An inert gas, like xenon or a halogen, slows down this process, prolonging the life of the light bulb. A halogen is a covalent element on the Periodic Table, which easily forms negative ions.
In a halogen light bulb, the filament wears down, shedding tungsten atoms over time. These discarded atoms unite with the halogen gas molecules in the lamp forming tungsten halite, which is then redeposited on the filament.
It works in much the same way as the halogen gases when retarding the filament's evaporation, but it also produces a bright-white light when stimulated by electricity. A halogen lamp's typical rated life is about 2,000 hours, which is about 2 times longer than that of standard incandescent lights.
If you choose only halogen lights to illuminate a room, you may have to compensate for this heat with air conditioning A xenon light's typical rated life is around 10,000 hours, lasting 5 times longer than the average halogen lamp.
Because xenon gas glows when excited by electricity, it also takes less energy to achieve the same lumen output. Xenon gas also requires less heat to produce light, so you don't have to worry about such high energy bills.
It's no secret halogen lights run hot, which means they're not suitable for every application. The oil your hands leave behind on the glass will eventually heat up and may cause an imbalance, making the light bulb rupture.
Xenon light bulbs don't produce as much heat, and emit minimal UV rays. Both halogen and xenon light bulbs have perfect Chris (color rendering indexes) of 100.
With flattering colors and easy dimming capabilities, halogen and xenon lamps are both great choices to light your home or building. Xenon and halogen lights use a gas to help increase bulb effectiveness, but there are several key differences between them.
Headlight filaments must be strong and are usually made of, or coated with, tungsten to give them durability. The halogen interacts with the tungsten and helps replace lost particles while the light is turned off.
An electrical current is channeled through the gas in an arc, and the resulting reaction excites electrons in the xenon atoms, creating light. They last much longer than the conventional halogen bulb and have a higher lumen output (brightness).
Though halogen is dependable, the bulb still uses a filament that will eventually burn out, while xenon bulbs use only gas and electricity, allowing them to last two or three times longer. The color temperature of xenon bulbs is around 4,500 degrees Kelvin, producing a bright, white light similar to natural daylight.
This does not mean that a driver with halogen headlights can simply replace their bulbs with xenon versions to reap the benefits. Thomas Edison, the inventor credited with the first long-lasting headlamps in 1879 used incandescent light bulbs and most cars today are based off his original designs.
Incandescent light bulbs, as used in car headlights, are filled with a special gas called Halogen. Compared to the tungsten, the previous metal used in bulbs, they were superior.
The HID light bulb (which stands for High Intensity Discharge) is filled with Xenon gas which responds to the spark created inside the HID bulb. Instead, it uses two electrodes that meet inside the Xenon glass filled bulb.
While we have car bulb guides that we’ve written before, this guide focuses purely on the brightest bulbs available for each car light technology. The first step is to identify which technology your current headlights use; halogen, HID Xenon or LED.
This table shows the upgrade options depending on what you currently have fitted. If you have LED headlights as standard, unfortunately there are no upgrade options currently available.
The rest of this article breaks down the brightest options in each upgrade category: While newer technologies are slowly filtering through, the majority of vehicles on the road still use halogen bulbs for their headlights.
Most manufacturers produce their flagship bulbs to cover the popular fittings. SRAM, Philips, RING and Twenty20 all claim to produce up to 150% more brightness than a standard bulb.
Please keep in mind that prices will vary depending on the bulb application, so they have not been included. This is due to the filament inside the bulb burning out at a faster rate.
Aftermarket LED bulbs are often a perfect upgrade choice for those looking for a clean, bright, white light. Some regulations date back to the late 1970s meaning newer technological advances will not conform to their standards.
Manufacturers understand this fact and now offer fully road legal OE LED headlights. However, this option can cost you a small fortune when just one bulb needs to be replaced.
If paying an arm and a leg isn’t something you’re looking to do then aftermarket LED bulbs might be the best solution. HID conversion kits are by far the brightest options available on the market.
Stealth HID Kits have been around for years, and they have built a credible brand name throughout the industry. These kits contain ballast units and bulbs that plug together for a simple installation process.
The ballast units coupled with the right bulbs can bring some immense light to your vehicle. Luckily, these Stealth kits are available for almost every halogen headlight type from H to H to HIR2.
These kits are also available for reflector headlights which means you won’t be blinding other road users after installation. The bulbs have been manufactured poorly meaning the light bubble is in the wrong place for the headlight.
Unfortunately it’s these cheap and poorly manufactured products that caused the technology to be an MOT failure when used as an aftermarket upgrade from halogen bulbs. With 23,000V and up to 450% more light being emitted, it’s always best to go for good quality HID kits if you’re going down this route.
However, with tight access to the headlights, rushed jobs and poor workmanship, sometimes they are not fitted correctly, and they will end up misaligned. Putting a normal bulb in a reflector headlight can result in glare for other road users to be blinded.
Some bulbs, such as the D1S and D3S, also have an integrated igniter built in making the production even more expensive. Factory fitted Xenon headlights are often optional which means many people choose not to have them.
With a lower demand, bulb manufacturers have not dedicated as much resource into developing upgrade options in a big way. Philips and SRAM are the ones leading the innovation in this technology by quite a distance.
Aside from the fact that HID kits will cause you to fail an MOT, they are the brightest bulbs on the market. LED bulbs are kind of in the same boat as HID kits except there’s no reason for them to fail an MOT.
There’s nothing in the MOT guidelines that would cause a failure, but they are still not road legal because they can’t be E marked. With between 150% to 300% more light than standard halogen bulbs, and the longest life of all the technologies, these are a serious upgrade to consider.
They are a simple, no-hassle upgrade choice and provide you with a high increase in brightness. Unfortunately these bulbs just don’t last as long as LED or HID.
Aftermarket Xenon bulbs are completely road legal unless stated otherwise meaning there’s no worry there, and they will of course pass the MOT. Despite there being fewer upgrade options, you can still get up to 200% more light than your original fitted Xenon bulbs.