close up of front end of car grille and headlight with sensors

What are the Best Types of Headlights?

Did you know that there are three different types of headlights on modern cars? In the early days of cars, headlamps used to be literal lamps you had to light before you could see at night. A lot has changed since then, and now we can say we don’t have to do anything more than turn a knob to turn our lights on these days. Continue reading for a brief explanation of the three main types of headlights.

close up of halogen headlights on front of black car

How Do Halogen Headlights Work?

While still technically a form of incandescent light, halogen headlights are made with special gasses sealed inside that help protect the filament. The filament is what emits light, and it does so when electricity is run through it. All things considered, halogen bulbs are the standard for headlights now, if not approaching outdated.

How Do HID and Xenon Headlights Work?

Headlights like these are a jump forward in technology from the incandescent bulbs that have been the standard for so long. While they still use special gas sealed in a container, they don’t have a filament. Instead, they have electrodes. These headlights can become super-bright, so much so that they aren’t legal in some areas.

close up of HID headlight fixture
Close up of LED headlights on the front of a blue car

How Do LED Headlights Work?

LED headlights are most common on newer cars, especially on luxury and high trim level models. They are made from light-emitting diodes, just like you usually see on electronics or newer home-use light bulbs. While they cost more, the increased use could bring down the cost of production and they might end up putting other headlight types out of business.

Which Kind of Headlight is Best?

If the best headlight is the brightest, then either LED or Xenon/HID headlights could be the brightest. It all depends on the number of LEDs and how the headlights are designed. Both of the latter types are brighter than Halogen and Incandescent bulbs, though. If you are considering retrofitting your headlights, it will probably be easier to install LED headlights than Xenon or HID since you only need to wire the fixture, and it should work.