5 different types of car headlights: Explained

Headlights are a crucial part of any car. Without them, it would become very difficult to drive the car in nighttime and poorly lit conditions. They light up the road ahead and help the driver in seeing what is in front of him. The first type of headlamps used in cars were Carbide lamps. In the past years, headlamp technology has advanced significantly so some cars are even using lasers for their headlamps. Here, are 5 different types of headlamps that automobile manufacturers use the most.


5 different types of car headlights: Explained

Halogen headlamps are the most common type of headlamps that are used in our country. This is because they are fairly simple to use and are relatively cheap than other types of headlamps. It has a glass capsule filled with halogen gas and tungsten filament. When the driver turns on the headlamps, electricity passes through the tungsten filament which generates heat and the filament inside the bulb starts to glow. The halogen headlamps have a yellow light and they do waste a lot of energy as heat. Because of the argon or nitrogen gases, the life of the bulb increases as prevents the tungsten filament from deteriorating too quickly.

Xenon or HID

5 different types of car headlights: Explained

Then there are HIDs or Xenon headlamps. They are similar to the  CFL or Compact fluorescent lights that we used to use in our homes before LEDs took over. They don’t have filament inside them. Instead, the free space is filled with xenon gas. When high voltage is passed through two electrodes, the gas starts glowing. They are brighter than halogen but they do take some time in heating up and reach their peak brightness. Because of this reason, they are often not used in high beams. HIDs are usually combined with some other kind of headlamps and they have a bluish-white light.


5 different types of car headlights: Explained

More and more automobile manufacturers are adapting LED lighting for their cars. LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. They are simpler than other types of headlamps. They work by lowing electricity through light-emitting diodes. They are not dependent on heat and are also very energy efficient. They can also be moulded in different shapes. Because of this, you would see most of the Daytime Running Lamps use LED elements.

Matrix or Adaptive LEDs

5 different types of car headlights: Explained

Matrix or Adaptive LEDs consist of many individual LEDs that light up the road ahead. A camera is mounted in the front that continuously monitors the vehicles that are coming from the front. As soon as it spots a car coming from in front is spotted, the computer turns an individual LED off so the oncoming traffic is not dazzled. This means that the driver does not need to switch to low-beam as it is done automatically by the system.


5 different types of car headlights: Explained

Laser lights are the most expensive, complicated and advanced. Because of this they also cost a lot. These lights use lasers to make gas glow. Usually, laser lights are offered from the factory or as an optional extra. Laser lights can illuminate up to 600 metres of the road ahead.

Paarth Khatri

Paarth's passion for cars started by collecting newspaper clippings when he was just a toddler. He is obsessed with cars and technology and can talk about them all day. He has an undying love for cars with a manual transmission and is always ready to drive anything with 2 or 4 wheels. Being an audiophile his dream car is Lexus LFA, considering it is the best sounding car ever made. He would happily burn the last gallon of petrol for a lap in the Ariel Atom 500. (Full bio)