H1 LED versus Xenon in a Mini H1 projector

We like to play a bit of mythbusting. And one of the myths circling around is that LED bulbs are just as good / better than Xenon. With enormous claims of output in lumens, incredible output shots etc. the LED tech is really hyped. And @the Retrofitlab.com HQ we also get a lot of questions about LED. This made us want to put it to the test and so we have compared H1 LED versus Xenon in a Mini H1 projector. We are really interest in the LED technology, because of its advantages in comparison with xenon. Like the fact they don't have a start-up time and don't have a big ballast. But for us and most of our customers, light output and the light pattern is most important. So although there are some advantages, for us light output is the main factor in stating LED is just as good / better than Xenon. We get a lot of questions about LED in the Mini H1 projector and this is also one of most used projectors, so we have tested the bulbs in (the same) Aharon Mini H1 projector. The bulbs are mounted 'out of the box' and no shimming is done to improve results.

The test and results

The lasts months we have collected some H1 led bulbs to test with. We have selected the best and one of the worst to show you in this test. We have also added a xenon bulb and a halogen bulb to compare with. So here are our findings for H1 LED versus Xenon in a Mini H1 projector.

H1 xenon bulbs We used the Aharon XB35 5500k bulb. The output is wide, nice hotspot in the correct place, just a very good and useful output.

360 degree LED bulb On these LED bulbs the LED's are mounted on 3 sides instead of 2 and emit light '360 degrees' like xenon does. This is the best LED bulb we found. Light pattern is almost as wide as the xenon. But a hotspot is missing and the intensity of 0,23 klux is also quite disappointing. But it is sort of reasonable, especially in comparison with halogen.

Flat LED and halogen bulb A lot LED bulbs only have LED's on 2 sides, in the third picture (flat bulb). You can see using these types of bulbs in a Mini H1 projector is just dangerous and a waste of money. No width/No hotspot/No output. Besides the color, using a halogen bulb in the projector is better than the flat LED bulb. And yes, it can be turned and light output will change, but this was the best we could make of it.


In our opinion the 360 degrees LED can be used in a show car or in a bike that is usually only used in the summer, or as a high beam bulb. And LED definitely has it advantages. But for the most important factor, the light output, we strongly advise to use xenon in the Mini H1 projector.

Because there is a lot of development in LED, we will keep our eyes and ears open for new and better products. Hopefully LED technology will evolve and be just as good or better than xenon. But for know, it has quite a long way to go. At the moment the myth that a LED bulb in a projector is just as good / better than Xenon = Busted.