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

We’ll delve into a comparison between H11 vs 9005 headlight bulbs, highlighting their key differences and applications in vehicles. While both bulb types may appear similar in shape and size, it is crucial to understand their distinctive performance and compatibility aspects. Let’s explore these factors to gain a comprehensive understanding of their functions.

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What Are the Differences Between H11 and 9005 Bulb?

Let’s compare the H11 and 9005 headlight types side by side

Bulb SizeH119005
Base TypePGJ19-2P20d
Lifespan270 Hours320 Hours
Main Beam TypeLow Beam, Fog LightHigh Beam
Cross ReferenceH8, H9, H16HB3
CompatibilityCannot fit in 9005 socketCan fit in H11 socket with conversion kit
Bulb TechnologyDoes not dazzle other driversCould distract other drivers


-Base Difference of H11 vs.9005

The H11 bulb and the 9005 bulb use different bases – PGJ19-2 and P20d, respectively. Therefore, H11 and 9005 bulbs are not interchangeable, as the bulb and socket must match for the bulb to fit and function accurately.

-Connector (Plug) of H11 vs. 9005

The connectors or plugs of these bulbs differ in several ways. Firstly, the H11 bulb’s pins are closer together compared to the 9005 bulb. In addition, the plugs of the H11 bulb have tabs on both ends, a feature that is absent in the plugs of the 9005 bulb.


H11 halogen bulbs typically consume around 55 watts, whereas 9005 bulbs consume approximately 65 watts. Consequently, it can be observed that 9005 bulbs generally require more energy compared to H11 bulbs

-Beam type

H11 bulbs are often utilized for low beam headlights and fog lights, while 9005 bulbs are commonly employed for high beam headlights, offering a wider range of visibility. This combination allows drivers to enhance their visibility and overall safety on the road.


H11 and 9005 bulbs exhibit a noticeable difference in brightness levels. While H11 bulbs are specifically designed for low beam headlights, 9005 bulbs are typically utilized for high beams. As a result, the 9005 bulbs offer a higher level of brightness compared to their H11 counterparts.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs


H11 halogen bulbs typically have a lifespan of about 270 hours, whereas 9005 halogen bulbs last longer, approximately 320 hours. However, LED bulbs surpass them both with an impressive lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.


H11 bulbs demonstrate superior durability due to their exceptional heat dissipation and cooling features, which enable them to withstand heat damage effectively. In contrast, 9005 bulbs, being high beam bulbs, tend to generate more heat and are relatively less durable compared to H11 bulbs.


It is often misunderstood that the bulbs 9005 and H11 can be used interchangeably. However, it is important to note that while 9005 bulbs can be fitted into H11 sockets with modifications, the reverse is not possible.

If your car has an H11 bulb socket, it is possible to use a conversion kit to fit 9005 bulbs into the socket. Nevertheless, we strongly discourage this practice as 9005 bulbs are designed for high beam usage and could potentially blind oncoming traffic if used as low beams consistently.

-Cross-referenced Numbers

The 9005 bulb, also referred to as HB3, shares compatibility with the H11 bulb. Additionally, the H11 bulb size is cross-referenced with H8, H9, and H16 bulb sizes.

-Bulb Technology

The H11 and 9005 bulbs differ in several aspects, including base style, socket fitment, power output, and optimal use case. H11 bulbs, with a default wattage of 55 watts, are best suited for low beams and fog lights. On the other hand, 9005 bulbs produce up to 65 watts and are commonly used for far-reaching high beams. Both of these bulbs, despite being standard halogen bulbs, are readily available in LED upgrades.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

About Headlight Bulbs: H11 and 9005

About 9005 LED Bulb?

The 9005 bulbs, also known as HB3, are single filament bulbs that are commonly used for high beam headlights. They provide a long and narrow light pattern, which effectively illuminates a greater distance on the road.

It’s important to note that even though the 9005 bulb shares a similar L-Shape design with the H11 bulb, they are not interchangeable. This is due to their differences in bases, connectors, and wattages. As a result, it is not possible to simply swap 9005 bulbs into H11 housings.

