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Published May. 15, 2019

Every driver depends on their vehicle’s headlights to light their way in the dark and during rainy, foggy, bad weather. Of course, headlights also ensure road safety by allowing other people and animals on the road to see you coming toward them. Unfortunately, just like all other bulbs, headlight bulbs burn out eventually. And this is true no matter the type of bulb you own – LED, halogen, xenon or any other type of bulb simply cannot last forever. While it’s obvious you need to change a  broken headlight, you can save yourself a ton of trouble (including a potential ticket!) by changing it before it actually burns out.

But with a plethora of options available, both online and in brick and mortar stores, shopping for a headlight replacement can be confusing. To help you find the right product for your needs easily and quickly, we’ve outlined some of the best headlight bulbs currently on the market.

The Best Headlight Bulb

If you want a bright, long-lasting headlight bulb from a reliable brand, definitely check out Philips H7 CrystalVision. This DOT compliant bulb provides bright white-ish light in the nighttime, and a blue effect during day time, elevating the style of any vehicle. In fact, according to the manufacturer, the bulb provides so much bright light that it’s comparable to xenon.

This halogen H7 bulb is a high-performance headlight bulb, meaning it provides super-bright light, ensuring maximum safety no matter the weather conditions. The tradeoff, of course, is that it doesn’t last as long as regular bulbs. That said, based on hundreds of satisfied reviews, it should still last for a very long time (an average seems to be around a year and a half to two). The Original Equipment (OE) quality seal speaks to its durability and longevity. As a bonus, this package comes with 2 car bulbs, ensuring symmetrical and safe light beams from both headlights.

Key Features
  • Halogen technology
  • Bright, clear and white light for safe night time driving
  • Blue-capped for cool, blue effect for daytime driving
  • OE quality seal
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Philips
  • Model 12972CVB2
  • Weight 0.96 ounces
PROS

Produces bright light, allowing the driver to see farther at night

Great for personalization of the vehicle (thanks to a blue coating on the bulbs)

OE seal promises reliable and long-lasting performance

Affordable

CONS

High-performance bulbs don’t last as long as regular bulbs

Bright and clear, the Sylvania 9004 SilverStar headlight bulb is the perfect choice for folks who are after ultra-high performance halogen bulbs. Using Sylvania’s patented Tri-Band technology, this bulb provides the whitest light, at least when compared to Sylvania OE bulbs.

The Sylvania 9004 SilverStar bulb shines brightly and clearly, improving contrast and object visibility when driving during nighttime and inclement weather, making the whole night-driving process much less stressful. According to the manufacturer, the 9004 halogen model offers a fantastic combination of more sideroad and farther downroad clarity, resulting in safer driving. Importantly, the product is DOT compliant and comes with two bulbs for symmetrical lighting. Also, there are 5 different bulb sizes, so it should be easy to find the right replacement.

Key Features
  • Halogen technology
  • Patented Tri-Band technology for super-bright light
  • Whitest light compared to Sylvania OE bulbs
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Sylvania
  • Model 9004SU.BP2
  • Weight 1.44 ounces
PROS

Provides clear, bright light, allowing the driver to see farther down the road

Ultra-high performance means  brightest, whitest halogen light

More affordable than OEM lights

CONS

Compared to regular bulbs, high-performance bulbs have a shorter lifespan

Looking for the brightest headlight bulbs? Check out PIAA H7 Xtreme halogen bulb. Using aerospace alloy filaments for durability and Piaa’s XTRA technology for increased light output, this headlight bulb gives more contrast and brightness, allowing you to see farther down the road more clearly.

