Replacing defective automotive headlight bulbs with high-performance models is key to ensuring that the roads are safe at night for you and other road users. Identifying the best headlight bulbs for your vehicle is critical to having a seamless night driving experience.
Most drivers do not consider checking to see if headlight bulbs require replacement during car routine maintenance. These bulbs may become dim and unsafe for use while driving at night. Regardless of the type of vehicle you own, the need to drive at night may arise and early preparation will ensure that it is not a nightmare for you.
Comparison Table of Headlight Bulbs
There are several headlight bulbs in the market and picking the right one is quite tricky. Our comprehensive guide will help you make the decision on the product that best suits your needs. Here are our top 10 picks for the best headlight bulbs that are very affordable.
Understanding Automobile Headlamps
There has been a continuous need for improvements in visibility and lighting systems due to innovations in the automotive industry and an increase in traffic density on roads.
The main objective of automobile headlamps is to ensure the safety of road users in poor weather conditions or at night. Due to some limitations in standard headlamp designs, motorists are still at high risk of having accidents.
Most cars still use the conventional filament or halogen bulbs, but recent models now come fitted with xenon bulbs and LED (light-emitting diode) headlights.
Saddled with the adaptive lighting technology, you can now enjoy driving with headlight bulbs that are capable of producing warm bright light. You can switch to low or high light beams according to their needs based on the type of environment you are driving in.
High light beams improve visibility on rough roads at night due to their wide range and intensity, but they give off a lot of glare that affects oncoming vehicles or other road users.
Low light beams on the other hand just offer visibility in front of the vehicle because of its little intensity and shorter range. Low light beams are used in poor weather conditions as high beams may be reflected by fog.
We found the 10 best replacement automobile headlight bulbs that give you value for your money. The review list below will give you all the information you need about car headlight bulbs for an improved driving experience at night, you can check out our previous review for the best truck bed cover.
Top 10 Best Automotive Headlight Bulb Reviews
01. BEAMTECH H4 LED Headlight Bulb
This product from Beamtech is very sharp with a remarkable light pattern similar to that of halogen bulbs. It is different from other LED headlamps available due to the narrow strip of light it is emitting from the reflector housing as opposed to circular beams from other LED products.
This headlight produces clean and cool color temperatures that are aligned to shine on the road to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. It has the H4 classification which means that it can produce dual light beams of both low and high intensity for safe night driving. The output is sharper than your standard headlamp whether the controls are adjusted for low or high beams of light.
Beamtech LED headlight bulbs are easy to install. It does not require external drivers, just plug and play. The heatsink on the bottom ensures that the temperature does not get too high to melt any component of the headlamp.
Each bulb with a power of just 25 watts both produce white color temperatures of 6500k which is much more than what you from halogen or HID Lights. LED kits last longer and gives your car a brand new look too, which is an added advantage.
It does not require high current or voltage at startup, produces zero electromagnetic radiation hence, no radio frequency interference. This Beamtech Led Headlight bulb has full EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) compliance.
02. Philips D2R Xenon HID Headlight Bulb
Philips is a popular maker of light bulbs, trusted over the years for their quality products. A good number of cars produced in Europe comes fitted with a Philips light bulb. They are among the automotive industry’s biggest Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in the world.
The D2R headlight bulb is one size of the only xenon HID bulbs produced by Philips. Most brand new cars are bought with these bulbs pre-installed. They emit long range bright light that illuminates the road at night. These headlamps ensure that motorists are able to drive with good visibility at night as though they are driving during the day.
Produced using high-quality quartz glass, the Philips Xenon HID headlight bulbs can withstand thermal shock. This property ensures that the glass does not break due to a sudden change in temperature especially when water touches the bulb while it is on. You can enjoy driving at different weather conditions with the Philips headlight bulb installed.
Philips Xenon HID headlight bulbs are DOT (Department of Transportation) compliant ensuring that you do not break any road traffic laws.
Philips follows strict quality control measures to improve the customer experience. To verify the authenticity of the product, you may scan the QR code on Certificate of Authentication found on the packaging.
03. SYLVANIA 9004 SilverStar Ultra Halogen Headlight Bulb
Sylvania is an American subsidiary of the international lighting manufacturer Osram. The 9004 SilverStar Ultra is an exceptional kind of halogen headlight bulb. Owing to the good quality control measures, the Sylvania bulb is highly reliable and lasts much longer than regular halogen bulbs.
There is a range of brand new cars that come pre-installed with Sylvania halogen headlight bulbs. They are loved for their high durability and cool color temperatures that improve visibility at night. These bulbs produce a very bright light that could last for a very long time before turning dim.
