21 H4 bulbs in the test

21 H4 bulbs tested
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  • Test results
  • Conclusion
  • This is how we tested

H alogue lamps are far from a thing of the past. Even if everyone is talking about adaptive high-performance LED headlights, the vast majority of all cars are still trying to shed light on the darkness with halogen lamps. Not infrequently with moderate success. But that can be changed - at least that's what the manufacturers of light bulbs that are supposed to turn night into day claim. But is light tuning really that easy? To find out, in our tests from 2017 and 2014 we checked a total of 21 H4 lightbulbs in the DEKRA light tunnel. In addition, a so-called retrofit LED H4 lamp should prove whether it is actually that much brighter than its halogen counterpart. Our test should clarify what this means for the car light and what light output the individual headlight lamps provide.

Bosch promises a service life of over 3,000 hours, which is almost enough for a whole car life. Of all the legal lamps in the test field, the Bosch Longlife has by far the longest service life.

And a high-quality H4 lamp is not expensive - the premium competitors sometimes attract significantly more. However, the brightness suffers from this extreme robustness. The light distribution is even, but neither far-reaching nor bright. The range of 86 meters is also not a top value for the high-range H4 lamps. This lamp is only good for city traffic.

Price per pair: approx. 18 euros.
Test result: Recommended

Bosch Plus 120 Gigalight

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Now it's getting really bright. Bosch's top lamp shines over 100 meters in the mini headlight. This peak value is only exceeded by the Philips LED retrofit, which cannot be used legally in the EU.

In addition, there is a wide and even light cone without glare. The perfect lamp for dark routes. The Bosch Plus 120 Gigalight is one of the five H4 lamps that received top marks in the test. The price for the great light is 26 euros per pair of lamps and a comparatively short service life of around 350 hours.

Price per pair: approx. 26 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Bosch UltraWhite 4200K

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For fans of white light: At 3,640 Kelvin, the light from the Bosch Ultra White 4200 K is visibly whiter than that of conventional lamps. Although its range of 96 meters is not quite as outstanding as with the Plus 120 Gigalight - it is still very good. In terms of illumination and brightness, the Ultra White is also outstanding. The service life of the Bosch Ultra White 4200 K is acceptable in the mid-range and the price of 22 euros is okay for a high-quality pair of H4 lamps, there are more expensive candidates.

Price per pair: approx. 22 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Bosch Xenon Silver

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The whitish light is bright, even and far-reaching. The illumination is excellent. This lamp harmonises perfectly with the VW-Up headlights that were used in the test. At 75 meters, the range is in an absolute top position, brightness and light distribution are excellent. However, the lifespan is only in the middle, which can be done a little better by the roughly equally expensive competition from Philipps or Osram.

Price per pair: approx. 23 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Bosch Plus 90

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The Plus 90 should actually be superior to the Bosch Xenon Silver, which was also tested in 2014. But it is not. It shines very broad and bright, but not that far. The brightness and light distribution of the Plus 90 are at the top level, but when it comes to brightness, the inexpensive Bosch lamp is not completely convincing. As with the more expensive Bosch Xenon Silver, the service life is also only mediocre.

Price per pair: approx. 17 euros
Test result: Recommended
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Osram Silverstar 2.0

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The Silverstar shows the typical performance of a good standard pear. It illuminates nicely broadly and evenly, brightens the close range very strongly, but provides somewhat weaker values ​​beyond 50 meters. At 91 meters, the range is just as below the value of the Bosch Ultra White 4200 K as the service life,which Osram specifies for its lamp with just 300 hours. The Osram Silverstar 2.0 is also three euros cheaper per pair of lamps than the competing product from Bosch.

Price per pair: approx. 19 euros
test result: Recommended

Osram Night Breaker Laser

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The brightest lamp in the Osram portfolio again delivers a convincing performance in the light channel: a beautiful, even beam of light, the best illumination from close range up to 95 meters in front of the car the Osram Night Breaker +130% is one of the five best lamps in the test. In terms of range, it is only beaten by the Philips Racing Vision +150% for lamps legal in the EU - by two meters. The top values ​​are bought with a not too long lifespan of about 400 hours. At 27 euros per pair, the Osram Night Breaker +130% is in the upper price segment of H4 lamps.

Price per pair: approx. 27 euros
Test result: Very recommendable

Osram Original

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A decent standard lamp with typical light distribution, not too wide, but quite good. Comparable to lamps from Bosch, Osram, Philips or GE.

The strength of the Osram standard lamp is its balance. Range, brightness, light distribution and service life are all at a high level, but without reaching the same level as the expensive top products. Given the price, Osram delivers a really good lamp here. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 10 euros
Test result: Recommended

Osram Night Breaker Unlimited

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As bright as the bright day. All measured values ​​and the light distribution are great. Bright and slightly whiter light. Much more illumination can hardly be expected with H4 headlights. Apart from the service life, which is only in the midfield, the Osram lamp can convince across the board. The relatively low price also makes the purchase decision easier. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 17 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Philips Vision +30%

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The vision +30% stands for a slightly optimized standard lamp with a service life of 700 hours. It works perfectly in the headlight of the Mini. It convinces in all measuring ranges with astonishingly bright and relatively warm light. At 95 meters, their range is the third best among the legal lamps.

The combination of one of the best ranges with one of the best brightness levels and also one of the best light distributions, Philips also couples to one with the Vision + 30% significantly longer service life than the other top models, which makes the lamp at a price of 17 euros per pair a kind of insider tip in the top group.

Price per pair: approx. 17 euros
test result: Highly recommended

Philips Racing Vision + 150%

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The new top lamp from Philips does what it has to do: you convinces in all areas. Friends of very bright white light will get their money's worth here with 3,620 Kelvin - from close range to almost 100 meters.

