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Andrew Does a Headlight Comparison - H4 Halogen and LED

3096 Views 59 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Chip
Here’s a comparison between three popular headlights. The Cibie and Koito H4 halogens (ECE) and the Nolden Gen 1 LED (DOT).

First is a comparison of what they would look like installed. The Koito has a flat face and the Cibie and Nolden have a rounded face. Rounded is classic, but I think the flat face goes well with the Defender’s boxy shape.

Here are some detail photos of the Koito H4. It’s available as a kit with a relay harness from Toyota (for the FJ60) as part # 81110-60P70. (Left shown installed in Defender bucket.)

It has a locking ring to hold the bulb instead of a clip.

Now on to a performance comparison.

First up is the Koito H4.

Low beam. Very uniform pattern. A little more focused than the Cibie and more light directly in front of the vehicle.

Low beam on wall. Diagonal part of the beam on the right goes up higher than the Cibie, which may be more useful for road signage.

High beam. Most uniform pattern of the three.

Next up is the Cibie H4. It’s NLA, but I thought it would be nice to include it because it’s been widely believed to be one of the best H4 halogens.

Low beam. Very uniform and wide pattern. Widest of the three. Sharp cut-off line.

Low beam glare. This image is overexposed, but it’s to show glare at the top of the lens. The Koito and Nolden headlights don’t have any of this top glare. I think it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something I noticed.

Low beam on wall

High beam. Bizarre spider web pattern. Probably a lovely match for a weird French car.

Lastly is the Nolden Gen 1 LED (DOT version).

Low beam. Bright and focused. Pretty wide horizontally, but most narrow of the three vertically.

Low beam on wall

High beam. Pretty much opposite of the low beam. The pattern isn’t as cool as the Cibie and not as uniform as the Koito.

Out of these three I decided I like the Koito H4 the best. I love the Japanese old school look and it’s higher quality than the Cibie. The Toyota kit is also a phenomenal deal.
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I'm surprised you didnt go for the Holley retrobrights, I love mine. Original look, great light pattern and H4 output style
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I found this thread that contains discussion about the Holley RetroBrights. Experts Virgil and Stern didn’t care for them, but they like the Koito.

I switched from the Hella Vision Plus and it was certainly an upgrade.

Also if I ever become an expert because of 7000 posts on a forum for flashlights just shoot me
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I wish I would've found this a couple months ago. I installed the Hella e-codes.
I've used them and like them but properly done LEDs are a much better option.
Also 4x the price, though. The Hellas are great, reliable lights, but LEDs are the future.
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The irony is not lost on me, however I do not work in the flashlight industry 😅
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We'll be doing an in-house unbiased review of all the headlights we offer in the next few weeks, will post the results.
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To Red's point, maybe consider adding a water ingress resistance to the list of tests..
I'd rather they still be salable after the test haha, but I agree with Red, the sealed LED units are much nicer than having fish tank halogens. Nothing like having to drill relief holes at the bottom
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