Your car’s bulbs are not shining as they used to and you want to replace your standard bulbs with the Brightest Halogen Headlight Bulbs?
This article will tell you what to look for when choosing Brightest Halogen Headlight Bulbs for your vehicles.
Halogen lamps are incandescent filaments placed in a bulb filled with the halogen chlorine, bromine or fluorine. The filament, made of tungsten, glows under the influence of voltage, which, given the presence of the gas, gives a bright light in the bulb.
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How to choose a halogen headlight bulb?
Automotive headlight bulbs are one of those things that vehicle owners can easily buy and sometimes even replace on their own. Today you can find a variety of products on the market of car lamps: xenon, bixenon, classic incandescent, as well as halogen, and, more recently, LED bulbs.
In the near future car, enthusiasts will be looking at laser lighting! But until that future has arrived, you have to choose between the three options. Most motorists still prefer the tried-and-true halogen lighting – it’s not too bright, dense, relatively economical, and long-lasting. Unscrupulous manufacturers take advantage of car owners’ trust in halogen. Let’s deal with how to choose the right halogen bulb for auto headlights and at the same time let’s understand how they are designed.
Halogen or HID Xenon Bulbs?
Let’s start with the flight analysis. Today, the most in-demand on the headlight market are halogen and xenon bulbs. Both bulbs are easy to find in the store. They all belong to popular types (H1, as well as H7, H4), perfectly cope with their main tasks, and will be actively used in the near future, despite the active development of laser lighting.
The first thing that strikes the eye when studying the catalog of xenon lamps is their high price. Let’s compare the characteristics and features of the two lamps and find out why one can cost several times more than the other.
The bulb is simple, does not consume much energy compared to the classic incandescent bulb, easy to replace. What’s also important, you can find halogen bulbs in stores in a variety of sizes and shapes. Cons: energy-consuming compared to more modern lamps, fragile. As a rule, halogen lasts about 1000 hours.
These lamps last a very long time, are more economical, guarantee good visibility. Disadvantages: high cost, require additional ignition unit, reach maximum brightness when working in a few seconds, can blind oncoming drivers. It is important to note that the light spot of many xenon headlights is uneven: in some places it is dense, and in some places interrupted by thin strips, which impairs visibility. Xenon lasts for 2000 hours. Approximately after 2500 hours of operation, the density of the light beam of such lamp becomes critically low.
Despite the obvious savings in electricity and longer life, the savings on xenon is very relative – the motorist will have to buy the ignition unit.
Even more expensive is bi-xenon, i.e. xenon optics, which works as a dipped and as a high beam. But halogen, which is included in the standard optics of a large proportion of foreign cars, is cheaper, but serves less than half. Practice shows that today motorists prefer halogen optics, and it is not because of its affordability.
It does not shine as brightly as xenon, but it does not glare and produces rather a dense beam. A large part of xenon bulbs, which can be found on the market, even lose out to halogen bulbs in terms of light quality. Here it is important to consider not only their compatibility with the car but also who made the optics. This point we will touch on a little later.
The structure of the halogen lamp and peculiarities of operation
Even some experienced car enthusiasts believe that car halogen works on a completely new principle of light formation. In fact, everything is extremely simple. Inside the lamp is already familiar to us all tungsten filament, which, when heated, begins to glow. But there are enough interesting differences between halogen and ordinary incandescent bulbs. Let’s start with the construction.
- An ordinary tungsten filament;
- Contact band;
- Reflective cap;
- A bulb of high-strength material;
The bulb is filled with so-called halogens – bromine and chlorine gases as well as iodine. First, incandescent bulbs have a filler because, without it, the tungsten filament quickly burns out. Secondly, the filler prevents the material of the lamp from darkening as it works.
Halogens began to be used in incandescent lamps just for the second reason: the volume of halogens for a given wattage lamp can be half as much as, say, the volume of argon for a lamp of the same power without the risk of darkening the bulb. Simply put, automobile halogen (and any other halogen in principle) can be made very compact.
However, halogen has the same problems as any other incandescent lamp filled with noble gas. Over time, the tungsten filament thins in one or more areas, in the same place the temperature of the filament increases, as well as accelerating evaporation of the material. The result: the coil burns out.
Recall that the principle of operation of incandescent spirals is that atoms (in this case, tungsten) fly away from a strongly heated filament body, but, not reaching the surface of the bulb, get back to the coil. The results are glow, heat generation, and gradual thinning of the coil.
Halogen lamps boast excellent color rendering. Scientifically speaking, their continuous spectrum is very close to the spectrum of the so-called black body, which has a temperature of 2800-3000 Kelvin. In practice, it looks like this: the light is very warm, close to the sun, but not as warm as the light from a regular incandescent bulb.
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Automobile halogen parameters
When choosing a new halogen lamp, it is worth remembering that it is described by a number of parameters. The most important car enthusiasts consider the socket parameter, although for a more complete understanding of the peculiarities of automotive optics you should not forget about the other parameters.
The halogen lamp has the following characteristics:
- Power: from 55 to 65 watts;
- Luminous flux: 1450 to 2100 Lumen;
- Light output: 22 to 32 Lumens per watt. Three times less than a xenon lamp.
The key feature of a headlight is the reflector used in it. Halogen headlights usually use either parabolic reflectors or free-form reflectors. Light and shade boundaries in combined headlights are realized by mounting a reflective cap on the halogen bulb or using a light shield.
After the appearance of halogen lamps on the market car optics began to be adapted specifically for them. Initially, the letter “H” indicated halogen and the number after the letter – the size. Now, this designation is one of the standard ones. The most common bulbs have the following designations: H1, H3, H7, H8, and H9. Also in demand are H4/HB2 lamps. All other bases and sizes are not so common.
