H11 vs 9005: A Complete Guide

Are you into cars? If you are, then you have probably heard of the 9005 vs. H11 argument. If not, then you have probably never heard of it. The 9005 and H11 are both bulbs used in your car’s headlights.

They are vital in controlling the headlight’s intensity of your low and high beams wherein the low beams are the usual lights of your car that are pointed towards the ground while the high beam lights are twice as bright as your low beam lights.

The 9005 bulb is a high beam light with a high capacity of illumination while the H11 bulb is a single low beam light. In other words, the 9005 vs. H11 argument is about which bulb is better to use for your headlights.

What Is The 9005 LED Bulb?

The 9005 LED bulb is probably the first option you will find when you buy LED bulbs for your headlight’s high beam light. As the bulb is a high beam light, it’s great for illuminating large areas with a high-intensity light easily. It produces a lot of light enabling you to see larger distances ahead and because of its high-intensity light, it’s very useful during road conditions wherein the weather is bad or it’s extremely dark.

Besides using the 9005 bulbs as headlights, they can also be used as a fog light as their intensity can help you get through poor environmental conditions safely. Nevertheless, you must also check if the 9005 bulb is legal in your area because there are laws in some jurisdictions preventing the use of high beam lights.

Close-up photo of a 9005 headlight bulb.

With the 9005 being a high beam bulb, it consumes a great amount of energy, reaching 65 watts. You can say the big amount of energy it uses up translates to brightness because the 9005 would take first place in a competition of brightness, with an output of 1,700 lumens.

The 9005 is also compatible with other bulbs such as the 9040, 9055, 9145, 9150, H10, HB3, and more. These compatible bulbs are also used as fog lights and are almost interchangeable except the 9005 is way more popular and is used in most cars.

The H11 LED Bulbs

The H11 LED Bulbs are “normal” lights for your car as they are low beam lights. It’s more common because of how it is angled to face the ground which is legal almost everywhere and doesn’t have the potential of blinding oncoming road users. The bulb can also be used in more than one direction as it is a single beam variety.

You can use them both as a headlight and fog light while having a very good lifespan enabling long-term usage. Unlike the 9005 LED Bulb, the H11 has an L-shaped design which is incompatible with the former.

A close-up H11 headlight bulb.

The H11 is a nonfilament low bulb that consumes less energy compared to the 9005, gaining a 55 watts power output. It is also considerably dimmer than the 9005 as it has an output of 1,200 lumens.

The H11 bulb is compatible with other bulbs such as the H8, H9, and H16 bulbs. These compatible bulbs are usually used as replacement bulbs for the H11 because they are almost identical except they have lower wattages and brightness.

Ultimate Difference Between 9005 and H11 LED Bulbs?

The ultimate differences between the 9005 and H11 LED bulbs are their longevity and illumination. The 9005 bulbs are reported to last for over 50,000 hours in operation time, which shows just how durable it is because it will take a while for you to need to replace them.

On the other hand, the H11 LED bulbs last over 30,000 hours which pale in comparison to the 9005 but is very impressive compared to other normal headlight bulbs.

Bright headlights of a car driving on a foggy winter road.

For illumination, 9005 is a high beam light with an output of 1,700 lumens while H11 is a low beam light with an output of 1,200 lumens. The 9005 bulb produces high illumination power at 65 watts which is why it is ideal for extreme conditions such as total darkness, fog, and dust. It is also because of this high illumination that it may be blinding to other drivers and road users which is why it is not recommended for use on city roads.

The H11 bulb has a lower illumination power at 55 watts which is why it is ideal for driving in normal conditions or even fog as it is not blinding to oncoming vehicles. Because of its lower illumination power, it is not ideal for areas that are too dark.

The 9005 and H11 LED bulbs are actually both L-shaped but are not compatible with each other as 9005 bulbs are high beam lights with high illumination and H11 bulbs are low beam lights with low illumination. Interestingly enough, you can fit a 9005 bulb to the socket of H11, but not vice versa.

An auto electrician holding a headlight bulb.

Should I Choose The 9005 or H11?

It is really hard to say whether 9005 or H11 LED bulbs are better because they are both very useful for specific road conditions, while impractical for others. The 9005 bulbs are commonly used as headlights for your vehicles as they have a high illumination power and are great for extreme conditions such as roads with extreme darkness, fog, etc.

These bulbs are not very good for normal driving though, because their high illumination power can blind the oncoming road users and consequently cause accidents.

On the other hand, the H11 bulbs are very good for normal driving conditions as they have low illumination power and are great for driving on city roads or fogs because besides lighting up the way, they are not blinding to other oncoming road users.

These bulbs are not very good in extreme darkness though because their illumination power is not too strong and cannot produce enough light to guide you in extreme darkness. The 9005 and H11 bulbs both have their pros and cons. There are situations wherein one type is better to use rather than the other. Another thing to consider is whether the 9005 is legal in the state you’re in.


Whether you like cars or not, the argument regarding 9005 vs. H11 bulbs exhibits different characteristics, usage, pros, and cons. Although many people may ask which bulb is a better fit for their car, comparing the 9005 and H11 is difficult because they have their purposes that are appropriate for certain situations.

With their capability of running for long operation hours, it can be seen that both bulbs are very durable. Both bulbs have also shown that they are important for your car and that certain circumstances or weather conditions call for the use of one of them.

You’ll need to check your circumstances before choosing the best bulb for your car whether you’re driving in extreme darkness, fog, or just the plain old city roads.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!

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