What are the Best LED headlights to drive at night? The most recommended headlights to drive at night are not always led or xenon. We explain to you the advantages and weaknesses of each of them so that you choose the one that suits you best.
Almost half of the 2,000 km a week I carry out by analyzing the test cars are at night and it strikes me that something as basic as the lighting is so neglected by the drivers, workshops and technical inspections. How is it possible that something as cheap and simple to have in order as is the headlight adjustment is not checked? The number of cars I cross (and even the test cars I’m analyzing) with poorly regulated lights is amazing.
The first thing we must be clear is that the best lighthouse and the most expensive one can imagine is useless if it does not illuminate the right area. Although headlights with led or xenon have automatic height correction systems, this system only varies the height of the headlight within a certain range. On the other hand, if the basic setting is already too high or low or left or right, the automatic corrector will not prevent you from just looking in front of the bumper or blinding the ones that go in the opposite direction.
Another factor that totally destroys the lighting of our headlights is the dirt and degradation of the “glass” (at present almost all are of plastic material, usually polycarbonate).
You already have the first two tips:
- Check headlight adjustment accurately. It takes no more than half an hour of labor and the change is spectacular.
- If your headlights are yellow or scratched, take them to polish and clean, nor does it usually cost more than 15 or 20 euros per headlight.
Best xenon headlights or led?
Now that we have already made it clear that the worst light in the market can illuminate better than the most expensive, simply with a good set-up and cleaning, we will see what advantages have the two systems that are currently proliferating.
First of all, we must clarify that a very white light is not the same as the amount of light. The color of the light is measured in degrees Kelvin. The whiter light is between 4,000 and 5,000 ºK. Above that range, the tonality turns blue and violet, while underneath it is more yellowish. It is not true that the greater the “temperature of light”, the better it is. The best light is in that range between four and five thousand degrees.
What measures how much light produces a headlamp is another magnitude that is measured in lumens or candles. Here the higher the number, the more light and better it is, but the regulation limits the maximum amount of light and, above 2,400 lumens, the automatic height adjustment system and headlight washers are mandatory.
In general, led lights have a paler or even bluish light than xenon, but less lumens. What’s more, some led headlamps give a whiter light, but actually illuminate less than others with conventional halogen lamps.
In my personal experience, only high-end, high-performance led lights are better than xenon and bi-xenon. In most cases, the headlights illuminate the road less brightly, although the light is whiter: the light track on the asphalt is smaller and the edges of the roadway and the shoulders are less visible. Another negative point for LEDs is that their white light produces more auto-glare in conditions such as fog, heavy rain or snow.
Above these headlights are the most modern with laser technology. They are certainly the best, but they are only available on long range headlights, not on dipped headlights, and for now only for very high-end vehicles.
Are Road Light Attendants Worth It?
There is a growing proliferation of so-called “road-assisting” systems. They are not as modern as we imagine, because Cadillac already mounted this system in some models of the sixties of last century with the bombastic name of “autrónico eye”.In those early systems, it was a photoelectric cell that, being illuminated by the headlights of another car, went from the long lights to the short ones automatically. It did not work very well, because it did not recognize the taillights of the car that could go ahead.
At present, the system has a camera located in the windshield that detects those lights and makes the passage of long to cross automatically. Their operation is just right and, although they are very comfortable, they fail quite in some conditions.
For example, trucks and buses traveling in the opposite direction will dazzle them, because their drivers sit much higher than their headlights and the camera does not detect them in time. Another weak point is the curves to the right. In them, our beam of light focuses more directly to the opposite lane, while those that come from the front illuminate more toward its shoulder than towards our lane. This makes the camera late in detecting them and switching to crossover, just when “fuller” we aim with our headlights.Personally I think it is a recommendable system but not essential and which still lacks enough progress to avoid dazzling the opposite traffic.
Did the best lead or directional matrix?
Since Citroen launched the second generation of the “Tiburón”, it was clear that the headlamps could turn with the steering was an important advantage, since the logical thing is to illuminate where we are going. Although this idea is more than 50 years old, it was not until about ten years ago when the steering headlights, which were more perfect and electronically managed, started to come back.
Basically there are three ways to illuminate the interior of the curves in the turns:
- Actually directional headlights: the parabola is mounted on a pivot that allows its rotation by means of an electric servo. The headlight rotates into the curve as a function of the speed and movement of the steering wheel.
- Additional directional headlights: either using the fog lamps or a reflector facing the inside of the curve, when turning the steering wheel (or when the turn signal is turned on), the light on that part of the headlamp is turned on.
- Headlights matrix led: each headlamp has several leds that illuminate a specific part of the road. Depending on the speed, rain sensor data and steering wheel, the system decide which LED to turn on to illuminate the road in one way or another, with a wide beam and elongated at high speed, short and wide if it rains, etc. .
Those that work more homogeneously are the first. The matrix led are only effective in very high-end cars where transitions from one type of light track to another are made very smoothly. In the more economical systems, these transitions are very noticeable and tire the eye more.
Best headlights for night driving
In view of the above, in general features the headlights that best result to drive at night are the directional bi-xenon within the models at a reasonable cost. Of course, the best are the led matrix with laser road light of the most exclusive models, but are only within reach of a minority.