Upgrading your factory headlight bulbs with more powerful replacements will provide you with much better visibility on the road for night driving. Replacing a halogen headlight bulb is also very straightforward and it can transform your car at night with the desirable xenon white look.
If you require a quick answer, the best headlights bulbs are the Philips Diamond X-treme Vision, which are available as a H4 or H7 bulb and are proven to produce up to 130% more brightness. However, if you want a slight blue tint to the white light, the Philips Crystal Vision is the best alternative.
The headlight bulb recommendations within this article are based upon multiple factors as well as plenty of research and testing. The factors that we considered to rate the bulbs included the bulb sizes available, lifespan, color temperature, certifications, build quality, value for money and warranty.
Table of Contents
Headlight Bulb Comparison
|Philips X-treme Vision||2||3,700K|
|Philips Crystal Vision||18||4,000K|
|PIAA Xtreme White Plus||17||4,000K|
|SYLVANIA SilverStar Ultra||8||3,500K|
|Nighthawk Platinum 9006||7||3,700K|
|Philips Vision Plus||19||3,300K|
|OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited||2||3,600K|
Many car owners make the mistake of assuming that halogen bulbs are the same as LED headlights. This simply isn’t the case because installing an LED may require an adapter that needs to fit inside of your current headlight unit and this may not be street legal or even fit at all. Upgrading to xenon white headlight bulbs will provide additional visibility on the road, brighter light as well as an improved look and feel. Unlike HID kits, there is no need for additional power packs or problems with it being street legal.
In terms of the light output, the color temperature for the desirable white light output is between 3,000K and 4,000K. Anything below 3,000K emits a yellow light whereas over 4,000K turns blue or purple.
Below is a list of the best headlight bulbs that provide increased visibility for night driving and are direct factory replacements.
The Best Headlight Bulbs
1. Philips X-treme Vision Headlight Bulbs
Philips is a brand that dominates the headlight bulb market with a wide range of bulbs available. The Diamond X-treme Vision is their highest performing bulb, which they claim provides 130% more light on the road when compared to standard OEM bulbs.
The popularity of these halogen headlight bulbs are mainly due to the fact they provide similar performance to a HID kit. However, compared with a HID kit, these bulbs provide a more natural white light, are easy to install and don’t blind other motorists.
Other features of the Philips X-treme Vision include:
- Available as a H4 or H7 bulb
- Provides 130 meters of light
- Color temperature of 3,700K
- Patented gradient coating
- 450 hours lifespan
- Road legal and ECE certified
- UV Quarz glass construction
Overall, the Philips X-treme Vision are the best headlight bulbs for night driving with an additional 130% of light when compared to standard bulbs. They aren’t the brightest headlight bulbs on the market but they deliver the desirable white light that improves your car’s aesthetics.Check it Out
2. Philips Crystal Vision Ultra Headlight Bulbs
Another popular pair of headlight bulbs that Philips produce are the Crystal Vision Ultra bulbs. They provide bright white light for night driving as well as a cool blue light effect when switched on during the day.
In order to maximize the compatibility of these bulbs, there is a choice of 18 sizes that are suitable for various locations other than the headlights such as the fog lights. The brand also state that these headlight bulbs provide the closest color to HID bulbs, which is thanks to the blue coating upon the glass and cap.
Other features of the Philips Crystal Vision Ultra include:
- Available in 18 different bulb sizes
- DOT compliant
- Color temperature of 4,000K
- Blue capped bulbs
- OEM quality seal
- 450 hours lifespan
The Crystal Vision headlight bulbs by Philips are fairly distinctive with the blue cap at the end of the bulb, which creates the blue tint effect. Unlike HID bulbs, they are also DOT compliant and provide an excellent source of xenon light at an affordable price. Therefore, as an overall package, they are a great option for any car owners that want the blue tint effect from a DOT compliant bulb.Check it Out
3. PIAA Xtreme White Plus H7 Bulbs
For those that are looking for the brightest headlight bulbs, PIAA have the answer. Unlike some of the alternatives, these bulbs produce an impressive 110 watts of light from just 55 watts of power, which is double that of the Philips bulbs. Although they are one of the brightest options, they are still DOT and SAE compliant, which means you will have no issues with using them on the street.
