Comparison Between LED, HID and Halogen – What is the Difference?

When you start looking at the different types of light bars you may notice that there are several types of lights each powered by a different type of lighting. Light bars can come equipped with either LED, HID, or halogen bulbs. The question is then which one is best?

While each type of lighting has its own set of pros and cons, there are definitely reasons you may want to choose one type over the others. In this guide, we’ll take a look at each type of lighting used in automotive light bars and discuss the advantages of each one.


Halogen bulbHalogen bulbs were the first type of lighting to come onto the automotive scene and are essentially the same as an ordinary incandescent bulb. In a halogen bulb, a thin wire filament which is housed inside a chamber of halogen gas (either iodine or bromine) is heated up until it begins to brightly glow, giving off light.

The first point about halogen bulbs to realize is that this light is yellowish in color rather than purely white. This means that it does not produce as much visibility as white LEDs and HID bulbs. Second, halogen bulbs are the least durable option that you can find.

The reason for this is that the filament that is used inside the bulb is quite fragile and runs the risk of shattering if you are driving your vehicle over very rough and bumpy terrain. While halogen bulbs are still used to some degree in automotive lighting, they have all but been replaced by the brighter and more durable HID and LED bulbs.


HID bulbHID bulbs were the second type of automotive lighting to come into play, making their debut in the headlights of high-end, luxury vehicles.

Today, HID bulbs are used quite regularly in automotive lighting for a variety of vehicles. In order to work, HID (standing for High Intensity Discharge) bulbs create light by striking an ultra-bright arc between two electrodes that are housed inside a chamber of xenon gas and evaporated metal salts.

The light produced by this process is a bright, white light that allows for much more visibility than halogen bulbs. Along with this, since there are no fragile filaments used, HID bulbs are much more durable as well. While they are incredibly bright and durable, HID bulbs do have a few key flaws.

First of all, they are the most costly option of the three. HID bulbs also have a very high amp draw, meaning you run the risk of draining your battery, and they have a short lifespan that is on average one twentieth that of an LED bulb.


LEDLED (which stands for Light Emitting Diodes) are the most popular choice today for most automotive lighting. An LED bulb works by lowering the energy state of electrons inside of a semiconductor, causing them to give off light.

The light produced is a high-intensity, bright white light that rivals that of an HID bulb for sheer brightness. It is the other aspects of LEDs that have made them so popular, however. To begin with, LED bulbs have a low amp draw, making them very energy efficient.

LEDs also have a much longer average lifespan, lasting on average anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 hours of use (compared to just 2,000 hours for HID bulbs). LEDs are quite durable since they operate on an entirely solid state, and they usually are able to handle bumps and jars quite well.

Because of these advantages, LED light bars are generally the best choice for most people, though some companies do still make some good HID lights as well. Weigh the pros and cons of each type of light then choose the one best for you.

Comparison Between LED, HID and Halogen – What is the Difference?

Comparison Between LED, HID and Halogen – What is the Difference?