9005 vs H11: What’s The Difference? A Comprehensive Comparison (2024)

9005 vs h11

The 9005 and H11 bulbs look almost identical, yet have some key differences under the hood. With so many options out there, how do you choose?

We’ll cut through the confusion in this comprehensive comparison guide covering light brightness, beam patterns, lifespan, vehicle fitment, prices and more to help you make the right choice.

The quick answer: While these single beam headlight bulbs have the same shape, 9005 bulbs put out more raw lumens and are typically used for high beams, while H11 bulbs have a better focused low beam pattern and work well for fog lights. H11 bulbs also tend to be cheaper.

Below we’ll explore all facets of 9005 vs H11 in detail: key specification differences, real world performance testing results, typical vehicle applications, lifespan comparisons with LED upgrades, and cost considerations. We’ll also showcase some of the top rated halogen and LED options available.

Key Differences Between 9005 and H11 Bulbs

While 9005 and H11 halogen headlight bulbs may look nearly the same, they have clear distinctions when you look at the details in the table below:

Specifications9005 BulbH11 Bulb
Intended ApplicationHigh beamLow beam, fog light
Light Color3200K3200K
Estimated Lifespan450hrs800hrs
Base TypeP26tP14.5s
DimensionsDiameter: 7mm<br>Height: 55mmDiameter: 15mm<br/>Height: 43mm

As shown above, while both 9005 and H11 are 12V halogen bulbs used in headlight housing, they have different bases, sizes, typical applications, light output and lifespans.

Key takeaways:

  • Brighter overall output: 9005 puts out 1500 lumens vs 1350 for H11, making them better suited for high beams.
  • Better beam pattern: H11 has more focused and longer horizontal beam spread preferred for low beams.
  • Longer lasting: H11 bulbs last almost twice as long as 9005 bulbs.
  • Fog light use: H11 works better than 9005 for fog lamps.

Next we’ll explore how these specification differences translate into real world performance.

Light Output and Beam Pattern

Lumens ratings from manufacturers tell part of the story, but the more important metric is the usable beam pattern and distance when installed in your vehicle’s housing.

Beam Distance

Testing in typical reflector housings shows 9005 high beam bulbs reach 150-200 meters of light projection, enabling you to spot hazards further ahead on unlit roads.

In contrast, H11 bulbs tested in low beam reflectors yield only 80-120 meters of visibility since they prioritize a wide spread beam optimized for seeing closer terrain rather than reaching farthest distance.

Fog light housings with H11 bulbs produce 30-50 meters of low, wide visibility to cut through inclement weather without blinding other drivers.

Beam Spread and Pattern

The filament shape, position, and housing design create different light distribution patterns between 9005 and H11.

9005’s slim filament generates a longer and narrower central hotspot when used as a high beam. This intense center beam reaches far down the road to illuminate hazards sooner even though light tapers off sharply on the periphery.

The flat, wide filament in H11 bulbs creates a shorter yet deeper cone of light with smoother dropoff to the sides. Wider horizontal reach gives better visibility of road edges for low beams without blinding oncoming traffic.

So while both shine bright white when lit, the characteristics of that light varies in ways that suit H11 better for low beams and fog lamps, while 9005 excels for spotting clues far away with high beams.

Physical Size Differences Between 9005 and H11

The dimensions, shape, size and electrical connector base all differ between 9005 and H11 bulbs which means mixing them up can prevent proper installation.

9005 bulbs have a long, narrow profile at 7mm diameter by 55mm tall with a P26t tabbed receptacle base.

Comparatively, H11 bulbs are wider and stouter at 15mm diameter x 43mm height with a P14.5s stub receptacle.

These physical differences including the connecting base style mean 9005 and H11 bulbs are not interchangeable. While lamps with the same housing may physically screw in, the wiring and beam output would not work correctly without matching the intended bulb.

Typical Vehicle Applications

Understanding the typical applications provides more context around why 9005 and H11 specifications suit them for certain lighting uses:

9005 Applications

The 9005’s bright 1500 lumen high beam output allows spotting objects farther down roadways which suits it for:

  • High beam headlights
  • Supplementary high beam lights

Typical vehicles using 9005 bulbs for high beams include:

  • Ford F150, F250, Ranger
  • Toyota Tacoma, Tundra
  • Dodge Ram
  • Chevy Silverado
  • Jeep Wrangler JK

H11 Applications

With a focused 1350 lumen low beam pattern to broadly illuminate the road ahead without glaring, common H11 applications are:

  • Low beam headlights
  • Fog lights

Typical vehicles outfitted with H11 bulbs for low & fog beams consist of:

  • Toyota Camry, Corolla, Prius, RAV4
  • Honda Civic, CR-V
  • Ford Focus
  • Chevy Malibu
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Jeep Cherokee

As shown above, certain vehicles may use H11 for low beams and 9005 high beam bulbs in the same housing. Mixing up their purposes though will result in dangerous and ineffective lighting.

Always consult your owner’s manual to confirm which bulbs your car needs before replacing them. Improper wattage or beams blinding oncoming traffic can create hazardous driving conditions and tickets.

Lifespan and Reliability Comparison

Brighter bulbs unfortunately burn out faster, making expected lifespan another key difference between 9005 vs H11 bulbs.

Average Lifespan

On average, stock 9005 halogen bulbs last around 450 hours while H11 bulbs endure over 800 hours in most vehicles – nearly twice as long.

However, extreme heat and vibration can dramatically accelerate demise below these averages. Using protective anti-flicker capacitors helps electronically regulate power flow to the filament, extending the lifespan closer to optimal.

LED Upgrades

Upgrading to LED headlight and fog light bulbs can enhance lifespan even further.

Quality 9005 LED bulbs often achieve 5000+ hours thanks to advanced internal driver circuits keeping electrical flow stable.

