From CR headlight tests(2)

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Lots to read and I hope this is of some value to our members. Two articles from C&P from Consumer Reprts.org: Sylvania Silvestar halogen headlight bulbs Higher-priced lights shine more brightly but not farther Consumer Reports magazine: January 2013 A website touting the Sylvania SilverStar headlight bulb says it provides "up to 30 percent" greater visibility down the road. That sounds impressive until you read the fine print: "compared with worn standard halogen" bulbs. Still, such claims are making premium-priced halogen bulbs an alluring choice for drivers. To see how those premium bulbs stack up against one another, we put eight of them, costing $20 to $80, through a range of tests in our labs and at our test track. We tested the low-beam performance of single-filament (9003) and dual-filament (H7) bulbs from GE, Hella, Philips, and Sylvania, and PIAA's dual-filament bulb. We also compared their performance with that of two standard bulbs from GE and Helio, costing $20 and $10, respectively, and to the original-equipment (OE) bulbs that came in our 2012 Hyundai Accent and Volkswagen Passat test cars. We found that the premium bulbs, as a group, deliver a whiter light and up to 19 percent more output than the standard or OE bulbs, and that can be more pleasing for drivers. But none of the premium bulbs allowed us to see farther on our headlight test course than the standard or OE bulbs. That's because distance is determined more by the size and shape of the lamp's reflector or lens than by the bulb. We also found little difference in light output among the premium bulbs; no more than the differences normally experienced from power fluctuations while driving. ***** ***** Bottom line. Premium bulbs might be a good choice if you prefer a more intense or whiter light, but don't expect big changes in the distance you can see compared with standard or new OE bulbs. For the premium bulbs we tested, shop by price. The illumination of any bulb fades with time, so we suggest replacing your bulbs every few years, not waiting until one burns out. We don't advise mixing premium and standard bulbs. Output can also decrease if lamp lenses become hazy or dirty. Have them cleaned by a professional or do it yourself with a product such as the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit, which costs about $20. Check out our buying guide to headlight-restoration kits for more information. What we tested Headlights appear in alphabetical order (performance among bulbs was similar). Product Bulb type Price GE Nighthawk 9003/H7 $25 GE Nighthawk Platinum 9003/H7 40 Hella 9003/H7 35 Philips CrystalVision Ultra 9003/H7 25 Philips VisionPlus 9003/H7 20 PIAA Xtreme White Plus H7 80 Sylvania SilverStar 9003/H7 30 Sylvania SilverStar Ultra 9003/H7 40 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ AND: Are HID and LED Headlights Worth Buying? Brighter lights might not necessarily let you see farther down the road By Jen Stockburger November 03, 2017 You can't help but notice high-intensity discharge (HID/xenon) and light-emitting diode (LED) headlights—the light they produce is noticeably brighter and whiter than halogen headlights. These high-tech headlights have become a signature look of aftermarket upgrades, and they distinguish the styling on many new vehicles, in particular cars with LED headlights, which can be grouped in signature looks. Many models from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and others are equipped with these stylish headlights. But as appealing as these headlights can be to people whose car is equipped with them, they can be a discomfort to other drivers, who might flash their lights, mistakenly thinking that the other driver's high beams are on even when they're not. In its ongoing headlight tests, Consumer Reports has seen an increase in cars equipped with these technologies. But do these brighter, whiter HID/xenon and LED headlights help you see any better when you're driving? The answer: Not necessarily. MORE ON CAR TECHNOLOGY & SAFETY The Positive Impact of Advanced Safety Systems for Cars Cars With Advanced Safety Systems Winter Driving Survival Guide There is no clear-cut, standout technology winner among among HID, LED, and xenon headlights. While there are poor and very good performers in each variety, none produces greater forward-seeing distances than the others. Based on our testing, the differences depend on the car, not the headlight technology. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety agrees. "In IIHS testing, LEDs and HIDs typically perform better than halogens, and projector lenses do better than reflector designs," says Matt Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at IIHS. "Unfortunately, there are many exceptions, so consumers can't [choose] a specific headlight system and be guaranteed that they'll get good performance on the road." Shining a Light on CR Test Results The main criteria in Consumer Reports' headlight ratings is safety, meaning how well they allow a driver to see what's ahead. Testing takes place on dark, moonless nights at our track, where experienced staff assess how well they can see a series of flat, black signs arranged in specific locations on our track with both low and high beams. Low-beam visibility counts the most in our ratings, since people drive with low beams on most often. Aspects such as headlight brightness and a uniform pattern of light that make the headlight more pleasing also factor in to our ratings, but to a lesser extent. While HIDs and LEDs are typically brighter and often illuminate better to the sides of the road, the straight-ahead visibility differences vary in our tests. For example, the 2016 Buick Envision equipped with halogen lights earned a Good overall score for its headlight performance, driven mainly by the low-beam seeing distance. Conversely, the 2018 Audi Q5 with LED lights rated only a Fair overall, as its low-beam seeing distances are short. Our ratings of two Limited trim 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees—one diesel, one gas—showed nearly identical overall headlight performance, even though one was equipped with high-intensity discharge xenon lights and the other with halogens. Best Headlight Performance Our ratings for headlight performance on recent vehicle models also illustrate how performance cannot be predicted by the technology alone. Your best bet is to check our new-car ratings—and to be wary of paying extra for a headlight upgrade. Each of the vehicles below scored an Excellent or a Very Good overall for its headlight performance; they rank in order as the top 10 among those we've tested over the last five years. VEHICLE LOW-BEAM HEADLIGHT TYPE HIGH-BEAM HEADLIGHT TYPE 2015 Cadillac Escalade LED LED 2014 Toyota Corolla LED Halogen 2013 Toyota Avalon HID Halogen 2012 Acura TL HID Halogen 2012 Fiat 500 Halogen Halogen 2016 Honda HR-V Halogen Halogen 2012 Nissan Versa Halogen Halogen 2017 Chevrolet Bolt HID HID 2012 Toyota Prius V Halogen Halogen 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Halogen Halogen As our years of test results show, there are good and bad performers across all types. The key takeaway is not to assume one technology is superior to another. This is especially important when considering a model whose headlights are part of a pricey package. Before being drawn to the bright, white light that HID, LED, and xenon lamps produce, check our ratings, available on the models pages for all tested vehicles.
 
