Four types of bulbs for a headlight exist; halogen, xenon, LED, and HID. But they're not all the same, they have different characteristics, efficiencies, light outputs, and colour, but which type of headlight is the brightest?
The brightest type of headlight depends on the wattage of the bulb. HID headlights are the brightest reaching over 150m, follow by xenon headlights reaching a similar distance. LED headlights can also output a similar amount of light for a lower wattage.
Usually LED, HID, and xenon headlights are of a similar brightness. Whereas halogen headlights are much less bright, as shown by the image below.
Halogen headlights are the most inexpensive, they're readily available, and they can be found on almost all OEM vehicles. However, they have their disadvantages.
They are inefficient
They have a short lifespan of 500-1,000 hours
Their light output is usually more orange in colour
They're not as bright as other headlights
Incandescent lights with a tungsten filament within the bulb are known as halogens. The filament warms up and produces light when an electric current flows through it. They are distinguished from conventional incandescent bulbs by the presence of halogen gas rather than argon gas.
Halogen lamps are brighter and last longer than conventional incandescent bulbs, but they are not as bright as the other types of headlights.
5% of a halogens light reaches about 90-100 meters.
Xenon headlights are becoming more and more common, especially on higher-end vehicles. They are brighter, produce a whiter light, and are more efficient than halogen. The lifespan of a xenon headlight is about 10,000 hours. However, they have drawbacks.
They take a few seconds to warm up
They are fragile
They're more expensive
A transparent quartz housing with tungsten electrodes on both ends is used in xenon headlights. A gas combination is used to fill it. It produces light by ionising xenon gas.
5% of the light from a xenon headlight reaches about 150 meters.
This kind of headlamp is similar to xenon as it uses xenon gas, they have a longer lifespan than halogen bulbs, but not as long as tungsten-xenon lights. These headlight bulbs include electrodes that resemble spark plugs instead of a glowing tungsten filament. Some drawbacks are as follows.
They are expensive
They only last about 2,000 hours
The brightness of a HID headlight is similar to that of a tungsten-xenon light, about 5% of the light reaches 150 meters.
LED headlights may be the greatest form of headlamp on the market since they are very efficient, incredibly bright, cheap, and last a long time. They don't have many disadvantages than than being sensitive to moisture and heat.
5% of the light from an average LED headlight reaches around 150 meters in front, similar to that of xenon lights.