Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs: Drive at Night With More Confidence
Upgrade your old, dim headlight bulbs with whiter and brighter ones.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON November 22, 2021
If you don't want to spend money on LED lights, replacing your burned-out bulbs with halogen headlight bulbs is a good option. The automotive industry relied on halogen headlights for years because they are easy to produce and replace. Plus, they're brighter and often longer lasting than incandescent bulbs. Good-quality halogen headlight bulbs can illuminate the road properly and won't blind oncoming drivers because they're not as bright as some other types of bulbs. Check out some of the best available in our buying guide below.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Halogen Headlight Bulbs
- They help you see at night. Without headlight bulbs, you won't get very far in your vehicle at night or in low-light conditions. They're a necessity when it comes to driving after dark.
- They are superior when it comes to side views. Compared to LED and HID bulbs, halogen headlight bulbs provide a wider field of view. You will be able to see the sides of the road much better with this type of bulb.
- They are less likely to blind oncoming drivers. Some headlight bulbs are so bright that they cause a lot of glare. Halogen headlight bulbs won't irritate other drivers as much as other bulbs do.
- They make driving safer. If you have a burned-out headlight, it can be harder to see what's going on in front of you, which can lead to a crash. A brand-new set of halogen headlight bulbs can solve the issue.
- They're versatile. You can install halogen lights on cars, SUVs, motorcycles, and more. They are available in a range of sizes and fit a variety of vehicles.
Types of Headlight Bulbs
Halogen bulbs have been used in vehicle headlights for many years. This type of bulb contains halogen gas as well as a thin tungsten filament and a glass filament. The gas moves through the tungsten to the filament, producing a chemical reaction when the headlight is turned on. Halogen lights generate a white light with a tint of yellow.
Xenon headlights are also known as high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. They hit the market in the early '90s and eventually became the top headlight option for many car manufacturers. A xenon light produces 3,000 lumens compared to a halogen light, which produces just 1,400. Xenon headlights also have a longer lifespan than their halogen counterparts.
LED headlight bulbs were first used on vehicles in the early aughts. They need less power to function than classic halogen lights and are popular on hybrid models such as the Toyota Prius. They emit light similarly to HID and halogen bulbs but can produce a more focused ray of bright light as well as different shapes. You cannot, however, replace Xenon or Halogen bulbs with LED bulbs as it's illegal and dangerous to do so without replacing the entire headlight assembly that's designed for an LED bulb.
Sylvania traces its roots to 1901 when entrepreneur Frank Poor joined a small company in Middleton, Mass.,that renewed burned-out light bulbs. By 1942, the company became Sylvania Electric Products, Inc. The brand has been under the LEDVANCE umbrella since 2016. Two top products are the SYLVANIA - 9003 XtraVision - High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb and the SYLVANIA - 9006 SilverStar Ultra - High Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb.
Philips & Co. was founded in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father, Frederik Philips. It soon became one of the world’s leading producers of light bulbs. Two popular products are the Philips H11 Standard Authentic Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb and Philips X-treme Vision +130% Headlight Bulbs.
General Electric (GE) was founded in 1892 with the merger of Edison General Electric Company of Schenectady, N.Y., and Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Lynn, Mass. The company's headquarters are in Boston, Mass. One recommended product is the GE Lighting 9003/BP Standard OEM Halogen Replacement Bulb.
Sally Windmüller founded the company Westfälische Metall-Industrie Aktien-Gesellschaft in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1899, producing lanterns, headlamps, horns, and fittings for bicycles, carriages, and automobiles. HELLA was first trademarked for an acetylene headlamp in 1908. The company now has 40,000 employees in 35 countries. One top product is the HELLA H7 Standard Halogen Bulb.
OSRAM was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Munich, Germany. The company develops, produces and sells lamps, light modules, and sensor components for automotive applications. One popular product is the Osram H1 Night Breaker Unlimited Halogen Bulbs 55W.
PIAA has been designing automotive products since 1963. Its American headquarters are in Portland, Ore. The company produces halogen and HID fog and driving lamps, LED daytime running lights, accent lighting, high-performance replacement Halogen bulbs, and more. One recommended product is the PIAA H11 Xtreme White Plus Bulb.
