Competition of Headlamps


Headlights of a car form one of most important parts of a car when it comes to safety.  Having the wrong headlights can not only put your life in danger but can also be fatal to others on the road. Driving at night without the headlights on is actually a crime, but very few people realize that driving at night with wrong headlights can also lead to the same results. Most people don’t think twice before spending thousands of dollars on metallic paint, but do not give enough importance to the headlights. First step is to know the right kinds of headlights available on the market today and then choose the one that is best suited to your need.

The most commonly used headlight is the halogen bulbs. Currently, almost all the cars come with halogen lights by default.  The main reason is that these have really long life; halogen lights have a lifetime of about 1000 hours under normal circumstances and also replacement cost is very less for halogen bulbs.

Let us talk about how a halogen bulb works. It is made up of a glass envelope with a tungsten filament, filled with a combination of argon and nitrogen. Tungsten filament is heated upto 2500 degree Celsius when it receives electricity from the engine, hence producing the incandescence process. The efficiency of a halogen bulb is low because along with creating a lot of light, it also creates a lot of heat which is actually wastage of energy.

The headlights that seem to giving a tough competition to halogen bulbs are the xenon lights. Xenon lights have been claimed to be much more efficient than the halogens. As the name suggests, xenon bulb contains xenon gas which produces a blue tint of light. BMW 7 series was the first one to try the xenon lights, and since then these have been picked up by numerous car makers as a better choice over halogens.

Xenon is said to be more efficient because it uses less energy and hence less consumption of fuel and less CO2 emissions. The main disadvantage of xenon lamp is that even though it gives a very good visibility to the driver, it also generates a lot of glare which might be disturbing to the driver coming from the other side, hence leading some fatal accidents. Secondly, xenon is still competing with halogen over the cost; these are a lot more expensive.

LED headlamps still need to cover a lot more distance to compete with xenon or halogen. But LEDs have made its way into decorative use for a car or even as parking lights. LEDs use even lesser power to generate light, but light generated isn’t strong enough to be used as a headlamp. Usage of these lights for daytime running lights or brake lamps is getting more and more popular. LEDs are quite expensive and currently are used only for the high end expensive cars.

Car makers are trying to find the best possible solution to this battle of headlamps.