What are the different types of headlight housing

What are the different types of headlight housing?

Every vehicle’s headlight housing is incredibly important. Aside from it beautifying the look of your car, they offer protection against dirt, water, oxidation, pollution, and more from affecting your car headlight bulbs. Car headlight housing serves by focusing the light beams generated by the light source onto the road to provide adequate visibility at night, under adverse weather conditions, inside dark tunnels, and around dark sharp bends. While there are different types of headlight bulbs some which can be considered as bright blinding headlights, we have chosen for this article to talk about the different types of headlight housing. 

Types of car headlights based on their housing 

Types of car headlights based on their housing

What’s car headlight housing? I bet you have had this question in mind given that we have mentioned it two times since the beginning of this article. Well, headlight housing is the home of your car headlight bulbs. In simpler words, it is the compartment that accommodates your car headlight bulbs. In addition, you should know that the headlight housing of each car is not the same and may vary according to your car model. Aside from that, the way a bulb is mounted and where it’s situated varies in each headlight housing too.  This is why when you begin to experience oxidation on any of your headlight lens; it’s recommended that you make use of headlight restoration kits

Reflector headlight housing 

Reflector headlight housing

Prior to 1985, almost all vehicles were required to make use of the reflector headlight housing as it was the standard for almost every vehicle manufactured at the time. These headlight housings make use of dual filament bulbs that are encased in a bowl-like compartment. The bowl-like compartment is made of a glass mirror that reflects the lights generated onto the road. The reflector headlights are also known as sealed beam headlights. This meant that in case of a burnout bulb, the bulb can’t be replaced rather; the entire housing will be swapped. 

So, since the bulb in a sealed headlight can’t be replaced, you might be wondering how to clean the inside of your sealed headlights when it’s oxidized or appear yellow. However, with consistent improvement in technologies, modern reflectors come with mirrors inside the housing instead of glass lenses. The mirrors are used to direct the headlight beam so; there is no need for a sealed bulb or housing making it possible to replace a burnout bulb. 

Pros of the Reflector Headlight Housing

  • The reflector headlight housing is less expensive. 
  • They don’t take up much space within a vehicle.
  • Glass reflector housing is more durable and won’t scratch easily.

Cons of Reflector Headlight Housing

  • They beam illuminated are often weak and appear dimmed. 
  • The light output of the reflector housing is less controlled and may disturb oncoming drivers. 
  • Bright headlights can’t be used with this type of headlight housing. 
  • They aren’t attractive like other headlight housing. 

H4 Conversions headlight housing 

H4 Conversions headlight housing

If you make use of the reflector headlight housing and you wish to go for an upgrade, then the H4 conversion headlight system is the best and most-effective way to go. While you can also upgrade your stock headlights to LED, you should know that the H4 Conversion is also a type of reflective headlight housing. The  difference between H4 conversion and reflector housing is that the H4 conversion uses a replaceable H4 dual filament type of bulb. While the typical sealed beam of the reflector headlight housing only makes use of halogen bulbs, the H4 conversion gives the possibility of using both HID and LED types of headlight bulbs. 

Another benefit of using the H4 conversion headlight housing over sealed beam reflector headlight housing is the removability of the H4 dual filament bulb. This saves you the trouble of having to disconnect and pull your entire headlight housing out of your car if one bulb goes bad. However, H4 conversions and reflector headlight housing come in the same reflective style which means there is no cutoff concentration point like the one found in projector headlight housing and the lights could blind oncoming drivers. Should that be the case, here is how to avoid bright blinding headlights

Pros of the H4 conversion headlight housing 

  • The H4 conversion enables users to make use of both LED and HID bulbs.
  • They are quite inexpensive compared to the projector headlights.
  • H4 conversion headlight housing doesn’t take much space on vehicles like the reflective headlight housing. 

Cons of the H4 Conversion headlight housing 

  • They produce uneven light beams with hot-spotting.  
  • H4 conversion headlight housing can blind other oncoming drivers. 

Projector headlight housing 

technological Projector headlight housing

As technological developments improved so did headlights. With time, the projector headlight housing was introduced in the 1980s. During that time, the projector headlight housing was only used in luxury cars but today, projector headlight housing has become quite common, and can be found in almost every newer car model produced. The projector headlight housing allows car manufacturers to use powerful bulbs such as the high intensity discharge (HID), Halogen, or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs without blinding oncoming drivers because of their focusing properties.

Unlike the reflector headlight housing, the projector headlight housing has a lens that works like a magnifying glass. It increases the brightness of the headlight beam and utilizes a cutoff shield which surrounds the bulb in order to focus light into a more precise and attractive focal beam ahead of you. It is due to the presence of this cutoff shield that projector headlights have a very sharp cutoff.

Pros of the Projector headlight housing 

  • They don’t blind other oncoming drivers.
  • Projector headlight housing can have HID and LED bulbs, unlike reflector headlight housing, which makes use of only halogen bulbs.
  • The projector headlight housing looks great and more modern. 
  • The bulb of the projector headlight housing can be replaced in case of a burnout. 

Cons of the projector headlight housing 

  • It could take some time getting used to it if you are accustomed to reflector headlight housing. 
  • It’s more expensive to replace than the reflector headlight housing. 


Although there isn’t such a thing as choosing the best headlight housing when buying a car, the importance of maintaining your car headlights cannot be overemphasized. While car headlight housings may provide protection for your bulbs, without proper maintenance your headlight bulbs can still get bad from over exposure to direct sunlight. This is why you should follow these simple car maintenance tips and save yourself some money and stress. 

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