projector headlights vs reflector

Projector Headlights vs Reflector: What Makes the Difference?

We are usually always looking for the best options for ourselves, and due to technological innovation, we are presented with newer and better things every day. The same can be said for our cars. We should be especially mindful of what we are using in our cars as it is responsible for taking us to our destination safely.

The debate we have today is projector headlights vs reflector.

Which one is going to be better for you and your car? There are some differences between these two, certain pros and cons you will have to consider before we can jump to the verdict!

So, let’s get on with our comparison guide.

What is a Reflector Headlights

Projector Headlights vs Reflector

At first, let’s briefly describe what reflector headlights are and get to know more about them. The design behind these headlights is pretty simple. There is a light bulb inside the headlight, along with that there are also many reflectors places in various locations which would optimize the light coming from the bulb.

This light then is able to disperse, and that is the light you are able to see when you turn the headlights on. There isn’t much that goes to it; however, the placement of the reflectors is very important as it will have an impact on how much light ends up coming from the headlight, so better reflector placement is equal to better lighting.

You will most commonly see this type of headlight in standard cars sold at a low-mid range price. And this design has been around for a very long time. However, some improvements have been made over the years. Previously, the whole thing was designed in a way where the burnt-out bulb could not be replaced as the casing could not be removed.

But we have come a very long way since those days and no longer have to worry about not being able to replace bulbs in the headlight. To this day, better designs and models are coming out, which is to ensure reflector headlights become better for the road and the driver.

Advantages of Reflector Headlights

Here are the reasons why you should use reflector headlights:

1. Inexpensive Option

There are many people who are on a tight budget, and they need an affordable option of transport. They would want something on the cheaper end, and automatically the parts and the accessories that come with it would also be on the more affordable end. The reflector headlights are usually installed into affordable cars.

And if for some reason you have to change out the headlight because of some damage or because it isn’t working properly, then you will not have to spend a very large amount of money on the replacement.

2. Easy Installation

When it comes to technical work, we would want things to go as smoothly as possible without causing any hassle for ourselves or the professionals we hire to do the work. So, when you get reflector headlights for your car, you will not have to worry about needing hours to install them into your car.

You can also watch a few how-to videos and do it yourself if you feel confident enough. That is sure to some you some money.

3. Compact

If you have a small car, then the right headlight for you would be reflector headlights. They are significantly smaller than other headlights, which are a very big advantage if you happen to own a small car.

The whole lighting system will not end up taking a whole lot of space in the front part of your car. This is especially going to be helpful if there isn’t much space there, to begin with.

Disadvantages of Reflector Headlights

Here are some drawbacks of reflector headlights

1. Less Control Over Lighting

One of the main problems you are likely to face when you get reflector headlights is the lack of control over where the light actually hits. The system has been built in such a way that the reflector inside would be in charge of spreading out the light emitted from the headlight.

But this reflector works on its own accord, so there is not much that can be done about where the light will go. In most cases, this is not a very big problem as the light is bright enough, but at certain times it might cause an issue with the visual.

2. Halogen Bulb Are Needed

Halogen Bulb

As I have mentioned before, there a certain degree of uncertainty that comes with the reflector headlights as there is not much control over the light.

So, in order to make sure the drive is safe, you need to install halogen bulbs into the headlight. Halogen bulbs are known to be the brightest source of light, which is just what you will need to make up for the lack of control.

3. Blind Spots in the Beam

In the dead of night, when you are out on the out driving in the highway, you might need to use the high beam to see the on-coming traffic, also to be more aware of the road you are driving in. So, for the most part, the beam is a very significant part of your driving experience.

However, the problem here with the reflector headlight is that there are a few blind spots in the beam. Meaning there are certain directions where the light won’t hit even when the beam is on. This could be a bit problematic in the dark if you have bad sight. So, you need to be extra careful.

What is a Projector Headlights

Projector Headlights vs Reflector

Now we are going to dive into the depth of projector headlights. They are often called the superior headlights available in the market. And there are certain reasons why people think this has better performance than the other headlights.

First of all, projector headlights are actually a pretty new invention in the industry. So, a lot of research and high performing technological devices have been used in the making of these headlights, which would, in most cases, lead to much better and far superior performance that the headlight, which is older.

The design behind this is not as simple as the ones we have for reflector headlights, but I wouldn’t call it too complex either. There is obviously a bulb in the center, there is a reflector here as well, and a cutoff shield which allows the light to disperse through the lens properly in the right direction.

The light source in this one is either halogen, LED, or HID, all of which are very bright and excellent when you are on the highway at night and need better vision.

With this, the light is spread in a very precise manner because of the lens in the headlight. You would be able to under this better in you even used a magnifying glass, the light is more focused on an area.

Projector headlights were first made in the 1980s and were more common in the luxurious models of cars. Now, however, these can be seen in most types of cars —starting from mid-range all the way to high-end.