Halogen Headlight Bulb Pricing
- Under $10: Some halogen headlight bulbs are very inexpensive. They are good replacements for original equipment bulbs but generally won't increase your headlights' brightness or performance.
- $10-$20: Many high-quality halogen headlight bulbs are available at this price point. They are often brighter than stock bulbs and provide a better range of view at night.
- $20 and up: The more you spend on halogen headlight bulbs, the brighter and whiter they tend to be. Expect to spend $40 or more if you want lights that are extremely white and intense.
Luminance or Brightness
Halogen headlight bulbs that are vivid and bright will enable you to see more of the road's surface area. The brighter or more luminescent they are, the better, so look for something with at least 1,000 lumens. The only caveat with brighter headlights is that they tend to have a shorter lifespan and will need to be replaced more often.
Another one of the most important factors when selecting the best high or best low beam headlight bulb is how long it will last. Look for ones that last longer than a year or two. This will prevent you from having to change the bulb as often and will be less costly in the long run.
- Compatibility. Not all halogen bulbs will fit all vehicles. You need to check your vehicle's make, model, and year to make sure it lines up with a product's part number. This will ensure that the best halogen light bulbs will properly fit in your car, truck, or van's headlight assembly.
- Range. The best halogen headlight bulbs should give you a long field of vision and down road visibility at night. The further you can see on the highway or on a rural road, the safer you will be. Even just a few extra feet of light can make a big difference.
- Color Temperature. The brighter and whiter a bulb is the higher the color temperature is. In the past, halogen bulbs were yellow. These days you can find bright white halogen headlight bulbs for your car. In addition to producing excellent visibility, they also give your vehicle a stylized look. Bulbs with a temperature less than 3000K (Kelvin) will produce yellow light. If it's higher than 3000K, the bulb will be white. Bulbs over 4000K will produce bright white light.
- Ease of Installation. It's usually not too difficult to replace a halogen headlight bulb. Check your vehicle's owners manual as well as the product's instructions to do it properly. Just make sure you have the proper connections. For example, you may require the best H1 headlight bulb or you may need the best H7 halogen bulb.
Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Replacement halogen bulbs are usually available in a twin pack or single pack. Make sure you know the quantity you need when you’re selecting the best headlight bulb brand.
- If you decide to upgrade to a brighter bulb, it's a good idea to replace both bulbs at the same time. The brightest halogen light bulbs can be significantly brighter than standard halogens, and you don't want to produce an uneven light beam.
- When you're looking for replacement halogen headlights, make sure to choose ones that are street legal. Check that they are certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If they're not, review your state's regulations to make sure they won't cause you any legal problems.
- Headlight bulbs lose about 20 percent of their lighting capacity after about two or three years. If you want to ensure optimum visibility, consider changing the bulbs before they burn out.
- Be careful not to touch the glass surface of a halogen bulb during installation. Use gloves or a paper towel when handling a bulb to avoid contaminating the surface and to prolong its life.
Q: When do I need to replace my halogen bulbs?
Bulbs get old and deteriorate over time. If the bulb stops working, you need to replace it. A bulb also needs to be swapped out if it no longer shines light very far or is not as bright as it used to be.
Q: How long do halogen headlight bulbs last?
As we mentioned previously, halogen bulbs have a shorter lifespan than some other types of bulbs. Typically, a halogen bulb will last 2,000 hours or two years.
Q: Are halogen headlight bulbs safe?
Halogen light bulbs can get very hot. When the bulbs age, they can produce even more heat and can take a while to cool off. Like any other type of light, the glass can be dangerous if the bulb breaks.
Q: What is the best and brightest halogen headlight bulb?
There are several excellent halogen headlight bulbs available online and in stores. We include many options in this buying guide, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
Q: Can you put LED bulbs in halogen headlights?
No, it's illegal to replace halogens with LED bulbs unless you get sealed complete headlight assemblies, not just the bulb. Just replacing the bulb is illegal. Don't do it.
Our pick for the best halogen headlight bulb is the Philips 9006 CrystalVision Ultra Upgrade Bright White Headlight Bulb. The bulbs produce a bright white look similar to HID lights. The light beam is focused and bright; and they have a cooler, whiter color than standard, stock halogen bulbs. They also help you see better in the fog.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the HELLA Standard-55W Standard Halogen H7 Bulbs.