Other features of the PIAA Xtreme White Plus include:
- High performance bulb
- Heat resistant quartz glass
- 4,000K bright white
- XTRA technology for increased light output
- DOT and SAE compliant
- Blue capped for the blue tint effect
- Extra durable filaments
- Includes a 1 year warranty
The PIAA Xtreme White Plus are one of the best headlight bulbs for brightness with a range of sizes available to best suit your requirements. However, they are also the most expensive recommendation, which puts them out of budget for many people.Check it Out
4. Sylvania Silverstar Ultra Headlight Bulb
Sylvania is another popular halogen headlight bulbs brand that also produce a high performance based bulb. The Silverstar Ultra 9004 is designed for improved clarity and increased visibility on the road when compared with an OEM alternative. The brand state that the SilverStar Ultra is their brightest headlight bulb they produce whilst still meeting the DOT regulations and being street legal.
Other features of the Sylvania SilverStar Ultra Bulb include:
- 5 different bulb sizes
- Direct OEM replacement
- DOT compliant
- Patented Tri-Band technology
- Cobalt blue nano coating
Overall, the SilverStar Ultra are excellent all-round bulbs but they are fairly expensive when compared to the Philips alternative. However, the brand also produce other headlight bulbs that are less expensive and not as bright as these SilverStar Ultra bulbs.Check it Out
5. Nighthawk Platinum 9006 Halogen Bulbs
The Nighthawk Platinum headlight bulbs are available in several different sizes to best suit your requirements. The 9006 bulbs are designed to be halogen OEM replacements, which the brand claim provide up to 90% more light than standard bulbs. The platinum colored tip and blue skirted coating enhance the whiteness, which provides brighter light for night driving.
Other features of the Nighthawk Platinum 9006 include:
- Attractive and high-end look
- DOT compliant
- Platinum colored tip
- Anti-heating element to expand life span
- Direct replacement and easy to install
- 7 standard bulb sizes
- Tow bulbs in each pack
The Nighthawk Platinum are headlight bulbs that provide a high-end premium look with clear visibility for driving at night. They also have several design features that help to extend the life span of the bulbs.Check it Out
6. Philips VisionPlus Replacement OEM Bulbs
For those on a budget and aren’t looking for any sort of upgrade, the Philips Vision Plus bulbs are the best option because they are a direct OEM replacement. They are cheaper headlight bulbs when compared to OEM alternatives and also provide up to 60% more vision on the road too.
Other feature of the Philips VisionPlus include:
- 19 different bulb sizes
- 3,300K of light
- 450 hours life span
- DOT complaint
- OEM quality seal
If you are looking for an aftermarket replacement headlight bulb that’s cheap and a direct swap, these are the best bulbs. You also have peace of mind that they are built to a high standard because they are manufactured by the Philips brand.Check it Out
7. OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited H4 Bulb
The OSRAM Night Breaker H4 bulb is one of the brightest headlights bulbs on the market, which according to the brand provides up to 110% more light than standard bulbs. As with other reputable bulb brands, OSRAM offer these bulbs in a wide range of sizes to best suit your requirements.
Although these headlight bulbs are expensive, they are designed to be long lasting with a new and improved robust coil design.
Other features of the OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited include:
- Light output of up to 40 meters
- 110% brighter than a standard halogen bulb
- 20% more white light
- H4 bulb size
- 55W output
- Two bulbs per pack
- Made in Germany
Overall, these German made headlight bulbs are manufactured to the highest of standards and provide a clear, bright light output. The OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited are an excellent replacement that matches the OEM quality but provides additional performance.Check it Out
8. HELLA Standard H7 Bulb
HELLA are a highly reputable automotive lighting brand that are known for their quality off-road lights. However, their standard H7 bulb that they produce is designed to be a direct replacement where the brand guarantees a superior fit and long lasting performance. The brand also offer these headlight bulbs in numerous different configurations that are higher wattage or designed for off-road applications.
Other features of the HELLA H7 Headlight Bulb include:
- H7 headlight bulb size
- DOT, ECE, and INMETRO certified
- Available as a single or twin pack of bulbs
- High resistance against road vibration
- White or yellow light output
- OEM quality
The standard H7 bulb by HELLA is an excellent all-round option that matches or exceeds the quality of an OEM replacement but at a fraction of the price. The brand also offer a range of different bulb sizes, wattage and color options to best suit your requirements.Check it Out
How We Rated The Headlight Bulbs
After replacing a variety of headlights bulbs, we have gained plenty of experience from testing a range of bulbs that are produced from multiple brands. In order to rate the headlight bulbs, we also based our recommendations upon a number of factors. The factors that we considered included bulb sizes available, lifespan, color temperature, certifications, build quality, value for money and warranty.
Halogen Headlight Bulbs Buying Guide
The three most common reasons for changing your headlight bulb are because it’s broken, you want more visibility or you require a white light output. Standard halogen headlights are becoming phased out due to the fact that most car owners want the modern bright white light. This can be achieved by using some of our halogen bulb recommendations above or opting for LED headlights or HID kits.
