Motorcycles rely on their various lights to make driving at night possible and safer for both them and others. That’s why owners should put a lot of emphasis on getting the best lights for their bikes. A good lighting system can potentially save their life and make driving easier. The two most popular options for lighting are the standard halogens that come with most bikes and LED lights. Here’s a look at the differences between these two options.
To help you understand the differences between these two lighting options, you should first learn about their different designs. This will help you understand all the benefits and drawbacks and why they work the way they do.
Semiconductors vs. Filaments
The big difference between halogens and LED lights is how they produce light and convert electrical power. Halogens use a filament that glows brightly when electricity runs through them. LEDs, meanwhile, use a complex system of semiconductors and other electronics to create powerful photons to give off the light necessary to drive.
One thing to note from these differences is that halogens use a simple system to power the light. This means it just needs a good stream of power from the battery, while LEDs need to worry about electromagnetic interference. This is why you should only use LEDs that are electromagnetically compatible, so they don’t suffer from interference.
Difference for Users
While the design of the lights is important to your understanding, the fundamental difference you should worry about is how it affects you when you drive. This section will cover all the meaningful distinctions between halogen lights and LED lights for motorcycles. This way, you can determine which one is the best choice for your bike.
LEDs win out when it comes to efficiency and how much energy each light uses. While it depends on the exact model, LEDs don’t use as much energy as their halogen counterparts to produce just as much light as them. This is very important as it affects how much energy your lights use from your battery, leading to several other advantages for LEDs.
Outside of the sheer efficiency of LEDs compared to halogens, they generally use less energy in the final design. Depending on the model, halogens produce less light while requiring more power from the battery. LEDs save 50-75 percent on energy usage compared to most halogens, which has lasting impacts on your bike and your financials.
The extra energy drain from a halogen light means you place more stress on your battery. While a bike battery can handle a lot, they wear down over time, and the more energy they use, the faster they wear out. LEDs help increase your battery's lifespan by significantly lessening the strain on the battery.
Strain on Motorcycle
While it isn’t a huge impact, the extra strain the halogens place on the battery means the bike also faces more strain over time. The draw of power away from the battery can result in more damage to the bike over time and lead to a faster breakdown of parts. This is partially why LEDs are so popular, as they lessen the strain on your bike.
One of the main benefits of LEDs over halogens is how long they last. Because of the difference in design and higher efficiency, LEDs can last nearly 10 times longer than their halogen counterparts. This means they consume significantly less energy while potentially lasting thousands of hours longer than halogen lights.
How They Burn Out
Most people don’t realize that halogen and LEDs burn out differently. Halogens slowly dim as they reach the end of their lifetime, which can be very difficult to notice as it happens over an extended period. LEDs will quickly burn out, making it clear that you need to replace them at the first sign of trouble.
It’s not easy to say which one gives off a brighter light, as it depends on which LEDs and halogens you compare. But it’s fair to say that LEDs are brighter in most cases, which is excellent as you get much more visibility when driving at night. Making it far easier to see the road and for others to see you while driving.
There are many different color temperatures to choose from when you pick halogen lights. However, they generally don’t compare to the variety of options that come with LED lights, as they come in various bright and dark temperatures, perfect for controlling how much light you put out at night.
When you look at the upfront costs of LED lights and halogens, it’s clear which is the winner. Halogens are inexpensive, and you can easily find and get replacement bulbs at a cheap price. In comparison, LEDs are more expensive than halogens, and you may need to go to specific places that offer your exact lights. For example, 7-inch LED motorcycle headlights are popular options, but you’ll likely need to buy them online.
While the upfront costs favor halogens, especially if they come with the motorcycle, the long-term costs favor LEDs. Since they last significantly longer than halogens, you won’t need to replace them as often. You may need to purchase several sets of halogens during the same time it takes for your LEDs to burn out, costing you more money in the long run. Additionally, your maintenance costs may decrease with LEDs as you put less strain on your bike.
One thing to note is that every state and city has different laws regarding motorcycles and what you can and can’t do with them. For example, some places don’t allow you to install bright LED lights on your bike. This is very important to know if you’re looking to make the switch, as you may need to settle for different LEDs than the ones you’re initially looking at or just stick to halogens.
These are the main differences between halogen and LED lights for your motorcycle. Hopefully, this will help you decide which is best for you and what could benefit your bike. Do note that there’s no correct answer, as what you want is what matters most in this case, but LED lights come with many more benefits if you can legally use them in your city.