Tech Info >> Halogen Bulb Shootout: The Good, the Blue, and the UGLY >
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Page One: The Good

In this article, we run a few quick and easy comparison tests in order to separate the good bulbs from the "garbage grade" bulbs commonly found in the aftermarket. We understand that there are many product choices for consumers to chose from. Our mission is not to discredit any particular brand, but to help our readers understand that bulb quality can be next to near impossible to identify without proper knowledge and resources. However, in this test we will stick to tbe basics in order to demonstrate the differences between what separates the good bulbs from the bad ones. Once you understand the logic behind the shady sales tactic, you'll be one step ahead in the game.

The Test

In this test, we use a Cibie 200mm e-code high-efficiency headlamp assembly to conduct our tests. Each test is conducted with our labratory-grade DC power supply, which has stable power output and fully adjustable voltage and current settings. The power supply has a meters for both, voltage and amperage. To ensure accurate readings, the unit has been calibrated and all measurements are verified with our Fluke DMM. All tests are conducted at 13.8 volts. Camera aperture and shutter speed were manually configured for consistency.

OE H4: Low Beam OE H4: High Beam

O.E. stands for Original Equipment, and in plain English it means that this is the original bulb found on your car when it first rolls out of the factory. O.E. parts are typically available through your local dealership, but can often be purchased through major auto part retailers. As you can see, the above bulb emits a clean, crisp and smooth lighting pattern. The cutoff is well-defined and overall, light dispersion is very good.

Ultra-Premium H4: Low Beam Ultra-Premium H4: High Beam

Slight increase in light output in comparison to the standard premium bulb. Beleive it or not, the wattage ratings on these bulbs are actually conservative, as current ratings are actually equal to that of the standard premium bulbs. Typically, these are the best H4 high-output halogen bulbs that money can buy, assuming you don't want to run a heavy duty wiring harness.

Competition H4: Low Beam Competition H4: High Beam

For competition use, we offer these top-of-the-line high-output bulbs. Cost is reasonable. Light output is fantastic. Lifespan is good. As you can see from the above images, cutoff and light distribution is very clean and tight. Remember, heavy-duty relay wiring harness is absolutely necessary with competition bulbs.

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