12 Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs in 2018
In the world of headlight bulbs, the choices are numerous and finding the right one to fit the year, make and model of your car is important.
We rounded up a list of the best halogen headlight bulbs and present them to you here in our easy-to-follow guide.
Is there more to choosing a headlight bulb than just the price?
We’ll go over the basics of the halogen bulb and provide you with detailed reviews of the top five products, but first; compare the top 12 bulbs side-by-side in our table to get a good idea of what’s out there.
Top 12 Halogen Headlight Bulbs Comparison Table
How to Choose
If you’re an absolute novice to halogen headlight bulb shopping, these tips will come in handy.
- Complies with DOT Regulation – to avoid a hefty ticket for using illegal bulbs, always make sure that you purchase products that are DOT compliant – in other words, they meet the standards and regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Headlight laws vary from state to state, so it is important to check into this before purchasing.
- Color – Do you prefer a warmer light color or a cooler (white) color?
Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (this is the “K” you see on the packaging) on a scale of 1,000K to 10,000K.
Without diving too deeply into the Kelvin system, all you need to know when it comes to purchasing your headlight is that warmer colors have a lower Kelvin number (so they would appear more yellow) and the color gets cooler as the number increases.
Halogen headlight bulbs are usually in the 3,000K-4,000K range, just to give you an idea, and while the cooler colors may be a bit annoying to other drivers on the road, they certainly do allow you to see better on the road.
Some manufacturers add a blue coating to the glass to make the light it shine as white as possible, but this is not legal in some areas.
As we just mentioned, be sure that the bulbs comply with the DOT regulations in your particular state before you purchase them.
- Quantity of Bulbs – Although it is uncommon, some bulbs are sold individually while others come in packs of two.
Have you heard the rule that the bulbs should be changed in pairs? While there is some truth to it, you have to admit that this rule is definitely in favor of the companies selling the product.
Buying in pairs and changing in pairs is a good idea when it comes to light output. If you have an older bulb, it will probably produce a dimmer light than the new, bright bulb; this creates uneven lighting on the road.
Some feel that this rule is useless, so use your judgment.
- Make Sure It Fits – While this may seem like a silly thing to point out (of course you know that it needs to fit), we can’t tell you how many people we’ve seen return to the auto parts store because they purchased the wrong bulb. The best halogen headlight bulbs are those that actually fit!
When you can’t bring the old bulb in for comparison, find the right one by searching based on the year, make and model of your car.
Don’t Touch the Bulbs with Bare Hands
Because the oil on your fingers will remain on the glass, causing that part of the bulb will get hotter and subsequently causing it to burn out sooner.
If you do touch it, just put a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and clean the bulb. Problem solved.
Give the Bulb a Chance!
Checking the beam angle may seem like a no-brainer, but so many users who pop in a new bulb and then say that it is a waste of money because it isn’t bright probably haven’t given it a fair chance.
Did you change the angle at which the beams fall on the ground? If not, this might make a big difference in overall performance.
You also need to take into consideration what types of bulbs you had previously: if you had a warmer bulb that cast more of a yellow light, then anything halogen will seem super bright and super white.
If you were used to LED lights, then halogen will seem like a step down.
Here are a few pros and cons to the Halogen bulb.
- Pros – They produce less glare (aren’t too bright for other drivers), produce more light than standard bulbs, affordable
- Cons – Produce excess heat (can risk overheating the headlight circuit or the bulb could explode)
Top 5 Best Halogen Headlight Bulbs Reviews
Hella makes a great bulb, and if you want something that is reliable, affordable and gets the job done, then this is the right choice for you.
Keep in mind that this is the H4 size and has a high wattage since it is intended for off-road use: if you were thinking that you could plug this into your Honda Accord and then go cruising up and down the city streets, then you thought wrong.
Most bulbs are 55W, and this is 80W!
If you need a halogen bulb for machinery (think tractors) or a motorcycle, then this would probably be a good choice. Just make sure that the wattage isn’t too high for the electrical Otherwise, you risk overheating it.
Would you be surprised if we said that these aren’t necessarily the best halogen headlight bulbs on our list?
When looking at overall quality and price, then we would agree that they deserve to come in second; however, regarding performance and overall quality, some of the other bulbs we looked at are better.
This halogen bulb is sold individually (not in pairs), but one of the reasons that it is so popular is that Philips makes it in a wide variety of sizes. Chances are you will find the right size for your car with this particular bulb.
Bottom line, people love that these are affordable and that they offer you a decent amount of light on the road. If you’re on a tight budget, get two of these.
When comparing this bulb with the SilverStar Ultra (number 8 in our table), the latter is noticeably brighter but doesn’t seem to compete with this bulb in terms of performance.
These produce a white light – not as white as the Ultras but still decent. What makes them great for drivers is the brighter down road light path since it also happens to be much wider than other bulbs; this allows you to see objects on the side of the road easier (animals, pedestrians, etc.).
The cost of this 2-pack of bulbs is still higher than if you purchase two of the previous bulbs individually, but they’re worth it.
It seems that many who purchased these expected a brighter white light and were disappointed that it was slightly “warmer” than what they expected.
Most are pleased with the light, however, and the lifespan of the bulbs.
If you want a powerful headlight bulb that is capable of illuminating further down the road than most of the competition, then the X-treme Vision bulbs from Philips are the perfect choice for you.
The color temperature of each bulb is 3,700K (that’s pretty white) with a beam that shines up to 426 ½ feet, which Philips says is 147 feet longer than most standard bulbs. Some claim that these measurements and numbers are a bit exaggerated, and when you do a test drive with the vehicle in real world conditions, we would guess that they probably are a bit stretched.
The bulbs are bright but still street legal (they are ECE certified), and overall, those who purchase them are happy with the increased brightness they experienced from other Philips bulbs.
The VisionPlus Headlight Bulbs are slightly more popular than the previous Philips bulbs mostly because they cost less and they are still halogen.
While the X-tremes claimed 130% more light, these bulbs claim 60%, which sounds a little more reasonable to us.
With a color temperature of 3,300K, these aren’t going to produce the same amount of white light as the previous bulbs since the Kelvin number is a bit warmer (the light will be white-to-slightly-yellow).
The good news is that they come in a wide range of sizes, so you’ll probably be able to find the right size for your car.
Out of all that we looked at, these were probably some of our favorite bulbs overall based on price, performance and overall quality.
Remember, the top headlight on our list is not appropriate for average use: it is designed for off-road use.
If you’re on a budget and you don’t want to invest in a higher quality bulb, you can opt for the Philips Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb, but in general, we recommend investing the extra bucks into something decent because those with a lower price tag usually don’t last as long.
For a wider path of light as you drive, we definitely liked the surface area that the Sylvania SilverStar High-Performance Headlight Bulbs were the best, and if you want a super bright white light that covers more area in front of you, we recommend that you go with the Philips X-treme Vision Headlight Bulbs.