It is advised that you replace both headlight bulbs when one goes dim to ensure uniformity in brightness and intensity. Designed with the patented Tri-Band Technology, Sylvania 9004 SilverStar Ultra produces bright white light that improves the visibility of objects at a great distance.
The Sylvania bulbs are affordable and easy to install. The bulb has special coating and filaments that adjusts the colour temperatures to produce the required white light. This is why the light may appear yellow at first but turns white almost immediately.
It produces better output than most OE (Original Equipment) bulbs with no power fluctuations observed while driving. It is also DOT compliant.
04. Philips H7 CrystalVision Ultra Headlight Bulb
The CrystalVision Ultra is a DoT compliant automobile headlight bulb that ensures motorists drive their cars without fear of traffic law enforcement. It produces a very brilliant white color temperature of 4000k which improves visibility on the road at night.
The bulb has a coating that gives the light a bluish appearance during the day. It is suitable for drivers that want to give their car a more elegant look without endangering themselves and other road users.
As a trusted brand in automotive headlight manufacturing, Philips guarantees high-quality bulbs that are bright and durable for a thrilling experience while driving. The CrystalVision Ultra is designed using innovative automotive lighting solutions to ensure that it is reliable and efficiently produces the required color temperatures. This is why most car manufacturers install Philips headlight bulbs on new cars.
The Philips Crystal Vision Ultra is a high-performance halogen headlight bulb with an H7 classification that has the appearance of HID bulbs. They are made from eco-friendly materials that make them efficient in all weather conditions.
It is a dual filament model that produces high and low beams that can be used in different traffic conditions. To avoid surface contamination and eventual damage, do not touch these bulbs with the bare hands while installing them.
The HID Warehouse lamp has a unique light pattern that reduces glare which can affect oncoming vehicles or other road users. A high-intensity discharge is produced by the headlamp.
Each bulb with a power of just 35/55 watts both produces a rich bright light of 4300k-30000k for a thrilling experience while driving at night or in a foggy environment.
The HID Warehouse bulb is made of materials that are not affected by a sudden change in temperature, with minimal atomization and vaporization when touched by water. They are water repellant and can be used under wet conditions.
It is also heat resistant and does not melt other components when in use. Unlike some other bulbs, there is minimal risk of surface contamination from direct skin contact. Hence, they are oil resistant.
It is mercury-free and the quartz glass is not affected by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It is properly insulated to avoid electric shock when replacing defective bulbs. When one goes dim, endeavor to change both bulbs to maintain uniform brightness and good visibility on the road.
These bulbs can be installed on almost all car models, giving it cool diamond white color temperatures that improve its appearance and enhance drivability at night.
06. Philips H11 Xtreme Vision Bulb
The Philips Xtreme Vision halogen headlamp gives a brighter illumination than standard halogen bulbs in the market. These are special replacement bulbs that give bright color temperatures of about 3200k for improved visibility of objects at remarkable distances on the road.
The Xtreme Vision is a good replacement for your factory fitted headlight bulbs. It is very affordable and produces bright white light to suit your driving needs. It has the H11 classification which means that it can produce dual light beams of both low and high intensity.
High light beams improve visibility for safe driving at night on narrow or curvy roads. Low light beams, on the other hand, are effective for driving in extreme weather conditions to prevent glare from reflective surfaces.
For improved visibility and uniform emission of light, both bulbs should be replaced when one goes dim. It is easy to install. Endeavor to wear gloves or use paper towels when changing bulbs. This eliminates damage to bulbs from surface contamination due to direct skin contact.
Philips headlight bulbs are DoT compliant and this model has a blue coating that ensures the production of white light. This gives your ride a cool and elegant appearance while elimination fear of breaking road traffic laws.
07. SYLVANIA XtraVision Halogen Headlight Bulb
The Xtravision headlamp is a high-performance halogen bulb with a proprietary filament design that ensures durability. It is a popular brand that is trusted and loved by most car owners. The bulb has glass made of quarts covered in the blue coating to give the emitted light a whiter appearance.
The headlight bulb is produced by a world-renowned OE automotive lighting company. It has a high-intensity discharge of about 1000 lumens that produces bright light with a minimal glare to avoid blinding other drivers. The color temperature produced is as high as 3200k to improve visibility and reduce squinting while driving on dimly lit streets.
It is an affordable product that lasts for months without burning out easily. It is not difficult to install. Just ensure that you do not touch the glass part with greasy palms to avoid damage to its surface. Endeavor to wear gloves or use paper towels when changing bulbs.
