Since 1960, halogen headlight bulbs have been the lighting of choice for almost any car in the market. The technology has improved over the years to include more heat resistance and higher lumens while retaining low pricing compared to the emergent LED and Xenon headlights.
The insufficient lighting and low lifespan of the factory bulbs make it necessary to upgrade to a better headlight bulb almost immediately after purchasing your car. Your choice of the best halogen headlight bulbs should agree with legal requirements, your car’s wiring as well as your lighting needs.
Upgrading to higher lumen halogen headlight bulbs has far-reaching implications. You have to consider the hours of service the bulb will offer and it’s compatibility with your car’s electric system. The wrong choice of a halogen bulb will affect your driving experience, you may have to replace bulbs more often if you mishandle during installation also considering the safety risks associated with poor lighting.
For safety and efficiency purposes, the choice of the best halogen headlight and proper handling is paramount and this guide has all the choices and directions for that.
- Comparing Halogen Headlight Bulbs to LEDs and HID Headlights
- Benefits of Halogen Headlight Bulbs
- Things to Consider When Choosing Halogen Headlight Bulbs
- Top 10 Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs Reviews:
- 1. The Philips 9006 Crystalvision Headlight Bulb
- 2. The Sylvania 9006 Silverstar Halogen Bulb
- 3. The PIAA Extreme White Halogen Bulb
- 4. The GE Nighthawk Halogen Headlight Bulbs
- 5. The Sylvania H11 High-Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb
- 6. The HELLA High Wattage Halogen Headlight Bulb
- 7. PIAA H13 High-Performance Halogen Bulb
- 8. Philips H11 Crystalvision Halogen Headlight Bulb
- 9. The Osram H7 Nightbreaker Halogen Headlamp
- 10. The GE 9003 Nighthawk Sports Halogen Bulb
- Adjusting Car Headlights
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs: Editor’s Top Picks
Comparing Halogen Headlight Bulbs to LEDs and HID Headlights
Halogen headlight bulbs use a combination of gases and a tungsten filament to ignite and glow at a very high temperature. The gas reacts with the filament and forms a slight black residue that causes the bulb to dim over time mostly within 600 to 1000 hours depending on the wattage.
HID headlight bulbs are designed to light on xenon gas that converts more energy into light than heat giving them a lifespan of 30000 to 50000 hours.
LED headlights are the longest-lasting in the market as they are smaller in size and designed with better heat distribution and can last the whole lifetime of your car.
Since most of the energy pumped into halogen headlight bulbs turns to heat which is necessary for the bulb to light, They produce a dim light with a maximum of 1300lm.
LED headlights are designed to produce a stronger beam with varying functionality among different manufacturers, some combined LED bulbs can produce up to 100,000lm beams.
HID headlight bulbs produce the brightest glow when ignited lighting up to 50,000lm with projection style HIDs producing the brightest beams.
Halogen headlights are designed to fit directly into your car’s housing which allows you to simply purchase the individual bulb with no ballast or casing extensions. This makes them the cheapest lighting solution on the market.
Some LED headlight bulbs have been designed to fit almost any model design but you may have to buy a new housing to accommodate the LED headlights or bars.
HID headlight bulbs are more expensive despite better housing since you have to buy a new kit with ballasts and replace your factory halogen housing before using them.
- Wattage and Voltage
All headlight bulbs are designed to work with a car’s wiring without overheating it and this applies to both halogen, LED and HID headlight bulbs. Most bulbs use 12v at high performance but HID bulbs require more power to ignite compared to LED and Halogen bulbs.
Halogen bulbs are also less efficient due to less power conversion as they generate more heat than light to produce their beams.
Benefits of Halogen Headlight Bulbs
- They are generally cheaper than any other headlight bulb solution in the market.
- Halogen headlights are easy to install as they do not require any modification to the original factory housing.
- Modern Halogen headlight bulbs are designed to imitate HID brightness with a simple profile that provides a classy lighting solution at a low cost.
