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Headlights Showdown: LED vs. Xenon vs. Halogen Headlights

Headlights Showdown: LED vs. Xenon vs. Halogen Headlights

With incandescent headlights being phased out, there are more bulbs for you to install on your car. While halogen lights have been commonly used by manufacturers over the past 20 years, some of the latest high-end vehicles are available with xenon and LED models. Whether you're replacing factory headlights or making an upgrade, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of LED, xenon and halogen lights.

LED Headlights

Xenon Headlights

Halogen Headlights


Slightly dimmer Slightly brighterDimmer


Up to 30,000 hoursUp to 3,000 hoursAs long as 1,000 hours


Less affordableMore affordableMore affordable

*Refer to the Headlights Buying Guide for more specific headlight types and other information.  

LED Headlights

Advantages of LED Headlights
  • Energy-efficient option - LED headlights are an energy efficient solution because they don't use lots of power from your car battery.
  • Low glare - Thanks to their low energy consumption, LED headlights give off a clean white light without creating a glare that can pester other drivers.

Limitations of LED Headlights

  • Pricey - Like any high-tech car part, these models tend to be more expensive than both halogen and xenon headlights.
  • Sensitive to heat - Whenever LED headlights are exposed to extremely hot temperatures, they can produce a low output of light and reduce their lifespan.

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LED headlights

Xenon Headlights

xenon headlights

Advantages of Xenon Headlights

  • Increases vision - Xenon headlights burn brightly, improving seeing distance and peripheral vision. This feature is ideal for drivers that commute frequently down dark roads without street lights.
  • Stylish - These models typically emit a blue color that looks aesthetically pleasing on most vehicles, including pickup trucks, sports cars and luxury sedans.

Limitations of Xenon Headlights

  • Shorter lifespan than LEDs - While these types of headlights have a respectable lifespan of up to 3,000 hours, they don't last as long as LED models. LED headlights can have a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours.
  • Heavy glare - Xenon headlights burn very bright blue light, which can create a harsh glare for other motorists. A glare can be created when the light bounces off the rearview mirror of the car in front of you, limiting the other driver's vision.

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Halogen Headlights

Advantages of Halogen Headlights

  • Easily accessible - Halogen models have become the standard factory headlights for most car manufacturers. Many automotive retailers sell a large selection of halogen headlights for almost any vehicle make and model.
  • Low glare - Xenon headlights are known for their bluish color, which can cause a pestering glare for other drivers on the road. Fortunately, halogen headlights burn with a bright white light that doesn't cause a glare.
halogen headlights

Limitations of Halogen Headlights

  • Dimmer than other headlights - While they might not produce the glare that xenon headlights emit, halogen headlights don't necessarily provide the same brightness that you'd get from their counterparts. Dim headlights might not give the extended seeing distance you desire, especially in extremely dark areas.
  • Short lifespan - Halogen headlights produce excess heat and energy, meaning they are likely to burn out quicker than xenon models. Most halogen models usually last between 450 to 1,000 hours.

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