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Updated Jan 28, 2022 4:45 PM

Your car’s headlights are an important safety feature that should be prioritized at the same level as brakes and seat belts. In 2016 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, even began testing and rating new car headlights and now includes them in the qualifications for earning a Top Safety Pick+ award. Still, as of 2021 less than 30 percent of new cars for sale in the United States received a “Good” rating for their headlights. 

Most people probably don’t give much thought to bulb selection until they are forced to replace them. Since halogen bulbs dim with age, you may want to replace them before they burn out. To get the most out of your car’s headlights, you want to use the best bulbs available. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best halogen bulbs available for cars that use an H11, single filament bulb for low beam headlights. All of our picks are halogen bulbs, although LED swaps are becoming more popular, retrofitting LED bulbs in place of halogen is illegal according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the United States. 

There is no best bulb for everyone, so take a look at our buyer’s guide selections based on different criteria.

Our Methodology 

You punched “H11 bulbs” into your search bar, so you know exactly how many options we were looking at. Having a lot of options to sort through might seem difficult, but with experience it’s easy to spot the headlight bulbs you should stay away from. 

Over the years, we’ve learned what names lead the industry, which are hidden gems, and which deliver. We also considered a variety of other characteristics that help bulbs meet different demands. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Best H11 Bulb Reviews & Recommendations

The Philips H11 CrystalVision Ultra Bulb is affordable, it works well, and it’s the type of bulb manufacturers designed cars to work with. It’s not the brightest or flashiest option on the market, but the quality is there, and it’s still a major step up from factory offerings. These bulbs are designed to cast light farther down the road than stock, which will boost visibility, but they aren’t so bright that you need to concern yourself with legal restrictions. A unique detail about this bulb is that it features a special blue cap that gives the bulbs a cool, blue tone during the daytime and will not interfere with visibility at night.

As if improvements in brightness, reliability and personal touch aren’t enough, these bulbs are also priced to fit within any budget. No offerings are perfect, and there are some issues to be aware of with these bulbs. It does seem quality control is an issue for these bulbs as there are reports of some failing in short order. That, combined with spotty customer service and a short warranty, can make for a frustrating experience for some car owners.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Phillips
  • Part Number 12362CVB2
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Improved visibility over stock

High-quality construction

Competitive price point

CONS

Quality control issues are common

Customer service needs work

Short warranty

The value of this set is hard to ignore, decent performance and reliability earns it a spot on our list. H11 halogen bulbs might not be that expensive in the first place, but there’s always room for a bargain. And while this offering from Voltage Automotive might not have the lowest price point on our list, its quantity stretches your dollar further. This pack is only a few dollars more than the average pair of halogen bulbs, but it includes 10 bulbs and makes it the perfect choice for someone working with a small fleet or who is loading up on spares.

The fact that the bulbs included are every bit as bright and reliable as stock only makes the deal better. Quality control is something of an issue, though, which is to be expected with bulk deals at this price range. Also, the bulbs can be damaged easily in shipping, and there are concerns with some applications burning through them rather quickly.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Voltage Automotive
  • Part Number FBA-01H1112PK10
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Price includes 10 bulbs

Relatively affordable price point

Brightness matches stock on most applications

CONS

Bulbs damage easily in shipping

Quality control issues are somewhat common

Short lived in some applications

There is a truly unbelievable number of products offered everywhere headlight bulbs are sold that are illegal to use on the road in your car’s low beam headlights. According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 571.108 replacement lamps must be of “like equipment.” But, we know there are enthusiasts who want the look of an LED, Xenon, or HID light while still staying within the law. The Osram Cool Blue Intense is about as close as you’re going to get in terms of color and appearance.

Osram has recently updated the Cool Blue Intense line, which originally produced light at 4200 Kelvin. Some applications have been updated to 5000 Kelvin. Both these color temperatures are going to be significantly cooler, leaning towards blue, than the other bulbs on our list. These bulbs will produce a beam closer to blue sky daylight and will produce a bit of a blue glow as seen by other drivers. Pricing at the time of writing this was also on the reasonable end of the list.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Osram
  • Part Number 64211CBI-HCB
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Produces light in the 4200-5000 K range

Gives the look of LED lights without breaking the law

A noticeable mod for replacement part price

CONS

Not the brightest bulbs available

Blue glow may annoy on-coming drivers

Watch for old stock of products at same price as next generation

These bulbs are affordable, they’re built well, and they’re brighter than stock. This is a solid runner-up for the choice of best value. Sylvania’s Xtravision bulbs are a step up from stock bulbs in any configuration at an affordable price point. The H11s are rated to emit 1,345 lumens, which is a noticeable improvement over the 1,250-lumen baseline. Furthermore, Sylvania puts in the work to ensure they can withstand even the harshest environments.