- They are the most universally available lighting solutions for most cars. You will find them anywhere for any car model.
- Halogen headlight bulbs are safe to drive with. They produce very little glares which doesn’t blind oncoming drivers for a safer driving experience.
- They offer a better side view as compared to most HID and LED headlight bulbs helping you respond better to threats from the roadside.
- Direct integration with the original wiring of your car means less strain on the battery for a longer service from your car’s electric connection.
Things to Consider When Choosing Halogen Headlight Bulbs
The market has cheap and powerful halogen headlight bulbs for any type of lighting if you choose right. Each of these halogen headlight bulb reviews is for a bulb fit for specific service. Before paying for your halogen headlight bulb, you need to consider it’s ability, time and type of service. Here are the factors to consider before choosing your best halogen headlight bulb:
This is the power needed from your battery to maximumly light up your halogen headlight bulb. In most cases, the wattage is 55w but if it is higher, you have to ensure it conforms to your car’s stock guidelines. Low wattage means a weaker light. However, a very high wattage will melt your car’s wiring.
The best halogen headlight bulb should have the actual wattage with directives from the manufacturer on compatible wiring systems.
The color temperature
When buying a halogen headlight bulb, you have to check the color temperature, measured in kelvins and determines the type and strength of the beam released by the halogen bulb. 3000K and below means a yellow light which is generally very dim. 3000to 4000k will give a white light with those above 4000k offering a stronger white light.
Some halogen headlight bulbs may not have the color temperature label, you can ask the manufacturer or check customer reviews to see the light provided by the bulb. This guide reviews only the best halogen headlight bulbs with a white light emission for clear night viewing.
Dual upgrade and availability of replacement
Halogen headlight bulbs light using argon and nitrogen gas with modern versions including xenon for a whiter light. This means the bulb becomes dim with time as the gas burns at a high temperature.
The bulb deposits a black residue on the filament with continued use making the bulb grow dimmer and dimmer. You should be able to replace both bulbs at the same time for a uniform light from both the left and right headlight when driving.
Vehicle compatibility and ease of installation
Which wiring plug is your vehicle suited for? Philips and Sylvania are famous for diversifying their halogen headlight bulbs for most car models. However, you have to check whether the bulb will plug into an H4 or H13 wiring and fit into the housing perfectly. A loose bulb vibrates a lot when you drive causing the bulb to burn out prematurely.
The bulb should be accompanied by an installation manual as well. This halogen bulb review has all the plug and uses options that do not need tools to install the halogen headlight bulb.
The DOT and other government agencies have guidelines on the level of glare your headlight can emit. Although most halogen headlight bulbs conform to these rules, some imported headlight bulbs may require a slight adjustment.
Most high wattage bulbs may exceed the required limit making them specifically suitable for offroading. The manufacturer should specifically explain the compliance measures of the bulb as part o the installation manual package.
Top 10 Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs Reviews:
1. The Philips 9006 Crystalvision Headlight Bulb
Philips is more than just a brand in electronics, it is known for quality that can withstand time and weather. The company has been improving their car lighting solutions for a long time with this crystal vision headlight bulb imitating the lighting of a Xenon HID headlight.
It is suitably designed for upgrading your lighting to a brighter white beam of an HID xenon bulb while retaining the original halogen technology of your car. It is actually the cheapest solution to HID lighting.
It has a mirrored blue cap at the tip that gives a stylish blue appearance on the headlamp during the day and also complements the strong white beam at night.
Philips uses a 55-watt bulb with an extra casing that helps distribute the heat more evenly making the bulb safer and able to last up to 3000 hours. The biggest advantage with Philips designs is that they are compatible with almost any car’s original housing. All you have to do is plug in the bulb. The
crystallization bulb is sold in pairs allowing you to achieve uniform lighting with every replacement. The Philips cap is also designed to keep the beam low and spread for a better vision on the road while avoiding blinding oncoming drivers.
- An enhanced brightness that imitates a strong HID beam with the original halogen housing.
