Halogen vs LED light options

Halogen vs LED light options

Halogen vs LED light options have been a hot topic for debate for years now. Even though LED lights are the default choice when it comes to car lighting solutions these days. Even though this isn’t enforced by law in all countries. This change has gradually taken place over the last decade. As LED bulbs went from being a luxury option available in only top-end models. To the standard for most new models released these days.

There are obvious advantages to making this switch. Not only do car headlights look cooler with the intense beams of lights provided by LED’s. They also perform better than the halogen bulbs that were generally used in cars before LED’s.

On top of that, their compact design also allows for more variation in headlight design. As carmakers don’t have to leave a lot of space to get the same amount of lighting. This means that not only can the bulb housing itself be smaller. But also, the reflectors don’t need to be as big to light up the same amount of area.

This doesn’t mean that halogen bulbs have gone out of favor though. Millions of cars running on the road today still use them as their only lighting solution. And car parts makers have tried over the years to improve this relatively old technology. To the point that even though halogens can’t beat LED light performance. They are still at least twice as effective as previous-generation versions.
Plus, there is also the fact that they are still cheaper than most LED upgrades. This is why a lot of people feel hesitant about making the switch. Today, we will explore a few products from both sides to see how they match up. And how much difference it is going to make if you do end up picking one over the other.

Stock Replacement Halogen Vs LED

This is the most common version of both lights that people generally pick. Stock replacement bulbs are easily available at most car part shops. They don’t cost that much when compared to the higher-end lights. But are still strong enough to comply with the required 150m limit. Which is the minimum area that all headlight bulbs must light up to be street legal.

If you are looking for a completely stock experience, you can pick OSRAM’s ‘Original Line’. Which are OEM halogen bulbs that most car manufacturers already use or recommend. They offer standard lighting performance associated with stock halogen bulbs. As well as the expected average lifespan that goes along with this technology.

We mention lifespan because that is the next big argument against halogen bulbs. Once you get past the fact that they offer subpar lighting performance. If you prefer something more reliable and long-term. We would suggest switching to the Ultra Life line. Which offers the same level of performance, but increases the lifespan to up to 100,000kms.

These bulbs stack up against OSRAM’s own LEDriving HL series. Which are stock replacement LED bulbs that offer up to 200% better performance. Without compromising on the lifespan either. As even with the Ultra Life line, the factory guarantee is only 3 years. But with the HL line, it goes up to 5 years.

They also do it with way less power input. Since the stock halogen bulbs require 50-75W of power to deliver their output. Depending on the ECE type bulb you are looking to replace. While LED bulbs can do the same in around 18W of power.

As you can see, the difference in performance and efficiency is quite significant. But the area where halogen bulbs still offer competition is pricing and even variety. Since there are only a handful of models of LED lights on the market today. But halogen bulbs come in all shapes, sizes, and even colors.

Take the Cool Blue series from OSRAM as an example. People who don’t like the yellow light of halogens can go for these upgrades. They are still halogen but offer a different kind of light. The Cool Blue Intense Halogen bulbs for example deliver a light that has a temperature of 4200K. Which matches that of modern HID bulbs.

Just by making this change, this bulb delivers 20% more brightness than the Original Line. Even though both are halogen bulbs that work on the same technologies. Another option is the Next-Gen Cool Blue Intense halogen bulb. Which kicks the color temperature up to 5000K. To match the light of modern LED bulbs. In doing so, it also pushes the brightness up by around 100%.

As you can see, the light temperature has a significant impact on the brightness levels. Even though it can’t cover the gap in general performance, or even lifespan. But, it’s still good to have all these options. As you can experiment with different products to see exactly how much benefit you get.

Off-Road Halogen vs LED Bulbs

For off-road conditions, you need more intense light that can illuminate a larger area. Since you must not only be able to see the immediate front of the vehicle. But also, the surrounding terrain, which could hold all sorts of dangers.

Halogen bulbs deal with this responsibility by kicking up the wattage. To produce a more intense light that is more usable in an off-road nighttime setting. Of course, this also means that they generally lose their ECE certification. Making them a risk for your vehicle’s warranty.

If you still want to stick to halogens, you can go for OSRAM’s Super Bright range. It has two different bulbs, a regular and a Premium. That offer lighting solutions for off-road use. They are not just brighter than regular halogen bulbs, but also far sturdier. Thanks to special design changes that help them survive rougher environments. They also suck up a lot more energy as well. With different variations needing anything from 75-100W and more.

Once again, if you prefer the cooler light of LED’s but still want to stick to halogens. You have the option to go for the Cool Blue Boost halogen bulb instead. That delivers a hyper-white 5500K light for off-road use. It makes a great mid-way point between halogens and LED’s. Since it isn’t as expensive as LED’s. But the light temperature is the closest you can get to matching actual LED lights.

These halogen bulbs compete with OSRAM’s own LEDriving XTR series. Which are off-road LED’s that deliver an intense beam of 6000K temperature light. They feature a unique BeamGuide technology, which helps focus the light better. As well as a special fan to keep the light cool under constant use. This is part of the reason LED’s last much longer even in off-road conditions.

Once again, the difference in performance is quite substantial. But is only dwarfed by the difference in power consumption. Where off-road LED’s really shine. As the XTR delivers twice the usable light as the halogen bulbs. While only using 18W of power, compared to their 100W. When you multiply that by the longer lifespan, that is almost four times better. It becomes obvious why LED lights have replaced halogens in modern cars.

However, some people still trust halogens a lot more in adverse weather conditions. Due to the alleged benefits of yellow light over blue light in bad weather conditions. We even did a whole blog explaining the difference between the two. We recommend reading that before making the final decision between these options.

High-Performance Halogen vs LED Lights

Of course, for some people, nothing works but the best. These kinds of buyers look for the highest-performance option in everything. When it comes to high-performance car lights though. Nothing works better than OSRAM’s Night Breaker series. This range contains both LED and halogen bulbs. That offers the best visibility in all types of weather conditions.

For people who need halogen bulbs, the baseline option is the Night Breaker Silver. It offers up to 100% more brightness than regular halogens. And can deliver a beam of up to 130m. This is the starting line of the range. With other versions going even higher.

Such as the Night Breaker Laser halogen bulb. Which uses a special filament to deliver 150% more brightness than stock halogens. The light is also 20% whiter than regular halogens. And can cover a distance of up to 150m meters ahead. This beats the performance of every other halogen bulb available. While still being the second-best in the lineup.

The title for the brightest halogen light from OSRAM goes to the Night Breaker 200 bulb. Which as the name suggests offers 200% more brightness than a stock halogen bulb. This is the closest any halogen bulb has ever come to matching the light output of LED’s. It only works with H4 and H7 housings though and comes with a shiny mirror chrome cap.

Sadly, even this can’t beat the Night Breaker H7 LED. Which is the first street-legal LED replacement lamp from the brand. This LED light offers 220% more brightness than a regular halogen bulb. With an intense cool 6000K temperature light beam that is 20% whiter. It also does all this while reducing the glare by 50%. And consuming far less power as well. Since the halogen bulbs still need at least 75W of power input. While the LED ones barely go past 18W.

As you can see, no matter which segment we focus on. The comparison between Halogen vs LED light options comes out the same. Now, if money is your only concern, then you have seen all the bulbs you can get in the halogen segment. Make sure you research them all before making the final decision. But, if you truly want the best lighting performance, we would still recommend switching to LED’s. The final decision is, of course, yours.

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