What is the Difference Between 3156 and 3157 Bulbs?

Let’s say you’re looking for a new set of headlights for your car. You find out that your car needs either 3157 bulbs. But when you go to the shop to buy new ones, they tell you they don’t have 3157 but 3156 bulbs.

What do you do in that case? Well, if you don’t know, then this article is for you.

If you don’t know what is the difference between 3156 and 3157 bulbs, then you’ve come to the right place.

Here, we’re going to explain everything that separates one type of bulb from the other, so you won’t have to be confused before getting a new set of headlights for your car.

Difference between 3157 and 3156 LEDs

So you see that you should get either 3157 or 3156 lights. But you don’t have any idea what these numbers mean.

Well, it’s easy. The 4-digit number refers to the chipset type the LEDs use. Most LEDs use this number to differentiate one from the other.

Because LEDs can change enormously depending on how they’re made, it is pretty useful to have this type of categorization. Sure enough, this makes them harder to pick – which is why you’re here.

So, what’s the difference in 3156 and 3157 bulb then?

Here, it is essential to note that most LEDs have a unique categorization called Surface Mounted Diode (SMD).

This means that the LED doesn’t have any wire leads, but instead is made of diodes soldered into a circuit board.

So the thing that LEDs from one another is the length and the number of diodes. Between the 3156 and 3157, the diode length is the same. What changes is how many diodes they have.

While a 3156 LED is made of only one diode, the 3157 has two diodes. This will tell you a lot about the overall power output, durability, application, brightness, and more.

3156 and 3157 Bulb: Differences to Consider

So, are 3156 and 3157 bulbs the same? No, as we explained before – they have a different number of diodes.

Then, how does this difference affect how they work? That’s what we want to explain in this section. Below are some factors that differ between one and the other:

  • Brightness & Power

Let’s start with their performance. If you’re somewhat experienced when it comes to LED, then you may know the difference here is almost unnoticeable. But there’s still one.

Because 3156 chips have only one diode, they produce light from that diode only. So you may guess that they’re somewhat dimmer than a 3157 bulb.

This brightness depends on other things, though. So it is not entirely accurate to say that one 3156 bulb will be less bright than a 3157 (especially if they’re from different manufacturers).

But still, the general rule is that the dual diode of the 3157 provides a slightly higher lumen capacity.

Why slightly higher only if they are two diodes? Well, this happens because the second diode of the 3157 chipset is not as bright as the primary one (which is the same diode the 3156 uses).

That’s why the difference in brightness is not always noticeable. You may find that they’re usually used interchangeably (as long as it is possible – we’re going to explain why later).

  • Colors & Temperature 

Then you will find that the color or temperature of the 3156 and 3157 bulbs tends to be white. This happens because they’re specifically designed to work as headlights for vehicles, so they’re almost always white.

But you will still find several options with different colors. Both types of LED offer the chance to get anywhere from amber yellow to intense red, and sometimes even blue or gray lights.

However, the dual-diode design of the 3157 bulb is still a bit ahead when it comes to color options.

Even a regular 3157 bulb may have more variable color, all because it has two diodes that light (which may affect how the color is perceived at high outputs).

  • Durability & Construction

This will fall mostly on the specific manufacturer. Even though the diode count will change between 3156 and 3157 bulbs, the construction is usually the same.

So you will probably won’t find much of a difference when it comes to overall durability and builds between one of each from the same brand.

  • Application & Compatibility

Both the 3157 and 3156 LED bulbs are used for automotive purposes. The difference is that the 3156 bulb only has one diode, which makes them incompatible with LED bulb connectors designed for two-diode bulbs.

So, are 3156 and 3157 interchangeable? Yes, but no. If you want to put a 3157 bulb where a 3156 fits, then you can do so without a problem. But when it comes to installing a 3156 LED on a 3157 connection, then it won’t work.

3156 vs 3157 LEDs: Which One to Pick?

So, what is the difference between 3156 and 3157 bulbs? As you can see from this article, there are many differences to consider.

One would be that 3156 LEDs have only one diode, while the 3157 bulbs have two diodes. This will change the number of lumens (brightness) they offer, the color temperature they provide, and how compatible they can be.

But overall, the differences are so slight that you may not notice when someone is using one or the other.

Still, we recommend 3157 LEDs over 3156 bulbs all day long. This is not only because 3157 have two diodes that can work on single-diode systems, but also because they tend to be a little brighter.

So, if you’re confused about which one to get – a set of 3157 LED bulbs for your car’s headlight should be the best option.

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