Instrument T5? T10 bulb? What is the difference between them?

Instrument lights play a crucial role in automobiles, capturing the attention of drivers and enhancing their overall experience. But what exactly sets apart the T5 and T10 bulbs? In this article, we’ll explore the history and evolution of these instrument lights, shedding light on the key differences between them and their impact on your dashboard.

The History of T10 LED Instrument Light:

In the early days, T10 LED instrument lights were divided into two categories: round and flat. The round shape referred to a semicircular design, while the flat shape featured a semicircle cut in half with a flat upper area (Figure 1). However, it was the development of flat LED chips that revolutionized the brightness and durability of these lights. Initially, single-sided lighting was used, which limited the illumination to a single surface. But for backlit dashboards, the brightness was insufficient, leading to the introduction of five-sided lighting (Figure 2), which significantly improved brightness and provided a wider lighting angle.

The History of T5 LED Instrument Light:

Compared to T10, the history of T5 LED instrument lights is relatively simpler. They were also categorized into single-sided lighting and five-sided lighting. Single-sided lighting, as the name suggests, illuminated only one side of the light, resulting in limited illumination. On the other hand, five-sided lighting increased brightness and offered a wider angle of illumination. T5 underwent a similar evolution to T10, solving the problem of insufficient illumination breadth and introducing multi-faceted illumination (Figure 3).

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Let’s see how big the difference is! So that you can choose the suitable version for your dashboard!

T10 Round LED Instrument Light:

Figure 4 — light up T10 Round

You can see in figure 4 that the brightness is concentrated in the front, with a narrow illumination area. This becomes even more evident when installed on the dashboard.

T10 Flat LED Instrument Light:

Figure 5 — light up T10 Flat

Figure 5 demonstrates that the brightness of the flat light is spread evenly, making it more suitable for backlit dashboards.

T10 Single-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light:

Figure 6 — light up T10 Single-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light

T10 Single-sided lighting offers brighter illumination compared to the flat light. However, due to its single-direction design, the illumination area is narrower.

T10 Five-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light:

Figure 7 — light up T10 Five-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light

T10 Five-sided lighting provides even more brightness enhancement and a wider range of illumination, making it the top recommendation and a popular choice for backlit dashboards.

T5 Single-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light:

Figure 8 — light up T5 Single-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light

T5’s single-sided lighting is also bright but offers a smaller illumination area, primarily used for indicator lights that don’t require extensive lighting.

T5 Five-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light:

Figure 9 — light up T5 Five-sided Lighting LED Instrument Light

The five-sided lighting of T5 provides higher brightness and a larger illumination area, making it a favorite among car enthusiasts, especially for small backlight dashboards.

LED Instrument Light Installation:

Figure 10
Figure 10: Up Left: T10 Round / Right: T10 Flat
Down Left: T10 Single-Sided / Right: T10 Five-Sided

Figure 11
Figure 11: Left: T10 Single-Sided / Right: T10 Five-Sided


After delving into the details of instrument lights, you now have a deeper understanding of their characteristics and differences. Remember, the best choice depends on how well it fits your ride. Utilize the unique features of various styles to create a personalized dashboard. And don’t forget, PA LED BULB is your best choice!

Moreover, you now have insights into the most qualified LED light bulbs for your car dashboard. To know more and make a purchase, click here.

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