What are LED headlights?

We explain the ins and outs of LED headlights and whether you should specify them on your next car

FOR: Provides excellent visibility, long-lastingAGAINST: Often an additional cost when new, expensive to replace

LED headlights are quickly becoming the benchmark for headlight technology. While the majority of new cars come with LED daytime running lights, even full LED headlights are now beginning to trickle down into mainstream models such as the Ford Fiesta.

Despite being relatively new technology, LEDs are incredibly simple. Each unit consists of a semiconductor which illuminates when an electrical current passes through. This creates a light much brighter than a traditional halogen bulb - enabling greater visibility on the road. Plus, thanks to their simplicity, there is very little to go wrong on an LED, resulting in a relatively long lifespan.

LED headlights are good for your carbon footprint too; this is because LEDs consume very little energy compared to the equivalent halogen or even xenon bulb. Most manufacturers now fit their cars with LED headlamps for this reason – especially in electric cars where each tiny bit of power consumption is crucial.

We recommend opting for LED headlights if that option is available when ordering your next car as their additional cost over halogens is often outweighed by their safety benefits. Do be careful not to confuse LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and full LED headlights; LED Daytime Running Lights are a completely different type of light and do not contain your dipped and high beams.

There is one caveat; while LEDs are, in principle, very simple, most LED headlight units are not. LED headlights incorporate an array of individual LEDs which makes replacing them at the end of their life difficult and expensive. Whereas a single halogen bulb will cost you less than £10, a new LED headlamp can set you back over £1,000.

Want a car with all the latest safety features? Check out our list of the safest cars that you can buy

Car technology made simple

Recommended

What is Android Auto? Google Maps, apps and UK user guide
Android Auto
Tips and advice
20 May 2022

What is Android Auto? Google Maps, apps and UK user guide

What is ESP on a car?
What is ESP?
Car ownership
5 May 2022

What is ESP on a car?

What is a car ECU?
ecu
Car technology
13 Apr 2022

What is a car ECU?

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
10 Mar 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
19 May 2022

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Fiat 500 deals
Deals
20 May 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?
Mazda3s at Bristol port
Car buying
17 May 2022

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
3 Feb 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022