Best Headlight Bulbs For 2018

31st October, 2018 in Tuning Guides

Headlights a little dim? Now is the time to get them sorted before those dark nights draw in. Our guide will help you find the best headlights bulbs for 2018.

best headlight bulbs


In a hurry? Here is our best headlight bulb summary

Budget Choice Drifted Choice Premium Choice
Philips VisionPlus Upgrade Headlight bulbs Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs PIAA 15211 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulbs
Philips VisionPlus Upgrade Headlight bulbs Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs PIAA 15211 Xtreme White Plus Halogen Headlight Bulbs
$18.45 $27.10 $80.22
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

If you live in a country that has regular spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons then your cars headlight performance is critical for your driving enjoyment.

Who is this guide for?

If you want to push your car to the limit on the track or on the street in dark conditions you are going to need a strong headlamp beam lighting up the road ahead of you.

Most drift cars are more than a couple of years old and so the headlights were engineered from old technology. My own car is a 1999 Nissan Silvia and I can tell you, headlight technology in 1999 couldn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to modern car headlights.

Well, this sucks. What can you do about it?

What headlight upgrades are there?

So, what options are there for improving your tired headlights? One solid option would be a set of upgraded replacement headlight bulbs.

Upgraded headlight bulb manufacturers offer a bulb just right for your specific car and your driving conditions. These are available in a variety of brightness and tints.

These kits are a lot cheaper to purchase then a HID kit, they are a lot more straight forward to install and there are a lot less “moving parts” that can go wrong. Simply replace your existing bulbs with these new units and you are good to go.

Are there any drawbacks to upgrading your bulbs?

Well, upgraded headlamp bulbs will never be able to match a HID kit in terms of brightness.

Other than that, replacing your headlight bulbs with upgraded units are a sure thing because they are:

  • Cheap
  • Reliable
  • Easy to fit

Are you convinced yet? Great.

So what upgraded headlight bulbs should you buy?

This article will list the 7 best upgraded headlight bulbs available on the market today. You should be able to find the perfect bulb for you in one of these suggestions.

Warning: before you pick up your new upgraded headlight bulbs, make sure you choose a model that correctly fits your vehicle. Not all bulbs are the same size and you don’t want to have to return your shiny new ones if you bought in error.
Have you considered a HID kit?

Another option is to look at upgrading your headlamp bulbs with an aftermarket H(igh) I(ntensity) D(ischarge) kit. These HID kits are a good solution for modernising your lights, but they do come with a few drawbacks:

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to fit
  • Complicated

The initial purchase price is going to set you back well over $100, and if something goes wrong buying replacement parts is going to sting you down the line.

HID kits are also quite complicated to fit, you are going to need to not only replace the headlamp bulbs, but also introduce new wiring and mount two HID ballasts somewhere in your engine bay. If you or a buddy are pretty handy with electrical jobs then this probably won’t be an issue for you, but it is definitely worth taking it into consideration.

The final drawback is with the added complexity, if and when something does expire with your aftermarket HID kit then you are going to have to figure out not just your car’s wiring but also the HID kits wiring and components to debug an issue.

I can tell you that this is a real issue as I have the problem right now with the HID kit on my Silvia.. Earlier this week I turned my headlights on and nothing happened! Now I need to figure out what component has failed and try to replace that.

It’s a pain in the ass.

Let’s upgrade your headlight bulbs

The following seven headlight bulbs should at the very least restore your OEM headlight performance, however some bulbs boost a lovely white light and dramatically improved performance. Beware though, everything has a cost and enhanced performance normally means shorter life span. Just something worth keeping in mind.

On with the headlight upgrades!

Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs

Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Price: $27.10
  • Drifted rating:xxxxx
  • Our comment: The Philips X-tremeVision headlight bulbs are the first in our list and we have started strong. With a price point of under $30, a claimed 150% increase in headlight performance and an average life span these bulbs are a great choice. Check out this side by side comparison from an Amazon review:
  • Manufacturer description:Philips X-treme Vision +130 offers maximum performance from a halogen OEM fitment bulb. Uses the latest generation bulb technology that offers 130% more light on the road in comparison to a standard bulb. See more on the road ahead! Up to 20% whiter (3700K vs 3200K) light than standard bulbs. Provides a safer and much more comfortable driving experience at night. All this without upgrading to a messy HID conversion kit.

    These X-treme Vision +130 bulbs offer maximum brightness from a halogen type bulb. If you are looking for the most pure super white 5000K colour and are okay with sacrificing some light output, then we recommend Philips Diamond Vision bulbs.