The PIAA H7 Xtreme White provides 4000K intense bright white light for increased visibility, plus elevates any vehicle’s style thanks to a slight blue bulb tint. Besides alloy filaments and PIAA’s XTRA technology, this product also utilizes the properties of heat-resistant quarts for increased lifespan and durability. Needless to say, it’s DOT compliant and perfectly safe as it provides more light output than regular bulbs, giving the driver better color recognition, improved contrast and depth perception. It should be noted, however, that this top-quality halogen bulb is more expensive than stock headlight bulbs. But is it worth it? Considering the extremely bright and clear light the bulb produces, as well as  the1-year warranty, we think so.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • Alloy filaments + Quartz glass for long-lasting performance
  • Cold-pressed aluminum + poly blended base reduced heat
  • 400K bright white light
  • Blue-capped for cool  daylight effect
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand PIAA
  • Model 17655
  • Weight 1.44 ounces
PROS

Provides intense, super-bright light for increased visibility and safety

Greater color recognition and improved contrast

Long-lasting and durable

Adds a touch of personalization thanks to a slight blue tint

CONS

More expensive than other halogen bulbs

Incredibly bright and clear, with powerful light output, the Philips X-treme headlight bulb is the perfect bulb for folks looking for the best affordable headlights. Although undoubtedly budget-friendly, this bulb provides 130% more light than other stock bulbs.

According to the manufacturer, this model not only generates brighter light, but also up to 147 feet longer light beam than standard halogen bulbs. How? For one, the X-treme Vision has a high precision coating and quality UV-Quartz glass which offers bright white-ish light, plus longevity and durability. The bulb also has a color temperature of 3700K which helps your eyes focus better, resulting in a safer, more comfortable night driving experience. In fact, the X-treme Vision provides such clear light that many drivers compare it to LED. For safe and balanced lighting, the pack comes with 2 bulbs that are easy to install.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • UV Quartz glass construction
  • Provides 130% more light than stock halogen bulbs
  • 3700K color temperature
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Philips
  • Model 12972XV+S2
  • Weight 2.4 ounces
PROS

Provides intensely bright light

Generates up to 147 feet longer light beam (compared to similar bulbs)

Although very powerful, the bulb is still long-lasting

CONS

Not a con per se, but the light is not as white as some halogen bulbs

The GE Lighting’s Nighthawk Platinum car headlight bulbs are some of the brightest bulbs on the market. If nighttime driving is typically a problem for you, they’re definitely worth checking out as they provide bright, white-ish light that greatly improves road visibility even when driving in pitch-black conditions.

Compared to standard halogen bulbs, the GE Nighthawk Platinum provides much more light. In fact, according to GE Lighting, this model produces up to a whopping 90% more light, which is a huge improvement for drivers who often drive at night or during bad weather. This is possible thanks to the model’s innovative design with a platinum colored tip, plus blue skirted coat for improved contrast, as well as personalized style. The DOT compliant bulb comes in many sizes, so it should be easy to find the right one for your vehicle.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • Platinum colored tip + blue skirted coating
  • Anti-heating elements prolong the lifespan
  • Produces up to 90% more light than stock halogen bulbs
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand GE Lighting
  • Model 90396
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Provides very clear and bright light that is more on the white side

Excellent solution to poor lighting conditions on the road

Better down road focus and reduced side-view glare

CONS

Lifespan is on the shorter side

Bright and sleek, with a decent lifespan, the Sylvania’s SilverStar zXe headlight bulb is the perfect combo of halogen and xenon technology. Cobalt blue coating gives the bulb optimal light transmission and that desirable cool blue effect, while the xenon halogen gas tech provides ultra-bright light that blows most competitive products out of the water.

The SilverStar zXe model stands out thanks to its xenon fueled halogen bulb which produces crisp white light that looks like HID. The mirror tip maximizes the beam while the cobalt blue coating provides blue effect during the day. The result is a jewel-like shine that in look, feel and attitude resembles more expensive HID lights. To provide symmetrical lighting and ensure road safety, the product comes with two long-lasting bulbs. That said, since this is a high-performance headlight, it doesn’t last as long as some bulbs.

