Best Headlight Bulbs: Light the Way With These Top Headlight Bulbs
Shining some light with a headlight upgrade using our handy guide.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON August 6, 2021
Headlights are a critical component on your vehicle, and when one fails the other is bound to go within a short period of time. Since you can't safely drive at night, in the rain, or in other adverse conditions without them, you need to find a dependable set of bulbs that will help you see the road clearly. You also need a product that won't blind oncoming drivers. There are many different types of headlight bulbs available both online and in stores. We include some of the best options in the buying guide below.
These Xenon HID bulbs give a brighter beam for your low and high beams. The 360-degree design allows for the full range of light, making them one of the best headlight bulbs for night driving.
- Designed to fit numerous vehicles
- Long lifespan
- Lower power consumption
- Optimal brightness takes a few seconds
- They’re only compatible with some vehicles
These bulbs offer up to 100 percent more vision on the road compared to stock headlight bulbs, making them a great halogen replacement for standard bulbs.
- 55 watts of light
- Last up to 30,000 hours
- They don’t fit all vehicles
- Some models may require a decoder
These 25-watt high-beam bulbs have a 30,000-hour lifespan. They have a 6,000K bright white color temperature and are 2,500 lumen each.
- They are 200-percent brighter than halogen bulbs
- Compact and easy to install
- Bright, clear illumination
- They may cause a flicker or error code, so you may need a decoder
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Benefits of Headlight Bulbs
- They provide visibility. When you drive at night, you need a good set of bulbs that will properly light the road so you can see far and wide. They also make you more visible during the day and after dark.
- They're bright. If you upgrade your stock headlight bulbs, you can opt for an option that is much brighter. Some OEM bulbs are halogen, which aren't as bright as LED bulbs.
- They look good. When you swap out old headlight bulbs for modern bulbs, you can change the look of your vehicle, particularly if you choose a brand with a bright white color temperature.
Types of Headlight Bulbs
LED Headlight Bulbs
LED lights are a common choice for those who want to provide an intense light without using as much electricity. They are extremely popular among homeowners, but can also be used in your car’s headlights to help lower the amount of electricity drawn from your car. These are some of the brightest headlight bulbs you can install but are not so bright that they will be harmful to other drivers. Typically, LED headlight bulbs have a longer lifespan than other bulbs because of their ability to resist overheating and using less electricity.
Halogen Headlight Bulbs
Halogen headlight bulbs are lit by filaments made of halogen gas and tungsten. These elements heat up and glow to create light without causing any heat damage to your car. This is the most common type of headlight bulb on the road because they typically come stock on vehicles and are very cheap to make.
Xenon Headlight Bulbs
If you have ever passed a car that has bright white headlights, they are most likely Xenon HID headlight bulbs. HID, or high-intensity discharge, bulbs have gas inside them that charges and lights using electrodes. These bulbs typically produce a brighter light than halogen bulbs. They are also known to have a longer lifespan. However, they take longer to reach their full potential because the gas needs a few seconds to fully charge.
Philips is a leading company in many different household and automotive products. It started making carbon-filament lamps as far back as 1891 and is one of the most common and notorious companies for light bulbs today. Philips is a global company with its headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its most common headlight bulbs include the X-tremeVision Upgrade Headlight Bulb and the CrystalVision Ultra Headlight bulbs.
Sylvania traces its roots to 1901 in Middleton, Mass. Initially, it renewed burned-out light bulbs. In 1993, OSRAM SYLVANIA was created. The company produces a wide range of lighting products, from LED lamps and tubes to ballasts, halogen lights, and incandescent lights. We recommend the Sylvania H11 XtraVision Halogen Headlight Bulb.
JDM ASTAR is well known for its high-quality LED headlights. The company is an online retailer specializing in the technology of automotive LED lighting. It offers a variety of different bulbs for cars, trucks, boats, and many other vehicles. JDM ASTAR was founded in Southern California and has recently grown its online business. Some of its popular products include the JDM ASTAR Super Bright 3030-15SMD White LED Fog Light Bulbs.
