HID Basics: What is an HID?

  • High-intensity discharge lamps (HID lamps) are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts. The gas facilitates the arc's initial strike. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metal salts forming plasma, which greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption. High-intensity discharge lamps are a type of arc lamp.

    Brand new high-intensity discharge lamps make more visible light per unit of electric power consumed than fluorescent and incandescent lamps, since a greater proportion of their radiation is visible light in contrast to infrared. Many modern vehicles come equipped with HID bulbs as the main lighting system. For those that don't, there are aftermarket HID options available so you too, can get the same visibility benefits.


  • HID Benefits:
  • - HID lighting provides an increase in visibility of many peripheral objects that are often left in the shadows with other light bulbs (halogen).
  • - HID lights provide up to 3x the light output of standard halogen light bulbs and promote enhanced peripheral vision and improved down-road illumination. HID lighting can produce a crisp white light that stimulates reflective paint in road markers and signs.
  • - HID bulbs do not have filaments making them more reliable and longer lasting (up to 10x as long) than halogen (incandescent) light bulbs.
  • - There are many incandescent light bulbs out there that are advertised as HID bulbs but this is a lie. HID stands for “High Intensity Discharge” and is characterized by the power output and usage of an HID ballast. If the light bulb being sold to you marketed as an “HID Bulb” does not have an accompanying ballast (as shown above), then it is not an HID. For a true HID kit, make sure you order from HID-Power.com