Know the pro’s and con’s of halogen and LED headlights so you can choose the best one for you.

Technology is ever evolving and is now making waves (light waves) for your brights. Halogens and LED headlights are two of the popular options on the road today. Yet, the question is: what is best one for you? That depends. It’s a common question we get at Wheelco. So, let’s compare the two.

In this article, we point out the difference between Halogen and LED headlights while helping you find which light will work best for your needs.

  1. Halogen Headlights
  2. LED Headlights
  3. Heated LED Headlights
  4. Wheelco Recommendation

Halogen Headlights

Halogen headlights dominate the highways today. Around 90% of headlights light up the road with the halogen light bulb. Halogen technology is not new. Even so, many manufacturers have been able to design them to cater to needs of today’s drivers. Halogen headlights are dependable, affordable and designed with simplicity. If you are looking for an economical solution, you can’t go wrong with the trusted halogen bulbs or headlight assemblies.

How Do Halogens Headlights Work?

As part of the incandescent light bulb family, halogen lights use a tungsten filament and a fraction of halogen or gas to light up. When the electrical current passes through the thin filament, it heats up. Once hot, it emits light. If it does not light up, then the filament is damaged. Simple.

Why is the halogen gas necessary? Great question! The added gas increases the lifespan of the bulb. It does so by redepositing the evaporated tungsten back onto the filament—an occurrence when the bulb is heated.

Halogen Luminous Efficiency & Lifespan

You may notice the bulb itself is hot to the touch. This is because the energy the bulb emits isn’t solely light, it’s heated too. This release of energy, comparative to the amount of electrical draw, is called luminous efficiency.

  • Luminous efficiency: up to 5%.
  • Lifespan: typically 500 to 1,000 hours

Halogen Pros & Cons

Halogen headlights produce a significant amount of light and heat. Thus, they may require more voltage than other lighting options on the market today. This heat also helps melt away ice and snow to make your lights more visible in our winter weather.

Due to their simplistic design, halogens do not require extra heat sinks or fans to cool them like other lighting options on the market. This makes them more cost-effective.

Since halogens have fewer components, they are usually substantially smaller than other options. This is important to remember if you currently have halogen headlights in your truck and want to replace them with LED’s—make sure they will fit the headlight dimensions.

Finally, some states do not allow drivers to replace a halogen light bulb with LED lights due to safety reasons. For this reason, some truckers opt for DOT/SAE approved halogen bulbs instead of LED or HID.

LED Headlights

LED (light-emitting diode) headlights are designed quite differently from the incandescent options. Designed to emit brighter and whiter light, LED Headlights are becoming a popular option for truck drivers. They do last longer than halogen bulbs, but their complex design and expense is something you should factor.

How Do LED Headlights Work?

LEDs do not use a filament like halogens. They light up with roads using semiconductors.

An LED is a two-lead semiconductor light source which emits light when activated. It is activated when a voltage is applied to the leads the current passes through semiconductor electrons. This causes the electrons to move. Light emits—white, bright light.

To keep cool, LEDs require extra heat sinks and fans to monitor temps. This results in more parts and can be a bit bulkier than halogens, but it’s important for proper function of the light. The payout? When kept at ideal operating temps, LEDs have an impressive lifespan. Keep in mind that less heat can also cause ice and snow to build up.

LED Luminous Efficiency & Lifespan

Like halogen headlights, LED headlights do emit heat too. However, the generation of heat is far less than halogens. This means the electrical draw results in more light than heat and lasts longer.

  • Luminous efficiency: up to 44%.
  • Lifespan: estimate of 20,000+ hours

LED Pros & Cons

With a nearly indefinite lifespan, LED headlight far surpasses the conventional halogen lifespan. However, it does come at a cost. They are typically larger because of the additional, necessary parts and cost more.

Want to alter the color? With LEDs, this is more easily done, as opposed to halogens. The incandescent bulb requires a hotter burning filament to achieve the same result.

Operationally, LEDs are powered by a lower voltage than halogens. This makes them more efficient, resulting in whiter, brighter light.

Heated LED Headlights

Winter weather coming soon means snow and ice build up on your lights which can significantly reduce your visibility. With the use of Heated LED Headlights, the heating system will automatically warm up to de-thaw the ice from your headlight. This helps to provide peace of mind during those cold and snowy driving conditions that can be hazardous to you and others on the road. Using heated LED headlights will make sure your not left in the dark this winter season.

Wheelco Recommendation

With the season change fast approaching, we recommend the use of Heated LED Headlights to battle the cold and ice this winter. At Wheelco, we carry top brands such as Trux and Maxxima heated LED headlights. With Quick Heat Technology and heater elements that automatically turn on, you won’t have to worry about iced up lights again!

TRUX Accessories has built a reputation as ‘pioneers’ of the chrome and LED lighting industries. Since 1959, TRUX has been a family business with a passion of supplying heavy duty parts to the trucking industry. TRUX Accessories consistently offers the most unique and innovative accessories to feed the ever-growing industries of aftermarket LED Lighting, Chrome, & Stainless accessories. TRUX has and will continue to produce some of the best quality products for your heavy duty needs.

Maxxima offers the most comprehensive range of lighting products for your wide variety of heavy duty applications. Maxxima has revolutionized LED lights to emit a brighter glow that consumes 10% less of the energy than an incandescent. The unique designs of Maxxima also help their products to be more resistant to shock and feature a lifespan of over 100,000 hours. With over 40 years of manufacturing expertise, Maxxima is the most dependable product line of lighting products that you will find.

Visit with our Wheelco team of aftermarket experts and service techs to help you find the headlight technology that solves your heavy duty needs. Give us a call or stop in to one of our stores today.