    – Up to 130% more light on the road in comparison to a standard headlight bulb
    – A superior light beam of up to 130 meters allows you to see much more of the road ahead
    – Up to 45 meters (147 Feet) longer light beam than standard increases reaction time by up to 2 seconds
    – Up to 20% whiter light than standard for a more comfortable and safer driving experience
    – A colour temperature of 3700K helps your eyes focus better for a more comfortable driving experience at night
    – The Philips patented gradient coating technology produces a more powerful light
    – X-treme Vision +130 delivers more Light without compromising on lifetime
    – Philips X-treme Vision bulbs offer up to 450 hours lifetime
    – Increased safety – see potential hazards sooner
    – Fully road legal – ECE certified
    – Optimized high-precision filament geometry
    – Up to 13 bar high pressure gas filling
    – High precision coating and high quality UV-Quarz glass

  • Purchase link: Buy Philips X-tremeVision headlight bulbs from Amazon

Philips CrystalVision Ultra Upgraded Bright White Headlight Bulbs

Philips CrystalVision Ultra Upgraded Bright White Headlight Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Price: $26.13
  • Drifted rating:xxx
  • Our comment: The Philips CrystalVision range are a low cost performance headlight bulb, they offer OEM+ performance at a reasonable price point. Owners have reported enjoying improved headlight performance however some have criticised the “bright white” as still a little OEM “yellow-ish”. If you are wanting a clear white colour then these may not be the best choice for you.
  • Manufacturer description:Philips CrystalVision ultra is for drivers seeking to personalize their vehicles. With CrystalVision ultra, drivers enjoy a look that is unmatched in a DOT compliant, street-legal bulb. CrystalVision ultra provides a white 4000K light on the road at night, while its blue-capped bulb creates a cool blue effect in the headlight in the daytime. This is the perfect choice if you’re looking to add style to your vehicle.

    – Get the bright white light look
    – Choose Philips CrystalVision ultra headlight bulbs for the look of HID and get bright white light on the road
    – A unique blue cap on the bulb creates a cool blue effect in the headlamp’s reflector in daytime
    – Original equipment quality seal for the most reliable performance
    – Always replace in pairs to ensure a symmetric light beam from both bulbs on the road. Headlights dim over time.
    – Headlight bulbs by Philips, for over 100 years we have been continuously innovating automotive lighting
    – When installing a new bulb, never touch the glass. Either use gloves or paper towel when handling.

  • Purchase link: Buy Philips CrystalVision headlight bulbs from Amazon

PIAA 15211 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulbs

PIAA 15211 Xtreme White Plus High Performance Halogen Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: PIAA
  • Price: $80.22
  • Drifted rating:xxxx
  • Our comment: The PIAA Xtreme white bulbs offer a lovely 4000K bright white colour, modern materials and superior headlight performance. Like the Sylvania SilverStar Ultras they are known to have a limited life compared with some other brands. One reviewer quoted 20 months of use, which coupled with the high price point knocks the product down from five stars to four.
  • Manufacturer description:The Xtreme White Plus Series of high output replacement bulbs give drivers better color recognition, depth perception, and improved contrast over stock halogen bulbs, all while meeting DOT specification. Xtreme White Plus bulbs feature a crisp white light output that allows for better road illumination, while a blue top coat adds style to your vehicle with the Xtreme White’s 4000K colour temperature.

    – 4000k Bright White Colour for Visibility and Style
    – Heat Resistant Quartz Glass for Long Life
    – XTRA Technology for Increased Light Output
    – Aerospace Alloy Filaments for Durability
    – Select DOT / SAE Compliance for Street Legality
    – Intense white light, 4105K rating, with a slight blue tint for enhanced curb appeal
    – 55=110 watt: provides 110 watts of light using 55 watts of power
    – Designed with high-quality heat-resistant tube
    – Manufactured to SAE recommended specifications and DOT compliant
    – Twin pack

  • Purchase link: Buy PIAA 15211 Xtreme headlight bulbs from Amazon

Sylvania 9004 SilverStar Ultra High-Performance Halogen Headlight Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: SYLVANIA
  • Price: $43.99
  • Drifted rating:xxx
  • Our comment: The Sylvania Ultras claim to be the brightness aftermarket bulbs available and customer feedback appears to support that. They do have some drawbacks; a higher price point then most at $44 but more importantly the bulbs lifespan is an estimated 125 hours. With most bulbs claiming around 500 hours of lifespan you are going to be changing these Ultras out a lot. Possibly a good fit for a track car but perhaps best avoided for your daily driver.
  • Manufacturer description:The SYLVANIA SilverStar Ultra High Performance Headlight is our brightest downroad and whiter light. The combination of our farthest downroad, more sideroad, and whiter light helps the driver achieve more clarity helping to make night driving a less stressful, more comfortable experience. SYLVANIA achieves this using a specially designed filament, propriety gas mixture as well as a lamp coating that makes a brighter downroad light and shifts the color temperature towards a whiter light.

    – LIGHTS DIM OVER TIME, REPLACE IN PAIRS: Be sure to replace both 9004 headlights at the same time for optimum performance. If one bulb burns out, the other isn’t far behind. Replacing in pairs allows for premium visibility.
    – BRIGHTEST 9004 HEADLIGHT = MOST DOWNROAD VISIBILITY: See all aspects of the road better with Sylvania’s premium headlight bulbs, the Ultra Night Vision performance headlight.
    – WHITER LIGHT FOR ADDED CLARITY: Patented Tri-Band Technology helps provide the whitest 9004 light compared to Sylvania OE bulbs. – Improve contrast and object visibility such as street signs and road hazards.
    – SLEEK STYLE & IMPROVED SAFETY AT NIGHT: Replace your standard 9004 bulb for this bright white halogen headlight that will increase your vehicles night time driving experience.
    – THE SYLVANIA STANDARD OF QUALITY: With over 100+ years in business, Sylvania is the world leader in automotive lighting for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and the aftermarket.