Headlight Bulbs Pricing
- $20 to $40: Like most products, higher-priced items usually are higher in quality. However, this does not mean that headlight bulbs in this price range are not good quality. Within this price range, consumers can expect to receive the two lamps by themselves with no extra tools. This price range is typical for most halogen-sourced headlights.
- $40 to $60: This price range is more common for LED headlights. They are more expensive because of the brighter light they produce while using less energy and electricity. Most products in this price range include the bulbs and the plug.
- $60 to $80: Xenon HID headlight bulbs are common in this range since they’re generally more expensive. They use a unique lighting technology that is more expensive to produce, but the value for the money is well worth it. These lights shine brighter and longer than other styles.
For a headlight bulb to be effective, it needs to be weatherproof. Although these bulbs are protected by your headlight covers, water, dirt, and dust can still sneak through to the bulb. Waterproof bulbs are essential to keeping the bulbs working correctly through adverse weather.
Different style bulbs use different technologies to produce light. For example, halogen bulbs use heated halogen gas to produce light. Xenon bulbs charge using electrodes and gas. Other bulbs use heated filaments. Each one uses different levels of electricity and energy, and some may be more powerful than others.
Most headlight bulbs come with a “plug-and-play” feature, which is simple to install. This means that there is a simple plug you connect to your car to make the headlights work. If the bulb does not come with this feature, other wiring and connection steps will be needed.
- Light Output (Watts). Every style of headlight bulb uses a different level of power. The higher the wattage rating, the brighter and stronger the light will be and the further that light will reach. If you are looking for a bulb that puts out strong light, make sure the watts are at a higher level.
- Energy Consumption. There is a big difference in energy consumption between different styles of headlight bulbs. Since halogen lights require heat to light, they consume the most energy. LED and Xenon HID lights use less energy from your car.
- Uses. While it is obvious that headlights are needed while driving in the dark, they are also necessary when driving in adverse weather. Headlights can be crucial in rain and fog. You want to make sure your headlights are prepared to withstand these elements for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
Best Headlight Bulbs Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Not every headlight bulb will fit in every car. There are many different sizes and styles that are made to fit different models. Most of these companies provide a system for you to look up the type of headlight bulbs that are compatible with your car. Be sure you know the proper size and style appropriate for your car’s headlights.
- Always install in pairs. When installing new headlights, it is always important to install both at one time, even if you are only needing to replace one. This helps to ensure that the headlights have a similar lifespan. Uneven headlights can be dangerous for you and other drivers on the road.
- When installing your headlights on your own, make sure you are wearing gloves. Headlight bulbs can get very hot very fast and can easily burn your hands. Make sure your car is turned off, as well, so you do not hurt your eyes. Test the power to your headlights only when you have finished installing them.
- Even the brightest headlight bulbs will appear dull if your headlight covers are dirty or foggy. Keep them clean using a good car wash mitt to provide optimal performance.
Q: What are the best headlight bulbs to buy?
Fortunately, there are a variety of excellent headlight bulbs available, and we include several options in this buying guide.
Q: Which are better: HID or LED headlight bulbs?
HID bulbs are brighter than LED bulbs, but if they’re not properly installed they can produce a lot of glare towards oncoming traffic. Also, HID bulbs don’t last as long as LED bulbs, which cost less in the long run. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference.
Q: Are LED headlights better than halogen headlights?
While both halogen and LED headlights can produce strong lighting, LED headlights are known to use less energy than halogen ones. Consider LED headlights to be high-performance headlights. However, they are also known to be more expensive.
Q: Why do some headlight bulbs last longer than others, even if they give the same amount of watts?
The lifespan is dependent on how much energy the light needs to use to work. If a bulb needs less energy to burn bright, it will have a longer lifespan than one that uses more energy.
Our top pick for the best headlight bulbs is the Philips D4R Xenon HID Headlight Bulb. They will provide you with the brightest headlights possible without breaking the bank.
For a less expensive alternative, consider the Philips X-tremeVision Upgrade Headlight Bulb.