Something we get asked a lot is, what are the best type of 4×4 driving lights. We’d like to say there is a clear winner but it all depends on exactly what you want and your budget. There are three competing types of lights to choose from. These are Light Emitting Diode (LED), High-Intensity Discharge (HID), and Quartz Halogen (QH). To help you make your decision we’re going to quickly run through the pros and cons of each.
These driving lights often get a bad rap. That’s not because they don’t perform. It’s because the continuing misconception that LED lights aren’t bright. This isn’t without reason; earlier models have little to live up to compared to today’s available options. Today’s models are far superior and are an excellent light option provided across the vertical and horizontal plane. Although they are the priciest up-front cost, they have the longest life expectancy. They use the least energy and unlike with an HID and QH, you won’t be able to feel any heat generation
HID Driving Lights, sometimes called Xenon headlights, is a great driving light that on its release quickly outshone the more traditional Halogen lights. This was also reflected in the slightly heftier price tag. The downside is that they can take a short while to warm up to full intensity. In newer models, this warm-up time is minimal. The upside is that they have roughly double the lifespan (2000 hours, rather than 1000) of a QH and also use a lot less power (nearer 35 watts rather than 55watts), making them efficient alternatives. They emit a cool white glow rather than the yellow from QH.
These classic driving lights continue to be the cheapest lights, but still, pack a punch in lighting. They omit a more yellow light. QH is the staple of the vehicle lighting industry and the original light choice for all vehicles. Although the working life is less than its two counterparts, halogen driving lights continue to be a popular choice. They are the least efficient of all the lights, emitting a great deal of energy in the form of heat as well as light. QH lose their appeal in an ever-conscious society of resourcefulness. They don’t have the lifespan of the other two options. Yet their cheap and do the job, so it all depends on where your priorities lie.
One To Watch
Laser technology lighting (not beam me up Scotty), are laser diodes that beam blue light into a single white “point source” is the new kid on the block. Laser lights can project a huge span and up to ten times the luminescence of LED lights They have already been fitted into new lines of BMW and Audi’s. As it stands, they have limited capacity on the road as legislation means they are too bright for average roads. At this point in time, they’re expensive and its unclear as to whether this technology could be developed for use as 4×4 driving lights. We’ll be keeping watch.
So, it’s all down to you and your personal preference. There is no right or wrong answer here. There are many pros and cons for each. If you have the budget, we would say go for a mix of HID and LED drive lights. In saying that we don’t discredit halogen lights, although they are cheaper, continue to provide great functionality.