LED vs. Halogen Truck and SUV Lighting

bright headlights beaming from a truckWhen selecting the best aftermarket parts and lighting accessories for your truck or SUV, it’s essential to know the difference between LED vs. halogen bulbs. Choosing between halogen vs. LED headlights has become a common pain point for drivers in recent years, as the newer lighting type is taking the automotive industry by storm. But, are LED lights really better for your vehicle?

When considering the differences between LED vs. halogen lights, and deciding which is best for you as a driver, it’s important to consider several things. Among the points to consider are the price, how long the lightbulbs are bound to last, how well they stand up to wear and tear, and perhaps most importantly, how well they function on the road and in poor weather. Then, examine the same facts regarding halogen bulbs to determine which better suits your lifestyle and automotive lighting needs.

As leaders in the aftermarket truck and SUV lighting industry, the pros at RECON are here to break everything down for you. We’re here to provide fast facts, quick stats, and more, to help you get the best lights for your vehicle. Whether your whip is fresh off the lot and you’re looking to make some major changes to the exterior, or it’s a labor of love that you’ve been working on for years, LED lights can give you the new edge you’re looking for.

When you’re in the market for new aftermarket truck and SUV lighting components and accessories, big or small, make RECON your one and only stop. We’re the true experts when it comes to LED lighting components, model-specific installations, and universal parts and accessories. We stock installations as major as new projector headlights, all the way down to LED replacement bulbs, so you can find just what you need to GET LIT!

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between halogen vs. LED headlights, and which may be right for your vehicle.

Fast Facts about Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen light bulbs are a type of incandescent lamp that uses gas to create light output. They are thought to be a more modern improvement upon the original incandescent bulbs, hence their initial popularity in automotive lighting, and function by way of a contained chemical reaction.

Other facts about halogen light bulbs include:

  • The first commercially viable halogen lamp was patented by General Electric (GE) in 1959.
  • Early halogen bulbs used iodine as the halogen gas.
  • Other names for halogen bulbs include tungsten halogen, quartz-halogen, and quartz iodine lamps.
  • Halogen lamps must run at much higher temperatures than their traditional incandescent counterparts to spur the correct chemical reaction and light production. This leads to an increased risk of fire and burn hazards.
  • The surface of halogen bulbs can be easily damaged by oils, particularly that from human fingertips.
  • Halogen lights have a much shorter lifespan than other more efficient bulbs. A halogen light will last for approximately 2,000 hours, or two years, when used for just three hours a day. Some professional estimates place this average even lower, at approximately 800 – 1,200 hours per bulb. For drivers who are frequently on the road at night or in poor weather, this is bad news.
  • The average power consumption of a halogen bulb is approximately 90 Watts, accounting for 80%-90% of the total energy expenditure. The average halogen power usage equals .09 kilowatts per hour.
  • There are some UV emissions associated with halogen bulbs, though they are believed to be minimal and without significant impact.
  • The average cost of a single halogen bulb is approximately $3-$5 in the United States.
  • Due to their fragile construction, halogen bulbs are prone to breaking and shattering and can therefore cause injury to handlers.

Fast Facts about LED Light Bulbs

Unlike halogen bulbs, LED lights are electric and produce illumination using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Light-emitting diodes are a semiconductor light source that comes to life when a power current flows through and recombines with electron holes. They are more energy-efficient compared to halogen bulbs and pose many benefits for drivers.

Other facts about LED light bulbs include:

