HID vs. LED – Which is brighter?
Everybody wants to know what's brighter. Can an LED headlight bulb be brighter than HID? In this test, we're taking the benchmark of automotive lighting with an HID kit and testing it against five popular LED headlight bulbs.
Usually, with these kinds of tests, I'll spend a bunch of time doing the testing beforehand, so I know the results. That's not the case this time. I wanted to be just as surprised as you are.
I've got a projector headlight and a reflector headlight. I've also got the original halogen bulb; a Morimoto 35-Watt HID kit, a 55-Watt HID kit, the SV4 LED headlight bulbs, the GTR Lighting Ultra 2 LED headlight bulbs, the OPT7 FluxBeam V2, the Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0, and the Diode Dynamics SL1. (Click here for our full line of complete HID Systems)
We're going to test them all. Using a digital lux meter, we'll show you which one's brighter. Generally speaking, most people believe that an HID conversion kit will be the brightest option, especially a 55-Watt.
Morimoto 35w HID System
SV4 LED headlight bulbs
GTR Lighting Ultra 2 LED headlight bulbs
OPT7 FluxBeam V2
Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0
Diode Dynamics SL1
Until today, I have never tested an LED headlight bulb that's brighter than a 55- Watt HID. We still don't know if one of these will be brighter, so let's find out.
For color, we went with a 6,500 K. That's kind of a cool, blue/white color. We went with that color because, generally speaking, everybody makes their LED bulbs in that color. I didn't want to give the HID an unfair advantage by going with a warmer color like 5,000 K.
If you watch our other video about HID colors, you'll see that a 5,000 K 55-Watt HID is the brightest HID option. So for this test, I want to keep it all on a level playing field. They're all on the same color temperature, just different bulb types. Before we start the test, let's talk about lux.
I didn't talk about the different lumen ratings of the various products because, realistically, we're not really sure who's telling the truth and who's lying. Some will be 3,000 lumens; others will be 12,000 lumens, and it's anybody's guess which ones brighter. Instead of talking about the manufacturer's rated specs, we're going to start with the control.
REFLECTOR HOUSING - HALOGEN BULB
The first bulb we're going to test is the halogen headlight bulb. This tells us how bright your headlights are now, and lux is the actual real-world brightness at a certain point. We're going to use a digital lux meter at the same distance between our headlight and the wall for every product. You're going to be able to see how much brighter the HID and the LED bulbs are to stock and each other.
The OEM halogen bulb comes in at 407 maximum lux at 25 feet. Now let's try the other bulbs without changing a thing.
The 6,500 K 35-Watt Morimoto HID kit comes in at 1,254 maximum lux. The Morimoto 55-Watt HID kit comes in at 2,000 maximum lux.
Reflector Housing - LED Bulb Test
The first LED headlight bulb to test is the SV4. This very popular option comes in at 1,425 maximum lux.
The GTR Lighting Ultra Two LED bulbs come in at 1,867 maximum lux.
OPT7 FluxBeam V2 is 831 maximum lux.
Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0 LED headlight bulb comes in at 940 maximum lux.
Diode Dynamics SL1 is at 1,238 maximum lux.
Here is an overview:
Now, let's do the same test in a projector headlight. Here we have the beam from a 2018 Toyota Tacoma, and it's pretty typical for a projector-style headlight.
With the original halogen headlight bulb, we measured 481 maximum lux.
The Morimoto 35-Watt HID comes in at only 484 maximum lux.
Such a tiny increase. You can fix that by going with a warmer color.
Now, we're talking the Morimoto 55-Watt HID kit comes in at 825 maximum lux.
Projector Housing - HID BULB
Here's the first LED bulb we're testing in this projector-type headlight. The SV4 is coming in at 1,001 maximum lux.
The GTR Lighting Ultra 2 LED headlight bulb comes in at 1,140 maximum lux,
OPT7 FluxBeam V2 comes in at 261 maximum lux,
The Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0 comes in at 366 lux.
The Diode Dynamics SL1 comes in at 633 maximum lux.
That is not what I was expecting. What a weird test. What did you think about the difference between the reflector and the projector? How crazy is it that you will get different results on other lighting technology just with the different types of headlight housing?
If you want my recommendation, it's pretty simple. The results speak for themselves: the GTR Lighting Ultra 2, the SV4, and the 55-Watt HID kit were the brightest. You can't just go with one-size-fits-all type products, and that's why at Headlight Revolution, we test.
If you want to see the other testing videos that we do, go check out our channel and subscribe, so you don't miss the next video we come out with for LED or HID headlight bulbs.