LED headlights are brighter, sharper, and last much longer than a traditional halogen bulb, making them an excellent choice to see where you’re going. If you’ve decided to switch out your traditional headlights for efficient LED headlights, you need to choose the right type. If you’re shopping for LED headlights now you’ve likely noticed LED headlights with and without fans, so which one should you buy?
Let’s figure out why you need to cool your LED headlights and the pros and cons of LED headlights with or without fans to help you choose the best match.
LED Headlights Fan vs No Fan
LEDs use a light-producing diode instead of a glowing filament and heated gasses found in traditional headlights like halogens. Heat is necessary for halogen lights but an enemy to LEDs. The more heat, the less efficient and duller your LED headlight bulbs will be. A cool LED is a happy LED, but how should you cool them?
Headlights with fans are actively cooled. A fan spins to cool the air in and around the LED headlights to quickly dissipate heat. In an active cooling system warmer lights create more air movement which essentially auto-adjusts the cooling rate leaving you with happy LEDs. You’ll need the active cooling of a fan if you’re operating headlights with heavy power needs.
On the flipside LED headlights with fans can be difficult to install since you’ll need the extra space for the fan in your headlight casing. Active cooling headlights also require more power to operate, can be noisy, and can get clogged with dirt and dust if not installed properly. Active-cooling LED headlights generally don’t last as long as passive cooling systems but will still last thousands of hours.
LED headlights without fans don’t lack cooling but use a heatsink method instead of an external fan. Because there’s not an active cooling component, fanless LED headlights are also known as passive cooling lights. Passive cooling uses wind and other natural elements along with a heatsink to transfer heat away from the diodes.
Passive cooling headlights are normally cheaper, don’t require adjusting your headlight casing or fitting, and generally last longer than active-cooling headlights without as much power needs. You will need to periodically check the condition of any passive cooling systems and because they require outside elements, they can’t always generate the necessary power to keep strong lights cool.
In most cases a passive-cooling or fanless LED headlight will work perfectly fine unless you need the power of an active cooling system for strong lights. Before you buy fan or fanless think about your unique vehicle, light needs, and driving destinations to figure out which will serve you best.