- Philips bulbs are standardly priced with an extended lifespan for longer service.
- The bulb is sold in pairs at the same standard price allowing a uniform upgrade.
- Compatibility with almost any halogen housing with global availability makes replacement easy.
- A customized white beam with a stylish blue reflection in the daylight.
- Philips uses an extra casing to distribute heat evenly making the bulb safe when driving.
2. The Sylvania 9006 Silverstar Halogen Bulb
Sylvania has some of the brightest halogen headlights in the market with their wide view and down-road driving focus. Sylvania halogen bulbs are suited for both high and low cars with a wide view that has a minimal glare to keep you and oncoming drivers safe when driving at night.
This Ultra night vision uses 55w bulbs that are sold in pairs for a uniform replacement. The Silverstar halogen bulbs have a lining that allows the bulb cap to concentrate more power to white light reducing the heating on the bulb.
The lifespan of the 9006 headlight bulbs is extended with an improved tungsten filament with higher heat resistance and a blue coating for brighter illumination at night. It increases the beam concentration for longer distance focuses with a reduced glare while allowing you a nearly 180-degrees of view.
It can light up the road even when driving offroad. Sylvania has universal fitting sizes for these bulbs for almost any halogen casing. They can fit in H1, H7 H11, H13 and 9003 to 9012 halogen housings.
- Integrated blue Cobalt coating and a powerful filament that allows the bulb to emit an HI-LO beam as well as accompanying fog lights.
- An enhanced distance focus with reduced glare for both clear side-road and down-road view.
- Universal sets for most halogen casings which you can replace almost anywhere in the world.
- The Triband nano-coating on the bulbs produces a cool white light that immensely improves contrast for a finely detailed view.
3. The PIAA Extreme White Halogen Bulb
These are the brightest halogen headlight bulbs with H4 plug orientation from PIAA which makes them suitable for any low car. PIAA uses alloy filaments and quartz glass for the extreme vision bulbs which allow the 55w halogen bulb to put out up to 110w producing a sharp cut beam. With a cold-pressed aluminum base, the friction and vibrations when driving are near zero reducing burnouts.
The quartz glass and alloy filament are more durable than simple incandescent bulbs. These bulbs are a little pricey compared to Philips halogen headlight bulbs but they are well suited for night driving.
The bulbs produce a white lumen similar to a 4000k HID headlight with a crystal blue reflection induced to improve your car’s appearance during the day.
The Cold pressed aluminum also absorbs some of the heat from the tip of the bulb ensuring regulated temperatures even at maximum use. Upgrading to Extreme night vision bulbs is easy as the bulbs fit into any halogen housing with an H4 plug. PIAA also offers great customer support.
The bulb is sold in pairs, make sure you replace both sides at the same time for uniform beams. This is probably the best halogen headlight for long-term service as they are designed to stay stable on bumpy rides to avoid burning out.
- Simple integration with a preset design to fit your housing, simply remove the factory bulb and replace it.
- Polymer and condenses aluminum finishes that hold firmly into the housing reducing vibrations to avoid burning out.
- The quartz glass enhances the beam for a fine detail down-road view.
- The 110w output from a 55w intake is very bright while the aluminum-plated base reduces heating.
4. The GE Nighthawk Halogen Headlight Bulbs
The GE titanium-coated bulbs are one of the market’s brightest halogen headlight bulbs for low cars. The Skirted coating combines well with the platinum globe to maximize the whiteness of the beam. These are HI-LO halogen bulbs that can fit on any H4, 9004 up to 9007 halogen housing with quick installation.
The bulb has an extra elongated filament and tube to contain more halogen gas that sparks up a strong beam with very little energy at startup. They consume 12v with a low startup voltage allowing your car to achieve high contrast lighting with little strain on the battery. GE offers a limited warranty on the Nighthawk bulbs.
