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Thread: Best white headlight bulb for car

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Led-Ed's Avatar
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    Default Best white headlight bulb for car

    What is the best kind of headlight bulb to put in my car for drop in replacements?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Go to "Autozone" and get the Sylvania "Silverstar" bulb's as they are an excellent BRIGHT white bulb. A little pricy but there is a $10.00 rebate available from either the store or online at Sylvania's Website. Bulb's are approx. $20.00 each but worth it!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Stingray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Phillips makes a really good one too for about 12 bucks.

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I had tried the Sylvania Cool Blue lamps and was unimpressed. I'm using Silverstars now and am very happy with the higher color temperature and slightly greater brightness.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I disagree.

    I'm somewhat of an automotive lighting junkie, and about a month ago I bought myself a pair of Sylvania Silverstars to try them out. I would not recommend them unless you have money to blow for marginal, if any, improvement in light output.

    I switched from Sylvania Xtravision bulbs when one of them died on me(After about 2 years of great light) and I made the mistake of shelling out the $50(!) for the Silverstars thinking they would provide great improvement. Other than putting out a slightly whiter colored light, there is no detectable increase in visibility. Also, while this may something to do with my headlamp assembly(My car takes 9004s, non-sealed headlamp), the beam pattern on the Silverstars for me is noticibly worse than the Xtravisions I had in there previously. It's not as smooth and has some dark areas. That's one of the first things I noticed that had me doubting these bulbs.

    Another thing was that these bulbs have a purplish tint on the glass. This is to make the light whiter(Filters out the yellow, which does reduce total light output, but it's safe to assume Sylvania uses a brighter bulb for these lights and so the filtering brings it down to legal levels, or about the same as Xtravision output). When pulling into my garage, on the white wall 3' away from the car, I can see a distinct purple light eminanting from the right headlight. If you look into this headlight from certain angles, you can see a purplish tint coming from it. The left one is completely white. Seems like Sylvania QC missed something. Quality $50 pair of bulbs, right?

    If you do want the "whiter light" and are willing to shell out $50 to get it, I'd say put in $30 more and get yourself a pair of PIAAs. The higher color-temp series(5k, I think) do look pretty nice. The lower ones(their older models, 3k for example) are pretty bluish. Definately don't go with the cheap unknown-brand blue bulbs, they really stink. I drove a car with a pair of these bulbs on it the other day and the visibility with the bluish light they were putting out was next to nothing. It was raining and I couldn't see anything, I could barely tell where the road was! Blue light really stinks for visibility. White, and especially yellow light don't disperse as easily when there is stuff in the air as does blue light. On top of your reduced visibility in non-clear conditions, you cause lots of annoying and unnecessary glare for other drivers. I've started carrying around my E2e w/ KL1 in my car, it outputs similar light to those bulbs. When I see one of those riceboys approaching me in the distance with his "super hyper plasma extra output xenon" bulbs, I give them a nice flash as they go by letting them know I don't appreciate them blinding me and risking my safety in their quest to immitate true HID lighting while not giving a shit about those sharing the road with them.

    If I was given my $50 back and got a chance to pick over, I'd go with the Xtravisions and have $25 more in my pocket with no regrets. The increase in whiteness and brightness offered by the Silverstars is simply not worth it to me.

    If you want more information, Daniel Stern Lighting is a great website dealing with types of bulbs, light colors, beam shapes, and general vehicle lighting which will provide you with further details about some of the things I said in this post.

    -tibim

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    Flashaholic Led-Ed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Thank you for the responses.
    -Led-ed

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Where is the 10$ off Coupon?

    It is right here!
    http://www.sylvania.com/auto/pdfs/coupon.pdf
    or
    click here
    http://www.sylvania.com/auto/silverstar.htm
    and find the Save 10 dollars coupon.

    Thanks for telling me about the coupon (actually rebate) freeze12 (you are going to have to change your name to freezeR134!)

    My Auto Zone has the Silverstars for 20 dollars each (used to be 27), and with the 10 dollar off coupon, that makes them 15 each.