Choosing a new halogen bulb
You can buy a halogen bulb in specialized stores, as well as in online stores and markets. The latter option we strongly advise against, because on the market there is a great chance to get caught up in a fake or a lamp from a little-known company, and, seduced by the low price, but not the best product. You can correctly choose the optic components according to:
- VIN-code. Not a bad option to search for factory optics, but as a rule, motorists are looking for lamps and headlight assemblies in other ways;
- The data of the car. Namely: make, model, body, and year of manufacture. Guided by these data, you can easily find original and analog optics in electronic catalogs. The disadvantage of this method is that there may be questions about the compatibility of the lamps with the rest of the headlight elements;
- The data of the lamp. In addition to clarifying the compatibility with the socket, the selection should be guided by their own preferences. The leading manufacturers of automobile optics offer lamps with long life and low light intensity, which are perfect for those who drive on well-lit roads. Conversely, you can also find very bright halogens, such as the Osram Night Breaker Unlimited.
In fact, when selecting the right bulb, you can face a number of problems. A car headlight must guarantee maximum illumination both at speeds of up to and above 100 kilometers per hour. What to choose: lamps of high brightness or long-lived? Practice shows that the optics of well-known firms are multifunctional and well behaves practically in any condition. For extreme conditions, you need specific lamps, which, however, those companies, about which we will tell you, also offer.
Using halogen bulbs
Halogen lamps are a new stage in the development of conventional incandescent lamps, so they have both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages Increased luminous efficacy – compared with incandescent lamps the brightness is increased by 60%. This is due to the use of inert gas, which together with bromine vapor increases the glow temperature of the filament. Ability to choose different colors of glow as a result of dyeing the bulb in the desired shade. Service life is much higher than that of conventional – if you follow the rules of operation, they will last you up to two years. The quality of lighting in poor road conditions is much better, the brightness of the lamps can illuminate even the curb, which reduces the risk of hitting a pedestrian in the dark. Brightness is maintained throughout the life of the lamp.
Halogen Bulbs Buyer’s Guide
The color temperature of halogen bulbs
On a bright sunny day, we can clearly distinguish all objects – this is the so-called comfortable daytime temperature. It is on average 4000 to 6500 K.
Most often motorists use a color temperature of 6000 K, the so-called white light. The closer the light temperature of halogen lamps to this figure, the more comfortable the eyes, and the driver will feel less tired. But such light is very strongly reflected by raindrops of rain and fog, so for such weather conditions use yellow light: the color temperature is 3000 K.
The service life of halogen bulbs
Manufacturers usually overestimate the service life. So, standard lamps will last you an average of 600-800 hours. This is provided that the voltage in the on-board network will be equal to 13.2 V. If you increase voltage by 5%, it will reduce it to 60% of the manufacturer’s specification.
At 12 volts, the life of the lamps will increase by 60-70%, but the luminous flux will decrease by 10%. There are also lamps with extended life, which is achieved by using a special bulb design, a thicker coil, or a unique mixture of gases. Typically, their lifespan is no more than 10-12 months. If you decide to buy a cheap Chinese analog, you will have to change it every 2-3 months, and the savings compared to the purchase of branded components will be small.
Choice of halogen bulbs by brand
By way of example, we will consider bulbs with an H7 base, as they are very common. Almost all lamps have a color temperature up to 5000 Kelvin – and oncoming drivers do not blind, and show themselves well in the rain and light fog. So, the leading manufacturers and their interesting products:
Osram Halogen Bulbs
The country of the manufacturer is Germany. It is recognized by many car enthusiasts as the best optics manufacturer. It offers hundreds of solutions in halogen, xenon, LED lighting. Recently in the catalogs of the German manufacturer, there is a sub-series Laser, although, of course, they are not the laser. But they shine very well! Some of the most interesting halogen lamps: Are original Line, Night Breaker, Fog Breaker. The first is a timeless classic, the second is one of the brightest lamps, and the third is a great solution for driving in fog.
Philips Halogen Bulbs
The country of the manufacturer is the Netherlands. Another great European manufacturer. It is easy to get confused in the catalogs of Philips, so we will allocate for you the most interesting and functional lamps: Long Life, Vision, X-Treme Vision +130%. The first lamp is a well-known long-life, and the third is the brightest halogen today.
Koito Halogen Bulbs
The country of the manufacturer in Japan. Strangely enough, Japanese manufacturers of automotive optics are not widely known. Their products are of the highest quality but differs from the European only slightly higher price (about 5-10%). Perhaps the best lamp: White Beam. It shines very brightly, but its power is equal to the standard halogen.
Narva Halogen Bulbs
The producer country is Germany. Narva is almost as good as Philips and Osram. You can see the difference in catalogs, i.e. Narva has not have so many halogen lamps. But among them, there are many good options for car optics: Range Power White, Long Life, Heavy Duty.
You can also mention such brands as Sylvania, Hella, and Bosch.
We categorically advise against buying halogen lamps from any unknown manufacturers. Firstly, halogen is not too resistant to vibration and the unscrupulous manufacturer does not make in the design of the lamp additional reinforcing elements. Secondly, the low-quality analog serves very little: from a couple of days to 3 months.
In fact, it is very easy to choose a halogen headlight bulb. The motorist need only be guided by its type and pay attention to the manufacturer. Excellent lamps are made in South Korea and Germany.
In addition, good options can be selected in the catalogs of Japanese and Dutch manufacturers. As practice shows, many drivers do not trust xenon – it seems to them too bright. In fact, a high-quality xenon lamp, which is usually sold at a much higher price than the halogen, is currently the best solution for the head light of the car. Budget constrained or light still seems too bright? Halogen is perfect for you.