When selecting the best headlights, we always look for the brightest possible that do not create trouble for others. Until recently, all vehicles came with just one type of housing. Now there are two - projector and reflector. Reflector type housings are the ones we see on cars made in the early 2000s and before. The projector type housings are more recent, but not every new car has these. We shall examine the differences in between the two and find out which of the two is better.
A reflector type consists of a bulb encased in a steel bowl. Mirrors line the inner surface of the bowl to reflect light out. Earlier, the shape of the light beam was determined by the lens in the front of the headlamp. In this type, also known as a sealed-beam, the casing cannot be removed to replace a burnt-out bulb. In the 1980s evolved reflector housings that used mirrors inside the housing itself to guide the beams. With this there was no longer the necessity for the lens and the housing to be sealed. The bulbs could be easily removed or replaced especially when upgrading to LED bulbs without having to replace the entire assembly.
A number of new vehicles still continue to come with reflector lights. That’s because there still remain a few advantages to this type that makes them survive even today.
- They are cheaper to make, making them a preferred choice for many manufacturers.
- These conventional light assemblies are a lot smaller. Projector type assemblies go deeper, taking up more space within the vehicle body
Projector LED lights are a much later invention in Auto lighting. Although first used in the 1980s in some luxury vehicles, the projector type assemblies have now become popular on all types of vehicles. The projector type are similar to reflector type headlamps. They too contain a bulb in a steel bowl with mirrors to act as reflectors. The difference here is that there’s a lens that acts as a magnifying glass, increasing the brightness of the light beam. To ensure that the light produced by these types of LED headlights is angled properly, there is also a cutoff shield. This helps to direct the light down towards the road. It’s this shield that give projector lights a very sharp cutoff. The growing in popularity is for good reason. The advantages are many.
- They are significantly brighter than the reflector type.
- They are less likely to blind oncoming drivers because they are directed downwards towards the road and do not shine in the eyes of oncoming drivers.
- They give off light that is more even. Light from the reflector type can have darker spots.
- Xenon HID bulbs can only be used with projector assemblies. HID bulbs are too bright when used in reflector type assemblies, making the light they emit harsh and blinding to oncoming drivers.
The projector type headlamps are certainly brighter than the reflector type. They also are less likely to blind oncoming drivers. Although not concerning LED light bulbs, it’s worth a mention is that projector type assemblies allow drivers to use xenon HID bulbs instead of halogen bulbs. Considering all of these parameters, it's evident that projector type headlamps are better than the reflector type.