The platinum cover allows the bulb to retain a classy look in the daylight. GE makes their bulbs using a standard quartz glass casing with an aluminum plated base that can spread a lot of heat in a short time for safety. The reduced glare in the GE halogen bulbs makes them safe and DOT compliant but the side view is not as detailed. They are still standardly priced and designed to achieve clear-cut beams in down-road mode.
- The anti heating focus of the compressed polymer and aluminum base makes the bulbs a safe option for heavy duty service.
- A titanium cap coating maximizes the whiteness of the light nearly twice the size of factory bulbs.
- G.E offers a limited warranty on the bulb which saves you money in case the build fails to meet your requirements within the warranty period.
- Reduced side-view glare for safety to the oncoming drivers.
- The down-road focus with a long downfaced filament for a detailed beam especially in low cars.
5. The Sylvania H11 High-Performance Halogen Headlight Bulb
This is Sylvania’s best halogen headlight bulb incorporated with Xenon HID utility. Sylvania uses a cobalt blue coating that gives your bulb an extra blue shine during the day. The mirrored tip maximizes the beam to give the brightness of a xenon headlight bulb.
The halogen combination of this 55w Silverstar halogen headlight bulb contains a sample of Xenon alongside the normal neon and argon.
The headlight has HI-LO performance with an HID color temperature. It is available for almost any car model like all Sylvania headlight bulbs. Sylvania employed a small tungsten with a stronger coating to produce less heat and more white light for bright light. This is the best halogen headlight bulb for universal HID illumination using on halogen headlight housings.
Sylvania combines maximum side view and down-road focus making the bulb light up the whole road for a better view. You can employ these bulbs on any car model including raised cars without compromising your view of the road.
- The incorporation of Xenon in the halogen combination emits the brightest light at the usual 12v.
- A jewel-like shine brightens up the headlight imitating an amber turning light and DRL.
- A small tungsten filament with more halogen to produce a crisp white light and less heat which also elongates the lifespan of the bulb.
- Sylvania is a global market-focused brand that regulates its light to adhere to DOT and other traffic regulations.
- The mirror-like alloy tip and cobalt blue coating give a shiny look and a glow that makes a car stand out.
6. The HELLA High Wattage Halogen Headlight Bulb
Hella is simply the ultimate description of versatile. The company has a range of heavy-duty halogen headlight bulbs from 12v 55w to 24v 130w that provides the brightest light as high as your car batteries can allow.
The bulbs are standard priced and sold in a single package which allows you to replace one at a time if you are on a budget. However, it is best to upgrade both and use bulbs of equal wattage for maximum performance. The bulbs are OEM quality with H4 compatibility making them suitable for a large number of vehicle models. The high wattage bulbs are only suited for offroad use as they are not suitable for high oncoming traffic.
The High wattage bulbs integrate high German auto lighting technology in 0ver 35 countries making them compatible with many models as well as meeting specific legal regulations. The high wattage ensures the strongest beams that imitate HID projection style headlights which offer a detailed view in low-lit off-road.
You have to check the manual for compatibility as the high power input requirement may affect your wiring functionality.
- A standard price and single bulb in the package allow economical upgrades.
- The brightest light when driving offroad provides more safety in poor roads such as driving in forests or farms.
- The large variety allows you to choose the best fit for your car, the low wattage bulbs still offer long service in standard driving.
- Every wattage level is aligned with just the right voltage at standard temperatures when driving which makes the bulbs safe.
- The offroading focus makes them the best halogen headlight bulbs for specialized trips such as camping trips.
- The H4 plug design allows you to install and remove quickly depending on your lighting needs.
7. PIAA H13 High-Performance Halogen Bulb
This is the best choice of a halogen headlight bulb for any modern make raised car such as a J series jeep wrangler or an h1, h2 Hummer. PIAA added more features for a strong beam you may have to lower the headlights a bit for a low car to reduce the glare on oncoming drivers. The Quartz glass can sustain the highest color temperature output while maximizing the white light for maximum illumination.
