Is LED superior to HID?

When trying to decide which auxiliary off-road lighting or headlights for your vehicle, nowadays it’s a tough choice whether or not to go with HID or LED. For HID there are some reasonable options that are cost-effective when comparing to LED. However, HID cannot hold a candle to LED’s power consumption and lifespan. For headlights, it all depends on the application and your desired effect.

If you have a Jeep Wrangler, semi truck or an older vehicle that uses sealed beam headlights, then you can use LED headlights, or several different HID options. Starr HID makes vehicle specific projector HID headlights that are very high quality or you can just use a GTR Lighting HID conversion kit. If you have a 7″ round, 6″ Round, 4×6″ Rectangular or 5×7″ Rectangular sealed beam setup then you can use a full LED headlight from a company like Truck-Lite, JW Speaker or GTR Lighting. The differences will be this:

  • HID Headlights will Be Brighter, by about double
  • HID Headlights will not last as long. LED Headlights last 10x longer than HID
  • LED Headlights are the new technology, they look cooler and draw 1/10 the energy to operate
  • LED Headlights are brighter than stock
  • HID Headlights are available in a range of different colors
  • HID Headlights can be used in any application
  • LED Headlights have a narrow application range
  • LED Headlight Bulb replacements are not bright enough yet to be safe (as of this date)
JW Speaker makes some of the world's best LED headlight and LED off-road products.

JW Speaker makes some of the world’s best LED headlight and LED off-road products.

When looking at off-road lighting and comparing HID to LED it’s not quite as difficult of a choice but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • HID Headlights will be much cheaper. A 6″ 35w HID off-road light will run anywhere from $150 – $500
  • 35w HID will produce 3,000 – 3,600 Lumens of output. 55w HID will produce 4,500 – 5,500 Lumens of output.
  • LED is available in many configurations running from 900 Lumens (a single 10w LED product) all the way up to 35,000 Lumens (Vixion X XIL-PX7240)
  • LEDs will traditionally draw less energy than HID
  • HID and LED can both be found in long-range configurations

Overall, in terms of which is better for headlights, it’s a toss-up because the LED technology has not been developed far enough to be a universal application. But I predict in the future LED headlights will take over the world – they are the future.

In terms of LED off-road lighting, hands-down LED takes the cake, compared to LED off-road lighting, HID is old news. You will never find a viable HID option that will make over 40,000 Lumens (even that is stretching the imagination) and with LED it’s already easy to put 100,000 Lumens on the front of your truck.

Dodge Ram HID Lights

This 2010 Dodge Ram has a total of 9 HID lights on the front end! Talk about creating a wall of light! A total of 31,500 Lumens of light output!

 

Truck-Lite Versus JW Speaker – A Comparison of LED Headlights

Here is a motorcycle sporting the Truck-Lite 27270C LED headlights and the matching #80275 LED fog lights!

Here is a motorcycle sporting the Truck-Lite 27270C LED headlights and the matching #80275 LED fog lights!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Jeep and Harley communities, one of the latest hot topics are replacement LED headlights. The two most popular items being the JW Speaker 8700 and the Truck-Lite 27270C 7″ round replacement LED headlight housings.

Watch this video review of the Truck-Lite headlights I did where I compare it to the JW Speaker variant. You’ll get a good idea about this new headlight and if you think the JW Speaker 8700 is worth the money when compared to the Trucklite product:

Xentec HID Ballast Review – What does waterproof mean?

Xentec on ebay review

Xentec – providing “HID-Like” electronics since 2008.

I recently had the pleasure of getting my hands on a new Xentec HID kit for testing and review purposes and my expectations were met… however my expectations were that the Xentec product would be complete and total garbage.

Today you can find a complete single beam, 35w HID Kit for sale on eBay for a mere $29.50 shipped from California to anywhere in the United States. Let’s do the math… the cheapest ground shipping for a 2 pound package from CA to NY would cost roughly $5 by shipping through the United States Postal Service using the Parcel Post shipping method. So really, Xentec is selling the entire HID kit for $24.50, which means each ballast will cost about $8 and the bulbs will be roughly $8.50.

Halo Yellow Headlight Bulbs

Replacement halogen bulbs cost more than an entire Xentec HID kit.

Now, on the other hand, to purchase a set of decent blue halogen light bulbs will cost you around $40 at any reputable parts store, specialty shop or even Wal-Mart, and these are just off the shelf blue tinted halogen bulb replacements. How can Xentec sell an entire HID kit for less than a set of blue light bulbs? Is it magic? No – it’s just dang cheap. If you look at the cost of other HID products you will see a massive difference in pricing versus the Xentec HID kit. For example, you can buy a GTR Lighting single beam 35w HID conversion kit for around $200, and you can buy OEM Philips ballasts and bulbs together, pulled out of a newer Mercedes, for about $900 to make your own retrofit kit.