    With all due respect to tibim's very detailed post, I am still going to give these lights a try.

    In past discussions on this (do a search for yourself to see) several people posted positive comments on the SilverStar bulb.

    However, I do very much appreciate your comments tibim, as I do appreciate constructive negative comments. If I do not like the bulbs, I can always say that I was warned.

    However, my truck uses 9005 and 9006 bulbs, and you are using the 9004 sealed headlamp, that might be the difference right there.

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    BuddTX, no offence taken, keep us posted on what you think, I'm curious to hear your opinions of the bulbs.

    At $30 for a pair of Silverstars it'd be much harder to say it's not worth it because that's only about a $6 difference from a pair of Xtravisions. That's a pretty good deal.

    At $50/pair though, or what I paid for them, they get thumbs down from me!

    My 9004s are seperate non-sealed headlamps with low and high fillaments in the same bulb. I really don't like them because the low beams go off when you switch to highs. Much less output. That's another story, though.

    Anyway, like I said, let us know your experience with your new bulbs.

    -tibim

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Originally posted by Led-Ed:
    What is the best kind of headlight bulb to put in my car for drop in replacements?
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">On the side I make semi-custom HID systems for people (read: friends and family) using HID projecters. My most recent project was using S4 HID projectors in a corolla. All of the coated bulbs are pretty junky. Look for Rallye Bulbs from Phillips. These suckers are good. I've used them in both of my vehicles and recently we replaced my friends Ranchero with H4 housings re-did all of the wiring with harnesses and tossed in some 100/80(low) watters. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] The housings are metal with a glass front.

    Don't buy PIAA's or anything with a coating.

    eric

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Piaa HyperWhites are the whitest brightest around. Stay away from high wattage, tinted types. You car is made for 55/65 watts. Try using a 100 watt bulb in your lamp marked "60watts only" and see what happens! The wiring is rated and may get hot, catching on fire. You will void your headlight's warranty also, so if your reflector melts with the higher wattage bulb.....doh

    The "tinted" type only reduce light output and may be illegal in your state. The best will cost alot though, but remember you get what you pay for with a $40 cheapy. A good set of bulbs will cost around $80-120. An HID drop in will cost around $300-400 (May be illegal as well. Always check your local Vehicle Code before changing anything on your car.) A good set of Driving lights should help also but will cost a few hundred bucks for good ones like Piaa, Jaos, etc.

    It all depends on how serious you want to get! Here is an "under constructions" section of my site: http://www.monterosport.net/page31.html

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I'm running 80/100W bulbs in my car but the headlight capsules have been upgraded to GM's euro-spec T84 headlight capsules. they are glass and feature a far better beamshape than the OEM plastic ones. I am also runnning a custom built wiring harness that COULD handle the 100/130W bulbs with ease (but I dont want to peel paint off cars in traffic !!)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car


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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Where I live I can never run high beams for more than 20-30 seconds before there's some other car approaching. For short times like that, I find that the "flash the high beams" switch is nice since it doesn't shut off the low beam filaments on the 9004s. More high or low beam light I don't think would help, but I do wish the car was made so that the high beam used both filaments. High only is an odd experience since there's just about no near-field light.

    $80-$120 for a set of bubs? Egads.

    I don't know about the harness but the reflector is glass. The bulb socket and the big nut that attaches the socket to the reflector is plastic though. What's a "capsule"?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I think I'm going to pick up a pair of the Sylvania "Silverstar" bulbs, but I've got a question:

    Are these lights too bright? In other words, imagine I'm coming around a corner and down a slight hill and I blast the guy coming up the hill - is he blinded by these things? Or are they directed in such a way that they are no more "dangerous" to oncoming drivers than a regular pair of headlights?

    Just curious if anyone has been on the receiving end of these things....

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    For some reason, to be "proper"(and I think there might be a law too) your low beams are supposed to switch off when you flip on your highs. (We do own a Honda Accord that has seperate low/high beams and the low beams remain on with the highbeams. However every other make and model of car I've driven maintains the low beams be off even if they're not in the same bulb as the high beams.) I'm not sure what the actual reasoning behind this is, since whenever I have my brights on there are no other cars in sight... so what does it matter how much glare I make?

