Choosing the best headlight bulbs for your ride can be a chore, but it’s also an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting the best bulb, and you don’t want a bad one to leave you in the dark!
This article features in-depth reviews of headlight bulbs to suit any make or model and any style, along with a simple but detailed buying guide to help you get the perfect one in one go.
Our Top Pick
The Philips 85126C1 is my top pick for headlight blubs across the board. In addition to its longevity and low power consumption, it boasts all the benefits of xenon-based lighting.
Xenon is an element that produces a soft, but incredibly bright, blue light. It produces more brightness with less power, which makes your vision clearer without reducing the lifespan of the light or increasing drain on your battery.
Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs
If you need standard halogen bulbs for your car and don’t want to convert to LEDs or HIDs, PIAA’s 17655 H7 Xtreme White Plus might be the best choice for you.
It’s whiteness, brightness, and general clarity are its biggest selling points. I’m also impressed with how far it increases visibility when compared to most factory bulbs.
As a halogen light bulb, this is also a much more affordable option than most HID and LED bulbs.
Philips 85126C1 Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs
Xenon makes life easier by providing a light that’s soft but extremely bright, meaning you can increase your own line of sight while using your low beams, but not worry about blinding oncoming drivers.
Of course, it’s not just how bright a headlight bulb is that makes it the best. How a bulb looks matters too! Many people choose xenon because of its cool blue glow.
This particular xenon model from Philips is renowned for its longevity. While all bulbs dim over time and no bulb lasts forever, the lower power consumption and higher quality construction of the Philips 85126C1 have made it a big name among gearheads and everyday consumers alike.
The only real drawback to the Philips 85126C1 is that if your car isn’t already set up for HID bulbs, converting your car to handle HIDs can involve a big investment of money and time. However, you can always save cash by doing the conversion yourself!
- Extremely bright light
- Longer than the average effective distance
- Longer lasting than almost all other HID options
- Cool blue light
- Does not require modified reflectors like LED options
- Conversion can be expensive and/or difficult if you don’t already have HID bulbs
- Not as long lasting as some LED options (though also brighter than LED)
PIAA 17655 H7 Xtreme White Plus High-Performance Halogen Bulbs
When it comes to standard halogen bulbs, there’s a huge variety of options out there. Respected auto parts manufacturer PIAA’s 17655 model is top of the line because of its innovative features.
The best of these features might be its patented XTRA technology, which increases brightness while reducing power consumption. Running at only 55 watts—virtually unheard of for halogen bulbs—they produce the same amount of light as 115-watt headlamps.
That lower wattage means less heat inside your headlight, which increases the longevity of the 17655. It also means you won’t have to worry about damaging plastic headlight covers.
PIAA has also managed to keep the price low by selling this model in a 2 pack so that you can replace both bulbs at the same. This also ensures a more even headlight glow, which can be important to your safety.
Replacing both headlight bulbs at the same time ensures that one isn’t dimmer than the other, which can cause vision issues while driving.
The only major con here is universal to all halogen bulbs. Because they use an actual metal filament, they tend to burn out faster than HID and LED options. That being said, the lower power consumption offsets this by a lot!
- Extremely bright, clear 4000K white light
- Reduced power consumption through XTRA technology
- 2 bulbs packaged together to increase convenience and reduce the price
- Lower heat for increased longevity
- Less likely to melt plastic headlight covers.
- No need for conversion if your ride was already set up for best halogen headlight bulbs in the factory
- Shorter lifespan than HID or LED options
- Higher power consumption than LED bulbs
Auxbeam H11 F16 Series: Best LED Headlight Bulb
LED headlamps have made the biggest splash in the world of headlight bulbs in recent years. Is this exciting new technology right for you?
If you decide the extremely energy efficient LED is the way to go, the Auxbeam F16 Series H11 headlight bulbs may be the best choice. This complete conversion kit offers you the ability to adapt an existing halogen or HID light to LED in no time.
The major feature that defines all LED lamps is their extremely high energy efficiency. They produce a brighter light than almost anything else on the road and consume almost no power doing it.
In fact, they require so little power that they’ll almost never dim or flicker while you use your car’s power for charging a phone, powering a subwoofer, or anything else.
However, there is a potential drawback to LEDs as a whole and this model in particular: sometimes they can just be too bright. They can blind other drivers or result in tickets if used as low beams.
Angling the lights downward or having your headlight housing converted can work toward fixing this problem, though.
- The cleanest, whitest lighting style on the road reveals a high level of detail.
- No warmup time, flickering or fading.
- Extremely power efficient and low heat, meaning they’ll last a long time and not put a strain on your alternator or battery.
- Can be too bright for some drivers and some applications.
- Are not universally compatible, as they have to integrate with a car’s onboard computer (though the manufacturer offers plenty of support).
Cougar Motor H11 LED Brightest Headlight Bulbs
This conversion kit from Cougar Motor offers all the advantages traditionally associated with LED lights, along with a few unique features of its own.
First and foremost among these is the integrated cooling fan. While LEDs don’t produce much heat of their own because they’re so energy efficient, they can sometimes fail due to overheating from the sun.
However, the cooling fans and aluminum housing built into this conversion kit’s bulbs ensure that your LED lights will always stay cool during operation, even in very hot climates and direct sunlight.
Cougar Motor boasts some other durability features on these H11 bulbs, too. For example, the housing is completely waterproof, which means you won’t need to worry about rain or snow ruining your new LED lights.
