Halogen and xenon bulbs are the two most popular types of headlight bulbs on the market. Halogen bulbs have been around for a very long time – long before xenon bulbs become popular.
Both halogen bulbs and xenon bulbs are popular because they produce brighter, whiter lights than stock headlight bulbs. But between xenon vs halogen bulbs, which one is better, and which one lasts longer?
Well, halogen bulbs typically have a short lifespan – rated with a maximum of 2,000 hours, while xenon bulbs can last up to 3,000h. Well, there are many other things to consider while comparing xenon bulbs and halogen bulbs.
Xenon headlight bulbs are “bulbs” made using “xenon” gas; the gas passes an electric current between the two electrodes in the bulb structure to generate intense whitish-blue or just white light. Basically, xenon bulbs shine brighter than LED bulbs and halogen bulbs.
In most cases, xenon bulbs are referred to as High-Intensity Discharge (or HID) lights, and you’d find them as the standard headlight bulb in some higher-spec cars or higher trim levels of some common vehicles.
Recently, a lot of drivers have picked up interest in xenon bulbs because they light up the road much better than any other bulbs.
Even if your car doesn’t come with this bulb as standard, you can get a compatible HID upgrade kit for your vehicle and install xenon bulbs for clearer night driving.
Also, xenon bulbs typically last longer than halogen bulbs, but they do not last as long as LED bulbs.
These types of bulbs (halogen bulbs) are incandescent lights, having a tungsten filament inside, and the electrical current is transmitted using “halogen” gas. They produce white-yellowish lights; some halogen bulbs produce pure yellowish light or pure whitish light.
Due to the presence of a filament inside the bulbs, halogen lights typically do not exceed a 2000h lifespan. Well, they are the easiest to replace, and they are mostly available at a more affordable price than xenon bulbs; hence, a lot of people still choose halogen bulbs.
Xenon Vs Halogen Bulbs: The Comparison
Basically, the center of argument between the various types of headlight bulbs is the brightness level and lifespan.
However, there are other factors to consider, such as compatibility, installation easiness, price, and availability. We’d compare xenon bulbs and halogen bulbs based on these factors.
1. Brightness Level & Color Temperature
Some halogen bulbs have up to 5000k color temperature rating, producing whitish-yellowish light, which is pretty cool and impressive. Such halogen bulbs shine farther and let you clearly when driving at night or in low-light areas.
On the other hand, xenon bulbs produce much more clarity than standard halogen bulbs. Xenon bulbs can have up to 5000k color temperature rating, producing whitish-bluish lights similar to natural daylight.
This is the major deciding factor for most people. Halogen bulbs have a shorter lifespan than xenon bulbs.
This happens because road vibrations and constant temperature changes can greatly affect the filament used in halogen bulbs and cause it (the filament) to “blow” or die off quite sooner. The rated lifespan of halogen bulbs is 350h – 2000h maximum.
Xenon bulbs do not have any filament installed inside, so they last longer. However, this does not mean that they last for “all that long.”
The rated lifespan of xenon bulbs is 1,000h to 3,000h maximum. So to say, if a halogen bulb can last up to 6 months in your car, under the same driving conditions, a xenon bulb can last up to 8 or 10 months in the same car.
Halogen bulbs are the easiest-to-install headlight bulbs; the installation procedure is simply straightforward without requiring any additional kit.
On the other hand, to install xenon bulbs, you may need to get a ballast and/or an HID upgrade kit.
4. Compatibility and Conversion
Halogen bulbs have been the standard bulbs used by most automotive brands. But, recently, xenon bulbs are being used – although xenon bulbs are mostly installed in higher trims or higher-specced cars. Well, you can’t easily, if not impossible, replace halogen bulbs with xenon bulbs.
This implies to say that, if you’ve got halogen headlights on your car, chances are that you may or may not be able to replace the halogen bulbs with xenon options.
To replace halogen bulbs with xenon bulbs, an HID conversion upgrade is required, and most times, this conversion doesn’t work for some cars.
5. The Price Factor
In the market, halogen bulbs are the cheapest you can buy, and you won’t need to purchase any additional kit.
But to get xenon bulbs, you may need to buy them along with an upgrade kit for your vehicle. (Note: headlight bulbs are vehicle-specific, and the same applies to HID upgrade kits).
Xenon bulbs produce “high intensity” light beams that could dazzle oncoming drivers; hence, while installing xenon bulbs, you need to install an automatic beam leveling control and light module washer systems.
But this is not the same with halogen bulbs, which produce warmer light that still lets you see farther.
This xenon vs halogen bulb comparison explains the difference and compatibility between xenon bulbs and halogen bulbs.
Apparently, both bulbs are not interchangeable; xenon bulbs last longer and give you more brighter lights than halogen bulbs, but halogen bulbs are less expensive and easy to install.