Best Lighting For Heavy-Duty Trucks
Lighting equipment on vehicles is used by drivers daily; and as the days get shorter during the cooler months of the year, the need for highly visible lighting becomes increasingly more important. Truck drivers will find several different types of lighting when shopping for quality OEM headlights for their large trucks; but the most common types are halogen and LED. This leads to the debate that we are going to settle once and for all: Which is better for fleet vehicles: LED or halogen headlights? Keep reading to compare these common headlights.
The first U.S. halogen headlamps were introduced in 1983 and have since gained popularity among vehicle operators as they resemble similar qualities of standard incandescent bulbs. From a manufacturing standpoint, halogen lights are easy and cheap to make; and from a consumer standpoint, they are affordable to purchase and simple to install on all types of trucks.
When it comes to glow, 12.8V halogen lights share the same yellow-white tint of traditional lights making it less of an eyesore for other drivers on the road. This may be due to tungsten-halogen technology (also known as “quartz-halogen”) which operates at a higher filament temperature and therefore, outputting more lumens per watt. As opposed to European designs, the U.S. design minimizes power consumption while keeping light output at legal compliance limits. This type of headlight lasts approximately 500 hours and is both DOT and SAE approved – a standard for on-road driving safety.
While less power and more energy efficiency is what we like to see in a light bulb, the downside of sealed halogen lights are that the beams only focus on what is in front and do not offer a wide side-to-side view as to say, LED lights. This can lead to accidents on the road where wildlife is abundant. Additionally, the headlights get foggy overtime due to weather exposure making the headlights dimmer and dimmer.
When it comes to brightness, LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lights are king; but they come with an expensive price tag asking the question: Is the juice worth the squeeze?
LED lights gained popularity during the first decade of the 21st Century and come with many advantages. Like halogen lights, LEDs are cheap and easy to make for manufactures leading to more consumer acquisitions. They offer a modern look for vehicles - thanks to blue-white optics – and a wider, clearer scope of the landscape when driving (a noticeable contrast from halogen lights) making it safer for drivers to see signage; wild animals; and road instabilities at nighttime. Even better, LED lights last over 10 times longer than halogen lights; produce less heat; consume 85 percent less electricity and are DOT and SAE approved. This means consumers will save money over time buying LED headlights, that is, if they don’t mind the larger upfront costs.
While being able to see from all angles is what we want in a light, LED lights come with their disadvantages, too. We have already mentioned the cost factor of getting brighter lights; but there is also the brightness factor for other drivers. The vibrant light improves visibility for the driver; but it can be too intense for other drivers - distracting them when trucks are behind them. Lens and assembly pieces may wear out well before the LED headlamps.
Which Headlight Type Is the Better Buy?
At first glance, LEDs are much better than halogen lights; however, for customers looking for a balance between cost and product longevity, halogens are still a bright idea. The choice of lighting, ultimately, will depend on budget; updated standards for safety; and innovative trucking technology.