So, if good HID kits cost around $200 and OEM HID kits cost around $900, how can Xentec sell an HID kit for less than $30? The answer is simple: They build their components with the absolute worst parts, cut corners on quality and design. Waterproofing the ballast? “What does waterproof mean?” Check out this comparison of a GTR Lighting 35w ballast compared to the Xentec 35w ballast:

Xentec HID Ballast

Comparison between GTR Lighting 35w HID ballast and Xentec 35w ballast showing the difference in weight and waterproofing.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I can’t believe how shoddy the Xentec product really is… and people actually buy this stuff! The circuit board is directly mounted to the aluminum backing plate, and there is no potting, or o-ring or anything to keep dust, water and/or insects out.

Not only does the Xentec ballast lack any type of shock resistance but it is also made of a very cheap feeling plastic for the housing, a little tiny screws that look like they could fall out at any moment. You can see by the comparison of the scale that the GTR Lighting ballast is built much more tough and weighs more than 3 times as much as its Xentec imposter.

After this review I am confident in making the statement that Xentec HID products should not be taken seriously, and they should be considered “imposters” in the HID lighting market. They are more prone to failure than any electronic product I’ve ever seen and I don’t think it is safe to use on any automobile where you will be mounting it to metal, have dust or water near the ballast.

If you want something that is going to work go with the GTR Lighting ballast. It is shock proof, water proof, dust proof and very heavy duty, you won’t be disappointed!

What’s the difference between HID and Halogen lights?

Halogen vs Xenon Bulbs

Just because the bulbs are shaped similarly, doesn’t mean they share many traits.

The original automobiles literally used lamps (glass housing with a candle burning inside) to light the way on the roads, similar to how people would light the way on horseback. And I’m sure you’ve heard of Thomas Edison, who invented the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb in 1879, what most vehicles use in their modern day headlamps are based off of his original designs. A standard light bulb has a filament, and it gets electricity applied to each side of the filament and when this happens the filament gets very hot and reaches a state of incandescence. This is why we call light bulbs with filaments, incandescent light bulbs. High-power incandescent light bulbs used in car headlights are filled with a gas called Halogen, and it reacts to the brightly glowing filament and creates a massive amount of light, up to 1,200 Lumen of light output. This is why we call standard automotive headlights “halogen bulbs”.

This is not to be confused with Xenon or HID bulbs – they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. An HID light bulb (stands for High Intensity Discharge) is filled with Xenon gas which reacts to the spark created inside the HID bulb. This xenon gas is ignited and creates a vast and powerful amount of light output that can be measured in thousands of Lumen, depending on the power consumption (normally 35w, 55w or 75w). Today, a vehicle that comes factory-equipped with xenon lighting uses a 35w lighting system.

A Xenon HID bulb does not have a filament, instead it has two electrodes that meet inside the xenon-glass filled bulb. A ballast is used to send up to 24,000 volts of AC electricity that creates a powerful spark and ignites the xenon gas mixture. This process is sustained and produces the exuberant amount of light output:

HID Bulb Explained

A true HID bulb uses a ballast to ignite the chemical mixture inside. It does not use a filament.

  • Xenon is 300 times brighter than halogen
  • Xenon can last 10 times longer than halogen
  • Xenon produces cleaner, whiter, brighter and safer light
  • A 35W Xenon bulb consumes less power than a 55W Halogen bulb
  • Halogen bulbs burn hotter than the same wattage Xenon bulbs

Upgrading your headlights from halogen bulbs to HID technology will make a huge difference in visibility at night by projecting a further beam of light and broadening your road coverage. You will see further, see more and be more visible to other drivers. The sooner you can see hazards on the road, the more time you have to react.

Halogen bulbs operate at 12V and use old lighting technology by heating a wire filament to emit light. Over a short period of time that wire filament becomes brittle, and small vibrations caused by everyday driving causes damage to the halogen filament affecting it’s light output and the bulb’s reliability.

xenon versus halogen

Difference between incandescent halogen light bulbs and HID xenon light bulbs.

GTR Lighting LED Bulbs – How they stack up

High Power or Low Power LEDs?  Your Choice

You can choose – low power LED bulbs or high power LED bulbs?

I had a chance to pit a few GTR Lighting LED bulbs up against some other LED bulbs to see how they stack up against their competitors and wanted to show you why I STILL stand behind the GTR Lighting line of high performance LED and HID products. If you’re in the market for luxury LED bulbs, then look no further than the GTR Lighting line, in this post I will demonstrate how not all LED bulbs are created equally!

The big thing that is worth talking about is the sheer power the GTR LED lights put out. Nothing that we’ve tested comes close and in fact, next to the GTR LED products, some of the competitors are laughable! I will show you a comparison of different pricing and light outputs to give you a better idea of how these bulbs rate.

1. Streetglow VS GTR Lighting – 1156 LED Bulb Comparison

LED Comparison

1156 LED bulb comparison: StreetGlow VS GTR Lighting

GTR Lighting LED Bulbs

Street Glow LED bulbs have only forward facing LEDs. GTR Lighting LEDs have 360 degree light output.

