The Ultimate Guide: LED Headlights vs. HID Headlights
Black pickup truck showing headlights

Halogen light bulbs come stock on most trucks and vehicles, though they often aren’t the best option for drivers. As technology has progressed, better lighting options have been developed that offer a wide range of benefits to consumers. RECON offers options for all aftermarket headlights, helping drivers choose the part that best suits their needs. 

Alternatives to standard halogen bulbs include LED and HID headlights, with both offering more power and cleaner lighting. LED and HID headlights differ slightly in their use and capabilities, and RECON provides insight to help match you with the best aftermarket headlight for your vehicle.  

LED Headlights

LED, or “light emitting diode,” headlights are one option for aftermarket headlights. They are currently the most popular choice for aftermarket headlights. There are many benefits of installing LED lights in comparison to stock halogen bulbs. Benefits of aftermarket LED headlights include:

  • Producing more light while pulling less energy from your truck.
  • A lifespan that is five times longer than stock halogen bulbs.
  • Cleaner, white light that increases visibility in poor or dark driving conditions.
  • Instant illumination, providing full brightness and color upon powering on.
  • Increased durability, with the ability to withstand rugged wear and tear, and poor weather conditions.
  • Virtually no maintenance over the course of LED headlights’ lifespan.
  • Highly unlikely to overheat, blow a fuse, or pose risk for electrical fire.

Aftermarket LED headlights are a great option for drivers who want to install an aftermarket headlight and not have to worry about maintenance or continuously replacing the bulbs, or “set it and forget it.”  Many drivers will never have to replace an LED headlight for the entirety of their vehicle ownership; possibly the biggest selling point.

HID Headlights  

HID, or “high-intensity discharge,” headlights are another option for drivers looking to purchase an aftermarket headlight as a better alternative to halogen bulbs.  Another newer technology, HID headlights offers numerous advantages over traditional headlights, with many similarities to LEDs.  Benefits of aftermarket HID headlights include:

  • 3x-5x the brightness in comparison to traditional halogen bulbs.
  • A lifespan of several years; longer lasting than traditional halogen bulbs.
  • Affordability.  HID headlights are great for drivers looking to upgrade on a budget.
  • More energy efficient than halogen bulbs.
  • Provide the ability to choose your color temperature and a light quality that matches your personal preference. 

Aftermarket LED Headlights vs Aftermarket HID Headlights

With multiple purchase options for aftermarket headlights, you may be left wondering what the difference is between LED headlights and HID headlights.  Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.  There are a few differences to keep in mind before making a decision on which to purchase:

  • LED headlights produce more of a white light, while HID headlights produce a light that is more blue in color.
  • LED headlights may cause more eye discomfort in other drivers in comparison to HID headlights.
  • LED headlights have a much longer lifespan than HID headlights.
  • LED headlights tend not to be as bright as HID headlights.
  • LED headlights are more durable than HID headlights, which tend to be more fragile.
  • LED headlights maintain their brightness for their full lifespan, while HID headlights may fade over time. 
  • LED and HID headlights both come in multiple colors, offering customers choices.
  • HID headlights are more affordable than LED headlights in the short-term.
  • LED headlights provide a wider scope of visibility when compared to HID headlights, which provide a more narrow view.

Things to Keep in Mind

When purchasing aftermarket headlights, whether LED or HID , it’s important to keep in mind that no bulb is indestructible and that the lifespan of each will depend on how much the headlights are used.

For example, a driver who utilizes their headlights for two hours a day will experience a much longer lifespan than someone who utilizes their headlights for six hours a day.  Any type of headlight may need to be replaced eventually, but purchasing aftermarket LED or HID headlights will greatly cut down on the frequency of which they will need to be changed. 

RECON offers a variety of aftermarket headlights available for purchase, as well as handy installation guides for each type of product.

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