Sylvania backs the bulbs with a solid warranty and great customer service. What keeps this from taking the title is the bulky design. While it has its strong points, it does inhibit fitment on some applications, the wrong bulbs have been shipped out in the past, and these are relatively short lived in comparison to some alternatives.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Sylvania
  • Part Number H11XV.BP2
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Brighter than stock

Affordable price point

Robust design resists damage

CONS

Bulky design poses fitment issues

Customers receiving wrong bulbs is somewhat common

Relatively short-lived

OE Style Replacement

Based out of Lippstadt, Germany HELLA has been supplying car manufacturers and enthusiasts with automotive lighting solutions for over a hundred years. Its Performance line of replacement headlight bulbs are claimed to deliver up to 100 percent more light output than standard OE bulbs while providing 250+ hours of service life.

You can expect the seals and electrical connectors to fit just like factory, as there is a good chance HELLA manufactured the bulbs that came with your car originally. The Performance line delivers a light temperature at 3600 Kelvin, which will be slightly brighter white than the original halogen bulbs, but not the “super white” color that some drivers have come to prefer. HELLA has several different product lines, but these are our choice for all around performance and value.

Specs
  • Manufacturer HELLA
  • Part Number H11 2.0TB
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

More light delivered to the road

Factory-like fit

Well established OE supplier

CONS

Lower than day-light color temperature

Replacements may not be available at the corner megamart

May not feel like an upgrade

Our Pick For Whiter Whites

PIAA is another manufacturer with a history of supplying car manufacturers with original equipment parts. The Japanese company is a subsidiary of French parts giant Valeo. Xtreme White Plus bulbs produce light at a color temperature of 4000 Kelvin, which is considered a cool white. The bulbs have a blue coating with a solid blue top, which gives the headlight a blue tinge when not in use.

PIAA Xtreme White Plus headlights are a little more expensive than some of the other choices on our list, but include a one-year warranty. Our hands-on experience with PIAA bulbs has been all positive, but some user reports online claim service life was shorter than expected. As with any product, buy from a reputable dealer and use caution when installing.

Specs
  • Manufacturer PIAA
  • Part Number 15211
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Bright white color delivers more contrast

Aerospace quality materials

Blue coatings make upgrade more noticeable

CONS

Price is on the higher end of replacement bulbs

Some users have complained of short lifespan

Blue headlight look isn’t for everyone

Worth Consideration

This isn’t Sylvania’s top-of-the-line bulb, but it offers most of the performance without the gimmicks of trying to replicate the look of an HID light. The Silverstar Ultra is rated at a color temperature of 3675 Kelvin and has a lifespan rated at 458 hours.

This bulb will give you a white light, leaning towards the warmer end of the spectrum. Sylvania and several online testing sources rate the Silverstar Ultra as the company’s brightest light and one of the brightest of any bulbs tested. These won’t change the look of your headlights during the day or at night like some of the other bulbs on our list; for some that’s a bonus. Like most of the bulbs listed with higher light ratings, some customers complain about a shorter lifespan than factory bulbs, but it is offered with a 12-month warranty.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Sylvania
  • Part Number H11SU.BP2
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Mid-range price

One of the brightest halogen bulbs available

Keeps your car’s headlights looking stock

CONS

Keeps your car’s headlights looking stock

Some users complain it won’t last much longer than the 12-month warranty

Simple Single Replacement

All of the upgraded headlight bulbs we’ve listed so far should be installed in pairs. Sometimes you just want a single bulb which will match the factory specs, Osram offers an H11 bulb specifically for that purpose at a very affordable price.

The Long Life Halogen H11 bulb is sold as a single unit, although they are available in pairs. Osram rates the life span at 350 hours, but online users report years of dependable service. These bulbs are in use in literally millions of cars throughout the world and are our choice for a cheap and easy replacement part for those who are perfectly satisfied with their current headlight performance.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Osram
  • Part Number 64211L
  • Bulb Type Halogen
PROS

Affordable price tag

Matches factory bulbs in color and output

Made in Germany, OE quality

CONS

Not an upgrade

Many online sources are selling knockoffs

Our Verdict

At the end of the day, we feel the Philips CrystalVision Ultra Bulb is a great choice for most motorists. It’s plenty bright enough and offers the reliability daily drivers demand. However, the value of the Voltage Automotive H11 Halogen Headlight Bulb is hard to ignore when quantity is top priority, since it comes in a pack of 10. 

What to Consider When Buying H11 Bulbs 

We’ve certainly left praise worthy brands off our list. There are just far too many options out there for us to cover them all. But this buying guide can help you find the H11 bulb that will best match your application. 

Types of H11 Bulbs 

Whenever you start searching for headlight bulbs, you’re going to have a few types of bulbs to sort through. In the case of the H11, you’ll have three primary options. 

Halogen

The factory sends your automobile out with halogen bulbs. This type of bulb features a tungsten element inside a bulb filled with halogen gas. As it heats up the tungsten element, light is emitted. It’s a rather simple function, and this is usually the most affordable option. 

Halogen bulbs are usually the least bright of the three options, but your vehicle’s headlight housing and wiring are designed to work with this type of bulb. Therefore, the swap between halogen bulbs is usually hassle free, and it’s also much easier to trace down bulbs that make a considerable difference in visibility under this category. 

HID and LED Retrofit

We didn’t include either HID or LED on our list. As we stated above, these aren’t a legal upgrade for use in low beam headlights on roads in the United States.