One of the only downsides here is that installation can be a bit difficult. While the bulbs themselves are the standard H11 size, they require a couple inches of extra clearance on the back end for the heat-resistant housing. Most cars will fit them right away, but some may require slight modification.
- Extremely bright, crisp LED light increases visibility.
- These are more directed than many LED options, making them more suitable for use as low beams.
- Waterproof housing, advanced heat sink, and a powerful fan all add up to 50,000 hours of life.
- Can be somewhat difficult to install due to their bulkier back end.
- Though it’s less likely with these particular bulbs, LEDs always have the danger of being too bright if not installed properly.
SNGL Super Bright 9004 LED Headlight Conversion Kit
This complete conversion kit from SNGL offers some unique features that other LED bulbs and conversion kits don’t touch, and it may just make their offering the most universal LED conversion kit on the market right now.
The major issue with LED lights for many users is that they’re often too bright, resulting in bothering other drivers or even getting pulled over. This is because LED beams have to be tightly focused, and installing them in housing designed for halogen bounces too much of their light around in a “shotgun” dispersal pattern.
What sets the SNGL apart is that they can be adjusted during installation to offer a different level of focus. The adjustment is done by simply turning the bulb, and then tightening a hex bolt to lock it in place.
With this adjustment feature, it’s possible to install LEDs in virtually any headlamp housing, which makes this product much more appealing to those of you looking to convert from halogen to LED.
They also offer some great durability and longevity features, as most LED bulbs do.
However, the installation and adjustment process for these bulbs can be a bit more difficult because of the wide variety of options they offer. It may take some tinkering to get the light just right!
- Highly adjustable focus makes these the most universally adaptable LED headlight bulbs around.
- They also offer great durability and longevity features like a cooling fan to keep the LEDs from failing due to high heat.
- Like all LEDs, they produce intense brightness with almost no power consumption when compared with halogen and even HID bulbs.
- Although these are more universal than most LED kits and will work with reflector housings, they do take a bit more tinkering and adjustment during installation.
- This kit sits at a higher price point than similar ones without the same adjustment features.
PIAA 15224 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulb
This offering from PIAA is an ambitious replacement for factory halogen bulbs, with maximum brightness and whiteness.
While it features the same patented XTRA power saving technology used by many PIAA bulbs, it also offers a blue tint to give your ride’s halogen lights the same visual appeal as more expensive HID lights.
It also offers some serious durability features, such as an all-quartz glass exterior to prevent cracking and other damage. Overall, this increases the bulb’s longevity by quite a bit.
That being said, as a halogen bulb this product doesn’t offer quite the same longevity you can expect from most HID and LED bulbs. On the other hand, it’s available at a much lower cost!
- Offers some of the highest durability.
- Available at an exceptionally low price point.
- Provides powerful, bright white light.
- Gives the halogen a blue tint, which makes your ride look like it’s sporting HID lamps.
- Halogen lamps never last quite as long as the best HID and LED options, though they’re also cheaper to replace.
- Although the blue tint on this light is compliant with the federal Department of Transportation laws, it may not be street legal in your area. Ask around or check out some locally focused auto forums before buying.
Things to Consider When Buying a Headlight Bulb
There are several important things you need to consider to get the best bulbs for your needs. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
- What kind of lighting is your car currently set up for: halogen, HID, or LED? Do you want to keep this or invest time and money into changing it?
- Do you have any special needs when it comes to bulbs (high performance to help with bad vision or frequent night driving, low energy consumption for an electric or hybrid vehicle)?
- What’s your budget?
- What key features are you looking for?
Best Types of Headlight Bulb
The biggest difference between one bulb and the next often comes from whether they are halogen, HID, or LED. There may be other types out there, but these three are the most popular and reliable.
Halogen headlamp bulbs use a traditional metal filament along with halogen gas. They produce extremely bright white light and are generally cheaper, but require more frequent replacement.
HID (high-intensity discharge) headlight bulbs consume less power and are longer lasting than halogen. They also produce a cool blue glow that many drivers like. However, they can be very difficult to install if your car is not already set up to use them. Check your owner’s manual to see if you need a conversion kit or not!
LED (light emitting diode) lamps are the most energy efficient and produce extremely bright, clear light. However, they are too bright for low beams in many areas, unless the headlight housing itself is converted to help direct and focus them. They’re also very long lasting but can dim or fail due to heat from the sun.
As you can see, all three major types of bulbs have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing which type you need is your first step on the way to headlight bulb replacement happiness.
Consider which type’s features suit you best, and also which disadvantages will bother you the least.
Check out this video to Understand and Choose the Colour Temperature of LED Lights
Of course, you’ll also need to match the size of your bulb correctly. To find out the size of your current headlight, check your owner’s manual or look at the burned out bulb once you remove it from your car.
While conversion kits exist, it’s generally easier to simply get the right size bulb. Luckily, all of the products I reviewed in this article are available in a variety of sizes, meaning you shouldn’t have any problem getting your favorite in the size you need.
Once you’ve determined the type and size of headlight bulb you want and need, and learned about some of the most popular products on the market from this article, you should have no trouble deciding which one fit your needs exactly.
I hope this article has helped you better understand the different types of headlight bulbs. Keep all this information close at hand, and you’ll be sure to get the perfect bulb for you.