Projector Vs Halogen Headlights – Which One You Should Choose

Project headlights are better and brighter than halogen's reflector headlights. Moreover, they do not blind oncoming drivers when you install HIDs on a projector housing.

At the current time, most vehicles come with a halogen light as their stock headlight. Halogen lights are not that bad as it provides a casual and cost-efficient experience. You can also change the stock one with an upgraded halogen bulb. But in all these cases, it uses a reflector housing.

Meanwhile, you can replace your halogen light with a projector headlight. However, to do that, it is necessary to change the stock housing. So, is it worth going for the trouble? Or you better stick with your halogen headlights?

The answer to these questions is what we will be discussing here. Get ready for some detailed explanation and comparison between the two types. Our choice is to let you make an as informed decision as possible.

Projector Vs Halogen Headlight Comparison Chart

The following comparison chart should be a quick way for you to have a better knowledge of both projector and halogen headlights.

Header

Projector

Halogen

Cost

Costlier: $275 on average

Cheaper: $107 on average

Light focus angle

More focused beam with higher lumen

Wider light with a lower lumen

Size of headlights

Takes more space

Takes lesser space

Components

Bulb, shutter, reflector bowl, and lens

Bulb, base, wires, and gas capsule

Dark spots

No

Yes

Suitable bulb

HID (Best), LED

Halogen

Reflector Shape

Elliptical

Mostly parabolic. (Depends on the housing type)

Downward focus

High

Medium

What Are Projector Headlights?

When it comes to bulbs used for projector headlights, the more suitable option is HID, while LED also works. Because of using them, headlights with projector housing systems offer the brightest beams. Halogen headlights are mostly used with reflector housing. Projector headlights also have a reflector to focus their light. But it has a more elliptical shape.

Here are the components that a projector headlight contains-

  • Bulb- As mentioned, projector headlights have the highest lumen output, thanks to the use of HID and LED lights. HID bulbs are the best choice for it. If you want to go for an LED projector, the bulb must be compatible.
  • Reflector- Projector headlights have an elliptical-shaped reflector. The light particles reflect on it and focus on the shutter. It is unlike a reflector housing that uses a parabolic-shaped reflector.
  • Shutter- Upon reaching the shutter, the light particles get cut off by it. This process makes the beams focus solely downward and avoids blinding oncoming traffic. It is one of the biggest advantages of getting a projector headlight.
  • Lens- Lens is like the most outer part of the housing and hence, are the most good-looking. Their job is to spread the light that comes from the shutter evenly.

Why and Who Should Use

Realistically speaking, no matter how good it looks, every housing types have their drawbacks. Projector headlights are more popular and objectively better. But consider the fact that it is also costlier. If you want to make a quality purchase, a projector headlight can cost $300.

Another factor to think about is the type of bulb you will be using. Projector headlights are best compatible with HID. So, for halogen or LED bulbs, it is not an ideal move to go for it. If you are going for projector headlights, you should learn about different aspects of an HID bulb too.

In conclusion, projector housings are the high budget option and are only suitable for nighttime riders because of their high brightness. If you do not want to spend that much, you can choose other headlight housing options.

Pros

  • Do not blind upcoming drivers for their downward focus.
  • Can use both HID and LED lights. So, halogen headlights are not that compatible with it.
  • They look stylish and modern.
  • Unlike halogen headlights with reflector housing, projector headlight bulbs are easier to replace.
  • More suitable for driving at night.
  • Have almost no dark spots.

Cons

  • Projector headlights cost much more than a halogen headlight setup.
  • People who are have been using a halogen headlight need some time to get used to projector headlights.
  • They are deeper than halogen headlights and take more space.

1. XSTORM H1 LED Headlight Bulbs 360 Degree 12000LM

XSTORM H1 LED Headlight Bulbs 360 Degree 12000LM

Quickly dissipate heat and increase the service life of car lights to more than 60,000 hours. Built-in smart chip to adjust voltage.

Advantages

  • High brightness of 12,000 lm and color or 6,500K.
  • 8-side light output design.
  • Suitable for almost 99% of vehicles.
  • It has a long lifespan of over 60,000 hours.

Disadvantages

  • The light slowly fades out after some years.

The XSTORM H1 LED is an excellent upgrade for your vehicle stock bulbs. It is suitable for both high and low beams. This item features an H1 bulb that takes 60W to produce the light.

It is an excellent upgrade for your fog light too. You can get an astounding light output of 12,000 LM and 6500K color temperature. Featuring a bulb that provides light to 8 sides, the CSP chips is the latest model from 2021.

It also comes with a conversion kit, and it is better than your average projector headlights. It fits almost 99% of vehicle models. The bulb has an IP68 waterproof level.

What Are Halogen Headlights?

Halogen headlights can be found in most vehicles’ stock housings. Keep in mind that, Halogen lights are not housing but just the bulb. It goes with mostly reflector housing because projector housings only support HID and LED. Halogen headlights are cheaper and are popular in the automobile industry for their low manufacturing cost. But their less efficient work process is what makes it undesirable by many.

