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Lighting System

9005 vs H11: An In-Depth Buyer’s Comparison

9005 vs H11
Written by Nick Steiner

Both 9005 and H11 are L-shaped bulbs but they’re not compatible. While H11 is a single low-beam light, 9005 is a high-beam light with high illumination.

Choosing the correct bulb for your car can save you money and keep you safe.

Here we will make a buyer’s comparison of the 9005 vs H11 and find out the best use for both bulbs.

9005 Bulb: What Is It?

An LED (light-emitting diode) high beam bulb. It lights up twice the distance of the low beam bulb.

H11 Bulb: What Is It?

An LED low beam (regular) bulb (the light angles off the ground for best visibility).

9005 vs H11: Differences

9005 vs H11

When choosing a bulb, the differences between them can be seen in three aspects of bulbs.

Filaments

A bulb may have single (one) filament or dual (two) filaments. This is important when using a single filament bulb because you will need two bulbs, a headlight, and a high beam.

Nominal power

Nominal power refers to the watts produced by the bulb, which vary by bulb. 

Base

This is the part of the bulb that sits in the socket. The base is often called the cap.

Comparison factors 9005 Bulb H11 Bulb
Type of Beam High beam bulb (illumination capacity is high) A single-type low beam bulb with adequate illumination.
Output 1700 lumens (one of the brightest bulbs) 1345 lumens
Number of Watts Focal power of 65 watts in a high beam bulb. Nominal filament of 55 watts in a single low beam bulb.
Type of the base P20d PGJ19.2
Connectors Extra tab prevents usage with another bulb Exclusive nested plug pin connector
Lifespan 50,000 hours 30,000 hours
Price $30 – $70 $27 – $60

Compatibility: 9005 vs H11

Only compatible within own category

9005 and H11 bulbs have the similar L-shape but they aren’t compatible. Both are compatible with bulbs in their respective categories (L-shaped low beam and high beam) but not with each other due to the nested plug pins of H11 bulbs.

Retrofitting options

You can physically alter these bulbs to fit in sockets that are meant for bulbs from competitors. Adapter kits are available to use bulbs interchangeably within their class (high beams/low beams) and to use a 9005 bulb in an H11 socket.

Power capacity

Both bulbs are used in different capacities (high beam/low beam). It is not a good idea to use them interchangeably.

Note: Manufacturers do not recommend retrofitting the bulbs. Errors in retrofitting can do damage to your car. 

9005 Led Bulb: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High beam light bulb
  • LED bulb gives off a small amount of heat
  • Lasts for 50,000 hours
  • Bright light for extreme darkness and extremely foggy conditions
  • Looks good on the car
  • Some of the low beam sockets accommodate this bulb
  • Tolerates rough roads
  • Lights the road twice as far as an H11 bulb

Cons

  • Uses more energy than comparable bulbs
  • High wattage has the potential to drain the battery in idle mode
  • Brightness can blind other drivers

H11 LED Bulb: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low beam light bulb
  • LED bulb gives off a small amount of heat
  • Lasts for 30,000 hours
  • Can be used as low beam, high, fog light in some vehicles
  • Brightness doesn’t blind other drivers
  • Tolerates rough roads
  • LED bulb energy consumption is fairly low
  • Excellent headlight for everyday driving

Cons

  • Single type low beam bulb lights the road poorly in extreme darkness and extremely foggy conditions
  • Dimness can cause visual issues for the driver of the vehicle
  • Lights the road half the distance of a 9005 bulb

How to Increase Equivalency With Other Bulbs

Bulb equivalency is determined by the wiring pins and the locking mechanisms.

This allows the bulb to sit securely in the socket and draw power using the factory power harness to create headlight illumination.

Modifications can be made to both bulbs to be interchangeable with other bulbs.

There are adapter kits for both bulbs that increase their ability to use equivalent bulb sockets.

Bulbs Equivalent to the 9005

Lightbulb Technology
H10 Halogen, HID, LED
9040 Halogen, HID, LED
9140 Halogen, HID, LED
9145 Halogen, HID, LED
9150 Halogen, HID, LED
9155 Halogen, HID, LED

Bulbs equivalent to the H11

Lightbulb Technology
H8 Halogen, HID, LED
H9 Halogen, HID, LED
H16 Halogen, HID, LED

Will It Harm My Headlight Assembly to Use an Equivalent Bulb?

If you switch from a 9005 or H11 bulb to an equivalent bulb, you need to consider the technology (Halogen, LED and HID).

Using the wrong technology can cause overheating and damage your headlight assembly.

You may need a conversion kit to make the bulb swap (be sure to purchase a good quality conversion kit to keep your vehicle damage-free) when swapping a LED for an HID bulb.

When using a Halogen equivalent, use the same wattage recommended in the owner’s manual to avoid overheating of the bulb and damage to the assembly.

Bulb by Bulb Comparison: 9005 LED vs 9005 HID

9005 HID (High-Intensity Discharge Headlights)

How it works

It uses a combination of gas and metals to heat the filament and create a bright blue-white light or use voltage to charge xenon through electrodes; creating a longer-lasting bulb and increased brightness.

Brightness

It offers 8000 lumens of illumination produced by gas. Although compared to a halogen bulb, it uses more energy; it is not as efficient as a 9005 LED.

Luminous Flux

HID bulbs offer 15,000 hours of illumination and project light about 985 feet (300 meters).

Bulb design

HID headlights provide locking tabs, bulbs containing diodes, electrodes, and inner chambers.

Colors

Color selection varies by the bulb. HID bulbs require a few minutes to heat the filament after hitting the switch and are less expensive than LED bulbs.

9005 LED (Light-Emitting Diode)

How it works

9005 LED bulbs create light using semiconductors to convey energy-emitting photons.

Cooling requirement

These bulbs are known for running hot, needing fans to cool them down in some cars.

Brightness

9000 lumens generated by electricity

Efficiency

More efficient than the 9005 HID, using more energy than a halogen bulb.

Luminous Flux

45,000 hours of illumination and project light about 985 feet (300 meters).

Bulb design

Heat sinks, locking tabs, and outer bulbs.

Colors

Color selection varies by the bulb. LED bulbs turn on the instant the switch is hit and are more expensive than an HID bulb.

Dimming the Bulbs

Though similar, the 9005 and the H11 have different uses and comparative prices.

They may be different but they provide good illumination.

Both can be retrofitted and adapted to be used interchangeably with equivalent bulbs despite the manufacturer’s recommendations.

FAQs

1. What vehicles use H11 headlights?

Ans: Many vehicles are using H11 headlights as it is the most used bulb nowadays. Some of them are…

  • The 2019+ Ford Ranger
  • The 2012-2016 Honda Civic Si
  • 2012-2015 Toyota Tacoma

2. What vehicle uses 9005 bulbs?

Ans: This bulb is common among vehicles of different brands. Some of the Brands who use this bulb in their vehicles are…

  • Ford
  • Dodge/Chrysler
  • Acura/Nissan
  • Toyota/Scion/Lexus
  • Chevrolet/GMC

3. Can I Use 9006 Instead Of H11?

Ans: No, they are not compatible with each other instead of both being low beam and L-shaped bulbs. Actually, their pin configurations are different so they won’t fit perfectly in each other’s position.

4. Can you put high beam bulbs in low beams?

Ans: No, you should never do that. Although it can increase your visibility during nighttime driving, this advantage can backfire as it may bring danger to you or other drivers crossing you from opposite directions.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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