Tech Info >> LED Bulb Shootout: Super Bulb Fighter > Page | 1 | 2 |
In this short article, we take a quick look and compare a factory 96-98 NISSAN S13 180SX incandescent parking light and fit it with various plug-in LED bulbs. LED bulbs are commonly advertised to provide greater light output with longer lifespan, but this is not always the case as we will see. Let's take a look at some of the advertised benefits:
Greater Light Output: For those of you, who like me, enjoy Hi-Fi audio equipment, light output ratings with LEDs are much like wattage output ratings with amplifiers. Consumers need to look past peak wattage and focus on RMS or in the case of an LED's light output - look past MCD ratings and take other factors into consideration such as viewing angle and heat output.
Longer Lifespan: Let's look at the facts, if you're buying a product that should last for years - you want to make sure you're buying from a reputable vendor who will be around to warranty your product. Most LED arrays we've found are generic and mass-produced overseas with low manufacturing cost and high profit in mind. For example, vendors on eBay have good ratings for being "power sellers" and lighting fast shipping, not for selling a quality product. You cannot leave feedback 6-12 months later after the product has failed! And when a product does fail, which it often does, most will try their luck again with another product and/or vendor. And so the cycle repeats over and over, pride of ownership is a thing of the past.Less Heat: LED technology is indeed superior in terms of heat output, for the most part. To meet the demand for greater light output, there has been an increasing amount of LEDs being sold that are designed to be over-driven and use heat sinks or other forms of thermal management. Certainly, while these LEDs emit more light they also create more heat which rather defeats the purpose.
Note: Increased levels of heat can lead to premature LED failure.
More Efficient: Last I checked the main purpose of a light is to illuminate brightly. Efficiency means nothing if your car and its lights are not visible - especially when safety is concerned. No doubt, LED technology is more efficient than incandescent, but at what cost? If you're paying 4-16x more for an LED product that cannot meet, let alone exceed the performance of its antiquated incandescent counterpart - then no thanks, I'll pass.
So... after a hop, skip and spending $77.56 on ebay - the good'ol US Postal Service delivered our LED bulbs. A quick glance at the images below and the results should be obvious: sub-par lighting performance which is not only a danger to you, but to others on the road as well.
We than gathered all of our data and compiled the following charts to illustrate the pros and cons between the various bulbs. Click on the next page to view our results.
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