Advantages of Projector Headlights

In this section, we’ll present to you the benefits of projector headlights

1. Brightest Light

The main reason behind getting these headlights is to make sure you are able to see everything as clearly as possible when you are driving. And the drive could be at night when its pitch-black outside, and you should not face any difficulties because the headlights would be there to support you each step of the way.

That is what you will get if you do decide to install projector headlights into your car. They have built-in halogen light, which is one of the brightest sources of light. You will not have to install any additional light to get the full clear view. There is also no need to use a beam while driving with the projector headlights.

2. Not Too Bright for On-Coming Traffic

So, you might know that extremely bright headlights can actually be a matter of concern in many cases. Why? Well bright lights coming from the opposite direction can at times blind people temporarily, and by the blind, I mean the might just see a flash of white in front of them. This can lead to major accidents.

The projector headlights are very bright, but they are not so bright that it would cause a problem to those driving on the other side. Rather since the original bulb of the headlight is bright, you won’t have to use a beam; the beam is what usually leads to the white flash for the other drivers.

3. No Blind or Weak Spots

Consistency is one of the best features of the project headlights. It is something you will come to really like about the car part. The system has been built in a way so that the light is spread out well throughout. So, it’s not like you will see a bright flash in one area and complete darkness in the other.

It makes the projector headlight a very good option for people if they often drive at night. This will be much safer as you have a complete view of your surrounding while you drive at night.

Disadvantages of Projector Headlights

Let’s get acquainted with some of the disadvantages of the projector headlights

1. An Expensive Option

Your budget might be a deciding factor when it comes to buying anything. You will not be able to buy and use something if it is way outside your price range. The same can be said for a headlight. If you don’t have the budget for the splurge, then it is not really an option for you.

And as the projector headlights are on the more expensive end, you might have to think twice before the purchase. This could be one of the reasons why people might choose another option.

2. Requires More Space

If you see an image of the inside the projector headlight, then you will get an idea of the number of components that go into making the headlight and enable it to perform the way it does. As there are many components inside it, the unit is pretty big and therefore requires more space.

So, those who have a small car might not even have the option of install the headlight into their car as there isn’t enough space in the front to install it. Therefore, this is a problem as it automatically limits the number of cars that can actually accommodate this type of headlight.

Projector Headlights vs Reflector: Head to Head Comparison

If you carefully went over the parts above, then you already know that there are a number of differences between the reflector headlight and the projector headlight. But here we are going to dive into the details and compare these products side by side so you can decide which is the best option for you.

1. Visibility

One of the most significant features of headlights is their capacity to show you what’s there lying ahead of you. So that is why we’re are going to start the comparison off with this feature in mind.

Both of the headlights are very good at their jobs, and for the most part, you should do fine with either the reflector or the projector one. But if I am to put them side-by-side, then the clear winner, in this case, would be the projector headlight. This has a few things that the reflector one just can’t compete against.

The light is brighter in the projector headlight, unlike the reflector, to which you would need to add a halogen bulb to make it as bright as the former one. With the projector, no such addition is required, it will work great just as it is.

Along with that, another reason why the projector would win, in my opinion, is because of the lack of blind spots, which is something you will see when using a reflector headlight. Blind spots can be extremely dangerous while driving on the highway. So, you need something that will give you 100% clear views.

2. Installation

If you’re planning to install the headlights yourself, then there are a lot of things you must know and learn before taking things in your own hands. But the reflector headlights is going to be much easier to install on your own. The components inside are less complex, and the process is comparatively less time-consuming.

However, the projector headlight is going to be hard to install on your own. So, it is rather better to take it to a professional. You don’t want to ruin it by doing something wrong. Even if the work is done by professionals, it would still take the same time to complete.

3. Price

The thing here is very simple when you want something great you will need to pay a premium price to avail it. However, if you want to make do with something average, then that is possible by paying a much lower price. The same concept can be put into this situation in front of us.

The projector headlight is on the more expensive side, but the quality of the product and the kind of features you get from the headlight is well worth the price you have to pay in order to get it.

The same goes for the reflector; it is a mediocre product. It does the job well, but it is not the best in the market. Which is why it has been priced the way it has been.

Now, the choice is up to you. Whether you want to pay more for more features or if you want to pay less for an average product.

Which One to Go For?

Well, we have gone over how both the reflector and projector headlight work, what are their advantages, and what are their disadvantages. Now we can name one to be better than the other.

If we are talking about performance only, which includes the amount of light, focus of the light, then projector headlight would be the winner, as it really is amazing. You would be able to clearly see the difference between the light from these two headlights.

However, as you know, by reading our projector headlights vs reflector guide, the reflector is much cheaper and smaller. So this might be a reason why you would want to pick this over the other. The light from the projector might be better, but this is neither bad nor risky for the driver or traffic.

The final choice is obviously up to you!