If you are facing difficulties in finding the right fit for replacing your vehicle’s headlight bulbs, or if you are unsure about choosing the appropriate LED upgrades, you can find some helpful information below.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

About H11 LED Bulbs

The H11 bulb is a versatile single filament halogen bulb primarily designed for low beams. It features a well-defined cutoff, effectively directing light forward and downward. As a result, it is particularly well-suited for city driving, ensuring that oncoming traffic is not blinded by the beam pattern. Additionally, H11 bulbs can be installed in both headlights and fog lights, making them a flexible choice for various lighting needs.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

H11 vs. 9005 (HB3) LED Headlight Bulbs

As you already know, the difference between upgrading your H11 and 9005 (HB3) halogen bulbs to LED lies in the locking tabs, plugs, and bulb dimensions. However, fear not; whichever bulb size you choose will only alter your experience slightly.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

The wattage and color options are identical, and the installation process is the same.

We provide both bulb sizes in 25-, 35,- and 45-watt options with up to four different color options (white, yellow, blue, and purple).

H11 vs. 9005 (HB3) Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs

When upgrading your H11 and 9005 (HB3) bulbs from halogen to HID, you might think there is little difference, just like LEDs.

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

But hear us out! We offer both sizes of bulbs with wattage ranging from 35 to 55 watts and in seven color options, from sunny yellow to pure white and mystic purple. Trust us; you’ll see the difference.

FAQs About H11 vs 9005

H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs

Can I use H11 instead of 9005 (HB3)?

The 9005 (HB3) and H11 bulbs are not interchangeable, as the plugs, locking tabs, and sizes differ. You cannot add H11 bulbs to 9005 sockets. We don’t recommend converting to the H11 option due to its lower illumination power than the 9005 (HB3).

Is 9005 (HB3) Brighter than H11?

The 9005 (HB3) bulbs are usually brighter since they emit 65 watts compared to the H11’s 55-watt output. However, the brightness difference is barely noticeable. Additionally, it’s important to note that using a 9005 bulb in a low beam configuration can be risky for oncoming traffic since the illumination power of these bulbs can be blinding.

Is H11 Better than 9005 (HB3)?

It all depends on your road conditions, as each bulb has advantages and disadvantages. For example, 9005 bulbs have a higher wattage output that is perfect for extreme conditions like fog or darkness. On the other hand, H11 bulbs produce less illumination power, which is ideal for regular driving conditions, such as city roads or foggy conditions.

Can I use a regular bulb in an LED fixture?

No, you cannot use regular bulbs in an LED fixture. The wattage and voltage of the regular bulb are incompatible with the LED fixtures, which may cause damage to the lighting system.

This can be a safety hazard since regular bulbs don’t have cooling mechanisms like LED lightbulbs.

Do I need additional wiring for LED bulbs?

No, LED bulbs do not require additional wiring or fixtures. However, it’s essential to check that the wattage and voltage of LED lightbulbs are compatible with your existing setup.

How do I dispose of LED bulbs?

LED bulbs should not be thrown into the regular waste. Instead, they should be recycled according to your local waste management regulations. LED lightbulbs can often be reused for other applications, so consider donating or selling them before removing them.

The 9005 vs H11: Which one should I choose?

The main distinction between H11 and 9005 bulbs lies in their power output, socket shape, and lifespan.

H11 bulbs, serving as low beams, are less powerful yet offer superior heat resistance due to their advanced cooling system. On the other hand, 9005 bulbs, which have a higher power rating, can be utilized as high beam bulbs and are known for their extended lifespan.

While it is technically feasible to substitute H11 bulbs with 9005 bulbs, it is strongly advised against it due to potential temporary blinding of oncoming traffic and significant safety risks. Additionally, it’s important to note that H11 bulbs cannot be inserted into a 9005 socket.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “The H11 vs 9005 Headlight Bulbs: What’s The Difference?”

  1. H11 bulbs are not a suitable substitute for HB3 (9005) bulbs in headlight applications. While they share similar electrical specifications, they differ in physical dimensions and intended use.

    H11 bulbs are primarily for low-beam headlights, whereas HB3 (9005) bulbs are for high-beam headlights. These bulbs have distinct bases and are not interchangeable without modifying the headlight assembly.

    Using H11 bulbs as a replacement for HB3 (9005) bulbs may lead to poor performance, reduced visibility, or even damage to the headlight assembly. It is crucial to use the correct bulb type for your specific headlight application to ensure safe and effective operation. Choose wisely to guarantee optimal lighting performance and safety.


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