The best H11 LED bulbs may offer 30,000+ hours by incorporating advanced copper vapor laser technology and COB LED chips to withstand automotive rigors.

So while LED upgrades have a higher upfront cost, the dramatically longer lifespan (not to mention brighter, whiter light) make them more economical long term.

Impact of Lifespan on Costs

Faster burning 9005 halogen high beams cost more over time than longer lasting H11 halogens when considering they need replacement 4x sooner.

We’ll explore cost calculations further below to quantify the differences.

First let’s examine relative pricing.

Cost Differences Between 9005 & H11

Given H11 bulbs’ simpler filament shape, smaller size, and higher production volumes, they tend to cost noticeably less than 9005 bulbs.

Halogen Bulb Pricing

Quality halogen H11 bulbs range $8-15 per pair whereas most halogen 9005 bulbs cost $12-22 per pair – around 30% more.

Budget generic brands can be cheaper but won’t hold up over time or optimize light output.

LED Pricing

High end 9005 LED headlights sell for $50-90 per pair depending on technology levels and brands.

H11 LED headlights and fog lights range from $40-70 per pair for top rated models, but cheaper options under $30 exist.

So in both halogen and LED formats, H11 bulbs carry a price advantage over 9005 bulbs when comparing equivalent beam styles and quality levels.

Next let’s quantify longer term cost differences accounting for substantially shorter 9005 lifespan.

Cost Per Hour Analysis

A pair of $15 halogen H11 low beams lasting 800 hours equates to under 2 cents per hour.

Compare that to $20 halogen 9005 high beams enduring just 450 hours works out to over 4 cents per hour – more than twice as much!

The cost spread becomes more dramatic when upgrading to LEDs.

For example, $70 Cree LED H11 headlights boasting 30,000 hours means just 0.2 cents per hour – an incredible value!

Whereas typical $80 LED 9005 high beams reaching 5,000 hours still calculates to 1.6 cents per hour.

So when taking lifespan into account, H11 bulbs provide vastly superior value than 9005. Their longer life justifies paying more upfront for LED upgrades that enhance visibility and savings further over time.

Now let’s examine some top rated halogen and LED options currently available for both 9005 and H11 bulb types.

Top Rated 9005 Bulbs


  • Philips 9005 CrystalVision – $18 per pair
  • Sylvania SilverStar Ultra – $16 pair
  • GE Nighthawk Platinum – $14 per pair

LED Upgrades

  • Hikari 9005 LED – $90 per pair – 5,000hr lifespan
  • Lumenon 9005 – $60 per pair – 50,000hr lifespan
  • SEALIGHT 9005 – $55 per pair – over 50,000hr

Top Rated H11 Bulbs


  • Philips CrystalVision H11 – $12 per pair
  • Sylvania XtraVision – $10 per pair
  • GE Nighthawk Platinum H11 – $15 per pair

LED Upgrades

  • Auxbeam H11 LED – $70 per pair – 30,000hr lifespan
  • SEALIGHT H11 LED – $50 per pair – 50,000hr+ lifespan
  • Fahren H11/H9/H8 – $40 per pair – 50,000hr lifespan

The LED options above achieve extreme long life by utilizing advanced heat dissipation materials like aviation aluminum alongside the latest lighting technologies.

While LED upgrades carry higher upfront cost, their 5-10X lifespan advantage over halogens saves money long run. And their crisper, brighter beams enhance road visibility and safety.

FAQs – 9005 vs H11 Bulbs

Can I use 9005 bulbs in place of H11 or vice versa?

No, 9005 and H11 bulbs are not interchangeable even if they physically screw into the same housing. Their differing light specifications, outputs, bases, voltages and wiring mean functionality would be compromised. Always match OEM recommended bulb types per the vehicle manual.

How can I determine which bulbs my car uses?

Check the markings printed directly on bulb or printed on the assembly housing. Your owner’s manual also lists correct bulbs to use for high beam, low beam and fog lamps. Using incorrect wattages and bulbs risks damage, insufficient lighting and tickets.

Is it true H11 bulbs are being phased out by headlight makers?

No, while new halogen technologies like HIR replace some outdated types, H11 remains a current modern standard for low beams across many popular vehicle models. Their compact durable design continues evolving to meet modern demands.

Why do 9005 and H11 bulbs burn out eventually?

All halogen bulbs rely on a delicate tungsten filament wire that slowly evaporates with use. Coupled with vibration, voltage spikes and moisture ingress, the filament eventually breaks. Quality internals like protective shrouds and precise coiling help them last longer.

Can I upgrade my halogen 9005 or H11 headlights to brighter LEDs?

Yes, provided you choose LED bulbs engineered to properly fit and operate within your vehicle’s electrical system and housing design. Ensure to select quality LEDs rated for long life and safety tested to avoid issues or damage.

The Verdict: Which Bulb is Right for You?

So in the battle of 9005 vs H11, there is no universally “better” option. The right bulb depends primarily on your vehicle model and whether you need high beams, low beams or fog lamps.

But given H11’s basic advantages in pricing, lifespan and beam patterns, they carry the best value for most drivers needing replacement low or fog light bulbs.

Meanwhile, upgrading existing halogen 9005 high beams to long-lasting, high performance LEDs allows spotting hazards sooner down poorly lit roads for added safety & visibility.

For those seeking maximum visibility, combining high performance LED H11 low beams with LED 9005 high beam bulbs creates affordable, complementary beam patterns to confidently navigate nighttime roads.

Hopefully this detailed comparison of every 9005 and H11 bulb factor clears up selection between these extremely similar looking light sources. Choosing the properly matched bulb type and emitter technology guarantees the road ahead shines bright while saving money long term.

Now hit the road safely as you beam into The Difference between 9005 & H11!

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