H16 vs H11B vs H11: Finding the Best Bulb for Your Car!

You’ve been trying to buy a headlight bulb for your car for the past few days. But the more you dig deep, the more bulb types you get to see. And with a pool of variety, H16, H11B, and H11 seem to be more popular. 

So, what are the differences considering H16 vs H11B vs H11?

The main difference between H16, H11B, and H11 is the wiring system and  installation. The H11 and H16 have a return wire attached at the bottom of the locking ring. But for H11B, it’s on top of the ring. The filament lifetime is also higher in H11B than in the H16 and H11 bulbs. 

There are many other features to compare where the differences are significant. Keep reading this article till the end to know what’s best for you.

Quick Comparison Between H16, H11B, and H11 Bulbs

To understand the differences between the three headlights, you have to compare them feature by feature. H16, H11B, and H11 have different capabilities.

I’ll compare the three by going through the most important factors below. 

Connection Pins/PlugEnclosed inside connector frameExposedEnclosed inside the connector
Return WireAt the bottom Top of the ringAt the bottom of the locking ring
InstallationPlug inTwist inPlug in
Primary Light Output1347 lm1350 lm1345 lm
Filament Life265 hrs930 hrs270 hrs
LightingHigh and low beam lightingLow beam lightingHigh and low beam lighting
Compatibility with other Light BulbsH11NoneH8, H9, H16 (L only), H11A

You can see that there’s a significant difference between H11B and the other (H16 and H11) two bulbs. But you’ll notice very few differences between the H11 and H16 bulbs.  

In the following segments, I’ll break down each feature for you and show you a comparison between the three bulbs.

Connection Pins:

The major difference the three headlights have is the connection plugs. You’ll see similarities between the H16 and the H11 in this case. Both of the headlights have connection pins enclosed inside the connector.

Connection Pins
Source: XenonPro.com

However, you will see the opposite in the H11B. The B version has an exposed connection pin which is completely different from the H11 and H16 headlights.

There’s also a variation in the socket cutouts. They vary in width. Usually, H11 and H16 are wider than the H11b headlight. The size isn’t an issue here. It depends on what type of headlight you’re looking for and what size headlight your vehicle needs.      

It also depends on what type of return wire your vehicle requires.

Summary: While H11 and H16 have the same type of connector pins, the H11B offers an exposed one.

Return Wire:

Speaking of return wire, it can be located in two different positions. One is at the bottom of the bulb ring and the other is placed on the opposite side.

Return Wire
Source: Headlight Reviews

All three of the headlight bulbs have three tabs. Among the three tabs, one tab is wider than the two tabs.

The H11 has a return wire right next to the widest tab. It’s at the bottom of the ring. The H16 has the same feature as well. 

But the H11B has the opposite type of wiring. The return wire is attached to the top of the locking ring.

However, the H16 has the same wiring system as the H11. Still, there might be some alterations depending on the brand. For example, Philips H11 CrystalVision Ultra Upgraded Light Bulbs are not the same as Nilight H11 LED Headlight Bulbs

So, be careful about the light bulbs while making a decision.

Summary: Again, H11B has a bit different type of wiring compared to the other two.


The installation process varies among the three headlight bulbs. Both the H16 and H11 bulbs have the plug-in type of installation process. But you have to install the H11B headlight by twisting the end of the light.

This is the source of getting primary light output.

Summary: No clear winner as the installation process is more or less similar among the three bulbs.

Primary Light Output:

Well, you won’t see much variety in the primary light output of the three headlights. They have a close luminous intensity output keeping 2 to 3 lumens apart. 

Primary Light Output
Source: Tsikot

You’ll get approximately 1347 lm primary light output from the H16 headlight. On the other hand, the intensity is higher in the H11B headlights. For H11B, the measurement is 1350 lm. 

However, you’ll notice that the H11 has further low primary output. It can produce up to 1345 lm primary output per usage. 

Summary: While H11B offers a brighter lumen output, it’s not significantly larger than the other options.

Filament Life:

Speaking of filament life, the H11B light bulb has a 3x lifespan than the H16 and the H11. You can use H11B lights for 930 hours at a stretch. But the number is only 270 for H11 bulbs and 265 hours for H16 bulbs.

Well, this doesn’t indicate that the H11B is better than the rest of the two bulbs. It’s because each of the headlight bulbs is used for different situations.

