Is 100w halogen brighter than LED?
Yes and No
A certain group of people on the internet believe that an LED headlight bulb could never perform as well as a properly upgraded halogen bulb. Today in this video, we're going to put that theory to the test and see if the best of the best-LED headlight bulbs can be brighter than a 100-watt halogen.
Generally speaking, when you want to upgrade your headlight bulbs, you've got a few different options. You can do a set of halogen bulbs that are more expensive, brighter, and consume more energy than your original halogen bulbs, you can upgrade to an HID conversion kit in a plug-and-play style, you can do a LED headlight bulb, and of course, there are projector retrofits.
There are even total assembly replacements. You've got all the options in the world. When it comes to plug-and-play light bulbs, though, sometimes you might want to go to a cheaper option.
Today we're going to look at a couple of off-the-shelf halogen products from Philips that claim to be brighter than the stock bulb.
So, this is how this test is going to go.
First, we're going to start with the original 60 watts (below), 9,005 halogen bulb that comes off your vehicle from the factory. Nothing special about it, and probably used. This bulb is what you can expect out of your car right off the lot.
Then we're going to look at the first basic halogen upgrade, an HR2, also known as a 9012. The HR2 is a halogen infrared light bulb generally expected to be brighter than a regular halogen.
Then, we got two aftermarket options. We've got the Philips 9,005 HB2 Rally Vision, 100-watt halogen bulb (shown above), and the Philips 9005 X-treme Vision, 65-watt halogen bulb (shown below). One of these options is going to perform better than stock. Then we're going to compare all the halogens to a couple of LED options.
First, we're going to start with a very well-known option, the GTR Lighting Ultra 2 (below), which routinely comes in as bright as a 55 watt HID.
Then, we're going to talk about the Aurora Flexible Heatsink bulb (below), which is more reminiscent of your standard bulb on the generic side of things in the industry.
With this test, we should get a pretty good idea of the capabilities of different types of LED bulbs versus their high-power halogen counterparts.
We're going to test the first bulb in this Dodge Durango projector headlight is a Sylvania G 2312 60 watts 9,005 halogen bulb (shown below). The benchmark for this test comes in at 550 maximum lux.
This result is typical for the brightness and beam pattern of what you'd expect with this setup. The reason we're measuring lux instead of talking about lumens is because we're looking for real-world output in a particular situation, not some theoretical number on the packaging.
When we measure lux, it's at a certain point in space at a certain distance, and it's the usable intensity that you can see with your eyes.
Here we have the Philips HIR2 55 watt 9012 halogen headlight bulb (shown below). This bulb only comes in at 430 maximum lux, and there's a noticeable decrease in light output versus the regular 9,005 we just tested.
Here we have the 65-watt Philips X-treme Vision HB3, and it comes in at 350 maximum lux. The packaging claims that we can get up to 100% more brightness out of this headlight bulb, but I think it's more of a color gimmick than anything.
This halogen bulb is the big dog. This is the Philips Rally Vision 100 watt HB3 9,005 bulb (below), part number 12359 RAC1; this is not a DLT approved headlight bulb, and it comes in at 690 maximum lux.
Finally, a halogen bulb that does better than the original halogen bulb.
Now here's the Aurora LED headlight bulb. I didn't think this one was going to be very good because I've tested it before. Still, I think this is what the guys argue about when they say LED bulbs are worse than halogen because they probably bought something like this without ever researching or testing.
This bulb has a crappy beam pattern and only comes in 250 maximum lux even after adjusting the bulb position to get the brightest beam pattern.
Now we have the GTR Lighting Ultra 2 LED headlight bulb coming in at 745 maximum lux. We're proving a point that yes, some LED headlight bulbs don't work as well as the high-power halogen bulbs, but some do.
To elaborate on this point, let's change headlight housings.
This time we're going to do the high beam on a reflector-based Ford F-150 halogen headlight.
Remember, this one is the brightest option from the previous test. This Philips Rally Vision 100 watt halogen bulb comes in at a staggering 980 maximum lux, and the GTR Lighting Ultra 2 LED comes in at 1,980 max lux.
This comparison proves again that in a projector, a low-beam or a reflector high-beam LED can work.
So the question is our 100-watt halogen headlight bulbs brighter than LED headlight bulbs? The answer is no if you get the right ones. When testing in a projector low-beam and a reflector high-beam, the results pretty much speak for themselves.
I hope you learned something. If you want to learn even more about automotive lighting technology, check out our other videos where we talked about brightness, comparisons, fitment, and installation.