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!

 

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!