Regardless of where you want to go at night, you need to have a nice pair of headlamps to light your way. Whether it is an illegal race in Queensway or you want to go out in the woods at night, you want to have the best headlight bulb guiding you along the way.
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Product manufacturers, including vehicle manufacturers, seem to charge extra for brighter and whiter bulbs. If you visit your local store, you will notice that the whiter the bulb, the costlier it is.
The whiteness of the light coming from the bulb depend on the temperature. For aftermarket parts, the LEDs will tend to cost higher to replace and build.
Between light emission and longevity, which do you prefer? Generally, bulbs with a lower light output tend to last longer. They have a long working life when compared to the ones with higher light output.
The science behind is that bulbs with a higher rated output tend to produce more heat that those with a lower output shortening their lifespan.
From experience, after market high output bulb last typically one year. This is two years short of the life of a typical stock mid power output bulb that comes with your car.
All the same, I prefer the high power, bright bulbs. At least they will make my night driving less stressful.
Well, are you changing your bulb to have a HID look? You know the bright bluish to white colour? If your goal is to have a HID look, then you are definitely not going to find it in a halogen bulb. Nonetheless, some aftermarket manufacturers have found an ingenious way to give halogen bulbs the bluish colour in HIDs.
They do this by adding a bluish transparent filter on the bulb. When the light passes through the thin blue transparent coat, it is filtered to produce a HID looking colour. The problem with this type of bulb is that you get the colour output at the expense of intensity and brightness.
The best way to achieve a HID look is to have a HID conversion kit. This will guarantee you the same intensity, colour and brightness of a HID bulb.
LED bulbs have the highest temperature (6000K) and thus appear to be the whitest followed by Xenon (4500K) and halogen (3200K). If you are willing to chuck more for white light, then you will be eying LEDs.
The Game of Colour
As old as they are, halogen bulbs are still the king of the road. All the same, LED are becoming increasingly popular with every new car having LED lights as standard. As the curtain fall on Halogen bulbs, the fight is between Xenon and LED. However, we cannot put off halogens just yet…
You can tell the difference between light produced by the three different types of bulbs. LED have the whitest (coolest) color temperature. LEDs are typically 6000K making them whiter than normal daylight; Xenon is a little bit warmer at 4500K while Halogen is the warmest at 3200K.
Are you still perplexed why LED have a higher temperature, but regarded as the coolest? Well, that’s how temperature is measured in light
When You See It
Primarily, a headlight must achieve three basics; one be seen, two see the road ahead of you and three see the road signs. When it comes to road signage, LEDs offer better reflections from the reflective materials used.
Meaning that you will see the road sign better when using LEDs. On the other hand, Xenon lamps illuminate the road better, this perhaps because it produces light with more lumens that the rest.
Halogen lamps on the other hand provide a bright pool of yellow light just at the front of the vehicle. It is not much, but it served the industry for decades. The light is, however dimming on halogen bulbs and you shouldn’t expect your new premium car to come with halogen lights.
I, personally, prefer xenon light. This is not only because it has more light, but because it has a friendlier color temperature. I still respect LEDs because they are low power and high intensity, but the price tag is too high. And again, it seems everyone is putting LEDs on their cars. I like to be different.
Show Me the Money
Halogen lights are still in the game because of their low cost. Their low initial and replacement cost is a darling of many. You can get a halogen bulb for as little as a dollar.
All the same, they are not considered to be environmental friendly (sadly it has come to this) because they don’t conserve energy. Halogen produces light by heating a tungsten filament. This means that a lot of energy is lost in the form of heat.
Xenon bulbs are in the HID (high intensity discharge) category. They are brighter than the halogen bulb and produce significantly less heat than the halogen bulb. Xenon bulbs are regarded to be more energy efficient despite needing large amounts of power to turn on.
This is so because once they turn on, they need less power to maintain. You can have xenon lights for a little more than halogen bulbs, but you will have lesser energy wasted in the form of heat.
For the most energy efficient option, you will need to get LED bulbs. Light emitting diode is a new technology that is revolutionizing how we light up the world. Light in LED is produced by excited electrons, meaning that they require low amounts of power.
LED headlights are complex since they include a heat sinking system to keep them at optimum temperature. They are cheaper to run, but more expensive to setup.
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***Below are more information on the recommended headlight bulbs, but you can click the link of each product to get an update on the current price and customer reviews on Amazon.
You knew this was going to feature. Kensum took the world by storm with their HID conversion kits. They are now producing replacement bulbs, taking the war to giant producers such as Phillips. Their popularity has risen suddenly due to their plug and play nature of their products.
Kensum Xenon HID bulb comes in various different colour temperatures to choose from ranging from 4500K t0 12000K. Unlikely though, I didn’t get to test the Kensum plug and play bulb, but I did test it using a conversion kit and boy, it shone bright.
I would never have imagined I would say this, but this is a quite good bulb! The reason I say this? Sylvania SilverStar Ultra Headlight is known to last longer than most halogen lamps. I have used it and I can give my testimony, but, today I am riding on friends’ testimonies.
Performance-wise, this bulb is excellent. I changed to this bulb after removing the moisture in my headlight and I must say, they are netter than stock MK4 bulbs but still below most HIDs.
It is particularly brighter down the road as compared to side of the road. It is best fit for SUVs as compared to low clearance vehicles.
Phillips has a way to stay ahead of the game. This lamp, promises to deliver over 150% more light than a standard bulb. Phillips even claims that the bulb has a racing pedigree, but I couldn’t discern it with my naked eyes.
For starters, it a halogen bulb with a colour temperature of HID bulbs thanks to a clear blue coating. It was expecting it to have the yellowish light but, to my surprise it had the bluish white light.
This notwithstanding, the brightness is visible and it took me a lot of convincing to believe that the bulb is rated 55w.
Well, if you thought Philips was winning the H7 game with a clean sheet, then you thought wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, OPT7 LED Headlight! If you are looking for consistence and bright light, then this is a nice place to start.
First of all, it has the hotspot further than the 73 metre mark I got with the Racing Vision. I found it to be better than the Phillips H7 LED in terms of clear hot spots with no dark shadows. All the same, there was an X-factor missing from the OPT7 LED Headlight.
It has an extra-large beam pattern that gives you better reflections from road signage and makes night driving safer and more comfortable. It is taunted to be the only lamp using both the Arc-Beam and CREE MK-R LED technology!
Innovited AC 55W HID Xenon Conversion Kit uses 2 55W bulbs to generate a 6000k beam. According to the producers, this kit consumes 35% less energy when compared to other kits.
They produce a bright white light that will keep you lit for, well according to the producers, 299 days of continuous use. It doesn’t comes with IP68 water and dust certification, this is becoming an industry standard, meaning they will not perform well in submerged conditions.
If you buy the conversion kit, you will have everything you will need from mounting brackets to ballasts. I loved these one specifically because they come with two year warranty (Phillips comes with just one year warranty) and not to mention their technical support team. The kit is generally a plug and play thing.
LED lights may be taking the industry by storm, but we cannot underestimate the reliability of halogens. Halogen bulbs have been there for us in our darkest moments (pun intended). But looking into the future, we must let go of the soft spot.
When all is said and done, it comes down to where your vision is comfortable. If you can see well with halogen bulbs, well and good. But if you don’t mind having the brighter and whiter beam, then Xenon and LED bulbs will do you great. This is the future.
Good luck as you shop for your next headlight bulb. I want to believe that you have learned a thing or two from my rather lengthy post. If you liked this post, share it with your friends and family. They might be in the same dilemma like you were in before reading this post.
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