beam, compared to halogens.

Mode of operation

Halogen lights are incandescent, or something that makes light by being heated. Think of a candle and how its wicker reacts to heat, producing light. In the case of halogen lights, there is something similar to a candle’s wicker, called a tungsten filament. This filament contains trace amounts of halogen gas, which is the reactor.

Keep this in mind, because that is the key difference between halogens and LEDs. This filament acts as a third party in the production of light. This means that, if something happens to this filament, or if is overused, the bulbs will be affected and your headlights can go off at any moment.

LED bulbs produce light without the use of a filament. In fact, LED light is quite state-of-the-art, because all it requires is a semiconductor through which a current passes by, releasing photons into a void space. These photons produce light.

This is significant because, with no “third party” needed to produce light, LED headlights continuously produce light, non stop, and without the risk of burning out. This is what makes LED lights more reliable and longer lasting than halogen.


To measure how bright a bulb is, you want to check out their luminous efficiency, which is measured in percentages. In the case of halogen lights, the percentage of efficiency gets to up to 4%. The issue is that it requires heat in order to produce light, and there is just so much heat it can handle, Halogen lights also have 25 lumens per watt.

LED headlights use 60% less heat than halogen headlights use. This is why, to the touch, you always feel that halogens are hot, while LEDs are not. It is the difference in heat release that makes LEDs produce a whiter, crisper, and brighter light. LED lights have 72 lumens per watt, which is significantly higher than halogen headlights.


The lifespan of a halogen light depends on many things but, mainly, it depends on its filament. Even when the filament remains intact, the average lifespan for a halogen headlight is no more than 5 years, or 3,000 hours.

If you own your vehicle for 5-8 years, chances are you will require headlight maintenance at least twice. There is also the danger of not getting maintenance just because the headlights “seem to be working fine” and then, boom! Your lights may go off out of nowhere, maybe even at a time when you need them the most.

In a very dramatic contrast, the life expectancy of LED headlights is 10 years, or over 12,000 hours. This means less worrying about maintenance and safety. It also means that you will save money in the long run. No maintenance checks required, and no fear of having your lights go off all of a sudden when least expected. Also, no need to switch headlights. In the end, LEDs end up paying for themselves, compared to what it costs to maintain halogen lights.

Other benefits

If you are not convinced about LED lights, consider the following: You can always swap your halogens for LEDs by simply getting an LED light kit, and making the swap yourself. It is easy, and, in the long run, it will prove to be more economical to you than just leaving on your halogens and waiting for the best.

As far as a final answer, we strongly believe that you will be better off switching halogen lights to LED lights. They will save you money, keep you safer, and it is very easy to make the switch. Just keep reading our articles and get well-acquainted with these headlights so you can make an informed decision.

What has been your experience with halogen and LED headlights? Sound off in our comments section!

LED LightStreet
LED LightStreet