It produces dual light beams of both low and high intensity to enable motorists to adjust the intensity of light according to the type of environment they are in. It has an evenly distributed beam pattern that does not reflect on wet roads to cause difficulty in driving.
08. PIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Halogen Bulb
PIAA is an American company involved in the production of lighting equipment for the automotive industry. They produce standard headlamps and replacement bulbs of great quality.
Their bulbs comply with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and DoT standards. Hence, you are able to drive with peace of mind and not worry about breaking any laws.
The PIAA Xtreme White Plus produces sharp white light that improves visibility on dimly lit roads. It also gives your car a brand new appearance that will be admired by your friends. The cool color temperatures produced by the bulb is such that there is no glare that will blind other road users or motorists when powered on.
The PIAA Xtreme headlight bulb affordable and gives off a dazzling white light that enhances the visibility of objects on the road while driving at night or extreme weather conditions. The bulbs have a power of just 60 watts both produce a rich bright light of 4000k that makes driving easy in foggy conditions or at night.
The glass on the bulb has a blue tint which ensures that the light remains sharp. The glass is made of highly durable quartz that is resistant to sudden changes in temperature. It has aerospace alloy filaments that are highly durable and does not lose its brightness easily.
It produces dual light beams of high and low intensity to suit the needs of the driver at a particular time.
09. Philips 9003VPB2 Vision Plus Headlight
There are just a few factory-fitted headlamps that can provide good illumination of roads at night for a better driving experience. Improved visibility while driving ensures that there are no accidents. Drivers are able to see the road clearly, enabling them to escape the dangers of bad roads and maneuver around obstacles in their path.
Philips Vision Plus replacement headlight bulbs improve illumination while ensuring that you can see and be seen by oncoming traffic. It is a high-performance bulb that produces a clean and bright light with cool color temperatures of up to 3700k with a power of 60 watts.
Designed with high-precision filaments, the Philips Vision Plus produces dual beams for ease of driving in different environments. The high beams ensure that your path is properly lit up, reaching long distances and spotting every object or obstacle on the road. The low beams, on the other hand, enables oncoming traffic to see you without causing glare that could blind other road users.
Installation of the Vision Plus halogen headlight bulb is not difficult and requires no extra tools nor modifications to the car headlamp housing. It is a plug and plays a replacement bulb. Dim or broken factory fitted bulbs should be replaced for better visibility. Replace both bulbs to ensure that the beams produce are symmetrical.
Do not touch the bulbs while they are hot. Avoid direct skin contact with the glass part of the bulb to prevent damage from surface contamination. Ensure that bulbs are fitted properly into the sitting for good performance.
10. GE Lighting Nighthawk Platinum Halogen Replacement Bulb
General Electric’s Nighthawk Platinum produces a dazzling white beam of light that improves visibility on the road while driving at night. It produces color temperatures that do not blind other road users while enabling you to see every object or road signs and manoeuvre around obstacles on your path.
With the Nighthawk Platinum replacement bulbs installed, there will be no fear of running over wildlife in the dark or falling into potholes on bad roads. It improves the appearance of your vehicle with a touch of elegance.
It is a DoT compliant automobile headlight bulb, which means that motorists can drive their cars without fear of being pulled over by traffic law enforcement personnel. It also meets SAE guidelines. It is very affordable and made from highly durable material designed to last for a very long time.
The Nighthawk Platinum halogen bulb has a narrow blue tint close to the tip that gives it a distinct blue hue. The light produced has a clean unique pattern that does not cause glare while driving under the rain or in foggy weather.
It produces dual light beams with sharp output to suit your driving environment. The light produced is brighter than most OE (Original Equipment) bulbs. There are no power fluctuations observed when the bulbs are in use.
Things to Consider When Buying Replacement Headlamp Bulbs
Driving at night could be a nightmare when you can barely see the road clearly. You may fall into potholes on a bad road which could damage your vehicle. Due to the number of OEM headlight bulbs in the market, choosing one to replace your factory fitted headlamp will be confusing.
You should consider the following factors when looking to upgrade your car headlamp or changing defective bulbs.
Headlight bulbs come in different sizes. Most cars are fitted with H4 and H7 bulbs. The size of your OEM bulb can be found on the metal area at the bottom end of the bulb.
Endeavour to check the size of the old bulbs before buying a replacement. Buying the wrong size will lead to making another trip to the auto parts shop.
The lifespan of the headlight bulb should be considered when getting new bulbs for your vehicle. Some bulbs last much longer than others. Picking the right product will save you the cost of having to replace headlight bulbs within short intervals.
