LAST UPDATED: July 20, 2021

Best H11 Bulbs: Light Up the Roadway

Best Choice Sealight H11 Sealight H11 LED
Premium Pick PIAA G3 H11 PIAA G3 H11 LED
Best Value Sylvania H11 Basic Halogen Sylvania H11 Basic Halogen Bulb

By: Mike Vieira

Your vehicle’s headlights are a very important safety consideration for seeing and being seen, and the bulbs they use help determine the output and color of the light they produce. There are a number of things to consider when you’re replacing a burnt out lamp, or upgrading your headlights for better vision. Things like light intensity, longevity, and beam focus and control should all factor into your decision making. Proper lighting not only makes it easier to see the road ahead and what’s on it but also reduces driver fatigue, further enhancing safety. 

Many vehicles use H11 type bulbs, so that’s what we’ll focus on here. The information we present to you will be pretty much applicable to all types of bulbs but make sure you check your owner’s manual for the specific bulb type that your vehicle uses.

Regardless of what bulb you choose, proper aiming of your headlights is the most important factor in benefitting from improved vision and not blinding or annoying other drivers.

Now, let’s talk about some of your best choices for replacing your H11 bulbs.

The Best H11 Bulbs

These LED replacements for your halogen bulbs will give you brighter, clearer lighting performance, as well as a wider, more even pattern to illuminate the road ahead. They feature a compact fanless design, as well as a smaller heatsink to make fitment easier in most vehicles. Engineered to keep the light source close to the original equipment location means that the beam shape and focus remains accurate and does not blind oncoming drivers. A 50,000-hour lifespan means they will keep lighting your way far into the future

With a 6000K color temperature that’s closer to daylight and a lighting pattern designed to eliminate dark spots, you’ll substantially improve your view of the road ahead.

Key Features
  • Plug-and-play replacement for original bulbs
  • Designed for 50,000 hour lifespan
  • Beam pattern designed to replicate original
Specification
  • Brand SEALIGHT
  • Model AHDX1H11-E
  • Weight 10.6 ounces
PROS

Bright illumination

Long lifespan

Even lighting pattern

CONS

Not street legal for headlights

Larger than stock bulbs, so may not fit some applications

Premium performance for a premium price tag for the most demanding drivers, the G3 H11 LEDs from PIAA project a 6200K color temperature light in an even, well-controlled pattern. These bulbs feature an adjustable base that allows fine-tuning of the beam focus for the sharpest cutoff and maximum spread. They also use Pulse Width Modulation to prevent flickering in most applications and highly efficient cooling fans to maximize bulb life and brightness.

A thinner chip design allows more precise placement of the light source to maintain proper beam focus. This third-generation bulb offers greater intensity and longer life than earlier models, and it comes from a company with a long-standing reputation for lighting innovations. With a five-year warranty and a projected life span of 30,000 hours, they’ll light your way for a long time.

Key Features
  • Adjustable beam
  • Long life
  • Premium construction
Specification
  • Brand PIAA
  • Model 26-17411
  • Weight 1.4 pounds
PROS

5-year warranty

Excellent performance

Reputable company

Plug-and-play upgrade

CONS

Premium price tag

Not street legal for headlights

Larger than stock bulbs so may not fit all applications

This is a direct original equipment replacement bulb that gives you a relatively long lifespan, maintains your vehicle’s factory beam pattern, and is street legal. It easily fits any vehicle using H11 bulbs and, since bulbs dim over time, it will likely provide improved lighting performance over your old bulbs. It may be basic, as the name suggests, but it will give dependable, long-lasting service as it comes from a well-known original equipment manufacturer.

