Are 9005 and h11 Bulbs the Same?

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Key Takeaways:

  • 9005 and H11 bulbs have different wattages, with 9005 being 65W and H11 being 55W.
  • 9005 bulbs are used for high beam headlights while H11 bulbs are for low beam headlights.
  • The connectors for 9005 and H11 bulbs are different since they serve distinct functions.
  • Although they have a similar L-shaped design, 9005 and H11 bulbs are not interchangeable.
  • Using a 9005 bulb in an H11 housing is possible but won’t provide optimal performance.


When it comes to headlight bulbs for cars and motorcycles, two common models are the 9005 and H11 bulbs. Both feature a distinct L-shaped design and bayonet mount, leading some to believe they can be used interchangeably. However, there are several key differences between 9005 and H11 bulbs that determine their compatibility and intended function. This comprehensive article will analyze whether 9005 and H11 bulbs are actually the same.

First, we will examine the technical specifications of 9005 and H11 bulbs. Next, we will compare their wattage, beam pattern, and primary usage in headlight housings. We will also look at the physical design of their base connectors. Finally, we will evaluate whether the two bulb types can be substituted for one another. The goal is to provide definitive information to choose the right replacement bulbs for your vehicle’s headlights. Understanding 9005 vs. H11 will ensure proper fit, optimized light output, and road safety.

What are the Technical Specs of 9005 vs. H11 Bulbs?

To determine if 9005 and H11 bulbs are interchangeable, we must first look at their technical characteristics and specifications.

9005 Bulb Specs

  • Diameter of bulb capsule – 9mm
  • Overall length – 67.3mm
  • Wattage – 65W high wattage
  • Luminosity – 1500 Lumens
  • Bulb type – High beam, high wattage halogen
  • Base – PK22s bayonet

H11 Bulb Specs

  • Diameter of bulb capsule – 9.5mm
  • Overall length – 57.2mm
  • Wattage – 55W low wattage
  • Luminosity – 1350 Lumens
  • Bulb type – Low beam, low wattage halogen
  • Base – P22d bayonet

As we can see, while the bulb capsules are roughly the same width, the 9005 bulb has a longer body and higher wattage than the H11. The 9005 produces 1500 lumens while the H11 puts out 1350 lumens. This indicates differences in their light output and headlight usage.

What are the Wattage Differences Between 9005 and H11 Bulbs?

One of the major technical differences between 9005 and H11 bulbs is their rated wattage and power usage.

According to experts at, standard 9005 halogen bulbs have a “default wattage” of 65W. This means they require 65 watts of power from the vehicle’s electrical system during operation. They generate 1500 lumens of brightness.

In comparison, H11 bulbs are lower wattage at 55W. They produce 1350 lumens, which is less intense than 9005 bulbs. However, the lower wattage reduces power draw and heat generation.

The reason for the disparity in wattage is the different intended functions of the two bulb types, which we will explore next.

Are 9005 and H11 Bulbs Used for the Same Headlight Functions?

No, 9005 and H11 bulbs serve distinct lighting purposes in headlight housings and should not be used interchangeably.

According to experts at, 9005 bulbs are specially designed for high beam or driving lights. The higher 65W power rating produces a bright, far-reaching beam for visibility down poorly lit roads.

Meanwhile, H11 bulbs are engineered for low beam usage. Their 55W wattage concentrates illumination directly ahead of the vehicle without dazzling oncoming drivers.

Using a 9005 bulb in place of an H11 will result in excessive glare for other motorists. Conversely, an H11 bulb will not project light far enough when used as a high beam replacement.

For optimal and safe performance, drivers should use 9005 bulbs solely for high beam lights and H11 bulbs solely for low beam lights.

Do 9005 and H11 Bulbs Have the Same Connectors?

No, 9005 and H11 bulbs do not share the same connector designs. The bases differ to prevent mismatching the bulbs and functions.

According to the lighting experts at, 9005 bulbs have a “PK22s” style bayonet connector base. They lock by twisting into the high beam reflector housing.

Meanwhile, H11 bulbs feature a “P22d” bayonet base that connects to low beam headlight assemblies. The tabs and notches are oriented differently than 9005 connectors.

