9005 vs 9006 Headlight Bulbs | What’s The Difference?

In this article, we’ll be talking about the main differences between 9005 and 9006 headlight bulbs. 

While the name may suggest that these bulbs can be used interchangeably, the fact is that there are slight differences when it comes to performance and compatibility.

The main difference between is that 9006 bulbs are low beam bulbs, whereas 9005 bulbs are high beam bulbs. There’s also other compatibility differences between the two that make them suitable for different scenarios and use cases. 

I’ve got eleven years of automotive experience and as a headlight expert I’ll help you figure out which headlights are best for different purposes.

Keep reading for more information on the differences between 9005 and 9006 bulbs.

Low beamHigh beam
Cannot fit in a 9005 socketCan fit in 9006 socket with a conversion kit
Range of beam is within few metres of carBeam extends much farther
Less powerful throwMore powerful throw
Beam is decently brightBeam is much brighter
Do not dazzle oncoming trafficCould distract other drivers
Longer lifespanNot as long lasting

9005 And 9006 Bulbs Compared


One of the main differences between 9005 and 9006 bulbs is their power rating or wattage.

Specifically, 9006 bulbs are designed to run at 55 watts. Meanwhile, 9005 bulbs are rated for 65 watts. This difference in wattage is what determines the power used by each bulb and whether or not it will be compatible with your car’s battery.

Starting off with 9005 bulbs, they are rated for 65 watts which means they will use more power but also have slightly better light output as a result.

9006 bulbs, on the other hand, are a bit more power efficient at 55 watts so opt for these if you have less juice to spare.

Beam Type

If you’re looking for a new headlight bulb set up, it is important to remember that you will need different bulbs for both high and low beam configurations. A key difference between 9005 and 9006 bulbs is the type of beam these headlight bulbs produce.

9005 bulbs are only usable in the high beam configuration, thanks to their higher power rating. So opt for 9005 bulbs if you are looking for better high beam performance. Additionally, 9006 bulbs can only serve as low beam headlight bulbs.


When it comes to brightness, 9005 is the clear winner. As it draws more power and is being used in a high beam configuration, 9005 is definitely brighter and more vibrant than 9006. If you want better high beam performance and be more easily visible, 9005 is the go-to.


9005 headlight bulbs are more powerful and thus produce a farther reaching throw that also covers more of the road than 9006 bulbs. If you want to get better road coverage, and be able to see more of the roadside, 9005 bulbs are the obvious choice.


When it comes to compatibility, 9006 bulbs cannot be used in place of 9005 bulbs. That said, it is now possible to use different conversion kits to install 9005 bulbs in a low beam 9006 socket. However, we do not recommend doing this as it will dazzle oncoming traffic and cause temporary blindness for other drivers.

In some rare cases, your car may only be compatible with 9006 bulbs, in which case, converting a 9005 bulb to fit with 9006 sockets could work as a temporary fix until you find a more permanent solution.

The Winner

So to sum up, 9005 is more power hungry than 9006 and generates brighter light. 9006 is only usable in low beam configurations and will not fit in a 9005 bulb socket. You can however, use a conversion kit to install 9005 beams in a low beam 9006 socket, albeit with the tradeoff of causing safety issues for oncoming traffic.

There is no clear winner between the two, as both can serve different purposes within the same headlight setup. In fact, for the best performance and results, we would recommend using both 9005 and 9006 bulbs together, the former for high beams and the latter for low beams.

For regular nighttime driving, the 9006 bulb is more power efficient and does not dazzle or distract oncoming traffic. And when you need a brighter, more visible light, switch to 9005.

By doing so, you reap the benefits of both without the drawbacks of either.

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Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.

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