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Kestas

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Originally Posted by Char Baby
We found that the premium bulbs, as a group, deliver a whiter light and up to 19 percent more output than the standard or OE bulbs, and that can be more pleasing for drivers.
Getting rid of tinted windows would accomplish the same thing without throwing technology onto the problem. I've been a big advocate of getting rid of tinted windows for better night time visibility. I drove such cars (e.g., 1982 Omni) back in the day, and the difference is remarkable.
 

Char Baby

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Tinted windows aren't a must in the northern states and I don't have them myself however, they are a must is the south & southwest where outside temps approach and/or exceed 100 degs F. Or where there is 300 days of sunshine such as in Phoenix, Las Vegas or SoCal. Ouch! We have laws here restricting certain degrees of tint on windows. Other states are different and I don't think that the tint can be on the front windscreen at all in any state(?) except the upper portion.
 

blupupher

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So the fact that human eyes are one of the worst at testing how well headlights work (how well we think we see and how well the lights actually work are 2 different things), and they use the opinion of the testers of how well the lights work just makes this test meaningless. Humans think we see better with more foreground light, but that kills our distance vision, this is why so many that install PnP HID or LED kits think they have better lighting, tons of foreground light, but no distance light. The IIHS used a light meter to determine how far the headlights emit 5 lux. Using actual hard data is effective testing, not "what I think I see better with". LINK
 
I gave up on the expensive after market bulbs and the LED's in my fog lamp position add nothing. However, I don't want to badmouth an entire industry. YRMV, but white light does not make it easier to see a deer on the road.
 