Here are the components of a reflector housing with halogen headlight-

  • Bulb- The bulb used here is obviously halogen since that is what we are talking about. But reflector housing also goes with LED. The bulb produces the light and spreads it to all sides inside the reflector.
  • Reflector- The reflector on the halogen headlight set consists of multiple mirrors that work simultaneously. Here, the light particles do not focus on a shutter. Instead, they reflect on the mirrors on the parabolic-shaped reflector and spread out evenly.

Why and Who Should Use

Halogen headlights are cheaper in comparison to projector headlights. As a result, if you want to get a low-budget light, go for halogen. You may not even need to replace your old housing since most stock housings are compatible with halogen anyway.

However, halogen bulbs are less efficient and provide lesser brightness. So, they are not suitable for night driving. Only go for them if you don’t drive at night and don’t want to spend so much. Another bonus advantage that you might consider is that halogen headlights are pretty easy to install.

Pros

  • Halogen headlights are cheaper to get compared to projector headlights.
  • They are easy to install compared to HID, which is mostly found in projector housings.
  • Most of the times, new halogen headlights don’t require you to change the housing.

Cons

  • They are really low efficient and wastes a lot of power.
  • Halogen headlights are less bright compared to projector headlights.
  • Consists dark spots and has lesser downward focus.

1. Piaa 15211 H11 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulb

Piaa 15211 H11 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulb

4000k Bright White Color for Visibility and Style, Heat Resistant Quartz Glass for Long Life.

Advantages

  • The base is of metal and poly blended base that suppresses vibrations over 30%.
  • For being available in almost all sizes, its installation will be a breeze.
  • It allows you to drive at night.

Disadvantages

  • It does not survive for a long time for the price.

When it comes to extreme light output with proper efficiency, Piaa 15211 H11 Xtreme White Plus offers both. Apparently, the product is available in almost every size aside from H11. The 4000K color temperature may seem high for a halogen light, but its quartz glass has the heat resistance ability to tackle that.

You will experience almost no dark spots, and it will look so stylish on your vehicle housing. The Aerospace Alloy filament works wonders to keep it intact for a long time. Meanwhile, its XTRA technology provides better visibility at night. It is also completely legal and follows DOT standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are projector headlights better than reflectors?

Projector headlights are usually more efficient than reflectors, as they use fewer watts of electricity to light up your road. They’re also much brighter, and hence, can be useful for driving purposes when you’re in the dark.

Reflectors, on the other hand, are less efficient and are only good for illuminating the sides of the road. If you’re looking for a simple solution, then reflectors are a better option.

Can you put LED bulbs in reflector headlights?

Yes, you can install LED bulbs in your car’s reflector headlights, but this isn't always advisable. These lights are designed to protect you from other vehicles when you're driving in low-light conditions.

While they can function perfectly fine with conventional halogen bulbs, their high heat output makes them less efficient and may cause problems like melting plastic or burning out the bulbs. Hence, it’s better to use LED bulbs with low heat emission and high efficiency.

Which bulb is better for projector headlights?

It really depends on the environment you live in. If you live in a dry climate, you can use a tungsten bulb for projection. If it’s very humid, you can use a halogen bulb. The halogen bulb will have a more powerful beam than a tungsten bulb and is better for use in a low light environment.

Why are my projector headlights so dim?

Projector headlights are generally dim because the bulb’s wattage is very low. You should increase the wattage of the bulb to make it brighter. Also, check if the projector has a low-wattage setting.

How do I make my reflector headlights brighter?

Reflector headlights are designed to shine light into a narrower range of angles, thus making it less noticeable, and providing better visibility. To make the lights brighter, you will need to increase the intensity of the headlight bulb.

Are projector fog lights better?

Yes, they are! A projector fog light will increase the visibility of your vehicle, while a projector headlight will illuminate the road for improved safety. The benefits of the projector headlamp are twofold: first, you can have a better night vision; and second, it projects a wider light beam, which increases the distance it illuminates the road.

Are projectors low beam or high beam?

A projector needs to be operated in one of two modes: High-beam or Low-beam. High-beam projects light that is bright enough to easily illuminate an entire room, but only up to 1m away. Low-beam projects light that is bright enough to illuminate a relatively large area, but only up to 15-30cm away. It's advisable to choose the appropriate projection mode for your needs.

Are LED projector headlights legal?

LED projector headlights are not legal on cars in California. To be precise, all vehicles registered in California are required to have halogen headlamps, and LED projector headlights are considered illegal for that reason. They also cannot be easily switched on and off since the lights are embedded within the headlight unit.

Do projector headlights dim over time?

Yes, the beam of projector headlights dims over time. There are several reasons why they dim, including age, usage, and lack of maintenance. Projector headlights are usually designed to be bright, and you should therefore clean them once in a while. You can also replace them with LED headlights, which offer a brighter and cleaner beam and don't dim over time.

Final Note

It is easy to replace your headlight housing or the headlight itself. So, no matter whether your vehicle comes with a halogen headlight or projector headlight as stock, you can go for your desired one. Now that you know some details about both types, pick the one that matches what you think will be ideal. Research properly before purchasing a new housing or headlight for your vehicle since not all products have what it takes.

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