Key Features
  • Exact original replacement
  • Economical pricing
  • Street legal
Specification
  • Brand Sylvania
  • Model H11.BP2
  • Weight 0.528 ounces
PROS

Low price

Exact OE replacement

Street legal for headlights

Good bulb life

CONS

No performance upgrade from stock

The latest version of Hikari’s H11 LED bulb replacement features their Acme-X LED with a larger surface area and higher flux efficiency for a brighter, more consistent light output. They also use a more efficient cooling system to provide longer life of up to 50,000 hours. An adjustable collar allows tuning of the beam focus and pattern for the best performance.

Key Features
  • Adjustable beam
  • 50,000 hour lifespan
  • Well-controlled beam pattern
Specification:
  • Brand: HIKARI
  • Model: V55-H11
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
PROS

Advanced cooling system for long life

Adjustable for beam focus

CONS

Not street legal for headlights

Some complaints about short lifespan

This Beamtech LED uses just a heatsink for cooling, rather than a fan, as the name suggests. It also has no separate external driver like most other LEDs require. It produces a 6500K temperature bright white color light and is designed to closely replicate the beam pattern and focus of the original halogen bulb.

Key Features
  • No external drivers
  • Fanless cooling
  • 6500K color temperature
Specification
  • Brand BEAMTECH
  • Model H11 (H8, H9)
  • Weight 8.8 ounces
PROS

No external driver to mount

All aluminum construction

CONS

Not street legal for headlights

Some complaints about flickering and radio interference

The Cougar Motor H11 LEDs have a cool white color temperature of 6000K and boast a 50,000 hour lifespan with their advanced high-speed cooling fan, but plastic construction could lead to melting or deforming over time. They are designed for an even light output and consistent beam pattern.

Key Features
  • Designed for optimal cooling
  • 50,000 hour lifespan
  • 6000K color temperature
Specification
  • Brand Cougar Motor
  • Model CCD19-05-K16-H11-1
  • Weight 1.58 ounces
PROS

Advanced cooling design for long life

Claimed 10,000 lumen output

CONS

Plastic parts can melt and deform

Not street legal for headlights

Some complaints about quality

The Auxito H11 LEDs use aluminum lamp bodies and a high-speed fan for optimal cooling and longevity. These LEDs use no external drivers and have a 30,000 hour lifespan. The double-sided ZES chips are designed to keep the light source close to its original position to maintain beam pattern and focus while providing bright 6500K color temperature illumination.

Key Features
  • Aluminum body
  • No external drivers
  • 30,000 hour lifespan
  • 6500K color temperature
Specification
  • Brand Auxito
  • Model H11/H8/H9
  • Weight 7.4 ounces

Nineo’s H11 LED conversions feature adjustable mounting collars to fine-tune the beam focus and spread to provide the best illumination and minimize glare to other drivers. They are designed to provide plenty of bright, even light distribution in a 6500K color temperature. These use a unique coverless bearing fan and aluminum heat sink for cooling to provide more than 30,000 hours of lifespan.

Key Features
  • Adjustable mounting collar for beam control
  • 30,000 hour lifespan
  • 6500K color temperature
Specification
  • Brand NINEO
  • Model H11 (H8, H9)
  • Weight 12.3 ounces
PROS

Adjustable for beam focus

Claimed 12,000 lumen output

Designed for maximum cooling

CONS

Not street legal for headlights

Some complaints about short lifespan and flickering

The Philips H11 VisionPlus Halogen Upgrade Bulbs provide up to 60 percent more light than standard halogen bulbs. The extra output provides substantially improved night vision while retaining the shape and control of your original headlights, making them street legal by DOT standards. They are an exact replacement in terms of fit and connections to OE bulbs. The illumination these bulbs produce is 3200K color temperature.

Unfortunately, high output halogen bulbs like these often have a shorter lifespan than standard output original bulbs. While they offer a reasonable purchase price, you may have to replace them more frequently to get that extra performance.

