H1 Light Bulb (Useful Buying Tips)

This is an ultimate guide to H1 Light Bulb in 2022.

So, if you want to know:

  • What is an H1 light bulb?
  • Best H1 light bulbs
  • Is H1 light bulb halogen or LED?

Then you will love this new guide.

Let’s get started.

What Is H1 Light Bulb?

H1 headlight bulb is a high-beam single-filament style light bulb that illuminates surroundings over a long range. H1 light bulb is used in vehicles like trucks, SUV’s, vans, and mini-vans. H1 lights provide a higher beam of light than regular low beam bulbs and help increase safety for drivers and passengers by increasing the distance they can see while driving on the open highways and the dark rural roads.

The H1 light bulb was first introduced in 1962 as the single-filament halogen bulb for use in automobile headlights and has since been adapted for use in other applications. H1 is originally a halogen bulb, but in today’s world, it has been upgraded to an LED. The H1 is the most commonly used bulb for headlamps on automobiles and is used for front and rear lights as well.

The power consumption or nominal rating of an H1 halogen light bulb is 55 watts and 1407 lumens at a 12 voltage. According to US law, the H1 headlight bulbs, having a maximum of 65 watts rating at 12.8 volts and 1410 lumens are legal.

If you want to know the difference between h1 and h7 light bulbs, you can read my guide on h7 headlight bulbs.

What Are H1 Light Bulbs Used For?

The H1 bulb is a high beam and bright headlight that is used in automobile headlights and fog lamps to improve the visibility of automobiles in rainy weather. The light emitted from the H1 bulb is intense, clear, and glare-free. H1 bulbs are commonly used in emergency vehicle lighting due to their bright light. Due to intense light, an H1 light bulb can protect you from accidents at night in the presence of their high-intensity light with prolonged performance.

Construction of H1 Light Bulb

An H1 headlight bulb is integrated on a P14.5s base. Halogen light bulbs with a P14.5s base are commonly found in flashlight and automotive applications. The P14.5s is designed to produce a smooth beam pattern with very little glare. P14.5s base is a round metal disc with a diameter of 14.5mm and a male spade connector, having a width/diameter from 6.35 to 8mm. 

parts of halogen H1 bulb

The dimension of the male spade terminal of the P14.5s base of any bulb is labeled as T2 or T2-1/2. The digit after the T i.e. 2 represents the width/diameter of the spade connector to fit it in the wire lead of an automobile. So, T in the light bulb represents the width or the diameter of the base of the spade connector in increments of 1/8 inch. 

You can check out the below video to clarify the concept of the size of the spade connector in a light bulb.

How Does H1 Light Bulb Work?

The headlight bulb is the main component of a headlight assembly. The H1 bulb consists of a single filament that is enclosed in a quartz casing. In halogen H1 bulbs, when the tungsten filament heats and evaporates, it combines with halogen gas to form a tungsten-halogen molecule. This molecule again deposits over the filament, and the cycle is repeated. In this way, the tungsten filament in the halogen light bulbs lasts longer.

The headlight bulb is attached to the headlight socket, which is usually mounted on the front bumper of the vehicle as shown in the image below.

fitting H1 halogen bulb in the socket

In an automotive headlight assembly, there is a bowl-shaped reflector with mirrors to reflect the light and direct it to a long distance in front of a car. The headlight lens is made of a vinyl or plastic film which is used as a cover for the bulb and to reduce the percentage of the light.

reflection of the light beam from the projector in the headlight assembly

Is H1 a Low Beam?

H1 bulb is not a low beam bulb. Instead, an H1 bulb is used for its high-beam light intensity. The meaning of a high beam in H1 light bulbs is that the light beam is directed brightly straight ahead of the car without changing the angle. In this way, the beam from the H1 bulb shines over a long distance, and with a higher intensity.

h1 light bulb is high-beam

The light bulb used for low-beam light is an H7 bulb. Both H1 and H7 are single-beam light bulbs that use a single filament to generate a single beam of light.

Can I Use H1 Instead of H7?

Although H1 and H7 are both single-filament bulbs, you cannot use an H1 bulb instead of H7 and vice versa. The high beam and low beam light bulbs have different ridges in the headlight socket system of a vehicle that fit in corresponding notches. It means you can’t use H1 instead of H7 accidentally or on purpose unless you would actively defeat the system.

Is H1 Bulb LED?

H1 light bulb was the first designed as a halogen light bulb. Later on, H1 bulbs were transformed into LED-type bulbs that rapidly took over the market due to their long longer lifespan and higher brightness. Moreover, H1 LED bulbs are much more white light compared to the H1 halogen light bulbs.

However, using an H1 LED light in an H1 halogen headlight housing is a bad idea as the reflectors and lens of US vehicles are designed to work with those halogens. 

