Autoaccessoriesreview is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more

Lighting System

H7 vs H11: How Do They Differ & What’s Best for You?

H7 vs H11
Written by Nick Steiner

When choosing headlight bulbs, we often wonder whether the H7 and H11 are compatible. While there are some similarities, their differences are difficult to ignore.

Here we will look at each bulb, compare aspects of the bulbs, look at the pros and cons of each bulb and give some tips to help extend the life of the bulbs.

The H7

The H7 has a single filament. Any bulb’s filaments conduct electricity and produce a brilliant light as it gets hotter. The H7 is perfect for everyday driving because it is a low-beam bulb. It isn’t blinding to oncoming traffic because the light’s beam is narrow and covers a short distance.

The H7

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Not blinding to oncoming traffic if installed properly
  • Easy to install
  • Can be used for night and day driving

Cons

  • Does not light up the road as well as the H11
  • Burns hotter than the H11
  • Lifespan may not be as long as claimed
  • Narrow and shorter beam than the H11

The H11

The H11 also has one filament, so if you need dual-beam lights, you will need two H11 bulbs (like the H7 would need). An H11 is used as a low-beam, high-beam, and foglight.

The H11

Pros

  • Excellent visibility in inclement weather and dark conditions
  • Offers superb illumination in the direction you are driving
  • Significantly brighter than the H7 bulb
  • Uses less electricity that results in energy efficiency
  • An LED H11 has a lifespan of 50,000 hours under normal conditions

Cons

  • May be too bright for oncoming traffic
  • Not legal for use in all states
  • As a car headlight, not all sizes are available

H7 vs H11: How Do They Differ?

Key differences and similarities at a glance

Comparing facts  H7 H11
Filament no. 1 1
Beam type Low beam Low and high beam
Range Narrow and short Short and long
Mainly used in German cars like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsches Many brands and models
Uses Normal headlight Foglight
Plug Connection Exposed connector plug The connector plug is enclosed to hold the wire in position.
Installation process Twists into the socket Plugs into the socket
Lumens 1350 1250
Brightness Less bright More bright
Light color Yellow or white Yellow or white
Lifespan 2-3 years 270 hours
Bulb Compatibility 64210, H7EB, XV, ST, CB, SU H8, H9, H16 L-Shaped only
Equivalent bulb type HID, Halogen, and LED HID, Halogen, and LED
Burning Burns hotter than the H11 Burns cooler than the H7

1. Autos that use these bulbs

H7

H7s are used primarily in German cars like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsches, to name a few.

H11

H11s are universal to most cars currently manufactured.

2. Type of beam

H7

Manufactured to be used as a low-beam headlight.

H11

Manufactured to be a foglight, But is also used as a high or low-beam headlight.

3. Plug connection

H7

An H7 has an exposed connector plug that could be compared to an appliance plug, as they look very much alike.

H11

An H11’s connector plug is enclosed to hold the wire in position.

4. How they install

H7

The H7 twists into the socket on installation.

H11

The H plugs into the socket for installation.

5. Bulb brightness

H7

H7 bulbs are not as bright as H11s. Depending on the bulb, they offer a yellowish light in warmer weather and a whiter light that appears bluer in colder weather. They offer a shorter distance, which is not really noticeable because of how the lights hit the pavement. The H7 offers 1350 lumens, 1000 more than the H11.

H11

H11 bulbs are known to be bright. Some H11 bulbs are too bright and are not street legal.

H11s  used for headlights are yellow or white in color and have a beam of fewer than 1000 meters. The H11 offers only 1250 lumens.

6. Lifespan

H7

The H7 bulb can last 2-3 years under normal driving conditions. It is not as bright as the H11, so it lasts longer.

H11

The lifespan of an H11 bulb is shorter than an H7 because it is brighter. The brighter the bulb, the shorter the bulb lasts. H11s are good for about 270 hours.

7. Bulb Compatability

Bulb

Compatible with

Bulb Type

               H7 64210, H7EB,XV, ST,CB,SU Halogen, HID, LED
               H11 H8, H9, H16 L-Shaped only Halogen, HID, LED

Differences in bulb technology

LED bulbs

LED bulbs last the longest at 50,000 hours but are also the most expensive. They produce the brightest light (some complain it is too bright!) LED bulbs can be challenging to find, and not all cars can use them.

Halogen bulbs

Halogens are very affordable and the most common headlight in use. Their illumination is bright white. Halogen bulbs generally last 1,000 hours.

Xenon bulbs

Xenon bulbs are more expensive than halogen lights but are cheaper than LED lights. They offer more light than a halogen but less illumination than a LED. Xenon bulbs can last up to 10,000 hours.

How to Make Your Headlights Last Longer?

How to Make Your Headlights Last Longer

Headlights will not last forever, but the following tips can make them last a little bit longer.

1. Buy a longer-lasting bulb

Buy a bulb that provides enough light to see at night but isn’t so bright that it will burn

out quickly. If you have xenon or halogen bulbs, you can switch to a LED bulb which can last up to 20,000 hours longer than its counterparts.

2. Buy OEM bulbs

You get what you pay for. If you buy cheap aftermarket bulbs, don’t expect them to last very long. Pay the extra money for the OEM bulbs, which will last longer and offer better illumination.

3. Make sure to install the bulbs correctly

When installing headlight bulbs, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Kinked wires and improper installation will stress the bulb and shorten its life. Have them done by a professional if you are unsure how to install them.

4. Use them only for driving

The more you use the headlights, the sooner they will need replacing. Forgetting to turn off the lights shortens the bulb’s life and drains your battery. Don’t use them to light up the garage or outside to light up an area where you can use a flashlight.

5. Stay off bumpy roads

Drive on pavement and smoother roadways. Stay off bumpy roads like gravel roads and roads that have potholes. Vibrations from these can shorten the bulb’s life. The truth is, these roads are rough on most parts of your car.

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.

Leave a Comment