Replacing your headlight bulbs is a simple modification that can make a huge difference to your visibility. They can also improve the appearance of your vehicles too when driving at night. To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding headlight bulbs.
Headlight Bulb Size
Not all bulb sizes are the same and they vary from manufacturers. Common sizes used for car headlights include H7, H4 and H1 but some manufacturers offer abnormal sizes.
When you remove the current bulb, the size will be stamped onto the metal part of the bulb. As you can see on the Philips bulb that we tested in the above photo, all the information is written on the side of the casing along with the DOT compliance stamp.
If you can’t find the size, check out Philips bulb size finder or try using Amazon’s car checker before purchasing.
To achieve the desirable white light output from your bulb, the color temperature must be between 3,000 and 4,000K on the Kelvin chart. Any higher than 4,000K and the light that’s output will be nearer to a purple color. Lower than 3,000K will be result in a standard yellow color output.
If you decide to choose a color other than white, you will want to check the law within your state as many colors other than halogen yellow and ice white aren’t road legal.
Below are some of the different headlight colors based from the Kelvin rating that are available to buy:
- 3,000K – Yellow/halogen
- 5,000K – White
- 8,000K – Blue
- 10,000K – Green
- 12,000K – Purple
- … and much more
The lens of your headlight can also change the color of the light outputted from the bulb. For example, if you have neglected the lens and have allowed it to become cloudy from the UV rays, the output may be distorted. If this is the case, we highly recommend using a headlight restoration kit for maximum light output.
Along with the color of the light, you will also want to check the wattage. If you want the brightest headlight bulbs, you will need a high wattage bulb.
Some manufacturers configure their bulbs so that they use more wattage when used as a high beam output. This will usually be stated on the bulb with wattage readings such as 60/55W, which is stated by the Philps X-treme Vision bulbs. The first digit refers to the high beam and the second is low beam.
How To Install Halogen Bulbs
Replacing your halogen headlights is far easier than replacing LED, HID or xenon bulbs. In most cases, fitting halogen headlight bulbs can be as simple as the following steps:
- Turn all lights off and then open the bonnet.
- Remove the cover that holds the bulbs in place (Not all cars have this).
- Remove the bulb from the headlight – you may need to turn the bulb holder anti-clockwise and then push down on a small leaver.
- Once the bulb is out of the headlight, pull the bulb away from the holder/wires.
- Fit the new bulb to the bulb holder/wires.
- TEST THAT THE BULB WORKS BEFORE MOVING ON.
- If the bulb works, proceed to carry out steps 1 to 5 in reverse.
The 7 steps are fairly brief but you will be able to find much more detail within your owners manual. It’s a quick and easy DIY task that we highly recommend trying yourself before paying to have them fitted.
When it comes to step 5, you will want to be cautious at this stage. You shouldn’t touch the glass of the bulb and also not use too much force. If you are trying to push the bulb in too hard, it could bend the connection and cause further issues.
As you can see from the below bulb, it has been designed to be a “push fit” without any force required. If you find yourself forcing the bulb onto the holder, you may have the wrong bulb size.
Performance of Headlight Bulbs
When it comes to the performance of halogen bulbs, the price you pay will make a big difference. High-end bulbs will use higher quality materials, which results in a brighter light that often lasts far longer. The standard halogen bulb will only last between 200 to 300 hours but all of the above headlight bulbs last 400 hours or longer.
Another performance factor is the light output range, which can make a big difference for night driving. Investing into a quality bulb will increase your visibility on the road and will last much longer than cheaper alternatives that are available.
When upgrading your headlight bulbs, there are potential issues that may arise with the most common being a canbus error. This will show as a light error on your dash and even when you try to clear codes with an OBD2 scanner, the bulb icon may still remain. The majority of the time, the bulbs will continue to run perfectly but the error code can be fairly irritating to look at whilst your driving.
We highly recommend that any halogen headlight bulbs you purchase have “Canbus FREE” stated within the description. This means they are designed to prevent the errors appearing.
Flickering of the light bulb or the light not being illuminated after flickering is another common issue. We would highly recommend that you check the connection with the bulb and the holder to ensure it’s held securely.
As there are three headlight bulbs that are highly rated within this article by Philips, it’s fairly obvious which brand we think produce the best headlight bulbs. They tick every box in terms of price, durability, reliability and performance. The X-treme Vision are the best performers but are limited in terms of bulb sizes. Alternatively the Diamond Vision are just as good but have a slight tint of blue to the bulbs.
Upgrading from halogen headlights has a range of benefits that goes much further than just the desirable color. All of our recommendations provide excellent performance and are suited to a range of budgets.