d2s vs d2r Headlight Bulbs | What’s The Difference

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the main differences between the D2S and D2R HID headlight bulbs.

Because of the similar naming scheme, it is often believed that the D2S and D2R headlight bulbs are exactly the same. However, there are a number of differences between the two when it comes to performance, compatibility, fitment, and shape of the bulb base.

The main difference is the D2S HID bulbs are designed to be used in a projector headlight setup whereas the D2R bulb is designed for a reflector setup. Another noticeable difference is that D2R has a painted shield on the glass which the D2S lacks.

If you need help choosing the right headlights for your car, allow us to help. We have over a decade of experience working with headlights so we know what they’re all about.

Projector style headlight bulbsReflector style headlight bulbs
Doesn’t have a painted shield on glassHas a painted shield on glass
3200 lumens2800 lumens brightness
Notches in the bulb base are spaced further apartNotches in the bulb base are spaced closely
Notches in the base are spaced further apart to fit in projector style headlightsClosely spaced notches allow for easier fit in reflector style headlight assemblies
d2s vs d2r Headlight Bulbs

D2S and D2R Bulbs Compared

Headlight style

First and foremost, the main difference between the D2S and D2R headlight bulbs is the type of headlight assembly they fit into. Specifically the D2S headlight bulbs are especially designed to be used in a projector style headlight assembly.

D2R headlight bulbs on the other hand, are designed to fit into reflector style headlights. The build and fitment of these two headlight bulbs is also dependent on the type of headlight they are designed to fit into.


Another major difference between the D2S and D2R bulbs is their brightness output. D2S is the clear winner here, offering 3200 lumens of brightness per bulb. D2R bulbs do not lag that far behind, coming in at 2800 lumens of brightness per bulb.

Among HID headlight bulbs, these are some of the brightest and most vibrant options available.

Design of bulb base

The fitment and physical design of these bulbs differs greatly. Firstly, there are specific notches cut into the base of each bulb that allow them to be fitted into the headlight assembly. In D2S headlight bulbs, the notches in the bulb base are spaced further apart from each other. This allows them to fit easily into projector style headlights.

In D2R headlight bulbs however, the notches in the bulb base are spaced closer together, allowing them to be fitted more easily in a reflector style headlight assembly. This also means that the two headlight bulbs are non interchangeable.


One of the defining characteristics of the D2R headlight bulbs is that they have a painted shield on the glass. This is in line with other reflector style headlight bulbs, which require a painted shield to reduce any stray reflections or loss of useful light output.

This enables the setup to deliver better, less wasteful output. D2S headlight bulbs, by virtue of being projector style bulbs, do not require a painted shield on the glass and you won’t find any black lines on the D2S bulbs either.

Colour profile

While subtle, there is a difference in the colour profile of these HID headlight bulbs. The D2R bulbs, because they have a painted surface, are able to cut off the yellow hues in the light output.

This makes the light appear a little bit cooler and more pleasing to look at. D2S bulbs, because they do not have a painted surface, have a slightly warmer, yellow tinged hue to them. If you are looking for a cooler, more aesthetic look, D2R is the go-to.


So, in summation, D2R bulbs and D2S bulbs differ quite a bit from each other. D2R bulbs are meant to be used in reflector style headlights, whereas D2S bulbs are designed to be used in projector style headlights.

D2S bulbs are brighter, but D2R has a cooler light output. Finally, the bases of these two bulbs are also different and you cannot use them interchangeably. For more of our thoughts on the best HID bulbs, check out our reviews of the best D2S and D2R headlight bulbs.

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Hi, I'm Graeme, the author and owner of HeadlightReviews.com. Before I started this hobby site, I used to work alongside my 'Pops', helping out as he worked as a mechanic for over 50 years. Twenty-five of those he was running his own Auto Electrician & Body Shop, where I fell in love with vehicle lighting. I've taken all our experience online (that's not his gig)… so it’s safe to say there are very few people on the internet who can match our expertise and deep understanding of vehicle mechanics, repairs, parts, and especially headlights. If you've got a bulb question, contact me here, and read more about me and headlightreviews.com here.

2 thoughts on “d2s vs d2r Headlight Bulbs | What’s The Difference”

  1. This article and video rocked! Thank you for stomping out my ignorance on a first time infinity owner & driver! This is exactly what i needed to know for my 05G35 low beams!

    Chris H.


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