These bulbs provide high contrast with a condensed aluminum base and a crystal tip that spread the heat evenly. The high tungsten filament is raised at a slight tilt to achieve a clear down-road focus with the blue coating allowing a clear low glare side view. This makes the bulb a suitable choice for both standard road and offroad driving.
The H13 plug allows is compatible with many modern car models allowing a quick installation and adjusting interface. The bulbs are high discharge with a standard 12v working consumption at 55w while releasing up to 110w due to the unique halogen combination.
PIAA uses a classy titanium cap with a narrow shape towards the tip that allows the halogen bulb to achieve up to 35m in the down-road beam. The bulbs are sold in packs of 2 for uniform lighting and they come with a PIAA part warranty.
- A modern predesign for H13 and 9008 plugs that are compatible with most modern raised cars.
- An intense white down-road of up to 35m with a reduced side view glare for a well-lit night driving experience while protecting oncoming drivers.
- The Long filament with a narrow tip achieves sharp down-road beams with maximum energy being focused on the white light.
- PIAA uses a proprietary halogen gas combination that ignites at a standard 12v power allowing your headlights to reach a maximum light in a short time.
8. Philips H11 Crystalvision Halogen Headlight Bulb
While the 9006 has a brighter light, Philips designed the H11 for a clear further view down the road. The bulb’s Filaments are tilted at a unique angle with a concave finish that merges the two beams for an edge-to-edge view of the road. The long-distance focus with the same Xenon bulb imitation makes the bulb a great choice for offroad drivers.
Philips makes high-quality filaments that last over 3000 hours which is longer than most halogen headlight bulbs. The H11 Ultra night vision retains the crystal white beam with a blue coating that provides a classy appearance during the day.
The Philips halogen headlight bulbs are still at the top of any halogen headlight review for universal compatibility and good quality. This bulb is sold in pairs for uniform upgraded lighting. Philips retained their upgraded tungsten filament which lights up at 12v and maintains the same current.
The bulb spreads heat evenly maintaining a low temperature for long hours making it very safe.
It is suited for the most modern H11 port wirings with more ultra night vision varieties for H14 wirings. You need to confirm with the Philips website to choose the bulb that suits your car best.
- Concave bulb tips that converge the beam at a long-distance view for an edge-to-edge white beam that lights the road better without scattering the light.
- Philips is standardly priced offering a Xenon imitation at the lowest possible price.
- Compatibility with most wiring systems including H11 and H13 Headlight wiring.
- A classy crystal blue appearance during the day.
9. The Osram H7 Nightbreaker Halogen Headlamp
Osram invested more in a powerful filament with a 3600k white light which is way brighter than your original stock bulb. The 55w bulb releases up to 110w which has a brighter beam for a clear edge view of the road. The most powerful tool on the Osram bulb is the coiled tungsten filament that is designed to withstand very high temperatures while igniting the halogen gas for maximum brightness.
The bulb has a blue coating for a customized shine during the day. The Filament is also narrowed at the tip to converge further down the road at about 40m making your night driving more lit.
Osram sells a pair of bulbs for uniformity at a standard price of some single bulbs in the market. This is actually one of the cheapest long distance focus lighting solutions that can fit almost any halogen headlight housing.
The mirrored coating at the tip also makes the lumen whiter for a more detailed view as you drive at night. This is an H7 size bulb and the installation manual is quite detailed making it easy to install the bulb in no time.
- A coiled tungsten filament that is more resistant to heat for a longer lifespan.
- Enhanced down-road focus with an over 40m down-road focus that gives you more response time especially when offroading.
- The pricing for the pair of Osram Nightbreaker halogen bulbs is standardized to almost the price of a single bulb.
10. The GE 9003 Nighthawk Sports Halogen Bulb
The GE American tungsten has the strongest color temperature output of any halogen headlight bulb. This is a high-performance design with a shorter lifespan compared to the standard nighthawk.
This halogen bulb has the same titanium coating with a lighter blue coating and a shorter filament. The result is a long divergent blue-white beam that gives a sharp edge to edge view making it a suitable option for any vehicle model. The divergent beam has a weaker glare as the oncoming driver gets closer making it safe for heavy oncoming traffic.
