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Sylvania SilverStar Ultra VS ZXE | What’s The Difference?

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the differences between Sylvania’s SilverStar Ultra and zXe headlight bulbs.

Two of the most popular headlight bulbs on the market, Sylvania’s SilverStar Ultra and SilverStar zXe bulbs each have their pros and cons.

Namely, the SilverStar Ultra bulbs are slightly dimmer and warmer compared to the zXe bulbs. Life expectancy is also a bit better on the zXe bulbs.

If you’re looking to upgrade your OEM headlight bulbs, both of these bulbs are great options. That is why we put them head-to-head in real-world tests to find one bulb to rule them all (and in the darkness bind them!)

Keep reading for more details about the differences between Sylvania SilverStar Ultra and zXe bulbs.

Sylvania SilverStar Ultra and zXe Bulbs Compared


Brightness is what makes or breaks aftermarket headlight bulbs, and when it comes to all out intensity, the SilverStar zXe bulbs outperform the SilverStar Ultras.

Rated for around 1400 lumens per bulb, the zXe bulbs put the Ultras and their 900 lumen output to shame.

Practically speaking, the zXe bulbs provide better visibility, enhanced clarity, and more safety for nighttime driving.

Colour profile

While aesthetics and color profile are subjective features, most drivers looking into aftermarket headlight bulbs want a cooler, slightly whiter beam of light from their new headlights.

In that regard, the zXe bulbs wins out yet again, though only by the skin of its teeth.

To put it in numbers, the Sylvania SilverStar Ultra bulbs have a color temperature of around 4100K, compared to 4200k on the zXe bulbs.

While neither of those is going to give you crisp, ultra white light of HIDs or LEDs, the zXe bulbs are the clear winner.

Look and design

Sylvania has treated each bulb with different coatings to make them stand out and make them more appealing.

The Sylvania SilverStar Ultra bulbs have a proprietary cobalt blue coating that makes the bulb filament appear blue when turned off and also gives it a cooler look.

When turned on though, this blue coating does more harm than good, taking away a bit of brightness and clarity.

The zXe bulbs, however, exhibit crystal clear focus and a uniform beam pattern. Few bulbs in the halogen space offer such precise calibration and visual appeal as these.

In fact, if we didn’t know for a fact that these are halogen bulbs, we would have guessed that it was an HID conversion kit, these bulbs are so sexy!

If you’re looking to improve the aesthetics of your car, pick up a pair of the zXe bulbs.


The zXe bulbs again come out on top. We tested both of these bulbs head-to-head in a variety of scenarios and concluded that zXe bulbs far outpace the SilverStar Ultras in terms of longevity.

You can expect to get about two years of usage with regular driving out of the zXe bulbs, compared to about one to one and a half years with the SilverStar Ultras.

That means, with the zXe bulbs installed, you will spend less time wrenching on your car and more time enjoying their exceptional performance.


All that performance and aesthetic appeal come at a cost as the zXe bulbs are priced much higher than the SilverStar Ultras. However, when you factor in the performance and utility these bulbs provide, it puts the price in perspective.

If you wanna go easy on your wallet, opt for the SilverStar Ultras, which still offer top notch performance and effectiveness.


So that’s Sylvania SilverStar Ultras vs Sylvania SilverStar zXe bulbs.

Having personally tested these two bulbs and pit them against each other, we were impressed by the all outperformance of the zXe bulbs and the great value the Ultras provide.

In a nutshell, if you want the best of the best regardless of cost, pick up a pair of Sylvania SilverStar zXe bulbs. That said, for our money, the Sylvania SilverStar Ultra bulbs are still the better deal, especially since the performance is only slightly worse.

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Hi I'm Richard Nickleson, the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. I first started this site as a hobby when I retired. Because I wanted a place to share my insights on vehicle parts and specifically headlight bulbs. But the site soon exploded with visitors and now I writes on all topics surrounding headlight bulbs. I am a trained mechanic and ran and operated my own auto body shop for 25 years. If you've got a bulb question, contact me here. And you can read more about me and here.

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