Key Features
  • Street legal
  • Direct OE replacement
  • 3200K color temperature
  • Well-known manufacturer of lighting equipment
Specification
  • Brand Philips
  • Model 12362VPB2
  • Weight 1.69 ounces
PROS

Street legal for headlights

Reputable OE manufacturer

Upgraded lighting from stock

Reasonable pricing

CONS

Shorter life than standard bulbs

Not as dramatic an improvement as LEDs

The Sylvania H11 SilverStar Ultra High Performance Halogen Bulbs provide substantially more light in a whiter, brighter color than your standard bulbs. They are a direct replacement for OE bulbs, and retain the beam shape and glare characteristics, allowing them to be DOT-approved for street use.

Unfortunately, like other high-output halogen bulbs, they suffer from a shorter lifespan than standard output halogen bulbs, meaning you’ll be replacing them more often.

Key Features
  • Street legal
  • Direct OE replacement
  • Well-known manufacturer of lighting equipment
Specification
  • Brand SYLVANIA
  • Model H11SU.BP2
  • Weight 2.54 ounces
PROS

Street legal

Reputable OE manufacturer

Improved lighting performance over stock

CONS

Shorter life than stock bulbs

Not as dramatic an improvement as LEDs

Torchbeam’s T2 H11 LEDs claim a 400 percent increase in output as compared to standard halogen bulbs. They produce a 6500K color temperature light with an even distribution pattern. New heatsink and cooling fan technology helps them provide a 50,000 hour lifespan.

Key Features
  • 6500K color temperature
  • 50,000 hour lifespan
  • Increased light output
Specification
  • Brand Torchbeam
  • Model TB9LHB00300U1
  • Weight 10.2 ounces
PROS

Claimed 12,000 lumen output

Advanced cooling for long life

CONS

Not street legal for headlights

Some complaints about noisy cooling fans

Some complaints about short lifespan and flickering

Best H11 Bulbs Buying Guide & FAQ

When it comes to H11 bulbs, there’s no shortage of options. In fact, there are so many different headlight bulbs from many different brands that trying to separate the best from the rest can be complicated. Here’s our guide to help you choose the best H11 bulbs for your headlights and your needs.

Tips on Buying H11 Bulbs

The first thing to understand is that nearly all vehicles that have replaceable bulbs use the halogen type. Halogen refers to the gas that the bulbs have inside surrounding the filament and promotes bright burning light and longevity of the bulb. When this type of bulb first came into automotive use in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they were a vast improvement over earlier tungsten lamps.  

HID (High Intensity Discharge) or Xenon lights are also used on some high-end vehicles, but have mostly since been replaced with LED lights. HID lights operate by excitation of the Xenon gas inside them when an electric current is run through it. A drawback to HID lights is that they give a bright flare of light immediately upon activation, then dim for a few seconds before reaching their normal intensity. This characteristic makes them generally unsuitable for use as high beams or in vehicles that turn off the low beams when the high beams are activated. HID lamps provide a significantly brighter light and use less power than halogen lights, but require a separate ballast to operate. HID conversions generally cause a change in position from the original halogen light source and can create poor beam patterns and unacceptable glare for other drivers. This makes them illegal for street use.

German luxury sport car
Audi R8 with H11 Bulbs

Benefits of Upgrading Your H11 Bulbs

These days, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps are the hot ticket for brightness, longevity, and durability. If your vehicle didn’t have LED headlights from the factory, don’t despair. Capsules are made that essentially convert your halogen headlights to LED with basically a simple bulb replacement. They can offer lifespans that are 10 to 20 times more than halogens and are very resistant to failure from vibration. Depending on the individual optics of each vehicle’s headlights, the performance of an LED upgrade can vary substantially. Because the location and direction of the light source in an LED replacement is not in the precise location of the filament of the original halogen bulb, beam shape, and overall performance can actually be reduced, making replacing a halogen bulb with an LED not technically street-legal.

TOP BRANDS

For all of the brand snobs out there, we’ve also outlined some of the industry-leaders when it comes to quality H11 bulbs. 

