High Intensity Discharge or HID Bulbs vs LED Lights

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About Ben the Flashlight Junkie

Ben is a flashlight junkie, owning several tactical flashlights from companies such as Surefire, Fenix and Inova! In his free time, he goes fishing, camping, and hunting.

When people talk about HID or “High Intensity Discharge”, they refer to a particular type of bulb. Standard light bulbs use a glowing tungsten filament to create light, but HID doesn’t use this tungsten filament. Instead, HID light bulbs create light from a small glowing ball of ionized gas. Surprisingly, this produces up to 3 times as much light from the set of batteries. You’ll also find that the light output from a HID bulb will be much whiter and closer to sunlight. If you thought that there can’t be any more benefits to HID bulbs – think again – HID bulbs also last much longer than traditional light bulbs, or even halogen or xenon light bulbs. In fact, an average HID bulb life can last up to 20 times longer than halogen or xenon.

HID bulbs aren’t without their drawbacks though. First of all, HID bulbs aren’t “instant on”, and need time to warm up (15 – 25 seconds), unlike LED or halogen lamps. And if power to the HID lamp is lost or turned off, the bulb must cool before it can be light again. Therefore, if you need a light that can handle frequent on-off cycling, HID lights aren’t for you. HID lamps are also more fragile because of the ionized gas that it has to contain.

On the other hand, LEDs are actually just bulbs fit into an electrical circuit. The good thing about LEDs is that they don’t have a filament, unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs. Instead, LEDs are illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. This absence of the fragile filament makes LED lights very resilient and durable, and also increases their energy efficiency.

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