LED headlight bulbs tend to last longer than Xenon HID and halogen bulbs. It now depends on the type of bulb that can be fitted into your car depending on the headlamp sitting.
There are halogen and Xenon HID bulbs that last longer than regular versions. Endeavour to buy bulbs with a lifespan that is worth its price. They can be found at your local automotive parts shop.
Very bright headlamps offer improved visibility, making it possible to see objects on the road, including road signs. While driving at night, the intensity of your headlight beams should be such that you are able to clearly see and manoeuvre around obstacles on your path.
Motorists feel safer at night when they have high-performance headlamps installed on their vehicles. Although brighter headlight bulbs burn out much faster, it gives the driver a sense of security when driving at night.
While buying headlight replacement bulbs, you should consider the environment you live in to enable you to make the right decision. Extremely bright headlight bulbs are suitable for those living in rural areas as it enables them to see the full width of the road covering great distances.
Xenon HID light bulbs are usually the brightest, but there are halogen and LED bulbs that are equally bright enough to suit your needs.
The whiteness of the light produced by a bulb correlates with its colour temperature. Bulbs that produce very bright white light is said to have cool or high colour temperatures. While those that produce a yellowish beam of light could be said to have warm or low colour temperatures.
High-performance headlamps usually produce a bright light that has a whitish appearance. This gives your vehicle an elegant appearance.
Bulbs that have high colour temperatures are made with quartz glass that is resistant to thermal shock. Some have heatsinks attached to absorb heat and prevent melting of other components.
Single or Dual Light Beams
There are bulbs with single filaments that produce only one type of light beam. There are others with double filaments or electrodes which produces dual light beams.
For the dual filament bulbs, switching to the low light beam powers only one filament to improve visibility around the vehicle and reducing glare in extreme weather conditions. This ensures that you see objects very close to your car and oncoming vehicles see you.
It is suitable for use when you are very close to the vehicle in front of you to avoid blinding the other driver.
Switching to high light beam fires up both filaments thereby increasing the intensity of lights produced. This improves the visibility of objects and obstacles on long narrow or curvy roads.
Ease of installation
Not all headlight bulbs are suited for every car model. The wiring or bulb sitting for cars differ according to the manufacturers’ design. Bulbs that do not fit properly may not produce the specified amount of light and will eventually burn out quickly.
Changing some automotive headlight bulbs may require the services of a well-trained technician. There are other models that are plug and play. They just require that you read the manual to enable you to install it properly.
Most halogen bulbs are plug and play. There are LED and HID headlight bulbs that are also easy to install.
There are rules set out by government agencies like the Department of Transport (DoT) regarding the level of glare that can be produced by automotive headlamps. Most OEM headlight bulbs are compliant and do not require any adjustments.
Some bulbs have high colour temperatures that exceed the stipulated limit. The compliance measures are usually included in the product manual to enable you to install the headlamp in a specified manner.
Bulbs that come with no extra fittings usually cost less. They are compatible with most car models. You just need to remove it from the package, plug into the headlight sitting and use.
Other bulbs that require additional casing extensions or modifications may cost more. Be sure to make a cost-effective choice when picking a replacement light bulb for your vehicle.
The Main Types of Car Headlight Bulbs
There are three main types of car headlight bulbs classified based on their lighting technology and design. They are halogen, LED and Xenon automotive headlight bulbs.
Halogen bulbs have been in use for a very long time. Its use in vehicle headlights started decades ago due to the need for motorists to drive safely at night without injury to themselves or other people like pedestrians, cyclists or other motorists. The major components of the bulb are a glass capsule packed with halogen gas and a strip of the tungsten filament.
Halogen gas is a colorless highly reactive non-metal. It reacts with the metallic tungsten filament whenever the headlamp is turned on and in use to produce a brilliant white light. Just like the incandescent light bulb, an increase in the temperature of the tungsten filament makes it white-hot hot giving off the light that we see.
When the filament burns as a result of its reaction with the gas content of a bulb, soot is deposited on the glass which reduces the amount of light that we see, making it dim. At this point, we know that the life of the bulb is reduced and it may burn out soon. This is not the case with halogen bulbs.
For halogen bulbs, thin parts of the filament are regenerated by the particles formed from the reaction. This makes the bulbs last much longer than standard incandescent bulbs as there are no deposits on the glass walls and the filament will not break easily. The temperature required to achieve this is very high, that is why halogen bulbs are built using high-quality quartz glass that can withstand sudden changes in temperature.
