H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs | What’s The Difference?

In this article, we’ll be discussing H11 vs 9005 headlight bulbs & their differences in 2024

Because of the similar shape and size, it is often believed that these two bulbs can be used interchangeably. However there are some slight differences in terms of performance and compatibility.

The difference between H11 and 9005 bulbs is that H11 bulbs are less powerful and only offer low beam functionality whereas 9005 bulbs are high beam bulbs. Lifespan is also noticeably better on 9005 bulbs. However, H11 bulbs are a bit more resistant to heat damage thanks to their lower power consumption and superior cooling.

If you are confused about which bulb you need, allow us to help. We have been working on cars and headlights for more than a decade and can help you figure out which headlight type is best for your needs.

Keep reading for more information about 9005 and H11 bulbs.

Low beam bulbHigh beam bulb
Cannot fit in 9005 socketCan fit in H11 socket with conversion kit
Beam only illuminates a few metres in front of the carBeam extends much farther
30,000 hour lifespan50,000 hour lifespan
Slightly dimmer beamBeam is much brighter
Does not dazzle other driversCould distract other drivers
More durable thanks to better heat dissipationNot as long lasting
Image for H11 vs 9005

H11 And 9005 Bulb Comparison


The first difference between H11 and 9005 bulbs is their wattage or the power required to run them. H11 bulbs require less power, around 55W, whereas 9005 bulbs require 65W of power. Be sure to check your car’s battery information to see which bulb is appropriate for your specific setup.

Beam type

It is important to remember that H11 bulbs are designed to be used in low beam configurations. 9005 bulbs on the other hand are meant to be used in high beam configurations.


9005 bulbs are noticeably brighter than H11 bulbs. This is thanks to the more powerful output and the fact that they are used in high beam configurations which requires them to be brighter and have a longer reaching beam. As such, the range of illumination you get with 9005 bulbs is significantly wider and longer than that of H11 bulbs.


Many people would have you believe that these two bulbs, 9005 and H11, can be used in place of one another. However, the truth is that while 9005 bulbs can be fitted into H11 sockets with some modifications, it is impossible to fit an H11 bulb into a 9005 socket.

That means if your car has an H11 bulb socket, you can probably use a conversion kit to fit 9005 bulbs into that socket. However, we do not recommend doing this as 9005 bulbs are meant for high beam use and could dazzle oncoming traffic if used all the time in a low beam configuration.


Another major difference between these two bulbs is their durability. H11 bulbs have superior heat dissipation and cooling features, enabling them to resist heat damage. 9005 bulbs are not quite as durable because they are high beam bulbs and usually get warmer than H11 bulbs.


Despite the difference in power consumption 9005 bulbs are significantly longer lasting than H11 bulbs. Specifically, 9005 bulbs are rated for 50,000 hours of use, whereas H11 bulbs are rated for 30,000 hours of use. Both of those are healthy numbers and should serve you for many years to come.

Illumination and Wattage

The H11 halogen bulbs possess a maximum wattage of 55W, providing an approximate luminosity of 350 lumens. These bulbs are designed with a focused beam, limiting their ability to project light over long distances.

On the other hand, the 9005 headlight bulbs of the halogen variant can reach up to 65W and emit a maximum output of 600 lumens. These bulbs offer brighter beams that encompass a wider and more extensive range of illumination.

In contrast, the Quartz-Ion and Xenon models present a distinct scenario, as the lumen output varies depending on numerous factors, including their specific color temperature and power output. However, discussing these aspects will require another dedicated article.

What is an H11 Bulb, And What is it Used For?

The H11 bulb is specifically designed as a low beam light, lacking the intense brightness associated with high beam bulbs, which could potentially blind other drivers. Its notable feature is a sharp cut-off, making it an excellent choice for city driving. Emitting a moderately intense beam, the H11 bulb provides a brightness level ranging from 200 to 350 lumens, striking a balance between visibility and avoiding excessive glare.

