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

In this article, we’ll be discussing the main differences between H11 and 9005 headlight bulbs.

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

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.


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.

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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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