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Best Headlight Bulbs: Light the Way With These Top Headlight Bulbs

High quality bulbs will keep your lights shining at or above factory levels.

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Your headlights are only as good as the bulbs powering them. And, while they are only a small piece of your car’s tech, they’re critical in seeing clearly over distances when night falls or when weather makes visibility less than ideal. But, those bulbs don’t last forever and they’ll need to be replaced or even upgraded every few years.

Thanks to innovative new bulbs with varying brightness, color, and energy efficiency, there are more options than ever. Here are the best of all of them just in time to replace yours right now.

Summary List 

Our Methodology

In my search for the best headlight bulbs, I started by looking for bulbs from well-known and reputable manufacturers like Sylvania and Philips. I honed in on bulbs that were specifically manufactured to fit common headlight sizes, like H11 and H7 bulbs, for a wide range of use cases in different vehicles. In my search, I considered details like longevity, brightness (or lumen count), wattage, and expected lifespan. To get a sense of how easy the installation process was for each bulb and how they performed once installed, I looked to user reviews to understand common issues and positive experiences across use cases.

Best Headlight Bulbs: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Sylvania H11 XtraVision High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb

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Go with a classic — a classic made better — and opt for the Sylvania H11 XtraVision High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb. This two-bulb set is designed to replace headlight bulbs, high and low beams, and fog light bulbs. It’s a traditional halogen bulb, with a total of 1,345 lumens and 55 watts.

Its H11 size works in plenty of different makes and models. But it shines better than your average halogen bulb thanks to its XtraVision design, which features robust filament construction and a proprietary gas mixture that improves performance and longevity. These bulbs are also designed to prevent increased glare, allowing you to enhance your visibility over longer distances without adding extra challenges.

However, if it’s extra illumination and brightness you’re looking for, this standout all-around pick may not deliver. It’s about as bright as your vehicle’s stock bulbs, so it won’t give you much more in the way of brightness.

Best Value: Hella H7 Standard Halogen Bulb

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If you’re looking for a quality replacement for your factory headlight bulbs, these are them. There is a great chance these are the bulbs that came in your car from the factory, so if you are happy with the performance of your factory lights you can get these at a great price. At the time of writing this, they were under 5 bucks a piece, there are other common replacement bulbs that will set you back 50 bucks per, so you will have to decide if they are worth it. The color temperature on these is about 3300 Kelvin, which is pretty yellowish.

Here’s the caveat: when putting this guide together, I noticed that these vary in price quite a bit. The links here should take you directly to a single headlight bulb, in a box – that was the best price at the time. It costs more per bulb to buy the twin-pack. It also costs more to buy in a blister pack instead of a box. Go figure.

Honorable Mention: Philips H7 CrystalVision Ultra Upgraded Headlight Bulb

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The Philips H7 CrystalVision Ultra Upgraded Headlight Bulb is a perfect choice if you need a durable, trustworthy product that’ll survive almost anything. These bulbs are constructed differently from your average halogen bulb — they deliver your standard 55 watts, but provide a color temperature of up to 4,000K. Made with high-quality UV quartz glass, each bulb is stronger than basic glass and highly resistant to temperature extremes and road vibrations, minimizing your risk of issues. They’re also resistant to UV light thanks to their anti-UV coating, which keeps your bulbs safe from constant harsh sunlight. Additionally, a blue cap at the end of each bulb is designed to create cool light that’s brighter in darkness.

If you’re looking for pure white light from your headlight bulbs, however, these may not deliver flawlessly. They do have a slight yellowish tint, which makes them pretty similar to many standard halogen lights with a color temperature that maxes out around 4,000K. The cool blue hue advertised by the product description isn’t entirely accurate.