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
I gave up on the expensive after market bulbs and the LED's in my fog lamp position add nothing. However, I don't want to badmouth an entire industry. YRMV, but white light does not make it easier to see a deer on the road.
Agreed. And every expert on the subject that I have read up on also agree with you. Here is great info from one of the most respected. http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/bulbs.html
 
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Originally Posted by Kestas
Originally Posted by Char Baby
We found that the premium bulbs, as a group, deliver a whiter light and up to 19 percent more output than the standard or OE bulbs, and that can be more pleasing for drivers.
Getting rid of tinted windows would accomplish the same thing without throwing technology onto the problem. I've been a big advocate of getting rid of tinted windows for better night time visibility. I drove such cars (e.g., 1982 Omni) back in the day, and the difference is remarkable.
What do tinted windows have to do with headlights? Unless people are tinting their windshields, which in pretty much every state is only allowed 5"-6" from the top or down to the AS-1 line only. All my side and rear windows are tinted on both cars, but I left my windshield perfectly clear that that exact reason. Rear tint helps when the Brodozer with his "SICK LED'S!!!!" Crammed into halogen reflector housings pulls up behind you, in addition to the auto dimming mirrors. 20%-35% seems to be the perfect balance of still being able to see without the sun glaring right into my face.
 
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
I gave up on the expensive after market bulbs and the LED's in my fog lamp position add nothing. However, I don't want to badmouth an entire industry. YRMV, but white light does not make it easier to see a deer on the road.
^^^^^^ I agree one hundred percent. I believe that headlights must have a bit of the yellow part of the light spectrum in order to truly see well. Lights that do not have any yellow part of the light spectrum may put out more lumens of light. But that doesn't translate into seeing better. In my opinion LED lights are great for gas station and large store parking lot lighting. But they are actually poor for best headlight vision.
 

Kestas

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Originally Posted by Skippy722
Originally Posted by Kestas
Getting rid of tinted windows would accomplish the same thing without throwing technology onto the problem. I've been a big advocate of getting rid of tinted windows for better night time visibility. I drove such cars (e.g., 1982 Omni) back in the day, and the difference is remarkable.
What do tinted windows have to do with headlights? Unless people are tinting their windshields, which in pretty much every state is only allowed 5"-6" from the top or down to the AS-1 line only. All my side and rear windows are tinted on both cars, but I left my windshield perfectly clear that that exact reason. Rear tint helps when the Brodozer with his "SICK LED'S!!!!" Crammed into halogen reflector housings pulls up behind you, in addition to the auto dimming mirrors. 20%-35% seems to be the perfect balance of still being able to see without the sun glaring right into my face.
You may not notice it but all cars have tinted windshields, unlike the cars from many decades ago. A long time ago tinted windshields were optional equipment when ordering a car. Now they are standard. You may be too young to have ever seen a car with perfectly clear glass.
 
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Originally Posted by Kestas
Originally Posted by Skippy722
Originally Posted by Kestas
Getting rid of tinted windows would accomplish the same thing without throwing technology onto the problem. I've been a big advocate of getting rid of tinted windows for better night time visibility. I drove such cars (e.g., 1982 Omni) back in the day, and the difference is remarkable.
What do tinted windows have to do with headlights? Unless people are tinting their windshields, which in pretty much every state is only allowed 5"-6" from the top or down to the AS-1 line only. All my side and rear windows are tinted on both cars, but I left my windshield perfectly clear that that exact reason. Rear tint helps when the Brodozer with his "SICK LED'S!!!!" Crammed into halogen reflector housings pulls up behind you, in addition to the auto dimming mirrors. 20%-35% seems to be the perfect balance of still being able to see without the sun glaring right into my face.
You may not notice it but all cars have tinted windshields, unlike the cars from many decades ago. A long time ago tinted windshields were optional equipment when ordering a car. Now they are standard. You may be too young to have ever seen a car with perfectly clear glass.
Probably too young lol... I have noticed most of the other windows had an ever so slight tint to them.
 

Kestas

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The Motor City
This was an issue with Ralph Nader in his book "Unsafe At Any Speed," which I have read. He pointed out that the only people who could afford optional tinted windows were the elderly who were typically richer. Ironically, they were the demographic who needed it the least with their degraded vision. The automakers have done a wonderful job marketing this feature by saying it reduces "glare." People believe it to this day. What tinted windows do, is reduce total vision, not just glare. The counterargument is that it keeps the cars cooler in the hot sun. I think it's a poor trade-off. With a/c and sunglasses it's less of an issue. Plus, a lot of people like me live in Michigan where we don't get much sun, and a lot of my driving is in twilight going to work and back, or at night. People in the sunny states can deal with it by wearing sunglasses. Unfortunately, I have no choice but to have reduced vision at night.
 
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