Source: Better Automotive Lighting Blog

For example, H11 bulbs are made for use as fog headlights. They are a great support when the weather is foggy. But the H11B bulbs are used for regular use. Still, H11B bulbs like Philips H11B Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb are very hard to find.

These H11B bulbs have a longer filament life. But the scenario is quite opposite for H11 and H16 bulbs. 

The life cycle of these bulbs also depends on the lighting system inside the headlights.

Summary: For regular usage, H11B bulbs are the most obvious choice among the three.


For H11 and H16, both of these bulbs have low and high-beam lighting. It basically depends on the usage. If you’re using an H11 light bulb for fog lights, you’ll be using the low beam. But for normal usage, you’ll have to use high-beam lighting.

Jeep Headlight
Source: Performance Alloys

So, contrary to the H11 and H16, H11B has low-beam lighting. Well, not all cars fit with H11B lighting. If you have a Hyundai or KIA car, you’ll need H11B headlights. 

Other than that, most cars use H11 and H116 lighting.

Summary: H11 and H16 are widely used while H11B does not have a wide range of usability.

Compatibility with Other Light Bulbs:

Now, I’ll talk about a crucial factor here – compatibility. You must know which light bulbs are compatible with which one so that you avoid any chaos in the future.

If you think about the H11 bulb, it’s cross-compatible with H8, H9, and L-shaped H16. This means you can interchangeably use the H11 bulb if your vehicle supports any of these light bulbs. 

So, this means you can use H16 and H11 interchangeably.

But there’s a catch. H16 bulbs come in two different shapes that have separate compatibility. For example, the L-shaped H16 is equivalent to H11, H8, and H9 bulbs. But the T-shaped H16 bulb can replace 5202, PSX24W, 2504, 5201, PS24W, and 9009 bulbs.

Now, H11B is different in this case. It doesn’t go with any of the light bulbs mentioned above. So, you can replace any of the bulbs with H11B. Yeah, let’s call it the ‘unique bulb’ in this case.

If you want to check the differences visually, here’s a quick little video for you-

Summary: Because of their uniqueness, H11B bulbs have complicated compatibility with sockets.

Price Points:

As you got to see the comparisons above, you can understand that H11B is a bit more high-maintenance than H11 and H16. That’s why H11B light bulbs are more expensive than the other two.

However, H11 and H16 have pretty similar characteristics. But the H16 bulbs are budget-friendlier than the H11 bulbs. Philips Automotive H16 Ultinon Essential LED Fog Lights are very affordable without compromising any quality.

Summary: H16 bulbs are more cost-efficient if you’re looking for a budget option.

H16 Vs H11B Vs H11: Which Bulb Should You Choose?

I’ll say don’t blindly choose any bulb that seems to work fine. You must understand your needs first and then choose the correct bulb. 

If you want a high-beam light go for either H11 or H16 bulbs. But you should remember that you can only replace the H11 bulb with an L-shaped bulb. 

Again, if you don’t have enough budget in hand, choose the H16 bulb over the H11 bulb. But make sure you check the wiring system of your car light holder if it supports your preferred bulb. 

Similarly, choose an H11B bulb only if your car supports it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are H16 and H11 bulbs the same?

No, H16 and H11 bulbs are not the same bulbs. But they have very similar characteristics. For this reason, you can easily use H11 bulbs instead of H16 and vice-versa. So, you can’t call the two bulbs the same but you can use them interchangeably. 

Can you use fog light bulbs as headlights?

No, you can’t use fog light bulbs as headlights. Fog light bulbs give you low-beam light which is only used during inclement weather. But for headlights, you’ll need a high-beam light. So, you should not use fog lights and headlights interchangeably. 

What cars use the H11B headlight bulbs?

Many Toyota and Honda cars use H11B headlight bulbs. Most commonly, you’ll find this type of bulb in Toyota Tacoma 2012-2015 series, the 2019+ Ford Ranger, and the 2012-2016 Honda Civic Si. 

How many bulbs do you need for headlights?

For headlights, you’ll need two H11 bulbs per headlight. It’s because some headlights have a dual beam feature. However, H11 bulbs are single-beam lights. That’s why you need to place two H11 bulbs in the headlights. 

Final Words

So, what do you think? Who’s the champion in the H16 vs H11B vs H11 battle? Well, there’s no straight answer to this. The winner for you is the one that suits your car best. 

As you read the whole article, hopefully, you’re able to choose the best bulb for you. Let me know in the comment section below which headlight works for you. Until then, goodbye!  

Robert Lozano

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