The headlights of most cars are a lot more than just inserting a bulb in the socket. There is a series of reflectors that are shaped and angled in a way that they collect and focus light from a tiny filament of a halogen light bulb and project it far down the road to maximize the visibility. 

H1 halogen lights are omnidirectional to throw a uniform beam pattern in all directions. The headlights of a car are engineered using that point of the light source (filament of H1 halogen light bulb) in its exact location and bulb dimension within the housing for the light pattern on the front of the headlights. The point of light from the source is reflected at the rear of the lens housing (reflector). The light is then inverted and travels forwards to pass on through the individual lens pattern of the front glass of the headlight to create the light pattern designed by the engineers to create a well-focused beam of light. Since the light source (filament) of a halogen light bulb is pretty much small, it can be easily placed at the precise center of the headlight housing to have a focused beam of light.

filament of h1 halogen bulb

H1 LED light bulbs can a lot be brighter than the H1 halogen light bulbs. But, it is difficult to match the correct focus in the headlight assembly to throw the LED light away from the road. LED light bulbs are not omni-directional like halogen light bulbs due to the flat LED chips, they can’t mimic the design of halogen bulb filament. Due to this, putting H1 LED ‘bulbs’ in halogen housings of the car can cause glare, poor output on the road, and poor cutoff lines as the light beam from the LED chips does not react in the same way with the reflector of the housing as the light from the halogen filament reacts.

Even though the LED light source is brighter, the combination of non-uniform light patterns with loss of focus and distance projection running in an incompatible housing results in poor lighting performance. In the image below, you can see the massive scatter of LED light (left side) when the LED bulb was installed in the halogen housing. 

led light causes glare effect when installed in halogen housing

So, due to the lack of focus of the reflector on the light beam from the LED bulb, you will considerably reduce your usable driving horizon and ability to react to objects down the road. You can read more about using LED light bulbs in cars in this blog.

Your concept will be more cleared about using LED light bulbs in the halogen housing by watching the video below:

However, if your car came fitted with LED light bulbs from the manufacturer, you can buy aftermarket H1 led light bulbs for your vehicle. LED H1 light bulbs, if high quality, installed correctly, and a thin, similar shape to halogens, are actually fine in the halogen housings.

For more details, you can also check out this forum thread.

What Are The Brightest H1 Headlight Bulbs?

Here is a list of some of the brightest H1 headlight bulbs to choose from. Please note that we do not recommend that you use a headlight bulb that is rated for a different vehicle.

OSRAM NIGHT BREAKER 

When it comes to durability, Osram Night Breaker H1 light bulbs are simply unbeatable, considering their price. Osram Night Breaker are the brightest H1 light bulbs with an impressive lifespan of up to four times longer compared to standard halogen lamps and last up to 100,000 km. They’re a warm halogen color and they’re clean and bright. You can change your Osram Ultra Life H1 light bulbs easily and securely. Plus, they are easy to install. They provide better visibility and are perfect for driving at night. The only downside is that their output is slightly less. But, they have not compromised on the quality.

Philips Automotive Lighting H1 X-tremeVision

Philips XtremeVision is also one of the brightest H1 halogen light bulbs. The life of Philips XtremeVision H1 bulbs is more than 450 hours. However, when it comes to warranty, Osram offers a 4-years warranty for its light bulbs while Philips Xtremevision light bulbs have only one year warranty. Also, Philips XtremeVision H1 light has a more whitish/bluish hue as compared to the OSRAM Night Breaker H1 light. However, I would like to highlight that the brighter the light bulb, the shorter will be its lifespan. To be extra bright and white, Philips XtremeVision light bulbs run hotter, which makes them burn out much, much faster. 

HIKARI UltraFocus H1 LED Bulbs

LED lights are more energy-efficient and have a cool white color with a higher brightness than halogen light bulbs. The result is that the color temperature of the light is about 6000K. Due to this, every car owner wants to use LED light bulbs. Hikari LED bulbs are known for their long life and high output. Due to these attributes, they are considered one of the best H1 LED headlights bulbs.

HIKARI H1 LED bulbs have somehow managed to resolve the glaring effect of LED lights in the conventional halogen housings by using ZES LED chips. These ZES chips pretty much replicate the filament of halogen bulbs so that the light beam from LED chips is projected uniformly without causing glare. ZES chips have a reduced distance between the two LED chips on both sides so that the light source of the LED light bulb is thin like the filament of a halogen bulb, and can be placed close to the center of the headlight housing.

Final Verdict 

In conclusion, a good H1 headlight bulb is one of the most important parts of your car. They help your car to see better in the dark and to be more visible to other drivers.  If you’re looking for a replacement for your stock H1 bulbs, then you’ll need to consider the color temperature. A cool white light bulb will be much brighter than a warm white light bulb. The price of the H1 headlight bulb will determine how long it will last and what type of light it will produce. So, avoid going for a cheaper option when it comes to buying H1 headlight bulbs.