Projector VS Reflector Headlights - Which One Is Better?

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Projector VS Reflector Headlights - Which One Is Better?

The housing or location of the lightbulb is a key feature of a headlight. It is important to know what kind of headlamp to use in this situation. A projector is a type of headlight, while a reflector is a type of headlight. Before recently, all early-generation cars had similar headlight housings. This was when manufacturers started to use their creativity to produce different headlight designs and styles.

Projector and reflector headlights are two popular modern headlamp designs and styles. However, cars made in the early 2000s frequently had reflector headlights. In contrast to reflector headlights, projector headlights are more recent. There are a number of factors that will determine which type of light you choose, including the bulb, the model of the car, how much money you have, and some purely individual preferences. We will discuss what are projector headlights vs reflector headlights are, how each type of headlight operates, its benefits, drawbacks, and some suggestions.

What Are Projector Headlights?

Projector headlights became more common.  After reflector headlights were introduced in the 1980s, headlights are more common than reflector headlights and are found in the majority of high-end vehicles. Reflector headlamps and projector headlamps are very similar. Additionally, they have mirrors that reflect light back into the bulb, which aids in illuminating the light beam on the road.

Despite their similarities, projector headlights have an additional lens that greatly increases the brightness of the light output. The cutoff shield in the headlight aids in correctly angling the light beam so that it is directed toward the road. In order to make an informed decision, you may need to weigh their advantages and disadvantages.

Types Of Projector Headlights

These days, projector headlights come in a variety of types that are installed in vehicles. Although they all share a similar fundamental structure, projector headlights can employ a variety of different types of bulbs.

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LED Projector Headlights

LED Projector Headlights

These represent a more recent development. They use much less energy and have a far longer lifespan than HID or halogen lamps. Even if they are never damaged, LED projector headlights can exceed the operational life of a car.

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HID Projector Headlights

HID Projector Headlights

HID Headlight Bulbs were utilized in the second generation of projector headlights, which are still readily available today. These headlights are also referred to as Xenon HIDs. They last longer and are much brighter than conventional halogen lamps. Because they are so much brighter than halogen bulbs, it is typically not a good idea to use HID bulbs in projector housings made for halogen ones.

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Halogens Projector Headlights

Halogens Projector Headlights

Similar to reflector headlights, the early projector headlights were powered by halogen bulbs. They typically have a sharper cutoff between light and dark despite using halogen bulbs rather than reflectors.

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Angel Eye Or Halo Projector Headlights

Angel Eye Or Halo Projector Headlights

This alludes to the distinctive halo of light that some projector headlights may have. The ring itself does not employ projector technology, despite the fact that manufacturers occasionally refer to these as halo or angel eye projector headlights. About a dozen technologies, including LEDs, incandescent bulbs, and cold cathode fluorescent lighting (CCFL) tubes, are used to make these rings.

What Are Reflector Headlights?

Reflector headlights entered the automobile's space. Early 2000s automobiles frequently used this type of light arrangement. It entered the market when automakers began producing electric headlights. A steel bowl that encloses the bulb in a reflector headlight. Additionally, mirrors that improve light output on the road while driving have been installed inside the reflector bowl. Older reflector headlights produced light in a beam shaped by a lens at the front of the headlamp.

The difficulty with the original reflector headlight was that the sealed beam made it impossible to remove and replace the burnt-out bulb. After that, in the 1980s, the technology for reflector headlamps developed to the point where the headlights could contain mirrors. This particular headlight housing was made to direct the light beams.

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Let's explore the differences between these two kinds of projector vs reflector headlights and discuss which is best.


Simply by looking at the headlights, you can tell if they are projector or reflector style. Modern projector headlights offer a simple, uncluttered interface. Their headlight bulb-facing fishbowl lens, which hides the reflector bowl, is quite noticeable from the outside.

Reflector headlights, on the other hand, have a very distinct "open" design. Instead of lenses, they use mirrors, which do not cover the reflector bowl. The light from the lamps is reflected by these mirrors. Check the owner's handbook or contact the dealership if you still have trouble determining the type.


Another difference between Projector VS Reflector Headlights is their performance. Projector and reflector headlights create very different levels of illumination. Both have a housing bowl with a chrome tint, but the key distinction is how the light is transmitted. A reflector disperses the light, allowing the driver to see more of the road. This illumination is less intense and less focused, though. However, using LED Headlights will improve your performance.

Condenser lenses, on the other hand, enable projector headlights to produce a powerful beam that is narrowly concentrated. By focusing the light, the transparent fishbowl lens acts as a magnifying glass to cast the beam in a precise direction. You will notice a substantial improvement in your ability to see at night when you install projector headlights. This is because these lenses, as opposed to reflectors, produce less light waste.

Housing Design

The housing design of the projector vs reflector headlights is another distinction. There have been reflector headlights for many years. They employ outdated technology. However, due to its inexpensive manufacturing and compact size, you will find this type in many contemporary vehicles. The projector headlamp housing, on the other hand, requires more room and is more expensive than alternatives. The reflector-style headlight bulbs are mounted on a bowl-shaped housing with a chrome paint tint. The housing, often called the reflector bowl, directs light toward the front of the car. Reflector headlights illuminate a larger road area by diffusing the light at a wide angle.

The more recent creation of projector headlights makes use of cutting-edge technology. On pricey luxury cars, the sleek, compact housing of these lights looks good. In that the bulbs shine in a reflector bowl painted with chrome and cast light on the road, both types of headlights are comparable. But in a projector, the light travels through a lens, whereas in a reflector, it travels through mirrors. Reflectors' greater angles diffuse the light, making it less concentrated and intense. In a sense, the mirrors in these lights squander some light. But with projectors, this is not the case. A more focused beam of light will result.

Projector vs Reflector Headlights - Which Is The Better Option?

Due to the steel bowl and mirror that increase light output through reflection, projector headlights and reflector headlights are quite similar to one another. Projector headlights, however, have more advanced functions. Projector headlights have a magnifying glass (lens) that makes the light beam shine brighter than reflector headlights.

The cutoff shield in projector headlights also guides the light beam directly onto the road. Projector headlights give a more even light output when driving as opposed to reflector headlights, which leave black areas. Additionally, projector headlights have a lifespan of 1,500 to 5,000 hours. They seem to have a longer lifespan than reflector headlights.


There has always been much debate among automobile owners over whether to use projector vs reflector headlights, yet both technologies produce the same amount of light. It would be advisable to select headlights that are consistent with your car's values. Some people prioritize quality, but others value a cost-effective buy.