Best Premium: PIAA Xtreme White Bulbs

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Just because you opt for halogen bulbs doesn’t mean all headlight bulbs are the same – and a set of PIAA Xtreme White Bulbs makes basic halogens look dull. These premium bulbs are designed to simulate the look of more costly HID light bulbs, but using the longer-lasting halogen technology you’re already familiar with. Each bulb is constructed out of heat-resistant quartz glass and aerospace alloy filaments for longevity, with PIAA’s XTRA technology for increased light output. You can use the bulbs for low and high beams as well as dual-beam headlights and fog lights, depending on the size you choose. Plus, all of the bulbs are SAE-approved and DOT-compliant, in addition to being supported by a one-year warranty.

When it comes time to install these headlight bulbs, however, the process can be complicated. The bulbs aren’t designed in plug-and-play style, so you’ll need to remove some components (like grille and headlight housing) to get them properly in place.

Best Basic Halogen: Sylvania H11 Basic Headlight Bulb

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When you’re looking for simple yet effective headlight bulbs that you don’t have to worry about, choosing a Sylvania H11 Basic Headlight Bulb is a smart move. These basic performance bulbs are designed to meet DOT regulations and SAE standards, and they’re almost identical replacements for your car’s factory bulbs. They offer a 3,200K color temperature and perform at a standard wattage, delivering just the specs you need to match your original headlight brightness and output levels. Plus, these bulbs are also designed to prevent glare — when installed properly, of course — by focusing your headlight beams and limiting potential interference.

The only real drawback of these basic halogen headlight bulbs is their simple nature. If you’re searching for bulbs that can do more, these aren’t the right pick; they’re basic bulbs with no special features. You won’t find increased brightness, distance, or other perks in a pack of these bulbs.

Best OEM Replacement: Philips H11 Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb

Best OEM Replacement

Philips H11 Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb

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If you want to make absolutely sure you’re swapping out your old headlight bulbs for a set that’s equal in quality and performance to your OEM bulbs, choosing the Philips H11 Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb is a great move. These bulbs may work with a versatile range of vehicles, but no matter where they’re installed, they deliver OEM construction and performance. And Philips is a reputable choice for quality automotive bulbs. Each halogen bulb is designed to deliver crisp white color temperature, along with glare-free and symmetrical beams (when you use two identical bulbs, of course) to reduce glare and keep you seeing clearly and safely on the road.

There’s just one area in which these OEM-quality headlight bulbs don’t quite measure up, and it’s in brightness. You’ll likely notice that these halogen bulbs aren’t extra-bright, and they may be equal to your previous bulbs or less vibrant. They’re a good set of basics, but they can’t take your headlights to new brightness heights, if that’s what you’re hoping for.

Our Verdict on the Best Headlight Bulbs

With the Sylvania H11 XtraVision High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb, you’ll be able to extend your visibility and the lifespan of your vehicle’s headlight bulbs. These all-around reliable and solidly performing bulbs deliver, and they’re sized to fit a wide range of different makes and models. If you want extra bang for your buck, a pair of PIAA Xtreme White Bulbs will deliver extra brightness in a reliable package.

Things to Consider Before Buying Headlight Bulbs

Swapping out your current headlight bulbs for a new set isn’t difficult, but as you start to shop for replacement bulbs, you’ll notice you have a ton of options. Here’s what you need to know in order to find the right type, fit, and brightness level for both your vehicle and your visibility needs on the road. 

FAQs on Headlight Bulbs

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Which headlight bulbs are the brightest?

It depends on the amount of lumens you choose for your bulbs. The higher the lumen count, the brighter the bulbs will be. Typically, xenon and LED bulbs shine noticeably brighter than halogen ones.

Are HID or LED bulbs brighter?

LED headlights are potentially brighter, but most of it will come down to the design of the individual headlight design.

How many lumens are legal for headlight bulbs?

Federal laws state headlights can not be above 3,000 lumens.

Can I put LED bulbs in my stock headlights?

No, they are not legal and won’t function as the factory intended. If you’re planning to switch to LED headlight bulbs, you’ll need to upgrade your entire headlight housing so all of its components are LED-friendly and compatible.