Projector vs Reflector Headlights

Ru Chen
Jan 19, 2022 · 2 min read
Older cars all have reflector headlights. For a long time, they were the only option. Newer cars may come with the new, high-performance design: projector headlights. 
Have projector headlights succeeded in dethroning the tried and trusted reflector headlights? Let’s take a look at the advantages of each type of headlight, as well as what kind of car insurance could help you with headlight repairs. 
A car at night with its headlights on.
The type of headlights your car has can make a big difference.

New projector headlights 

Projector headlights have a special lens that magnifies glass, making the light beams brighter. 
They can provide more illumination of road surfaces, and at greater distances, compared to the traditional reflector headlights. 
According to Power Bulbs, projector headlights were first used in luxury vehicles back in the ‘80s.
The great thing about projector headlights is that they’re significantly brighter than reflector headlights. 
Despite this, projector headlights are far less likely to cause night blindness in other drivers. This combo makes them overall safer to use than reflector headlights.
Because they’re higher quality, that also means projector headlights have a more even light pattern, with fewer scattered dark spots. 
Projector headlights come in several different types of bulbs:
  • Halogen: As the first kind of projector headlights, these use older halogen bulb tech. They have a sharp cutoff between light and dark 
  • HID: AKA Xenon HID headlights. They last longer than halogen bulbs and are brighter. 
  • LED: Incredibly energy efficient and durable, LED headlights are superior to HID and halogen headlights in almost every way. 
  • Halo or Angel Eye projector headlights: They create a distinctive ring/halo of light. These don’t actually use projector technology, despite their name. 
For most drivers, LED bulbs might be the best choice of projector headlights. They can help you navigate safely without blinding other drivers at night.

Old reflector headlights

These headlights are typically cheaper than projector headlights in both purchase and repair costs
Lifewire notes that the affordability of reflector headlights is their only real advantage.  
Reflector headlights are dimmer, can cause more blindness in oncoming traffic, have a shorter lifespan, and emit uneven spots of light. 
So in the end, if you’re buying a newer vehicle, it’s almost always better to go with projector headlights
If you’re trying to retrofit an older vehicle with projector headlights, be very cautious! 
It can be extremely dangerous to improperly install projector light bulbs into reflector headlight housings. It can blind other drivers due to incompatibility.

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