  • Purchase link: Buy Sylvania 9004 SilverStar headlight bulbs from Amazon

Philips VisionPlus Upgrade Headlight bulbs

Philips VisionPlus Upgrade Headlight bulbs

  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Price: $18.45
  • Drifted rating:xxxx
  • Our comment: The Philips VisionPlus range of upgraded headlight bulbs sits between the Philips Standard halogens and the Philips CrystalVision bulbs. Offering a low price point, up to 60% extra light and easy fitting these bulbs make a good case for themselves. Reviews appear mostly positive, with the only negatives being on some models the brightness does not meet the claimed extra 60%.
  • Manufacturer description:Philips VisionPlus upgrade Headlight / Fog Light bulbs produce a light beam that is longer than the beam produced by standard halogen headlight bulbs, which allows drivers to see farther for greater safety and comfort. Philips VisionPlus is the performance choice for safety-conscious drivers. Offering high-performance and excellent value, VisionPlus is the right choice for today’s demanding drivers.

    – Get up to 60% more vision on the road compared to a standard minimum legal requirements in low beam headlamp test results
    – Choose Philips VisionPlus headlights for superior quality with enhanced visibility
    – Original equipment quality seal for the most reliable performance
    – All Philips upgrade headlights are DOT compliant. Base: P20d
    – Headlight bulbs by Philips, for over 100 years we have been continuously innovating automotive lighting

  • Purchase link: Buy Philips VisionPlus headlight bulbs from Amazon

Philips Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulbs

Philips Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Price: $17.37
  • Drifted rating:xxx
  • Our comment: The Philips standard halogen bulbs are aimed at replacing your existing tired bulbs with Philips fresh versions. They are not designed to increase headlight power, more to simply bring your car back up to the OEM specification. Philips is a great brand and this is sure to be a quality product.
  • Manufacturer description:Philips Standard range provides the same Original Equipment quality as the lights we provide to automakers around the world. The Philips Standard range offers an excellent value for every application.

    – Original equipment quality seal for the most reliable performance
    – Always replace in pairs to ensure a symmetric light beam from both bulbs on the road. Headlights dim over time
    – Headlight bulbs by Philips, for over 100 years we have been continuously innovating automotive lighting

  • Purchase link: Buy Philips Standard headlight bulbs from Amazon

AGPTEK 9003 Halogen Headlight Bulbs

AGPTEK 9003 Halogen Headlight Bulbs

  • Manufacturer: AGPTEK
  • Price: $9.99
  • Drifted rating:xx
  • Our comment: We have thrown in the AGPTEK headlight bulbs as a low cost budget option for your headlights. These bulbs come in at under $10 for the pair and offer a strong 4800k bright white colour temperature. The product reviews are a mixed bag, some good, some bad but for under ten bucks you can’t really complain. Not my first choice, but if you are strapped for cash, why not?
  • Manufacturer description:The AGPTEK 2-Pack headlight bulb is applicable for car and motor bike. The bulb can act as a great replacement since the original lights may dim over time, you need to replace in pairs for optimal performance.

    Our products are designed to increase driver safety and enhance the happiness of a family. Because we understand that safer driving is the driving which offers you a clearer view of the road. And the more you see, the less hazards you may encounter. Our AGPTEK bulb lights offer a safer driving experience for you. And please remember, two new headlights in pair are safer than one.

    Improved lighting really do make a difference to your driving. That’s safety you can see and you deserve to own.

    – Super Bright: The 55W headlight bulb emits 1270 LM white light with 4800K color temperature. Improve driver safety on the road
    – Durable: The bulb adopts special filament to make it more durable. Enjoy longer bulb life
    – EASY INSTALLATION: Simply insert and replace bulbs Replace, does not require modification
    – CERTIFIED E4/E13: The bulb passed the certification of E4/E13. Safer and more reliable

  • Purchase link: Buy AGPTEK 9003 Halogen headlight bulbs from Amazon

Our best headlight bulb winner

So, which set of upgraded headlight bulbs should you buy?

Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs

Philips X-tremeVision +130% Headlight Bulbs

My recommendation is the Philips X-tremeVision headlight bulbs. These bulbs offer a claimed (up to) 100% improvement in headlight performance. Now, that is an ambitious claim, but Philips is a big player in the aftermarket headlight industry.

For under $30 and with minimal installation time, the X-tremeVision headlight bulbs will make an excellent addition to your car. I am very seriously considering these bulbs for my own Nissan Silvia, post HID!

There are more premium headlight bulbs in this guide, but dollar for dollar, the Philips X-tremeVision headlight bulbs are my recommendation.

Drive safe peeps!

Photography credits

We would like to thank the following sources for use of their photography:

Written by The Drifted Team Follow us for more drifting content like this. Visit the author's website