The titanium tip with the faint crystal blue coating has a jewel-like shimmer during the day and acts as a powerful ballast at night for a very clear down-road view. GE makes their range of bulbs suitable for almost any model.
The nighthawk sport halogen bulbs are compatible with regular 9003 halogen bulb housings. GE customizes their halogen bulbs down to specific traffic requirements with DOT compliance which makes the bulb suitable for almost any car in any location. They sell a pack with 2 bulbs for uniform lighting after replacement.
- A low glare blue-white beam that allows oncoming drivers to notice you better without affecting their direct vision.
- A boosted down-road focus with the divergent filaments for a sharp edge-to-edge view extending over 40m down the road.
- Compatibility with many car models and suitable for both high and low vehicles.
- HI-LO beam integrated into each pack for a better driving experience.
Adjusting Car Headlights
When you upgrade to a new headlight bulb, the angle of the beam may fall slightly out of place, mostly pointing higher. You may have to adjust the light a little bit for safety and a better view of the road.
Before adjusting, you have to ensure your car is level by using the headlight aim adjustment, if not fitted on your car, simply remove extra baggage, reduce pressure to the manufacturer’s recommendation while the gas tank is half full.
You have to measure the distance from the ground to the headlights on all sides to ensure the vehicle is level before beginning the adjustment. These are the steps to follow to get the original position of your beam from an upgraded headlight.
- 1. Park the car exactly 8m from the wall or garage door.
- 2. Turn on your headlights without the high beam and make a letter T at 3ft from the ground with the tape in the center of both headlights. Remove the trim rings from the bumper to access the adjustment screws.
- 3. Cover the passenger headlight and locate the vertical and horizontal adjustment screws on the driver-side headlight.
- 4. Rotate the vertical adjustment screw until the top of the beam is just below the top of the masking tape. If you drive on the left, rotate the horizontal adjustment screw until the light is to the left of the vertical tape.
- 5. Repeat the procedure on the passenger side headlight with the driver side headlight covered and replace the trim ring.
You should be able to get a clear view of the road after these steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which are the best halogen headlight bulbs?
- These halogen headlight bulbs reviews are meant for different car sizes and models but Philips and Sylvania produce the best halogen headlight bulbs in the market. However, the other brands may offer extra utility, especially for offroading.
2. Do halogen headlight bulbs last long?
- Halogen headlight bulbs have a limited lifespan. Most standard brands last up to 1000 hours with modern xenon integrated models extending up to 3000 hours.
3. Are Halogen headlight bulbs better than LED and HID headlights?
- Halogen headlights have a cost and compatibility advantage over the other two. However, LED and HID headlights produce more light and have a longer lifespan which makes them cheaper in the long run.
4. How do you upgrade to a Halogen headlight bulb?
- You have to ensure the bulb fits your manufacturer’s housing design. You should not handle the new halogen bulb with your bare hands as oil and foreign substances affect heat distribution which reduces the lifespan of your bulb.
- Once you open the car’s halogen housing, you simply need to unplug your original stock bulb and replace it with the new halogen headlight bulb at the same angle as the stock bulb. You will be done in less than 10 minutes for most bulbs.
5. When do I replace my halogen headlight bulb?
- After some time, you will realize a blur on one or both of the halogen bulbs, the best time to notice is during sunset when there is still little sunlight left. The bulbs can also burn out or you may get a frequent heating signal on your dashboard. You should always replace in pairs for a uniform beam.
Having proper lighting for your car does not only improve your driving experience, it is also a safety measure for you and other road users. It is difficult to choose the right halogen headlight for your car with the variety in the market which includes low-quality bulbs that may not be any different from your factory bulbs.
This guide contains all you need to know about halogen headlights and the best halogen bulb varieties. Halogen bulbs need regular replacements and you should choose a brand that will allow you to find replacements near you. If possible you can always get an extra pair for when a bulb burns out.