Most automobile halogen headlight bulbs can produce dual light beams. They have two separate tungsten filaments. Switching the controls for low beam will power just one filament while high beam fires up both filaments. Most automotive OEM lighting systems are powered by halogen bulbs.
Halogen headlamps are a good replacement for your vehicle’s defective factory fitted bulbs.
Due to recent advancements in technology, the automobile industry has seen a lot of changes in design for added comfort and improved performance. There were also improvements in car lighting systems for better visibility, efficiency, and durability. LED was initially used for taillights, but most new cars now come fitted with LED headlights.
The LED mechanism involves the movement of atoms in a semiconductor. This leads to electroluminescence, where the consistent movement of these particles produces little photons of light. Semiconductors do not have wear and tear parts making them last longer.
Led lights require a minimal amount of power to work, compared to other bulb types. It does not drain the car battery quickly. LED headlamps are eco-friendly as they consume less energy leading to minimized carbon emissions.
They produce a clean bright light in unique patterns with minimal glare to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. They enable manipulation of light rays to produce an appealing output. This gives your car a stylish new look.
They do not produce much heat and may not be suitable for use during winter as headlamp housing may be covered in frost, thereby reducing visibility.
Xenon HID Headlamps
The Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamp (HID) is a new and improved lighting system that produces bright light with cool colour temperatures. It is gradually becoming an OE headlight for most new car models.
HID bulbs consist of tungsten electrodes in a transparent high-quality quartz glass filled with xenon gas. When a high-voltage electric current is passed through the electrodes, it ignites the xenon gas to give off an arc of dazzling bright light.
The electrodes are made of tungsten or metal-halide materials which vaporize due to continuous passage of electric current. An increase in temperature inside the bulb leads to a consistent supply of electric energy due to a lowered electrode resistance. This ensures that there are no power fluctuations observed when the bulbs are powered on and in use.
Xenon HID bulbs are more efficient than other headlamps due to the intensity of the beam it produces. Manufacturers should ensure that HIDs installed in cars conform to DoT and SAE standards to avoid sanctions from law enforcement personnel. When they are too bright, they may blind other road users and oncoming traffic.
These bulbs produce high-intensity discharge of up to 3000 lumens which is more than what other bulbs produce. It is very efficient and lasts for a really long time under normal usage conditions. They are used in headlamps with adaptive lighting technology to give you a thrilling experience while driving in dimly lit streets.
The car energy requirement for this bulb is quite negligible, making it a great choice for replacement headlight bulbs.
Tips on Install Headlight Bulbs
The need to replace dead headlight bulbs or upgrade to high-performance models may arise. Halogen bulbs are easier to install than other bulb types.
Generally, all the lights in the vehicle must be turned off before installing new headlight bulbs. You can gain access to the bulb sitting through the bonnet. Open the bonnet and remove the cover the protects the headlight from water and dust to give you access to the bulbs.
For halogen bulbs, you may need to release the switch that supplies power and push a lever or rotate to the bulb to release it from the holder. This is different for car models. Once the bulb is free, pull it out from the headlight housing and fit in the new bulb into the sitting. Rotate till it sits properly, then attaches the wires or holders. Then test to ensure that it is working properly.
For LED headlights and Xenon HID bulbs, the installation techniques can be found inside the installation manual. It is usually easy if you are able to follow the instructions adequately. You may consider enlisting the services of a well-trained technician to assist in the installation of bulbs to prevent damage.
If you decide to fit the replacement headlamps by yourself, ensure that you use the specified tools. Do not touch the glass part of the bulb to avoid surface contamination. No force is required while fitting to avoid damaging other components.
Ensure that you are fixing the specified size of bulb for your car.
Improved visibility leads to a thrilling night driving experience. Fitting your car with high-quality headlight bulbs will enable you to achieve improved visibility to minimize the risk of an accident.
There are several bulb types in the market of different quality. Some OEM bulbs are of low quality. High-performance replacement headlight bulbs will improve the safety of motorists and other road users.
Most car bulbs require steady replacement. Knowing the right bulbs to buy will make replacing these bulbs an easy task. Halogen bulbs are much easier to install than other bulb types. Endeavour to read the attached installation manual and follow compliance measures to avoid having problems with traffic law enforcement personnel.
Headlights also improve the appearance of vehicles. It gives your car a stylish new look that leaves people in awe. Automotive lighting systems may use either a projector or reflector technology to produce bright beams of light in unique patterns. Some headlamps require the change of a complete unit while others just require the change of one bulb.
After reading our detailed guide that includes tips for buying the best headlight bulb for your vehicle, we believe that you can go ahead and enjoy driving safely at night with improved visibility.