HID stands for high-intensity discharge, and these are generally the brightest bulbs on the market. This type of bulb is similar to a halogen in that it’s actually a bulb, but the way it generates light is a little different.

HID bulbs work by sending an electrical discharge between two electrodes suspended in the ionized gas. In this environment, the arc is able to generate a brilliantly bright light in a pattern that your housings can work with to create a widespread pattern. It’s important to note that these bulbs are typically reliant on additional harnesses and ballasts, adding a few steps to the swap. 

LED stands for light emitting diodes. Car manufacturers are switching over to LEDs in everything from exterior lights to illuminated switches as they use significantly less energy and last many times longer than other lights. LED retrofits do require other equipment. A driver is used to your car’s 12 volts into whatever voltage the LED is made to use. LEDs also create a good amount of heat, so either heatsinks or fans are required for cooling. Both drivers and fans are known to fail before the actual LEDs.

While LEDs do produce more light with less energy usage, there is a downside besides the legality. The parabolic reflectors in your factory headlights were designed specifically to work with a single, small omnidirectional light source, the filament in your halogen bulb. LED bulbs use several light producing ships, often spread out over a large area. Not only do they spread the light source out from a single point, they often don’t provide 360 degrees of coverage. This changes the light pattern from the factory, and not always in a positive way.

H11 Bulb Key Features

These are the features you need to keep an eye on. Things get a little technical, but you can relax. All of the numbers are actually a lot easier to understand than you might think.

Brightness 

Lumens are a measurement that tells you how bright a bulb is. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the bulb. In the case of an H11 bulb, something like 1,250 lumens is a great baseline. It’s definitely not the brightest bulb, but you should ensure any bulbs you’re considering are at least close to that number to ensure it’s bright enough for safe use. 

The issue with lumens is that it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, brighter bulbs are usually better, as long as they aren’t going to blind other drivers. However, the light pattern a bulb and housing casts are far more important. Find reviews surrounding your application and the bulb you consider to ensure an aftermarket bulb increases visibility. 

Color Temperature 

There’s a difference between colored bulbs and color temperature. In this regard, we aren’t talking about exotic bulb colors such as green or purple. We’re talking about the natural color scale of light. 

Color temperature is the appearance of the light measured by Kelvin on a scale of 1,000 to 10,000. The lower the number, the redder the light will appear, and it will gradually shift to blue as the number increases. Neutral or white colors exist around 3,000 to 5,000 Kelvin, and most bulbs used as headlights will appear on the higher end of that window. 

Quality Construction 

Quality construction might be the last of the key features we will touch on, but it’s something to keep on the back of your mind at all times. It doesn’t matter if the bulb is extremely bright and a crisp white color if it won’t hold up. There are a lot of companies that pop up overnight and sell flimsy, cheaply made bulbs. 

At the very least, a poorly made bulb won’t last. Improper electrical connections can lead to a litany of disastrous consequences, so do your homework. It’s best to stick with leading brands in the industry and do as much research as possible to ensure whatever you hook up to your vehicle is up to snuff. 


H11 Bulb Tips and Tricks

We might not turn you into a bulb guru in under an hour, but we’ve given you everything you need to get started. Here are a couple quick tips. 

  • Keep your fingers off. You shouldn’t touch the glass on halogen bulbs because residue from your fingers can cause it to heat up unevenly. 
  • Avoid pop-up companies. Stay away from nameless brands that just show up out of nowhere. 
  • Halogens will impress. Halogens are more than enough for most people. After all, the car is built to work with this type of bulb from the get-go. 
  • Hotter isn’t brighter. Color temperature and brightness go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Higher Kelvin numbers don’t always mean the light will shine brighter. In fact, too high a number can have an adverse effect. 

FAQs

Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding H11 bulbs.

Are H11 and 9005 bulbs the same?

H11 and 9005 bulbs have a lot in common, but they are not the same, nor are they interchangeable. H11 bulbs are generally reserved for use as low beams, while the 9005 often serves as a high beam.

How long do H11 bulbs last?

The answer depends on bulb design and the quality of the bulb. Traditionally, halogen bulbs last anywhere from 500 to 1,000 hours, while LEDs and HID bulbs can last far longer. What that translates to in mileage is ultimately dependent on how often you use your bulbs and the environments they are subject to.

Is an H11 bulb brighter than an H9?

H9 and H11 bulbs are very similar, but there are some differences. As a general rule, H9 bulbs offer brighter light at the cost of lifespan, while the H11 lasts very long but at the cost of brightness. In short, the H9 is typically a brighter bulb.

Will an H11 fit an H9 socket?

Yes, an H11 can fit into an H9 socket, but it won’t perform the same. You can also modify an H9 bulb to fit into an H11 socket, but you need to cut the male end of the H9 for it to fit. We should also point out that some HID and LED bulbs are designed to work in place of either.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, we feel the Philips CrystalVision Ultra Bulb is a great choice for most motorists. It’s plenty bright enough and offers the reliability daily drivers demand. However, the value of the Voltage Automotive H11 Halogen Headlight Bulb is hard to ignore when quantity is top priority, since it comes as a pack of 10. 

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