Rrojector headlights vs LED headlights

Svetlana December 12 2021

What are projector headlights?

Projector headlights are a style of car headlight where the beam of light is projected from a lens mounted in the back of the housing. This allows for better lighting control than your typical "flood" or "spot" beams found on most vehicles. Projectors can also produce more distinct and independent light beams allowing for improved visibility at night and easier alignment during installation.

How do projector headlights work?

Projector headlights use a reflector housing with an attached lens to project the light forward. The most common way this is accomplished is by using halogen bulbs which are mounted facing each other inside the headlight housing. Between these two bulbs is your "projector" (the part that actually does the projecting).

This projector has a series of prisms and/or lenses that point or bend (depending on design) the light at angles that allow for proper beam projection past the cutoff line of the headlight housing itself.

Projector and reflector headlines - what is the difference?

Headlights used to all function the same way. One bulb would generate a ton of light and different reflectors would bounce that light in different directions creating your typical beams. Projector headlights use a lens to focus and project the light from one bulb through a more precise path. This leads to better lighting control over your headlights, which is where the term "projector" comes in.

Reflector headlines are used for different reasons. They use a mirror to reflect all the light from one bulb off in multiple directions. This is why they are used as daytime running lights on vehicles. The light is diffused and spread out to create a wider beam.

What are the benefits of projector headlights?

The benefits of projector headlights are:

  • Easier alignment during installation
  • Better lighting control than standard "flood" or "spot" beams
  • Can produce more distinct and independent light beams for improved visibility at night

What are LED headlight bulbs?

LED Headlights (Light Emitting Diode) use semiconductor chips containing millions of tiny diodes that emit their own colored light when electrically charged through them. LED headlights require no bulky filament like standard halogen bulbs, but instead use very small elements to keep them compact while providing super bright illumination to an area.

How do LED lights work?

LEDs are one type of solid-state lighting (SSL), which means they use semiconductors. When electrical current is applied to the semiconductor, light is emitted. LEDs are commonly used as indicator lamps in electronic devices and increasingly for lighting.

The proper brightness for projector headlights

According to the norms set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), a car's headlight projectors should be between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens. However, many automakers are now installing projectors that emit 4,000 lumens or more on some models. With LED headlights, most bulbs emit about 3,000 lumens or more. So whichever type of headlights you have installed in your vehicle, it is important to make sure they are at the correct brightness for your needs.

What are the benefits of LED headlight bulbs?

The benefits of LED headlight bulbs are:

  • Super bright illumination to an area
  • No bulky filament like standard halogen bulbs
  • Compact size
  • Low power consumption - less heat, longer life span compared to other bulb types.

Does LEDs bright enough for projector headlights?

For the most part, yes. LEDs are available in a wide range of lumen outputs, and those designed for projector headlights are typically brighter than those intended for reflector headlights. However, it is important to check the lumen output of any LED bulb before purchasing to ensure it is bright enough for your needs.

If you have a newer vehicle that came factory-equipped with projector headlights, it's likely that an LED bulb designed for those headlights will be more than bright enough.

What LEDs match projector headlights?

For the most part, most LED headlights will match projector headlights. However, it is important to check the lumen output of any LED bulb before purchasing to ensure it is bright enough for your needs. If you have a newer vehicle that came factory-equipped with projector headlights, it's likely that an LED bulb designed for those headlights will be more than bright enough. Consult with your local automotive specialist to find the best-LED headlight bulbs for your car.

Projector headlights vs LED

There are many benefits to both projector headlights and LED headlight bulbs. However, when it comes down to it, the choice between the two really depends on what you're looking for. If you want better lighting control and improved visibility at night, then projector headlights are the way to go.

If you're looking for a super bright bulb that is compact in size and low in power consumption, then LED headlights are the best option. Whichever type of headlights you choose, be sure to consult with your local automotive specialist to ensure they are installed properly and meet all safety requirements.

What makes projector headlights better than LED headlight bulbs?

When comparing projector headlights vs led headlights or bulb replacements, there is usually a major difference in design that affects their performance:

  • Projector headlights project light through lenses resulting in more distinct beams compared to LED headlights. This leads to better visibility at night and during harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, sleet, or fog where wider beams are needed versus focused "hot spots" typical with LED lights.
  • LED headlights are usually just a bulb replacement and lack the features of a projector headlight such as cutoff shields that block light from shining into oncoming drivers' eyes and adjustable lenses to change the shape and focus of the beam.
  • Projector headlights are available in various shapes and sizes to fit many different vehicle models while LED headlights are typically one size fits all.

Which one is better for my car?

Again, this depends on what you're looking for. If you want better lighting control and improved visibility at night, then projector headlights are the way to go. If you're looking for a super bright bulb that is compact in size and low in power consumption, then LED headlights are the best option. Whichever type of headlights you choose, be sure to consult with your local automotive specialist to ensure they are installed properly and meet all safety requirements.

How to take care of projector headlights?

Just like any other car part, projector headlights require some regular maintenance to keep them performing their best. Here are a few tips to help you keep your projector headlights in good condition:

  • Avoid driving through deep water as this can cause water to enter the headlight housing and damage the internal workings.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean the lenses as this can scratch and damage them.
  • If your headlights get dirty, use a soft cloth and a mild detergent to clean them. Never use ammonia or window cleaner as these can damage the lens coating.
  • If the lenses become scratched or damaged, take your car to a qualified automotive specialist for repair. improper repairs may decrease the headlight's performance or even damage other vehicle components like the electrical system.

How to take care of LED headlights?

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your LED headlight bulbs last as long as possible:

  • Make sure dust and dirt don't build upon them by wiping with a damp cloth frequently. Dust and dirt can reduce their light output and even damage the coating if left on too long.
  • Never touch or attempt to clean any portion of an LED headlight bulb that is glowing as serious injury could result from touching this extremely hot section of the device. Doing so could cause irreparable damage to the bulb, rendering it unusable or unsafe to use in its current condition.

Bottom line

When it comes to choosing projector headlights vs LED headlights, there are many things you need to take into consideration. This includes the benefits of each type, their installation specifications, and the required maintenance schedule.

Before making a purchase or attempting any vehicle modifications, be sure to contact your local automotive specialist for more information about projector headlights vs LED headlights.