  • LED lights first came to use in the early 1960s.
  • Due to the popularity of lighting, it’s estimated that the LED lighting industry will reach a valuation of $25 billion by the beginning of 2023.
  • LEDs display their full brightness immediately upon power-up, with no warm-up delay.
  • Frequent switching on and off does not reduce life expectancy as with fluorescent lighting, which is good news for drivers who frequently use their light installations, interior lighting, and more.
  • While LED lights generally do not “burn out” the way halogen bulbs do, you may notice that they gradually fade in power over time.
  • LED lights are available in a variety of colors as well as color temperatures, so you can customize your lighting as you wish. You can also purchase color-changing LED lights.
  • Average heat emission for an LED bulb is just 10%-20% of its total energy, while the rest is light output. This means the unlike halogen bulbs, LEDs are generally cool to the touch and do not pose either a burn or fire hazard.
  • LED lights have an average power consumption of just 8 Watts. LED lights put less strain on your vehicle’s battery compared to halogen bulbs, which is especially crucial if you frequently use your truck or SUV in accessory mode.
  • The average lifespan of an LED light bulb is anywhere from 50,000 to 60,000 hours. Many drivers can go years and years without having to replace an LED bulb in their installations, making them a more hassle-free lighting option.
  • The average cost of an LED bulb in the United States is approximately $6-$8. As the lighting increases in popularity and manufacturing continues to ramp up, the cost will only continue to decrease making them an extremely economic option.
  • LED light bulbs have zero UV emissions. Additionally, they are entirely eco-friendly. The materials are 100% recyclable and due to their improved lifespan, they leave a much smaller carbon footprint compared to incandescent bulbs. In fact, over the lifespan of one single LED light, maintaining incandescent lighting would require about 25x the amount of production materials (not to mention the expired bulbs ending up in landfills).
  • The quality of light LEDs emit is much better than halogen bulbs. The light is more crisp, clear, focused, bright, and white. This means that the bulbs are more powerful, providing more bang for your buck and a better line of vision on the road.

Frequently Asked Questions: LED vs. Halogen Lights

Many drivers come to us with questions regarding the difference between halogen vs. led headlights and installations. It’s true that the cost of LED fixtures is often more upfront, which can deter some drivers from making the switch. However, over the years LED lights can save you quite a bit of money while offering performance that is far superior compared to halogen or incandescent bulbs.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding LED vs. halogen lights.

Q: Are LED bulbs as bright as halogen?

A: LED bulbs are actually much brighter than halogen installations. It’s no small difference, either. Your average LED headlight installation is 6 to 10 times as bright as regular halogen headlights. This means that you’ll be able to see farther into the distance, better at night and in inclement weather, and that other drivers will be able to see you better as well. LED lights are an added safety element on the road.

Q: Do LED bulbs last longer than halogen bulbs?

A: Yes, LED bulbs last much longer than halogen bulbs. The average lifespan of an LED bulb ranges from 50,000 to 60,000 hours, while a halogen light has a lifespan of just 800-2,000 hours.

Q: My truck or SUV has OEM factory-installed halogen lights. Can I make the switch to LED bulbs?

A: Yes, even if your vehicle comes with factory-installed halogen lights you can covert your set-up to be compatible with LED lighting. Some installations are plug-and-play while others may require a conversion kit.

Q: What makes LED lights better than halogen lights?

A: There are many advantages to choosing LED vs. halogen lights for your truck or SUV. The improved lifespan, higher level of brightness and better clarity of light, improved energy efficiency, and the eco-friendly aspect are just a few benefits of LEDs. Additionally, they’re more impact resistant which is essential for anyone who takes their vehicle off-roading or through particularly inclement conditions. And, while they may cost more upfront over the years you’re bound to save quite a bit as you forgo frequent bulb replacements due to breaks or burnouts. Plus, simply put, they just look awesome.

Q: What kind of LED light installations are available for my vehicle? Can I only buy LED headlights?

A: The great news is that as technology improves and LED lighting increases in popularity, more and more automotive installations become available. That means that you can get so much more than just LED headlights. Here at RECON, we’re at the forefront of LED innovation, always stocking the latest and greatest parts and accessories for your ride.

Virtually any lighting component you can imagine is now available in LED form for your vehicle. Not only can you get LED projector headlights, but you can also get LED dome lights for the interior, LED fog lights, LED cab roof lights, fender lights, illuminated LED emblems, license plate illumination kits, 3rd brake lights, tailgate bares, and so much more. Additionally, you can buy custom, flexible LED light strips to fix anywhere on your vehicle you see fit in a wide variety of colors to show off your style.

Shop RECON for LED Truck and SUV Lights Today

For the very best in aftermarket truck and SUV lighting and accessories, shop RECON today and make sure you never get left in the dark again. We stock a variety of parts and accessories, for model-specific installations as well as universal fitment. Whether your truck is fresh off the lot or is several decades old, you’ll find aftermarket upgrades to give you a brand new look and turn heads wherever you go. Off-roading, to the local truck meet, or simply running errands around town, your truck can scream with style.