LED vs. Halogen vs. HID: Which is the Best?

There are three main types of lights that you can put on your car: LED, halogen, and HID. The majority of stock vehicles come with halogen lights, which are the most common type of lighting used for cars until new light options came into play, such as HID and LED.   However, the differences among these lights can be day and night. So, how can you tell which one is the best for your vehicle?


Halogen is perhaps the most common type of light used for unmodified vehicles in the last twenty years. The pros and cons of halogen lights are as follows:


  • ​Brightness. The powerful light that halogen bulbs emit makes it an excellent choice for almost all types of vehicles, especially during nighttime driving.
  • Economical. Halogen lights are affordable at only around $15 a bulb. This makes it a great option for car lights that are used mostly in the daytime, such as tow truck LED lights and mail carrier lights.
  • Dimmability. Halogen lights can be adjusted to your preferred level of intensity, such as a low beam or high beam.


  • Excess heat. While being a powerful light source, halogen emits a lot of heat. Because of this, halogen bulbs generate a lot of heat and consume excess energy from the engine.
  • Short lifespan. Halogen bulbs don’t last as long as other types of light sources, averaging at around 450-800 hours only.

2. LED


Light-emitting diode (LED) lights use electroluminescence to generate light. Here are the pros and cons of this type of lighting:


  • Brightness and reach. LED lights provide a wide and far-reaching illumination, which significantly increases the safety of the driver and other motorists at nighttime.
  • Efficient. This type of lighting is also ideal for homes due to its energy efficiency. For cars, LED lights won’t drain your battery and will be much easier on your motor.
  • Focused rays. LED lights can come in various shapes, which provides a range of choices for car owners.


  • Higher cost. LED lights are more expensive than halogen bulbs. But if you use your car many hours in a day, especially at night time, LED can be an excellent investment.
  • Heat. Like halogen bulbs, LED bulbs have heat issues. But instead of emitting the heat from itself, LED bulbs cause heat in adjacent assemblies and wiring.

3. HID

Lastly, we have high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs with the following pros and cons:


  • Brightness. HID bulbs are a hundred times brighter than halogen lights.
  • Efficiency. Drivers that use HID bulbs can enjoy lower fuel consumption and battery usage because of HID lights’ efficiency.
  • Longevity. HID bulbs can last as long as 2,000 hours, which is twice the lifespan of halogen bulbs.


  • Glare. The intense brightness of HID bulbs can affect the vision of motorists on the other side of the road, thus increasing the risk of collision.
  • High cost. If you don’t use your car often in the nighttime, HID bulbs can be costlier for you to buy, install, and maintain.
  • Choosing the right type of lighting for your car all boils down to your frequency of use, the times of day you drive, and your budget. With this guide, you can make the right choice that suits your needs.
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