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Different Types of Car Headlights [Name & Pictures] Explained

In this article, you’ll learn what are different types of car headlights, when, and how to use them. all explained with names and pictures.

What are Car Headlights?

Car lighting has come a long way. Since the automobile is advanced, so is the car lighting system. In the early 1880s, they used acetylene lamps because of the flexibility of the air flame.

In the current 21st century, vehicles travel much faster than in 1900, and our downgrade visibility needs to be developed.

There are many options available these days when it comes to headlights. So drivers often pick headlights based on the added aesthetic to their vehicles.

Apart from looking good, there is not really a clear argument as to why you should choose one type over the other. Let’s look at how these different styles of headlights work and each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Read also: Clutch: 9 Different Types of Clutches and How They Work

Types of Car Headlights

The following brief and simple information will assist you in selecting the appropriate headlight for your car:

Car Headlights

Types – Based on Headlight Assembly

#1 Reflector Headlights

These are traditional circular or rectangular-style automotive headlights that use a reflective surface behind the lightbulb to direct light.

They produce a dispersed light pattern, which is suitable for most driving requirements. Reflectors are easy to install and reasonably priced, but they can glare at nearby cars.

#2 Project Headlights

The most recent type of headlights are projector headlights, which adjust the beam pattern with lenses and cutoffs. Wherever you need it, this produces brighter, more concentrated light.

Projectors improve visibility by reducing glare. They are more expensive than standard reflectors.

#3 H4 Conversions

The standard H4 halogen headlights that many cars have come from the factory. You can replace the low-beam projector or reflector assemblies with H4 conversion kits.

This will allow you to keep using the high-beam halogen bulb that comes with the car and have excellent low-beam lighting.

Types – Based on Bulb Types

Halogen Headlights

Halogen lights include a single bulb with one or two filaments. It can be used for bright and dim headlights; however, the bulb is not vacuum-filled but contains pressurized gas.

Tungsten bulb filaments are used, and the glass envelope is pressured with a mixture of inert gas and a small quantity of a halogen gas that reacts chemically—typically iodine or bromine. This enables the halogen lights to burn brighter and longer without darkening the inside of the bulb.

Halogen bulbs are used in nearly all modern headlights. Some sealed beam replacements for older automobiles with glass also include halogen capsules instead of the original type of filament.

If one of those older sealed beam units gets broken by a rock, the vacuum within the sealed beam lamp is lost, and the old-style filaments oxidize and burn out practically instantly.


  1. Halogen lamps are low-cost to manufacture.
  2. For the majority of cars, these can be easily replaced. Some automobiles may require the removal of engine compartment elements or the splash shield.


  1. Conventional halogen headlights burn with a color temperature of about 3,000 Kelvin, which leans slightly toward yellow.
  2. While some manufacturers produce 3,400 to 4200 Kelvin Halogen lights, most places do not allow these for use on public roads.


LED (light-emitting diode) headlight bulbs release light in the form of photons, which are particles of light when electrons are fired toward positively charged holes in a semiconductor. This process is known as electroluminescence.

Nowadays, dashboard lights and screen consoles are commonplace using the same electronics. LED lights have also found application in strong flashlights, appliance indication lights, and an increasing variety of interior and exterior car lamps, tail lamps, and house lighting fixtures. In simpler terms, LED lights are widely utilized these days.


  1. LED lights are essentially tiny semiconductors that are designed to fit into small places.
  2. It gives producers more creative freedom when designing other assembly parts, including turn signal lights, and enables them to create sleeker headlight designs.
  3. LEDs can produce light in any color of the rainbow.
  4. They can emit a white, brilliant light that can see up to a mile before you without blinding oncoming cars.
  5. Regarding color scale, LED lights typically fall between 4,000 and 6,000 Kelvin.
  6. They have a fast on/off switch and are energy-efficient.


  1. Typically, LED headlights are more expensive than halogen lights.
  2. Their assembly’s structure differs slightly since the lights’ heat sink needs to be integrated to keep the base-emitter from overheating.

Xenon or HID Lights

In some ways, HID headlights and compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are similar. Xenon headlights don’t require a filament. It functions by generating a high-voltage region between two electrodes.

These types of car headlights require time to heat up, so it takes them a little while to achieve their full brightness. They release a bluish-white light when they are at their brightest. The Xenon headlights are used together with another kind of headlight, which is employed as a high beam because they take a while to warm up.


  1. The bluish-white (4,000–6,000 Kelvin) light that HID headlights emit usually has a longer illuminating range.


  1. Headlights that use xenon or HID technology take a few seconds to attain their full brightness.
  2. They may blind oncoming drivers due to their excessive brightness.
  3. The opposing driver’s ability to see in the dark may also be hampered by the bluish-white glare.
  4. They shine so intensely that you might not be able to see anything beyond of the headlights’ illuminating range. This may make parking, changing lanes, and crossing intersections more difficult.


The most innovative headlight technology currently on the market is laser lighting. For this reason, not only are they the greatest in their class but also the priciest. Laser lights use lasers to ignite a gas. The gas burns incredibly bright as a result.

The main benefit of laser lights is that they have a far better headlight throw than any other kind of headlight. These are mainly found on expensive, high-end luxury vehicles, or they are an option, although they are also much more expensive. The road ahead can be illuminated for roughly 600 meters by laser lights.


  1. In comparison to LED bulbs, laser headlights are more efficient.
  2. They use half the energy that LEDs do while producing 1,000 times as much light.
  3. Additionally, they are 10 times smaller than the latter, enabling manufacturers to create an assembly that is shallower.
  4. They are also quickly turned on and off, have good flexibility, and have a wide range.


  1. Compared to LEDs, they can generate more light, but they also produce more heat.
  2. They must be used together with standard halogen, LED, or HID headlights because they are only currently available for usage in high beams.
  3. Although these have been used in some BMW and Audi vehicles, their usage in the United States has just lately been authorized.
  4. These lights are quite pricey and might cost you thousands of dollars when compared to other lighting kinds.

Types – Based on the Number of Bulbs

#1 Quad Headlights

The low and high beams on each side of a quad headlamp are powered by different bulbs. You can then maximize every beam pattern. Although they are more expensive and complicated, quad headlights provide the finest lighting.

#2 Non-Quad Headlights

For both low and high beams, almost all standard headlights employ a single common bulb. Although this simple structure is less expensive, low and high beams are coupled and cannot be optimized independently.

That’s it, thanks for reading. If you have any questions about types of car headlights you can ask in the comments.

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About Saif M

Saif M. is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. He completed his engineering studies in 2014 and is currently working in a large firm as Mechanical Engineer. He is also an author and editor at www.theengineerspost.com

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