9006 vs H11 Headlight Bulbs | What’s The Difference?

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the main differences between 9006 and H11 headlight bulbs.

These two bulbs are often believed to be interchangeable, however there are some slight differences that make these bulbs unique.

Specifically, 9006 bulbs are rated to run at higher wattage and produce a brighter beam of light. H11 bulbs are more power efficient and better suited for everyday or rather ‘every-night’ driving.

As for interchangeability, 9006 bulbs can be fitted into H11 sockets with the right modifications but not the other way around.

Allow us to use our experience working on cars and headlights to help you make an informed buying decision.

Keep reading for more information on the differences between 9006 and H11 headlight bulbs.

9006H11
1200 lumens of brightness1000 lumens of brightness
Can be fitted into H11 socket with modificationsCannot be fitted into a 9006 socket
Meant for high beam applications, sometimes used in low beam configurationExclusively a low beam bulb
Slightly better longevity of around 50,000 hoursDecent longevity but lower than 9006 bulbs
Rated for 60WRated for 55W
Not as power efficient More power efficient option of the two
Best for use on darker roadsMore suited for everyday driving in more well lit areas

9006 and H11 bulbs Compared

Power Rating

One of the main differences between H11 and 9006 bulbs is their wattage. 9006 bulbs draw more power at 60 watts, whereas H11 bulbs are designed to run at 55 watts. That means 9006 bulbs produce a longer throw and offer wider road coverage than H11 bulbs.

Brightness

Another key difference between these two bulbs is their brightness output. Thanks to their higher power rating, 9006 bulbs generate around 1200 lumens of brightness, compared to the H11’s 1000 lumens.

However, we can report from firsthand testing that this difference is not as noticeable as the numbers may suggest and shouldn’t really influence your purchase that much.

Beam type

Just as important as brightness is the type of beam each bulb produces. 9006 bulbs are predominantly seen in high beam configurations although low beam configurations are also possible. On the other hand, H11 bulbs are exclusively used in low beam configurations, as they are less harsh and do not distract oncoming traffic.

Longevity

9006 bombs are known for their stellar heat dissipation features which allows them to resist heat damage, enabling better lifespan. Meanwhile, H11 bulbs are no slouch and don’t lag far behind 9006 bulbs in terms of longevity.

Compatibility

9006 bulbs can be modified to fit H11 sockets. However, H11 bulbs cannot be fitted into a 9006 socket. That means if your car or SUV calls for an H11 bulb, you can get away with installing a 9006 bulb.

However, we do not recommend this as the 9006 bulb is a high beam bulb that can pose a serious safety risk for oncoming traffic if used in a low beam setting.

Efficiency

As you can expect, H11 bulbs, with their lower wattage and comparatively lower output are the more efficient option of the two. They draw less power than 9006’s and free up juice for other essential electrical functions of the car.

Use case

Finally, we have the specific use cases of these bulbs: 9006 bulbs are more suited for use on less well-illuminated roads. H11 bulbs, on the other hand, are designed for regular use on surface streets, city centres and highways.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, 9006 bulbs and H11 bulbs both serve different purposes. 9006’s are designed for use as high beams while H11’s are low beam only.

9006 bulbs offer better visibility in darker conditions, with the tradeoff of temporarily blinding other drivers in your path. H11 bulbs are more efficient but 9006 bulbs are longer lasting.

And while 9006 bulbs can be fitted into an H11 socket, the opposite is not possible, nor do we recommend running 9006 bulbs in a low beam configuration.

Which bulb you choose really comes down to your specific needs and manufacturer recommendations.


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Author

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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