Key Features
  • Halogen and xenon fueled tech
  • Intensely bright light for driving t night
  • Cobalt blue coating provides cool blue effect
  • Special mirror tip gives a jewel-like shimmer that resembles HID
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Sylvania
  • Model H11SZ.PB2
  • Weight 4.5 ounces
PROS

Produces bright light that is on the white side

Improves visibility and contrast even in very poor lighting conditions

The light looks and feels like HID

CONS

High performance bulbs mean shorter in lifespan bulbs

Looking for a quality, budget-friendlt H4 bulb? The Hella H4 headlight bulb is a fantastic option. Standardly priced, intensely bright, plus long-lasting, this product is perfect for folks on a budget. It should be mentioned, however, that the Hella H4 is sold in a single package, so to ensure symmetrical lighting and therefore safe driving, it’s wise to purchase two.

This H4 headlight bulb provides bright light that is ideal for off-road conditions, but is not suitable for high oncoming traffic. Integrating German auto lighting technology along with Hella’s strict testing requirements, this high wattage bulb guarantees functionality and long-lasting satisfaction. As a bonus, it is environmentally friendly thanks to its longer service light. Before purchasing this light though, you need to confirm high wattage bulb compatibility with your vehicle – this is important as if the bulb is incompatible, it can overheat the headlight wiring system.

Key Features
  • High wattage bulb
  • OE quality seal
  • Suitable for off-road usage
  • 1 bulb
Specification
  • Brand Hella
  • Model H4 100/80W
  • Weight 0.64 ounces
PROS

Produces clear light and has a long service life

OE seal guarantees quality and durability

Environmentally friendlier than standard bulbs

CONS

Sold in a single package

For folks on a budget who need a simple headlight replacement, Philips VisionPlus model is a solid choice. Even though this is one of the cheapest headlights on our list, it provides up to 60% more vision on the road, at least when compared to stock halogen bulbs.

The VisionPlus may not be the brightest bulb on the market, but it still produces very clear long beam, allowing the driver to see farther down the road. Importantly, the headlight has an OE quality seal, guaranteeing reliable performance for a long time. That said, the lifespan is to be expected from such an affordable headlight – up to 450 hours. As usual, Philips headlight bulbs are sold in a package of two, so symmetrical bright light is a given.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • Up to 60% more light than standard bulbs
  • OE quality seal
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Philips
  • Model 9003VPB2
  • Weight 1.76 ounces
PROS

Produces clear, bright light

OE seal means reliable performance

Affordable

CONS

Lifespan could be better

The Osram’s Night Breaker headlight bulb provides an amazingly bright, clear light that is bound to make any kind of nighttime driving safer and less stressful. In fact, according to the manufacturer, the bulb produces up to 110% more light on the road compared to stock halogen lights.

This headlight has a coiled tungsten filament which helps reduce the temperature while igniting the halogen gas for superior brightness. There is also a blue coating for personalized blue-ish effect during the day. As a result of using innovative design and technologies, the Osram H7 model not only produces up to 110% more light than standard bulbs, but up to 40 meters longer light cone too. The Osram sells this headlight bulb in a pack of two, so identical, safe headlights are guaranteed.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • Coiled tungsten filament reduces heat
  • Blue coating produces customized light during the day
  • Produces bright, long beam
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Osram
  • Model 64210NBU-HCB
  • Weight 236 pounds
PROS

Provides up to 110% more light than stock halogens

Longer life thanks to a robust coil design

Improves visibility in poorly lit road conditions

CONS

Lifespan could be better

Another great headlight replacement bulb from Philips, the H11 Standard model offers excellent value for money. Bright, white-ish and clear, this headlight is the perfect choice for drivers who often drive at night or in inclement weather.

