What is the Difference Between HID and LED Headlights?

Updated: Jul 1

Aftermarket Car Lights for Your Vehicle in San Diego

Although you may know the Stereo Depot name from the many years we’ve been doing car audio here in San Diego and El Cajon, we’ve got more than a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to aftermarket car lights.

Chances are, you probably don’t think about your car headlights that often. Not unless one burns out, of course. You simply accept your headlights for what they are, no matter the quality of light they provide. However, there are an abundance of different types of aftermarket car lights available, with the two best and most popular being HID headlights and LED headlights. HID and LED headlights have different pros and cons, and if you are looking to upgrade your Jeep lighting or truck lighting, you should learn what the difference is between these sets of aftermarket car lights.

Stereo Depot, located conveniently in San Diego and El Cajon, specializes in installing new HID and LED headlights. The difference between these two aftermarket car lighting solutions is broken down below.


The greatest difference between HID and LED headlights is the relative brightness of the lights. HID headlights, which is short for high-intensity discharge lights, are incredibly bright and intense versions of a normal bulb. HID bulbs attempt to mimic the look of sunlight when illuminating the road. On the other hand, LED lights use a totally different method to create light. Although they work very well to produce light, they pale in comparison to HID bulbs because they’re not as bright and don’t offer as much coverage. When it comes to night driving, HID headlights win by leaps and bounds.


LED headlights are much smaller than HID headlights, which gives LED headlights much more versatility. LED lights can more easily fit into a variety of different makes or models of vehicles with little to no adjustments. If you are switching from a halogen bulb, you will need a conversion kit for whichever set of aftermarket car lights you decide to go with. However, even with a conversion kit, HID headlights don’t fit in as many vehicles.


LED headlights are far more durable and have a longer lifespan since they are shockproof and have no moving parts, which makes them very durable. Conversely, HID lights DO have moving parts, and filaments, and have the potential for the bulb to move, which makes them more susceptible to breaking. If you plan on upgrading your Jeep lighting or truck lighting for off-road excursions, you should keep this in mind. Hitting a bad bump or pothole can rattle your HID lights in a way they might not be able to recover from. Additionally, LED headlights have a lifespan of nearly 25,000 hours while HID headlights only tend to last around 5,000 hours. LED headlights definitely win when it comes to lifespan and durability, especially among those that drive their vehicles off-road.