  • Sylvania – Long-standing reputation as an original equipment manufacturer as well as an aftermarket maker of lighting products.  Dependable products that they stand behind.
  • Philips – Another dependable brand that supplies both original equipment and aftermarket lighting products that you can trust.
  • PIAA – Innovator in advanced lighting products with a strong reputation for quality and dependability.

Car lights under the snow

Mercedes with H11 Bulbs Covered with Snow

Best H11 Bulbs FAQ:

Q: Does my vehicle accommodate H11 bulbs?

Check your vehicle’s manual before buying any H11 headlight bulb.  While H11 bulbs are common, they are by no means the only type of bulb used in cars. Bulbs differ in socket style, seal thickness and location, filament positioning, and connectors, so make sure you’re looking for the right type of bulb to replace your originals.

Q: How long will these bulbs last?

Bulb life varies greatly, with some high-output halogens having a life expectancy of just 300 hours, to LED replacements offering more than 50,000 hours of use. Most original equipment type halogens offer about 1,500 hours of life, so the LEDs offer amazingly long life compared to halogens. Halogen bulbs are also more prone to vibration failure on rough roads, or hood slamming, so that’s something to keep in mind. Close your hood as gently as you can, while still making sure it is firmly latched. Additionally, do not touch the glass portion of a halogen bulb, as the oils from your fingerprints will create hot spots on the bulb that will also lead to premature failure. Should you accidentally touch the glass, clean it carefully with alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

Q: How easy will my new bulbs be to install?

Replacing halogen for halogen is a simple removal and install process without any modifications or additional parts. Changing over to LED lights from halogen can require a bit more time and care. First, many LED replacements are larger than their halogen counterparts, so you need to make sure there is enough clearance in your headlight housing to accommodate the dimensions of the LED. Additionally, most LEDs require an external driver that’s included with the bulb. Normally, it’s a small, matchbox-sized device that you can attach to your vehicle’s hidden area near the lights with adhesive or zip ties. All connections are normally plug-and-play, though, so there’s no electrical work required.

Q: What is the wattage and is it compatible with my vehicle?

The higher a light bulb’s wattage, the more power it requires. This is a potential concern if you’re going with a higher wattage halogen bulb than stock. Higher wattage bulbs can cause melting of connections, switches, and wiring, meaning they can also create a fire hazard in addition to causing extensive and costly damage to your electrical system. Rewiring your lights with a relay will avoid that problem, but that requires a bit of knowledge and more installation time. If you’re switching from halogens to LEDs, you will not have a problem, as LEDs use substantially less power than halogens, so they won’t overload your circuit. They may, however, cause an error message if your vehicle is equipped with lamp monitors, as the reduced power draw may make the system think a bulb is out. Various types of add-on resistors can solve that problem, if necessary.

Important Note

Proper aiming of your headlights is very important to getting the best night vision possible and not creating a hazard for other drivers, no matter what bulbs you choose. The exact mechanism for aiming your vehicle’s lights and the beam pattern they cast will differ from vehicle to vehicle, but here are the basics.

With your vehicle pointing straight ahead on a level surface at a blank wall, park 25 feet away, with your fuel tank full, and an otherwise normal load. Your headlights should point straight ahead or very slightly to the right. The high intensity portion of the beams should be about two inches below the centerline of the actual light on your vehicle. Making adjustments to the aim of your lights normally just requires a screwdriver turning an adjusting wheel to move the lamp up and down or side to side. This relatively simple and quick procedure will ensure you’re getting the most performance and safety from your headlights, and that you’re not annoying other road users with too much glare.

Final Thoughts

You have many choices for replacing the H11 bulbs in your vehicle, and you’ll find the Sealight H11 LED and Sylvania H11 Basic Halogen bulb to be among your best options to make your night driving safer and easier.

Source:

  1. Car Headlight Bulbs Explained – Which
  2. Light Bulbs Types – Wikipedia