Car owners often scratch their heads in confusion between Projector vs. Reflector headlights. The choice of the best car headlights takes a heavy toll on car owners, and they might end up asking:
Projector vs. Reflector headlights: Which is better?
Even though they serve a similar purpose, there are some discrepancies between Projector and Reflector headlights.
In this article, I’ll discuss those differences between the two headlights and how it affects your driving experience.
Projector vs. Reflector: Head-to-head comparison chart
Let’s take a look at basic differences between Projector and Reflector headlights based on six significant features below:
Projector vs. Reflector differences: Detailed analysis
Here’s a detailed analysis of the differences between Projector and Reflector headlights.
Best bulb compatibility
Choosing the right bulb between LED and HID for projector headlights as well as reflector headlights is like picking the best pair of shoes that compliments your outfit.
No matter how advanced the housing is, the right choice of the bulb makes the greatest difference.
Hence, for each technology, different bulbs are recommended for better performance.
Here’s a rule of thumb; if your car has reflector headlights, LEDs are well-suited for you.
It’s not that HIDs don’t fit in reflector headlights. However, the installation would be super strenuous. Also, HID bulbs are bright enough for reflector housings, turning the fellow drivers blind and causing potential accidents.
Similarly, if your car is equipped with projector headlights, HIDs would be the best bulbs for projectors.
The HID and projector housing combo deliver excellent results because the projector lens is designed to intensify the HID technology.
The brightness of HID bulbs is around 3000 lumens, raising the visibility to a great extent.
As mentioned earlier, projector headlights feature advanced technology, while reflector headlights are old-style.
However, both types are incredible in performance as compared to their Halogen counterparts.
Reflector headlights, also called, electric headlights are used on standard vehicles. The early variant of reflector headlights used sealed beam technology.
Nevertheless, over time, reflector headlights have improved, advanced, and evolved with LED technology. The LED bulb tech emits ultra-high beams for better visibility and performance than the previously used sealed beam technology.
On the other hand, projector headlights feature advanced technology and came into existence in the 1980s with the advent of luxury vehicles.
What’s changed in projector headlights is the magnifying lens in the middle of the headlight that illuminates the light beam wider and farther.
Hence, reflector headlights use old technology while projector headlights evolved as newer technology. The projector headlights are structured with a cutoff shield that directs the clear and straight lights down on the street.
The major difference between the projector and reflector lies in their housing design.
The projector headlights are similar to reflectors because they have the same steel or aluminum housing.
The reflector headlights possess a well-defined structure with a bulb located in the middle of a chrome-coated bowl.
In reflectors, there is steel construction around the bulb that illuminates down the road. In addition to this, the reflector bowl houses the mirrors that reflect light straight onto the roads.
The projector headlights resemble reflectors. However, they feature a magnifying lens in the middle of the projector that strikes the light beam far and wide.
Furthermore, the projector headlights are deeper, more visually appealing, and occupy more space than reflectors.
The reflector and projector headlights use a simple design with two or three parts.
Projector headlights feature three main elements:
- Reflector bowl
The reflector bowl is an oval-shaped bowl that holds the bulb.
The purpose of a lens is to spread the already shaped beam of light equally.
- The light source or bulb
Projector headlights support one light bulb. Though it’s more compatible with HID, LEDs and old Halogen bulbs can also be used. However, the HID bulb delivers impeccable results.
In the projector, the reflector bowl resembles the flashlight, which is a reflective half-sphere.
Contrary to projector headlights, reflectors offer a more unique and easy design with only two elements: reflector bowl and light source.
The light source (bulb) is located in the middle of the reflector cup.
Unlike projectors, the reflector uses no magnifying lens but mirrors that reflect the light beam on the road.
As far as the light output is concerned, projector headlights emit brighter, more focused lights with fewer dark spots that add to the driver’s experience.
Also, projector headlights offer a distinct cutoff of low beams that keeps oncoming traffic from being blinded.
Comparatively, the LEDs in reflector headlights are less controlled and bright enough to blind the driver.
There is a significant difference in the cost of projector and reflector headlights.
Projector headlights are visually appealing with distinct cut off of low beams that emit brighter and crisper light than reflector headlights.
Therefore, projector headlights are more expensive than reflectors.
Projector vs. Reflector: Which headlights to go for?
The answer to, which one to pick, is subjective.
As a driver, it’s you who would eventually decide your preferences.
Therefore, ask yourself whether you like the brightest headlights or dimmer headlights and act accordingly.
Also, I’d recommend checking the owner’s manual to get something compatible with your headlight housings.
However, the two headlights serve the same purpose; projector headlights are effective and more reliable than reflectors. They’re known for their outstanding brightness and incredible convenience for oncoming drivers, reflecting light to every nook and corner of the road.
Hence, in this scenario, projector headlights are a clear winner as compared to reflectors.
Projector and reflector headlights are gaining popularity these days. Both of the housings offer different perks, serving the same purpose.
However, a projector headlight is an optimal choice for your car, performance-wise.
Additionally, if your car is equipped with projector housing, it’s advisable to upgrade it to HID bulbs for better visibility and splendid performance.