    But looking at the technical aspect of this there are several problems.

    1) On bulbs with low and high filaments in the same bulb(9004 for example, very common on many cars) you can risk a possible bulb explosion by either bypassing your wiring or manually holding the high/low selector between settings to keep the low and high beams on at the same time. Now I have to admit that I've done this myself a few times(no more than 15-30 seconds max, my hand gets tired and I worry about things I'll discuss later) and haven't ever experienced a bulb explosion, but I'm sure the life expectancy on those bulbs was affected. If you're buying the premium bulbs discussed in this thread, you want them to last as long as possible, right?

    2) Wiring. Wiring is a big issue here. Stock factory automotive wiring is cheesy. Anytime you're pulling more current over these wires than what the OEM bulbs that came with the car pull, you're bound to run into problems. At the very least your problem will be less than optimal output because your wiring just can't carry that much current to the bulb(s). Your wires will heat up and in the worst case you'll have melted wires or even a fire. Don't count on the fuses to save you from melted wires, they're there to protect against short circuits. In most cases the extra draw from your lighting modifications will not be enough to break the fuses, but can be enough to melt the crappy wire. Also, remember that while it may be OK to pull extra current over wire for a few seconds, the longer you do this the more heat will build up and the more trouble you're asking for. If you're gonna make a permenant modification(IE. not just holding the high/low selection between modes) to your lighting, I really recommend you look at your lighting first. I've heard of many people buying bulbs off of ebay, or even "off-road only" bulbs from auto shops and sticking them into the headlamps without taking the proper precautions. Sure, it's fine in the garage after you get them in there, but then you drive around for an hour or two and end up with melted wires and no more light. Imagine this happening at night... Good thing you're flashlight addict and have 5 spare flashlights with you, right?

    So, BuddTX, that kit looks pretty sweet and I've heard of some people using it. You should be OK as long as you stick close to OEM wattage bulbs( probably 65W/55W or whatever they may be for your truck). Any bulbs you buy at a reputable auto shop ot website manufactured by a reputable company(Sylvania, etc) are going to meet this criteria(be careful with "off-road only" bulbs though, they're higher wattage).

    However although your wiring may be able to handle this without any troubles(no melting, fires, all that nice stuff), be aware that the factory wiring still isn't very good. If you measure the voltage at your battery and then at the wiring harness for the bulb, you'll see what I'm talking about. Even a slight difference in voltage can result in significantly decreased output and whiteness. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that if there's not too much voltage drop now, as that (crappy)wire ages and is exposed to cold and other automotive extremes, it's going to conduct worse and worse and your lighting will be affected. What I'm saying is that another thing you can do if you're really into your lighting is rewire your headlamps with better wire(12ga or lower). This is a whole different topic, but I thought I'd touch upon it briefly.

    Anyway, for $19 I'd say go for it if you're interested. It will be nice to have both the lows and brights on at the same time. However I bet you can look up instructions for how to do this for your vehicle and save the $19 for the "kit". It's not that complex and should take you but a few minutes.

    Anyway, as always, keep us updated. Sorry it took me so long to reply, I didn't notice this thread was active until I saw it tonight in the "last 50".

    -tibim

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Originally posted by Moth:
    I think I'm going to pick up a pair of the Sylvania "Silverstar" bulbs, but I've got a question:

    Are these lights too bright? In other words, imagine I'm coming around a corner and down a slight hill and I blast the guy coming up the hill - is he blinded by these things? Or are they directed in such a way that they are no more "dangerous" to oncoming drivers than a regular pair of headlights?

    Just curious if anyone has been on the receiving end of these things....
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Have no worry. These bulbs are meet DOT requirements and do not produce dangerously more output or unsafe color temp which causes glare.

    The #1 cause of glare isn't the bulbs, but headlamp alignment. Most of the people who probably annoy you on the road(excluding the lame superblue HID wannabe lights) have misaligned headlamps, not "bad" bulbs.

