Sales Figures Show LED Car Headlights Outselling HID Headlights

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MotorFiend has seen a shift in consumer choice with sales from the first quarter of 2015 showing a preference amongst car enthusiasts for LED car headlights compared to the previous market leading HID headlights.

For the first time in six years of selling HID Xenon lighting we've seen a new product lead the market

The newest aftermarket LED car headlights technology, which utilizes American made CREE LEDs is proving very popular amongst car enthusiasts in 2015. According to, an online retailer selling both HID headlights and LED headlights the new LED product, which features a whopping 3,200 lumens of light output [per bulb] is outselling HID headlights kits at a rate of six to five.

Much controversy has surrounded aftermarket HID headlights since their introduction to the market in 2004. Though HID Xenon offers an increased brightness of up to 300% compared to factory fitted halogen, the glare produced when installed into reflector headlight housings that have been designed for halogen bulbs can cause blinding of oncoming drivers; particularly when the headlights are not properly aimed.

The new LED headlight technology produces less glare due to a warmer light output that's easier on the eyes. The bulbs utilize a patented silicon-carbide platform LED that are made by CREE incorporated. The LEDs are mounted into a space aluminum housing which are manufactured in both single beam and dual beam bulb types.

The single beam bulbs utilize just one CREE chip LED and produce 3,200 lumens of light per bulb. The dual beam use two reverse mounted LEDs on a single stem. The low beam function produces 2,600 lumens of light and the high beam 3,200 lumens, with both LEDs illuminated. Currently only a single color temperature of 6,500 Kelvin is available in both bulb types.

As with all light-emitting diodes, the CREE LEDs emit excessive heat while operating, so the bulb has a cooling fan built into the rear of the housing, allowing maximum air flow and heat dispersion. Power consumption is still relatively low though at thirty watts for the single beam and forty watts for the dual beam. The CREE bulbs are able to operate on a voltage of either twelve or twenty four volts, allowing installation in a range of vehicles from motorcycles to passenger cars and heavy trucks.

The main advantage CREE LED headlights offer over HID lights and halogen is brightness. The CREE LEDs output 3,200 lumens compared with 3,000 from HID and just a mere 1,200 lumens from factory halogen bulbs. Much like HID bulbs the CREE bulbs require a ballast to power the bulb. The ballast (also known as a driver) is the size of a small cigarette pack and plugs direct into the vehicle’s factory wiring harness making the lighting upgrade quick and easy.

Conversion to CREE headlights doesn’t have to be permanent, as there’s no modification to your headlight housing or wiring harness required. Just remember to keep and store your factory halogen bulbs and should you choose to go back to halogen you can simply replace the bulbs again with the originals.

The one benefit HID Xenon has over CREE LED is the variety of color temperature. This factor along with a significantly cheaper price tag is expected to maintain steady sales and installations of HID kits, however further development of CREE LEDs over the next one to two years may see HID lights eventually phased out.

For more information on CREE LED headlight kits visit

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Luke Ward
since: 07/2009
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Motor Fiend
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