The Standard model produces a wide, bright beam and ensures excellent road illumination no matter where you’re going. That said, the brightness is not excessive – this is always a plus as you don’t want to blind other drivers on the road, like some LED headlights do. The light is more on the white than yellow side, making the night ime driving safer and less stressful. Of course, the bulb is DOT compliant, plus has an OE quality seal, guaranteeing reliable performance for a long time. Since this is a pack of two bulbs, you’ll be getting symmetrically bright headlights.

Key Features
  • Halogen tech
  • Provides wide, bright beam, great for night driving
  • OE quality seal
  • 2 bulbs
Specification
  • Brand Philips
  • Model 12362B2
  • Weight 1.6 ounces
PROS

Produces intensely bright light that is on the white side

OE quality seal means long-lasting reliable performance

Although very bright, the level is not excessive

CONS

Lifespan could be a bit longer

Best Headlight Bulbs Buying Guide & FAQ

Whether you need a replacement for a broken headlight, want more visibility or a wider and whiter light beam, a quality headlight bulb can help. Luckily, the market is packed with affordable, durable headlight bulbs nowadays, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right model for your needs. The flip side of having so many options available is… well, having too many options available. Cheap, mid-priced, expensive, standard halogen, halogen plus xenon technology, HID, yellow light, white light… which bulb is the best headlight bulb? The good news is, you’re not on the hunt for the ultimate headlight that rules them all. Only the best one for you. To purchase the right headlight for your vehicle, all you have to do is inform yourself about different types of bulbs and consider your needs; then, decide what is most important to you.

If this sounds like too much work, don’t worry – our buying guide is here to help. Here, we talk about all things relevant to headlight bulbs, including the various types of headlights, as well as the features you should be looking for. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the good stuff!

Cherry red car front detail

Features to Consider When Buying Headlight Bulbs

To purchase the best headlight bulbs for your vehicle and your needs, it’s crucial to consider a few things first.

  • Headlight Bulb Size

Let’s start from the bare basics: the size of the bulb. There are three common sizes – H1, H4 and H7 – although some brands make odd sizes. To get the right size for your car, check out the metal part of the bulb you’re replacing – its size should be stamped/written on the side of the casing. The new bulb you’re purchasing should be of the same size. Speaking of proper sizes, let’s quickly talk about the proper installation too (more about this later). When you get the right sized headlight bulb, you need to check whether it will plug into your wiring perfectly. The bulb should never be loose as it can burn out prematurely (you’d be surprised how often this happens!).

  • Wattage

Along with the size of the bulb, wattage is the most important factor to consider when purchasing the new headlight bulb. This is the power needed to light up the bulb – the power that comes from your vehicle’s battery. The brighter you want your headlight to be, the higher the wattage bulb you need. That being said, a very high wattage can melt your car’s wiring. This is why it’s vital to get a bulb that is compatible with your vehicle’s specific wiring. Many bulbs use more wattage when used as a high beam output than they do when used as a low beam output. Typically, this will be stated on the bulb with wattage readings such as 60/55W (the first number is the high beam, the second is the low beam).

  • Color Temperature

If you’re after that bright white light, you need to pay attention to the color temperature. It should be between 3000K to 5000K on the Kelvin chart, with 3000K and below giving a slight (to not so slight) warm, yellowish light, and 4000K and above giving that desirable white light. Bear in mind that although 5000K will produce a very strong, bright white light, it may not be what you need as some models will actually have an output nearer to a purple color than white (this depends on the brand and model). It should be noted that some bulbs do not have the color temperature labeled, so if you need the exact numbers, you’ll have to contact the manufacturer to find out. That said, if you’re pleased with the color of the light, there may be no need for checking the numbers.

  • DOT/ECE Compliance

This should go without saying, but just in case you’re completely new to headlight bulbs: they need to be DOT/ECE compliant. While most halogen headlight bulbs conform to the rules, do not assume that all do. Of course, every single headlight bulb on our Top List satisfies this criterion.

Halogen Headlight Bulbs Vs. LED and HID Headlights

As mentioned, there are many headlight bulbs available today on the market. To find the right one for your needs and preferences, it’s important to get the right type.