    The Silverstars are perfectly legal, DOT approved, and won't cause any excess glare.

    -tibim

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Orion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    And what I like about them is that they AREN'T that annoying blue color, like the PlasmaGlow HID wannabe lights. As far as I can see, they are white. I can tell the difference when I'm next to a vehicle with regular lights. They have the typical 'yellow-ish' output, the HID wannabe headlights have that weak blue-ish tint. But the SilverStars that I have are more pure white. There may be a VERY slight hint of the blue spectrum, but definitely mostly white. Still not like the output of the HID lights, but then what 9006 bulb CAN be? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I really like the PIAA extreme white bulbs. Their CCT are between 4150 and 4200. I like these H4's

    http://www.piaa.com/h4bulbs.html

    I like these H3's

    http://www.piaa.com/h3bulbs.html

    I buy them at the brick and mortar outlet for Offroad Warehouse.

    http://www.offroadwarehouse.com

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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Whew, my headlights rock. I was just checking them out for the second time since I got the front of my car fixed and put the new headlights in. They look like HID from far away, then i flipped on my brights 'n geesh...i felt like i was looking at the sun....a big ball of blazing light..wow they are bright. I'd hate to cut me off at night! And that observation was made at dusk.

    A note on having both the high and low beams on at the same time - I read somewhere that it is not good because the bulb isn't made to handle the heat of both filaments being lit and could melt and/or explode.

    I'm using Eaglite plasma xenon bulbs - yeh they have that blue HID wannabe tint, but the extra wattage and power I have going through them pushes a little past that tint and produces very white light with the blue sparkle. I think the reason the blue colored bulbs produce poor lighting is because of the stock wiring: the bulb isn't producing to its fullest already, then u put it through a dark blue filter so the already dim light comes out very blue and useless.

    Don't worry - mine are properly aligned and have the bulb shield and all. I'm such a headlight fanatic.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    After all the money I spent trying different bulbs, including the outrageously overpriced PIAAs, I'm glad I actually have real HIDs now... The difference in road visibility is (um) night'n'day...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Before I started driving and HID lights were first being introduced into cars, i was counting on when it was time for me to get a new car, all or the majority of vehicles would be HID equipped, but now that it is that time I don't see it happening this time around.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    Doesn't matter, there are decent aftermarket kits now, and the prices keep coming down. Go to the Automotive Forum at http://lighting.philips.com for a good discussion on those...
    Retrofits keep getting easier.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    I would say don't get the sylvania sylverstars. I got them for my 4runner and boy was I dissapointed. They are a bit whiter then stock halogens (way yellower then HID) and a little bit brighter, definetely not worth the $50. I have the opti blue in my IS300 for the high beams (they are rated at 5000k) and let me tell you these bulbs kick ass. They are acutualy whiter then my stock HID's and hella bright. It's a 100W bulb, so that's probably why it's so bright. You gotta try these. The only draw back is that the bulb has a blue tint to it so when the lights are off the reflection makes the whole reflector blue. Other then that it's da bomb. When they are on you can't tell it's a halogen, there is no color shift as you look from the side, looks HID. Best part is that they are only $32 a pair. Much cheaper then PIAA and imho better too. You can get them here.

    http://216.82.69.117/search_results....&amp;subcat=76

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    [ QUOTE ]
    highlandsun said:
    Doesn't matter, there are decent aftermarket kits now, and the prices keep coming down.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I was going to consider the aftermarket kits, but since the position of the arc is so critical on the reflector, it's not always the best idea because the beam isn't the way it was designed to be and could be dangerous to other drivers.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* GJW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    PIAA and OptiBlue users, you're wasting your money and risking your lives.

    Check this out.
    http://www.overboost.com/story.asp?id=102

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Best white headlight bulb for car

    GJW. really nice comparison test, it follows what I've been reading in a number of places that tinted bulbs, though they do change the color of the light to less yellow, they let out less light and your tests substantiate part of that.

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