When comparing the StreetGlow 1156 LED compared to the GTR Lighting 1156 LED it is easy to see how they differ.
First, the SG bulb
has 12 3mm dome LED chips, which seems like an odd choice seeing as they are primarily used for indicator lights on dash boards or switches. They face only in one direction and altogether disappear when installed behind a red lens in a tail light housing. It has a heavy-duty metal base that is shaped like a mushroom and may have trouble fitting into many different styles of 1156/1157 style sockets.

The GTR Lighting 1156 LED bulb pictured above, however, utilizes 7 high power 5050 SMD LED chips, each containing 3 separate diodes. The GTR bulb is massively brighter and offers light output on all sides as well as forward-facing. This is important because the vast majority of automobile light bulb housings use reflectors to create the light output, not just the sheer power of the bulb. Without this side-emitting light the output of the light housing would be nearly useless and appear to be just a single spot. Furthermore, the construction of the GTR 1156 LED bulb is tapered and should easily fit inside even the strictest shaped light bulb socket.

The price of a pair of Street Glow 1156 LED bulbs is $28 (from Streetglow.com) and the price of a pair of GTR Lighting 1156 LED bulbs is $45 (from GTRLighting.com). Don’t even waste your money on the StreetGlow bulbs, the problem is that they are just plain cheap.

2. Streetglow VS GTR Lighting – 194/168 LED Bulb Comparison

194 168 T10 LED Comparison

The Street Glow 194 LED is dim compared to the GTR Lighting bulb.

LED 194 Showdown

The Street Glow LED bulbs are using old school, out-dated LED technology.

When comparing the StreetGlow 194/168 LED compared to the GTR Lighting LED it is easy to see how they differ again, SG is using inferior technology in a vain attempt to simply offer an LED for the sake of having an LED line without actually offering something worthwhile. The StreetGlow website states that “StreetGlow Mini-Bulbs offer greater illumination and faster response than standard bulbs.” and this is a flat-out lie. The Street Glow T10 style bulbs are so dim that they hardly output any light at all.
First, the SG bulb
has a single inverted 5mm LED chip, which does a good job of directing the light, but there’s just not enough of it – the light that is. Again, it is a uni-directional output with a narrow output pattern. The base is a standard plastic T10 housing that is very common.

The GTR Lighting 194/168 LED bulb pictured above again provides more light output and in more directions than it’s StreetGlow counterpart. It features 5 high-power 5050 LED chips, with 1 facing in each direction, including forward-facing. This is a great light if you need it to penetrate a colored lens found in parking lights and brake housings. It is easily 10 times brighter than the SG version and still creates very little heat.

The price of a pair of 194/168 LED bulbs from Street Glow is $9.99 (from StreetGlow.com) and a pair of 194/168 LED bulbs from GTR Lighting is $20 (From GTRLighting.com). Obviously you get what you pay for!

2. Plasmaglow VS GTR Lighting – 7440/7443 LED Bulb Comparison

Plasmaglow 7440 7443 LED Bulb

The Plasmaglow LED bulb is dwarfed by the GTR Lighting counterpart!

The Plasmaglow line of LED bulbs is very similar to the StreetGlow lineup, in fact they may even use the same manufacturer. Either way, they are equally inferior, these bulbs amount to nothing more than a pretty plastic light fixture, but pretty useless in the automotive world.
First, the Plasmaglow bulb
uses nine faint 3mm dome top LED chips, all forward facing, and a clear plastic housing. It does a good job of directing the light, but there’s just not enough to be used safely or effectively to replace an OEM light bulb. The Plasmaglow LED 7440 bulb is uni-directional and of relatively poor quality. This is surprising because Plasmaglow has been affiliated with prestigious organizations like SEMA and the Fast and Furious franchise.

If you look at the GTR Lighting version of a 7440/7443 LED bulb you will see that it is innovative, super-bright and downright impressive. It features 4 high power 1.5w flat LED panels, featuring 3 chips a piece. This is a total of 6w power from 12 surface mount LEDs. The base is a heavy duty plastic and the top is constructed from beautifully designed aluminum. Again, the GTR Lighting bulbs soar where others fail, by producing full 360 degree light output, great style, and high quality.

The price for a pair of Plasmaglow 7440/7443 LED bulbs is $18 (from JCWhitney.com). The price for a pair of GTR Lighting 7440/7443 6W LED bulbs is $65 (GTRLighting.com).

Conclusion: You get what you pay for!

Some people are interested in the least expensive option, but I’m afraid in this scenario all that will happen is you will end up spending ~$20 and getting nothing in return! Both the StreetGlow LED bulbs and the Plasmaglow LED bulbs are a waste of money, even coming in at half the price of GTR Lighting bulbs. Even if you saved a little money here you still wouldn’t have anything nice in the end. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about? You “invest” money in the vehicle you love and hope to make it better than it was. My vote is to let GTR Lighting help you make your favorite ride better than before.

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