Reflector vs Projector Headlights: Which is Best for Your Car?

Until recently, all vehicles contained the same style of headlight housing. Today, there are two types of headlights: projector and reflector. Reflector headlights are the old style found on cars made in the early 2000s or before. Projector headlights are newer, but not every new car has them.

In this article, we’ll examine the differences between these two types of headlights and discuss which is better.

Reflector Headlights

In older reflector headlights, the shape of the light beam was determined by the lens in the front of the headlight. With this type, known as a sealed-beam headlight, the casing cannot be removed to replace a burned-out bulb.

Reflector headlights have been standard on vehicles since the invention of electric headlights. Mirrors are placed within the bowl to reflect light onto the road. A reflector headlight consists of a bulb encased in a steel bowl.

In the 1980s, improvements in technology led to reflector headlights that used mirrors inside the headlight housing itself to guide the beams. This meant it was no longer necessary for the lens and the headlight housing to be sealed, and bulbs could be easily removed or replaced.

Many new vehicles continue to be made with reflector headlights. There are a few advantages to this style that make them popular even today:

  • Smaller Size: Reflector headlights are smaller and take up less space within the vehicle.
  • Cost-Effective: They are cheaper to manufacture, making them a budget-friendly option for manufacturers.

Projector Headlights

Projector headlights are a newer invention in the world of headlight technology. They were first used on a large scale in the 1980s in some luxury vehicles. Since then, projector headlights have become popular on all types of vehicles.

Projector headlights are similar to reflector headlights. They contain a bulb in a steel bowl with mirrors to act as reflectors. However, a projector headlight also has a lens that acts as a magnifying glass, increasing the brightness of the light beam.

To ensure that the light produced by these types of headlights is angled properly, there is also a cutoff shield. This helps to direct the light down towards the road. Thanks to the shield, projector headlights have a very sharp cutoff.

Projector headlights are growing in popularity for several reasons:

  • Brighter Light: Projector headlights are significantly brighter than reflector headlights.
  • Reduced Glare: They are less likely to blind other drivers because the light is directed downwards.
  • Even Light Distribution: Projector headlights give off a more even light, avoiding dark spots.
  • Compatibility with HID Bulbs: Xenon HID bulbs can only be used with projector headlights as they are too bright for reflector headlights.

Which is Best?

When searching for the best headlights, most drivers want the brightest headlights possible without creating problems for other drivers. Projector headlights are brighter than reflector headlights, and they are less likely to blind oncoming traffic.

It’s also worth mentioning that projector headlights allow drivers to use xenon HID bulbs instead of the older halogen bulbs. Considering all of this, it’s clear that projector headlights are better than reflector headlights.



Keywords: Reflector headlights, Projector headlights, Reflector vs. projector headlights, Best headlights for cars, Headlight comparison, Headlight types, Reflector vs. projector headlights benefits, Projector headlights advantages, Reflector headlights advantages, Car headlight guide