Although the H11 bulb shares the L-Shape design with the 9005 bulb, they are not interchangeable. However, the H11 bulb is compatible with other low beam lights such as the H8, H9, and H16 bulbs. For instance, you can replace an H9 bulb with an H11 bulb, with the only difference being their respective wattages. The H11 bulb operates at 55W, while the H9 bulb emits slightly brighter light at 65W.

Another variation of the H11 bulb is the H11B, featuring the same L-shaped plug. However, similar to the 9005 bulb, they are not interchangeable due to the pin configurations inside the socket, which prevent them from fitting into each other’s sockets.

The H11 bulb is available in two additional types: Quartz-Ion, LED, and Xenon. These types are significantly brighter than traditional halogen bulbs and often have a slight green, blue, or purple tint, depending on the bulb’s “color temperature.” Despite their differences in color and brightness, these three types appear quite similar externally. However, the intricacies of their operation fall beyond the scope of this article, which will be covered in an upcoming piece.

What is a 9005 Bulb, And What Is It Used For?

The 9005 bulb is commonly employed as a high beam light, delivering a wider beam angle that ensures maximum visibility over long distances and around corners. With the capacity to emit up to 600 lumens, this bulb provides intense brightness for enhanced depth perception during nighttime driving.

Similar to the H11 bulb, the 9005 bulb shares the L-shape design; however, they are not compatible with each other. Instead, the closest counterpart to the 9005 bulb is the 9006 bulb, which exhibits almost interchangeability. While a 9005 bulb can fit into a 9006 socket, the reverse is not possible due to differences in the pin configuration. The primary distinction lies in their wattage and intended use: the 9005 bulb operates as a 65W high beam bulb, while the 9006 bulb functions as a 55W low beam bulb.

Additionally, 9005 headlight bulbs are also available in Quartz-Ion, LED, and Xenon variants. Similar to the H11 bulbs, all these options feature the same connector, making them interchangeable in terms of compatibility and installation.


In summary, the main difference between these two bulbs is their power output, socket shape, and lifespan.

H11 bulbs are less powerful and better suited for use as low beams. 9005 bulbs have a higher power rating and can be used as high beam bulbs. H11 bulbs resist heat damage thanks to their superior cooling. Meanwhile, 9005 bulbs are rated to last longer.

Finally, while it is possible to use 9005 bulbs in place of H11 bulbs, it is not recommended as it can temporarily blind oncoming traffic and pose a serious safety hazard. Moreover, it is not possible to fit an H11 bulb into a 9005 socket.

Which bulb you choose depends on your specific needs and requirements.

H11 vs 9005 FAQ

Can 9005 and H11 bulbs be used interchangeably?

No, 9005 and H11 bulbs cannot be interchanged. Although they share a similar L-shaped design, they have different wattage and illumination capabilities, and using them in each other’s sockets can result in damage to the vehicle’s electrical system.

Are you certain? Is it impossible to fit an H11 bulb into a 9005 socket?

Well, technically, with a conversion, it is possible to fit an H11 bulb into a 9005 socket. However, it is not advisable due to the variations in specifications and potential risks involved.

Is it acceptable to substitute a 9006 bulb for an H11 bulb?

No, a 9006 bulb cannot be used as a replacement for an H11 bulb. The two types have different pin configurations and are incompatible with each other.

Can a 9006 bulb be used instead of a 9005 bulb?

No, a 9006 bulb usually cannot fit into a 9005 headlight housing. Furthermore, the pin configurations are dissimilar, rendering them incompatible.

Is it permissible to use fog light bulbs as headlights?

Yes, in certain cases, it is feasible to use fog light bulbs as headlights. However, it is essential to consult your state’s vehicle regulations beforehand to ensure compliance and avoid potential fines.

Are 9005 bulbs brighter than H11 bulbs?

Yes, 9005 bulbs are designed to emit more light and provide a broader range of illumination compared to other headlight bulbs.

What is the average lifespan of H11 bulbs?

H11 bulbs typically last for approximately 30,000 hours on average. However, the actual duration can vary depending on the quality of the product and the materials used in manufacturing. Generally, H11 bulbs have a longer lifespan than most regular halogen 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.

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