  • Halogen Headlight Bulbs

This type of bulb is the most common and popular among drivers around the world. It’s no wonder why: it’s inexpensive, easy to replace, universal and generally bright enough to light up any dark road ahead. That said, the light that a halogen bulb emits will always be warm white, never extremely bright and white. However, this is more than enough for most drivers, even those that often drive at night and during inclement weather. Halogen headlights are also durable and long-lasting, although this significantly depends on the model you buy, as well as how often you use the headlights. On moderately used vehicles, they’re super long-lasting, while on heavily used vehicles, they’re typically decently long-lasting.

The drawback of halogen headlight bulbs is the heat they generate, and as a result, the increased energy consumption.

  • LED Headlight Bulbs

If you’re after the super-bright and white look, LED or HID headlight bulb is what you need. LED lights offer more brightness than halogen bulbs do, although they’re more expensive as a result. They are a perfect choice for people who more often than not drive at night, as they offer that instantaneous and powerful beam that lights up any and all dark areas with no issues. Another advantage of LED lights is their efficiency – they consume less energy than halogen headlights which is super-important important to some drivers.

On the flip side, LEDs are some of the hottest headlights out there. Although the LEDs themselves don’t heat up, they need more cooling to operate than halogen lights. This is because they trigger heat in surrounding wiring which needs to be kept cool in order to function properly. Also, LEDs are trickier to replace than halogen bulbs.

  • HID Headlight Bulbs

HID, or high-intensity discharge bulbs, are slowly but surely gaining in popularity thanks to their exceptionally bright, white and luxurious light output. Similar to LED lights, HID headlight bulbs (also referred to as xenon headlights)  produce much more brightness than halogens, which is why they’re the choice of some nighttime drivers. They also have a longer lifespan than halogens and typically use less power too. Overall, HID bulbs provide the brightest and whitest light of all headlights, so if ultimate brightness is what you want, they’re what you need.

On the downside, many HID headlights produce intense amounts of glare toward oncoming cars, which is why they’re illegal in some countries and states. They’re also much more expensive than halogen bulbs and more difficult to install.

Modern Car Front View Lamp

How To Install Headlight Bulbs

Replacing halogen headlight bulbs is much easier than replacing LED or HID bulbs. In most cases, all you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off all lights, locate the bulb holder and remove the wiring harness. If you have a plastic catch, press down the tiny lever at the top of the plug with your thumb while pulling it; if you have a metal clip, pull the lever up and away; if you have a screw cap, unscrew the plug by turning it anti-clockwise.
  • Remove the old bulb by holding onto the base (you may have to rotate or wiggle to loosen it).
  • Get the new bulb (be careful not to touch it with your bare hands; instead use a tissue or a clean rag) and plug it into the back of the headlight. When properly installed, the bulb should be all in – none of the rubber gasket should be showing.
  • Plug the wiring back in and re-secure the headlight. Now test the lights by turning the headlights on. If one (or both) of the bulbs doesn’t turn on, remove it, check the wiring again and re-connect it.

Our Top Pick

While all headlight bulbs on our Top List are quality, DOT compliant and durable products, when it comes to the best value for money, we believe that Philips H7 CrystalVision Ultra Upgrade takes the crown. Here’s why: it produces bright light that is definitely more on the white than warm yellow side, allowing the driver to see farther down the road more clearly. It also has an OE quality seal, which should tell quite a lot about its quality and longevity. The bulb also has a unique blue cap which helps create that desirable cool blue effect for day time driving. Importantly, it’s sold as a package of two, so symmetrical, bright beams from both headlights are guaranteed. Finally, Philips CrystalVision bulbs are more than decently priced, making them one of the best headlight bulbs on the market.

Source:

  1. 4 Essential Things to Know About Your Car’s Headlights – Your Mechanic

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