LED vs HID

What do you know about high bulbs? What about LED or HID? Sparing you the technicalities of each, we are going to dive right into what the differences between LED and HID.

LED’s

When searching for LED’s, you have to consider the following:

  1. Beam angle: The beam angle is what the light will cover. For example, if you have a 60* beam angle, it will have a wider “range” than a beam angle of 20*
  2. Color Temperature: That is the color of the light. 5500 is usually “pure white”. As you go up in temperature, the color turns more blue. As you go down, it turns more yellow to red.
  3. LED quantity: How many LED lights the bulb has.
  4. Lumens: How bright the bulb is. For reference, a standard factory halogen setup will produce about 1200 lumens.
  5. LED type: Newer LED’s are SMD.
  6. Operating temperature: How much heat the bulbs emit.
  7. Lux: The intensity of the illumination.

LED’s are more expensive than your standard bulbs. However, they are more efficient, and they are brighter! Main reason to swap over to LED’s.

When converting over to LED’s for blinkers, you will notice that your blinkers will flash quickly, like they are going out, which is normal. The LED’s draw less power than the normal bulbs, resulting in them blinking quickly. How do you fix this? Most people wire in resistors. They put a load on the wire, so that the system doesn’t think there is something wrong with the bulb. However, there is a problem. The system is still drawing the same amount of power, which defeats one of the LED’s purposes. Also, it will heat up the wire, which isn’t good. Instead of wire resistors, you use a LED flasher. Generally, the flasher can be found under the dash/steering wheel area. If you have an older car, you will most likely need to change out the flasher. However, if you have a newer car, you will probably be okay. But if you notice your blinkers flashing faster than normal, then thats a good sign that you need to change your flasher.

LED’s will cost you just under $100 for a good name brand headlight kit. The lighting is crisp and deep and the bulbs are efficient. The bulbs have a longer lifespan than HID’s. However, because headlights and fog lights need to be bright, these LED’s produce more heat. They usually need a fan, so that they do not overheat and melt things. There are new LED’s that do not require a fan, however, be careful. These lights may not be that bright (about 1700 lumens), and if they are bright, they will produce more heat. Because HID’s are only for headlights and fog lights, its a simple decision to use LED’s for all exterior (except headlights and fog lights) and interior lighting. Because exterior lighting is very important, I decided to spend a little (ok, a lot) more money on name brand lighting. For my interior lighting, I got everything from eBay. For comparison, one 194 bulb at Superbrightleds.com cost $5.95, a pack of 10 194-bulbs on eBay cost $3. For all exterior LED lighting, came out to a total of $158.35, including the flasher. If you want to save a lot of money, check out eBay.

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Lets talk about HID’s. Here are a few things to look at:

  1. Bulb: You need to make sure you have the right size and that you have good housing clearance for the added heat. Also, consider if the bulb comes with a fan or not.
  2. Ballast: Regulates the voltage supplied to the capsule of gas.
  3. Input: This is measured in watts. More watts is not a good thing. Yes, it MIGHT be brighter, but it is also creates more heat. Which mean the bulb will not last as long, and can be bad for housings. There is a claim that the 55w kits are not really 55w, you are just paying the extra money for it. Also, it is highly recommended to stay with 35w. A standard 35w kit will produce about 2500 lumens, while a true 55w will produce about 3500 lumens. More watts aren’t always better.
  4. Lumens: How bright the bulb is. For reference, a standard factory halogen setup will produce about 1200 lumens.
  5. Color Temperature: That is the color of the light. 5500 is usually “pure white”. As you go up in temperature, the color turns more blue. As you go down, it turns more yellow to red.
  6. Type of kit: “Plug-and-Play”, or cut and splice.

The price for a good name brand headlight kit will cost you over $100. Which is slightly more expensive than the LED kits. There are more moving parts (bulb, ballast), so more can go wrong. Which can make diagnosing harder. The lighting is not as crisp as LED’s, and the bulbs are not as efficient. Also, the bulbs do not last as long as LED’s.

Because HID’s are only for headlights and fog lights, its simple decision to use LED’s for all exterior (except headlights and fog lights) and interior lighting. Because exterior lighting is very important, I decided to spend a little (ok, a lot) more money on name brand lighting. For my interior lighting, I got everything from eBay. For comparison, one 194 bulb at Superbrightleds.com cost $5.95, a pack of 10 194-bulbs on eBay cost $3. For all exterior LED lighting, came out to a total of $158.35, including the flasher. If you want to save a lot of money, check out eBay.

Disclaimer: Madd Motorsports does not guarantee performance improvements or other benefits. All information is deem accurate to the best of Madd Motorsports’ ability, however, it is not guaranteed. Madd Motorsports or any company mentioned above are not responsible for any injuries, any damage whatsoever, or for incorrect installation. This is a guide meant to help, it is in no way guaranteed. Please keep in mind when using LED or HID bulbs, that you have the proper housing. This will prevent “blinding” of oncoming traffic.

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