Difference Between HID and Halogen Lights

A simple upgrade that can increase safety and looks of a vehicle are projector head lights and in turn HID lights.  The difference between HID lights and Halogen lights is the way they burn, to light up.  An HID light will make an arc between two electrodes, while a Halogen light will heat up filament within a gas filled glass.  In most cases HID lighting is more efficient, brighter, and thus safer to use on vehicles to see better in the dark.

Projector Headlights

When buying projector headlights do not assume that you are getting HID lights.  Often times cheap projector head lights are made to use halogen bulbs, instead of the brighter, more intense HID.  The bulbs are generally not interchangable and require an actual kit to get HID lighting out of a traditional halogen bulb setup.  If HID bulbs are used, then melting of the lens and housing is possible.

Before buying projector headlights, for the HID upgrade, make sure that HID bulbs will work in the new headlights you are buying.

High End Vehicle Use

Generally just because headlights on a vehicle are bright, does not mean that they are HID.  High end vehicle manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche, and Lexus are the only vehicles that have stock HID lighting.  Any other mas produced mid range vehicle will require a HID kit to replace the halogen stock head lamp assembly.


This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.  There are greater details of differences that can be found on HID and Halogen lighting via Wikipedia.

Next What’s The Difference Article: Automatic Vs. Manual Performance

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8 thoughts on “Difference Between HID and Halogen Lights

  1. Pingback: Difference Between Automatic and Manual Performance | The Grayline

  2. Christopher

    Actually I’ve purchased my HID lights from ebay in the past, there are a lot of good deals on there. Just make sure you are purchasing from a reputable company experienced in selling HID. Obviously, per the article, there are differences and some require different housings.

  3. arte gurl

    actually the notion that porsce and lexus are both hi end cars is a whale big IGNORAMUS.

    Any lexus owner in the world, like me, would admit that lexus is no other than a a pure crap cheaply manufactured overpriced toyota. If you go japan and wanted to have a higly reliable quality car- the only option is acura-honda.

    My crappy overprice porsche always broke down so I got the best german car – Audi.

    Now I own acura and audi. no regrets.

  4. Christopher

    arte gurl, let’s not forget about perspective. When I was riding a bike around, a motorized anything was luxury. From there the idea that I could have power windows and locks made that next car a luxury vehicle.

    So, now, driving my tired old 04 F150 around, a Lexus is considered luxury. This doesn’t take away from what Audi and Acura has to offer, they are luxury too.

  5. HID Ballast

    HID ballast starts the lamp and let the electricity to flow constantly through the bulb to keep the light on. In simply speaking it controls the electrical current running through the glass bulb. It has been divided into three categories that are used with high intensity discharge lights. These are magnetic ballasts, electronic ballasts, and digital ballasts.

  6. Pingback: 2011 Nissan GT-R

  7. P

    Contrary to one persons belief here..Lexus cars are not cheap overpriced Toyotas. Toyota makes a very good car, hence a good Lexus..I love my 2001 ES300..she’s a great ride!


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