HID vs. LED Headlights

Even though halogen bulbs have been used by car manufacturers since the beginning, the real competition between headlights comes down to HID vs LED. Both high intensity discharge (HID) and light-emitting diode (LED) lights come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The team at Trick Trucks has compiled our list of comparisons so you can make the best decision for your vehicle.


Light Intensity

When it comes to light intensity, LED and HIDs have a very similar output. It all comes down to what the driver prefers to determine which bulb has the upper hand.

LED bulbs are able to produce a bright, concentrated beam of light that extends vastly from right to left. The illumination from LEDs is whiter, which can distract or impair the vision of other drivers on the road.

HIDs also produce a bright light output, but it is a slightly warmer color than the output from  LED bulbs. The output of HID headlights have often been compared to “natural light” or “daytime light.”


HID headlights are made up of xenon, a gas that when passed over an electrical charge, begins to generate light output. Due to its components and mechanisms, HID bulbs generally take a few seconds to fully turn on.

While HIDs need a brief warmup period, LED bulbs can turn on almost immediately. LEDs use the movement of electrons through a semiconductor to generate light, which means your headlights will go from darkness to full brightness in an instant.


The use of gases in HIDs means the bulbs are significantly more fragile from LEDs. The lifetime of an HID light relates to how often the light is used, meaning how often the gas is used before it disappears completely. Normally, drivers can expect an average HID light to last them about 2,500 to 10,000 hours worth of drive time.

LED lights, on the other hand, are much more reliable and do not have to be changed as often. The lifespan of LEDs can range anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 hours.

Defrosting Ability

In the colder months, HID headlights have a hidden perk that can be considered a time-saver and life-saver.

In addition to visible light, HID bulbs produce an infrared light invisible to the naked eye. This infrared light produces heat that serves to melt snow and ice away from the headlights. Keeping your headlights unobstructed is very important, especially during dangerous driving conditions such as poor weather.

Since LED bulbs do not emit infrared light, they are not as beneficial in colder climates.

Trick Trucks Has the Answers to All Your Headlight Questions

If you want to upgrade your vehicle, then come to see us at Trick Trucks. We are happy to make sure your truck is in great condition and is looking fresh all year round.

We have over forty years of experience, so there is nothing we haven’t seen.

Give us a call at 1-866-60-TRICK or visit us online.

Follow us on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter to keep up with our newest projects and to gain inspiration for your next one.