This means even though a 9005 and H11 may fit inside each other’s reflector receptacles, their different base designs will prevent making a secure electrical connection.

For safe and lasting performance, always match the factory bulb type and connector when replacing 9005 or H11 bulbs. Never force a bulb into the wrong housing.

Can 9005 and H11 Bulbs Be Substituted for One Another?

While it is possible to use a 9005 bulb in an H11 housing or vice versa, it is not recommended for optimal performance and safety.

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute advises against substituting between 9005 and H11 bulbs. Because of their divergent light patterns and connector styles, mismatching the bulbs can produce light scatter, hot spots, shadow areas, and glare for oncoming traffic.

However, installing a 9005 in an H11 housing is more common than the reverse. The higher intensity 9005 bulb will still operate when powered at 55W. But the focused low beam pattern will be disrupted. Light output will also diminish compared to using the correct H11 bulb.

For the highest functioning headlights, always match the specified bulb type to the housing. Never put a 9005 in an H11 housing or an H11 in a 9005 housing for best beam performance.

Frequently Asked Questions about 9005 vs. H11 Bulbs

Many drivers have questions about choosing the right replacement bulbs for their headlights. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions comparing 9005 and H11 bulbs:

Can I Use 9005 Bulbs for Both High and Low Beams?

No, you should not use 9005 bulbs for both high and low beams. The 65W 9005 bulb is designed specifically for high beam reflectors to project light farther down the road. Using it for the low beam function will cause excessive glare for oncoming traffic. H11 bulbs are engineered to focus light optimally as low beams without dazzling other drivers. For proper road safety and visibility, use bulbs as intended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Which Light Output is Brighter – 9005 or H11?

9005 bulbs produce a brighter light output than H11 bulbs. Standard 9005 bulbs are rated at 65 watts and 1500 lumens while H11 bulbs are 55 watts and 1350 lumens. The higher wattage and luminosity of the 9005 enable its intense high beam function. For low beams, the H11 produces adequate downroad illumination without glare. In general, higher wattage and lumens mean brighter light.

Can I Install LED Bulbs Instead of Standard Halogen Bulbs?

Many drivers opt for LED replacement bulbs instead of standard halogens. However, be aware that LEDs have very focused beam patterns that may not work optimally in reflector housings designed for halogen bulbs. LEDs also come in a wide range of qualities and light colors. Consult your owner’s manual and only choose reputable LED bulbs that match your housing’s specifications. High quality LEDs will outlast halogens drastically. But low quality LEDs could produce light scatter, dark spots, glare and premature failure.

Is it Safe to Use a 9005 Bulb in H11 Housing?

While using a 9005 bulb in H11 housing is possible, lighting experts advise against doing so except temporarily in an emergency. The 9005’s high beam pattern in a low beam reflector housing will disrupt light projection. This reduces visibility for the driver. Glare will also be increased for oncoming traffic, reducing their visibility and creating unsafe conditions. For best performance and safety, always match the specified bulb type to the correct housing.

How Can I Tell if My Headlight Needs 9005 or H11 Bulbs?

If you are unsure whether your headlight housing uses 9005 or H11 bulbs, check your owner’s manual for the correct bulb types. You can also visually inspect the connector on your existing bulbs. 9005 connectors have two small tabs oriented horizontally on the perimeter. H11 connectors have two notched tabs oriented vertically above each other. Examine the bulb socket shapes as well. 9005 sockets have a distinctive orientation tab next to one side of the opening. Consult a automotive lighting dealer if still uncertain which replacement bulbs to purchase.


When purchasing new headlight bulbs, it is essential to understand whether 9005 and H11 bulbs are interchangeable. While they may appear physically similar, they are engineered for distinct high and low beam functions. Key differences include:

  • Wattage and light output, with 9005 being 65W/1500 lumens and H11 being 55W/1350 lumens
  • Connector designs suited for specific housings
  • Beam patterns, with 9005 for long-range illumination and H11 for reduced glare

For optimal visibility and safety, always match the specified bulb type to the correct housing. Do not blindly substitute between 9005 and H11. Refer to markings on the bulb socket or vehicle owner’s manual to ensure you get the right replacement bulbs. With the correct bulbs installed, you can drive with confidence knowing your headlights are operating at peak performance.

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