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HID vs HPS vs Metal Halide Headlights: What’s the Difference

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There are different lights for different situations. Some are better suited for what you need than others. Depending on what you are looking for you may either want metal halide lamps, high pressure sodium bulbs, or halogen light bulbs.

You need to consider a few factors like the life of the bulb, the brightness, or even the health effects of the type of light you choose. Voltron Design Center went over the three main types of headlights but we wanted to elaborate on the differences between three types of light bulbs. This will enable you to make an informed decision on which will be best for you.

What is HID?

HID stands for high intensity discharge. Metal halide lamps and high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs fall into this category. Let’s start by comparing these two HID lights to the halogen light bulbs. First off, HID lights last longer than Halogen. Metal halide lamps last about 15,000 hours, and HPS bulbs can last up to 24,000 hours.

Compared to halogen light bulbs that last about 6,000 hours, it is a significant difference. To give you a rough idea of how long that is, halogen light bulbs are what are used for headlights in cars. You can see how that could be a fine lifetime depending on the purpose of the bulb.

Health Risks

Halogen is completely safe. The HID lights, however, contain levels of mercury that could be a concern. Metal halide lamps contain 38mg and the high pressure sodium bulbs contain 15mg. These are not exceptionally high levels, but if you are going to have these lights fairly close to people, there is a possibility of negative health risks.

Brightness

The HID lights are definitely the brighter lights. They produce approximately 58 lumens per watt. The halogen light bulbs produce around 20 lumens per watt.

HPS bulbs seem to be the brightest option of the three, and they also last longer than the others as well. This means there are a lot less thrown away. The impact of this is not as significant due to the fact that they are rarely recycled because they contain mercury.

Metal halide lamps have been reported to give off more sky glow than the other options as well. Choosing which light you will use is dependent on your needs. Now that you know the differences, you can make a more informed decision on which one you will use for various situations.

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