There was a common style of housing for headlights on all vehicles until recently. Projectors and reflectors are the two types of headlights available today. Cars made before the early 2000s or before have reflector headlights.

It is more common now for new cars to have projector headlights, but not all of them do. In this article, we are going to discuss the difference between projector headlights and reflector headlights alongside which bulbs are better for either of the headlight units.

Projector headlights vs reflector: Their Basics & Differences

What Are Projector Headlights?

Projector headlights were introduced in the market in the 1980s. These headlights were limited to only luxurious vehicles. As the technology improved, they slowly became popular in budget-friendly vehicles too.

Just like reflector headlights, projector Headlights also consist of a steel bowl with mirrors but here it also has a lens that works like a magnifying glass, which eventually helps to increase the brightness.

These types of headlights are also equipped with a cutoff shield to ensure that the light is angled correctly. Projector headlights have become very popular over the last four decades, thanks to its brighter light projection.


  • -Modern technology
  • -Brighter than reflector headlights
  • -Doesn’t blind oncoming drivers
  • -No dark spots


  • -Takes more space

Which Bulb Type Is Suitable For Projector Headlights

It is advisable to use HID High-intensity discharge bulbs also known as xenon in projector housing. HID technology will be maximized if it gets involved with projector lenses. In fact, the lifespan of the HID bulb is enhanced if used in project headlight units because of its temperature and space. LEDs, on the other hand, won’t suit this type of headlight unit.

What Are Reflector Headlights?

Reflector headlights are the standard ones installed in vehicles for over decades now. There are mirrors within a steel bowl containing the bulb of a reflector headlight, which acts as a reflector of light out into the road.

In earlier days, reflector headlights were made in a light beam shape, just to suggest that it had been made for the front of the car. These types of headlights were sealed headlights that can’t be removed in order to replace the bulb.

Thanks to the new technology that was dropped in the 1980s, that changed the reflectors headlights. Since then, manufacturers started to use mirrors placed inside the housing, which eventually helps the beam to create the perfect pattern.


  • -Looks stylish
  • -Budget friendly
  • -Smaller in size


  • -Old-fashion
  • -Leaves dark spots
  • -Might blind oncoming drivers

Which Bulb Type Is Suitable For Reflectors Headlights

It is highly recommended to use LED bulbs in reflector housing. While Halogen is a dated technology, LED is something that is suitable for such housing units because it provides complete brightness without leaving any spots. HID bulbs are not suitable because they are very powerful and they can simply blind the oncoming drivers if installed in the reflectors headlight unit.

Do I have the Projector headlights Or Reflector? (How to Identify)

It is very simple to identify if you have a projector headlight or reflector headlight. Projector headlights usually look like fishbowl lenses as shown in the photos below.

Reflector headlights, on the other hand, comes with a dome interior that makes them stand out from projector headlights. They are also small in size and they are installed less deep. Here’s a glimpse of it:

Which Is Better For My Car?

The best headlights are those that are brighter and still they don’t create any problems for oncoming drivers. If your headlights are very powerful, then it can cause safety hazards.

In fact, many countries have banned powerful headlight bulbs like HID but if you use projector headlight housing, then you are allowed to use these bulbs. Considering all the pros and cons mentioned above, projector headlights are way better than the reflector headlights.

To Conclude

In conclusion, Every headlight comes with its own pros and cons. Hence, it completely depends on your usage and your budget to purchase a headlight that fits in. You will eventually get an almost similar amount of brightness from both the headlight units.

While the reflector will give you a wider beam pattern, projector headlights will give you a slightly less wider beam pattern. However, the road markings can be seen clearly with both the headlights.

It is more important to focus on the maintenance rather than thinking about which type of headlight unit you should purchase. If you or someone who is yet to purchase a new headlight unit then it is advisable to get a quality one from an available online store. For instance, is one of the best reliable online stores suggested by experts. Why? Let’s have a look.

Shop the Best-priced Headlights at SuncentAuto

Headlight housing and their bulbs are one of the most important auto parts that you can purchase online. It is recommended to buy these products from reliable marketplaces, professional car accessories stores, or directly from the brand websites.

If you want to buy high-quality products at affordable prices, then SuncentAuto is your go-to online auto parts store. SuncentAuto manufactures and sells high-quality headlights and owns several famous automotive lighting brands, namely, SEALIGHT, Torchbeam, Marsauto, etc.

SuncentAuto also provides you with free shipping and a 90-day return policy. In case you order something wrong or receive a defective bulb, you can return it with ease.