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The Best Headlight Bulbs 2020

Changing your OEM headlight bulbs with powerful halogen replacements provides much better visibility on the road for night driving. Replacing a halogen headlight bulb is a straight forward task and can transform your car with the desirable xenon white look.

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.

Many car owners make the common mistake of assuming that halogen bulbs are the same as LED headlights. Installing an LED may require an adapter to fit in your current headlight unit, which may not be street legal and not even fit at all.

Headlight Bulbs Comparison

Headlight BulbsSize(s)Kelvin/Color
Philips X-treme Vision23,700K
Philips CrystalVision184,000K
PIAA Xtreme White Plus 174,000K
SYLVANIA SilverStar Ultra83,500K
Nighthawk Platinum 900673,700K
Philips VisionPlus193,300K
OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited23,600K
HELLA Standard103,200K

Upgrading to xenon white headlight bulbs will provide additional visibility on the road, brighter light and an improved look and feel. Unlike HID kits there is no need for additional power supplies or problems with being street legal.

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 along with a more aesthetically pleasing light output.

The Best Headlight Bulbs


1. Philips X-treme Vision Headlight Bulbs


Philips is a brand that dominates the halogen headlight bulb market and with a wide range of bulbs available. The Diamond X-treme Vision is their best performing bulb, which they claim provides 130% more light on the road compared to standard OEM bulbs.

The popularity of these halogen headlight bulbs are many due to the fact they provide similar performance to HID. Compared with a HID kit, these bulbs provide more natural white light, 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

The Philips X-treme Vision are the best headlight bulbs for night driving with an additional 130% of light compared to standard bulbs. They aren’t the brightest headlight bulbs but they deliver the desirable white light that also improves aesthetics.

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2. Philips CrystalVision Ultra Headlight Bulbs

Another popular headlight bulbs that Philips produce are the CrystalVision Ultra bulbs. They provide bright white light for night driving and 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 various locations such as the fog lights.

The brand 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 CrystalVision Ultra include:

  • Available in 18 different bulb sizes
  • DOT compliant
  • Color temperature of 4,000K
  • Blue capped bulbs
  • OEM quality seal
  • 450 hours lifespan

These Philips halogen bulbs are fairly distinctive with the blue cap at the end of the bulb, which creates the blue tint effect. They are also DOT compliant unlike HID bulbs and provide an excellent source of xenon light at an affordable price.

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3. PIAA Xtreme White Plus H7 Bulbs


For those that are looking for the brightest headlight bulbs, PIAA are the best option. Unlike some of the alternatives, these 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:

  • Heat resistant quartz glass
  • 4,000K bright white
  • XTRA technology for increased light output
  • DOT and SAE compliant
  • Blue capped for blue effect
  • Extra durable filaments
  • Includes a 1 year warranty

The PIAA Xtreme White Plus are one of the best headlight bulbs for brightness with sizes available to best suit your lighting requirements. However, they are also the most expensive recommendations, which puts them out of budget for many people.

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4. Sylvania Silverstar Ultra Headlight Bulbs


Sylvania is another popular halogen headlight bulbs brand that also produce a performance based bulb. The Silverstar Ultra 9004 is designed for improved clarity and increased visibility on the road compared with an OEM alternative.

The brand state that the SilverStar Ultra is their brightest headlight bulb they produce, which meets the DOT regulations and is 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

The SilverStar Ultra are excellent all-round bulbs but they are fairly expensive compared with the Philips alternative. The brand also produce other headlight bulbs that are less expensive and not as bright as the SilverStar Ultra bulbs.

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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 compared with 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 bulb sizes
  • Tow bulbs in each pack

The Nighthawk Platinum are headlight bulbs that provide a high-end premium look with clear visibility for night driving. They also have several design features that help to extend the life span of the bulbs.

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6. Philips VisionPlus Replacement OEM Bulbs


For those on a budget that are not looking for any sort of upgrade but simply want a direct replacement, the Philips VisionPlus bulbs are the best option.

They are cheap headlight bulbs that provide up to 60% more vision on the road than standard halogen bulbs and are much cheaper than OEM bulbs.

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 is cheap and a direct swap, these are the best bulbs. You also have the peace of mind that they are built to a high quality as they are manufactured by Philips.

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7. OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited H4 Bulb


The OSRAM Night Breaker H4 bulb are one of the brightest headlights bulbs available. The brand state that they provide up to 110% more light than standard bulbs. As with other reputable bulb brands, OSRAM offer these bulbs in a wide range of sizes.

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 standard bulbs
  • 20% more white light
  • H4 bulb size
  • 55W output
  • Two bulbs per pack
  • Made in Germany

These German made headlight bulbs are made 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.

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8. HELLA Standard H7 Bulb


HELLA are a highly reputable automotive lighting brand that are known for their quality off road lights. The standard H7 bulb that they produce is designed to be a direct replacement, which the brand guarantee a superior fit and long lasting performance.

The brand also offer these headlight bulbs in numerous different configuration that are higher wattage or designed for off road applications.

Other features of the HELLA H7 Bulb include:

  • H7 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 is a fraction of the price. The brand also offer a range of different bulb sizes, wattage and color options to best suit your requirements.

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Halogen Headlight Bulbs Buying Guide

The three most common reasons for changing your headlight bulb are because it is broken, you want more visibility or you require a white light output.

Standard bulbs are becoming phased out with most car owners requiring the modern bright white light. This can be achieved by using some of our recommendations or opting for a  LED headlights or HID kit.

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 when driving at night. Bulbs can break for a variety of reasons and finding the correct replacement can seem daunting when researching online. However, we have produce the below buying guide to cover all the factors that you should consider.

Halogen Headlight Bulbs

Headlight Bulb Size

Not all bulb sizes are the same and they vary from manufacturers. Common sizes are 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 in the above photo, all the information is written on the side of the casing along with the DOT compliance stamp.

If you cannot find the bulb size, check out Philips bulb size finder or try using Amazon’s car checker before purchasing.

Color Temperature

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 is output will be nearer to a purple color. Lower than 3,000K will be result in a standard yellow color output.

If you are choose a color other than white, you will want to check the law within your state as many colors other than halogen and ice white are not 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.

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Wattage

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:

  1. Turn all lights off and then open the bonnet.
  2. Remove the cover that holds the bulbs in place (Not all cars have this).
  3. Remove the bulb from the headlight – this may need you to either turn the bulb holder anti-clockwise, push down on a small leaver or pulling up a leader (car dependent).
  4. Once the bulb is out of the headlight, pull the bulb away from the holder/wires.
  5. Fit the new bulb to the bulb holder/wires.
  6. TEST THAT THE BULB WORKS BEFORE MOVING ON.
  7. 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 is 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 should not touch the glass of the bulb and 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.

H7 Headlight Bulbs

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 result 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 and 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 cheap alternatives that are available.

Potential Issues

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 reduce 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 is held securely.

main beam white color bulbs h7 h4

Conclusion

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. The above photo is of my previous Volkswagen Golf that used the X-treme Vision halogen bulbs and they were a great upgrade that look great.

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.

About The Author

procarreviews author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, luxury modern cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations and detailing sessions with the latest products. Feel free to read more about our team.

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