Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Brightest headlamps without looking blue

Hello everyone, Its time for me to buy a set of new headlights for my 2002 accord. One just burned out and I don’t want to get stuck with the other one burning out on a road trip. I’m looking for a quality set of lights that are very bright, but without looking blue. I think the blue looking lights add a “boy racer” look (to my car, at least) that I’m just not appealed to. I’m very outdoorsy so I find my self frequently driving in dark lonesome streets on the way to a camp ground so it would be nice to find a set of very very bright (not blue) set of headlights that also last a good while. Any suggestions?

I would just go with regular halogen bulbs. I used to use Sylvania Silverstars, which are among the brightest you can get, but found that they don’t make an appreciable difference in the real world, burn out more frequently than cheaper headlights, and cost about three times more than cheap ones. They are brighter and don’t look ‘too’ blue, but I don’t think they’re worth the extra expense. I would stick with basic replacement bulbs. They will be brighter for you anyway, being new, since headlights grow dimmer over time.

True, also, do you have any experience with the xtravision bulbs by sylvania? They seem to be a good compromise of getting a little more “bang” out of a headlight without sacrificing much else.

if you really want good lighting, go get yourself a set of PIAA 1100X driving lights. They’re easy to mount and install, and light up pretty much everything.

If you want to stick with legal headlight bulbs, IMHO the XtraVision bulbs by Sylvania are hard to beat.

I’ve tried all the blue bulbs, and even some illegal high-wattage bulbs. The illegal bulbs are VERY bright, but don’t last very long. Sometimes only a few months. The blue bulbs, at least for me, are worse than standard halogen bulbs in rain, fog, or snow.

I now have XtraVision bulbs in both of my cars, and I’m pleased with their performance.

For more than you ever wanted to know about automotive headlights, please consult

I should add, that I am looking for a legal drop in replacement for my current filaments. I just wanted to know if there was a better option out there than just standard bulbs, but are the xtravison really better than standard halogen and do they have a blueish tint?

I hope you get the right lights for you car. :slight_smile:

The headlights recommended here are both versions of quartz-halogen bulbs, both are direct replacements for your originals.

There are basically only two types of headlight bulbs.

  1. incandescent bulbs utilizing a heated filament and a glass enclosure. Quartz halogen bulbs utilize a tungsten filament and an inert gas that allows the filament too be heated to higher temps than “old style” bulbs. A fused-quartz encloseure is used to withstand the extra heat, as the old style glass bulbs had to many impurities (both are silicone dioxide, but fused quartz is much purer). See the attached link for technical details.

  2. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, also called Halide lamps for their inert gas, which get the light from an arc between two electrodes. These utilize higher voltages to create the arc, and generate higher temps and that “blue halo” effect.

Stck with direct replacement bulbs. Thos suggested in this thread are good choices.

I have used both the regular and blue tint Sylvania brand. Blue is only marginally better. If you are looking for brightest, look for the wattage of the bulbs. El Cheapo bulbs have a lower watter that better quality bulbs, High end Sylvania are 55 watts,which is also matched by other brands, so compare wattage to wattage, generally original equipment bulbs are lower than 55 watts. I have looked for the lumine output of various bulbs to compare the actual light output of the bulbs, never been able to find such a measure on auto bulbs (unlike household bulbs), I guess they don’t want people to know how little light is provided by non-high energy discharge lights. Oldmotorist

Interesting. I’ve never looked at the lumens. I was unaware that they were not on the bulbs or at least the packaging.

There are two major things that affect the output that people are totalaly oblivious to: age and cleanliness. As the filaments burn, the output drops. And, when the surface of the bulb gets dirty, the effective output drops dramatically. The latter is a huge factor here in NH for much of the year. I see people driving around with headlights so dirty they look like “backlit” yellow plastic sheets. There’s barely any light coming through at all. People simply do not clean their headlights in winter.

As old as your vehicle is, you might want to consider something that’ll clean the plastic housing for the headlights as well. If they appear to be kind of hazy, then it might help if you clean it up.

XtraVision bulbs do NOT have a blue tint. They are clear glass bulbs. In my opinion they are “better” than standard halogen replacement bulbs. The difference is not huge, but legal limits on bulb wattage do not allow for huge differences.

I have a '97 Honda Accord, and Accord headlights from that era have a reputation for not being the brightest, which is what started me on my search for better headlight bulbs. I wish I still had the money I wasted on blue bulbs, high wattage bulbs, bulbs that claimed to simulate HID lights, etc. I tried LOTS of headlight bulbs. A few years ago I settled on the XtraVision bulbs, which work better than anything else I’ve tried, and I’m still happy with their performance.

Try a set of XtraVision bulbs. I think you will like them.