The range of 97 meters is the second best for legal lights after the Bosch Plus 120 Gigalight . With the Philips Racing Vision +150%, the white, shining light is also accompanied by very harmonious illumination. Disadvantages are the comparatively high price of 25 euros per pair and the short service life of under 350 hours.

Price per pair: approx. 25 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Philips LED Retrofit

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The Philips LED Retrofit is the absolute high-flyer in the test. But: LED lamps with H4 or H7 bases are not permitted in the EU. It's a shame, because the performance of the high-quality Philips lamp is simply outstanding. Loosely twice as bright in the long range, with 115 meters by far the largest range and at 6,550 K almost unreal white, no real halogen lamp can even come close to holding a candle to it.

The price of the lamp is 180 Euros per pair are as extraordinarily high as their performance values ​​- and the installation does not work on every car: the control unit, heat sink and additional cables should be installed by a specialist. Since the LED lamp with an H4 base also has the longest service life, it would be desirable for the EU to reconsider its legislation regarding the approval of such lamps.

Test result: Not legal, no rating

Philips Long Life Eco Vision

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As expected, the light is less bright, the light distribution not as wide and wide as with the high-performance lamps. But it lasts up to 3000 hours.

When it comes to durability, the Philips is a real benchmark. But if you are looking for top light output, very high brightness and outstanding light distribution, you should look around at the high-performance lamps. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 15 euros
Test result: Recommended

Philips X-treme Vision + 130%

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Philips' top lamp convinces across the board. Their light range is extremely large, and the right edge of the road is very well illuminated. A real bright spot!

The top performance has its price, of course, but the difference to the other top products tested is limited. That's why the Philips X-treme is a real buy recommendation! This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 25 euros
Test result: Highly recommended

Xenon Blue Design

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With the Xenon Blue Design, the purchase price plays first fiddle: four euros per pair of lamps fit every driver's wallet. And for this price, the light output is not bad at all.

The light of the budget lamp is not whiter than that of the other lamps and the other measured values ​​do not come close to the top results of the established competition (the Range is 88 meters for oneH4 lamp rather weak), but the Xenon Blue Design may still be okay for penny pinchers, especially since the halogen lamp with the name 'Xenon' lasts significantly longer than the products in the top five.

Price per pair : 4 euros
Test result: Conditionally recommended

Base Tech

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If you thought that the Xenon Blue Design was the best offer in the H4 lamp group in terms of absolute price, you will be surprised: At two euros per pair, the Base Tech is only half as expensive as the extremely cheap ' Xenon “halogen lamp. But nomen est omen - what do you expect for two euros? After all, the measured values ​​meet all standards and the glare is low. The range is 20 meters shorter than the top lamps - here the Base Tech is the worst legal lamp in the field. Conclusion: Unrivaled price, but stinginess is not great here, despite a reasonable service life. Even the Xenon Blue Design, which is also affordable at four euros, makes everything better.

Price per pair: 2 euros
Test result: Not recommended

Jurmann H4 100 watts

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100 watts sounds kind of good - but it doesn't mean anything. The lamp ordered on the Internet without approval is the weakest in the test. Absurd: The blue glass bulb alone swallows so much light that no measured value comes close to the required minimum values. The Jurmann H4 100 watts also combines the worst of all worlds: its lifespan is sadly short, but the price of 20 euros per pair of lamps is a cheek - considerably cheaper models are much better here. Clearly: Stay away from this bad funzel - anyone who installs such an illegal part anyway also risksapproval and thus its insurance coverage.

Price per pair: approx. 20 euros
Test result: Not legal, no rating

MTEC Super White

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Price per pair: from 16.79 euros . An overall indisputable test result. The blue glass bulbs let only a little light onto the road. Incorrect geometry, very short range, miserable readings. The MTEC product is also decidedly too expensive for the poor performance in the test. At Philips, Bosch or Osram there are consistently top values ​​in the price range! This lamp was tested in 2014!

Test result: Not recommended

Carlex (ATU)

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Cheap doesn't have to be bad. Although the Carlex cannot keep up with the standard lamps, the illumination is sufficient for city traffic. Even if the range, brightness and light distribution cannot quite keep up with the top products in the segment, the Carlex is convincing when it comes to durability. A remarkable achievement for the price. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 7.90 euros
Test result: Conditionally recommended

Super Star blue 100 /90 watts

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We bought this illegal pear on ebay. It glows white but not bright. Advantages? No. Disadvantages: poor performance, gets very hot and is forbidden anyway. On the Internet, the no-name lamps show off their outstanding luminosity. The test shows that for 12.50 euros you don't see a bit better than with a product from an established manufacturer. Not to mention the lack of legality. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 12.50 euros
Test result: Not legal, no rating

Hammer Blue Light

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The typical hardware store lamp. It shines broadly, but not too brightly, it lacks range. At 3595 Kelvin, the light is significantly whiter than normal (3100 K).

Your hardware store roots don't really damage the Hammer Blue Light. It can't quite keep up with the top products, but it comes with quite remarkable durability values. Not the very first choice in the lamp shop, but a solid product. This lamp was tested in 2014!

Price per pair: from 12.90 euros
Test result: Conditionally recommended

H4 bulb price comparison


Conclusion

Is the halogen technology exhausted? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that. With its retrofit LED lamp, Philips shows how bright an H4 headlight can be - and at a much lower cost than the factory-fitted LED light option. Despite the ban on using such retrofits, you can get them on the Internet for H4 headlights for as little as 20 euros. Stay away from these dangerous dazzlers, mostly from China. Developing LED headlight lamps is anything but trivial because the light source has to be so tiny that it corresponds to the size of a halogen bulb. Philips did it. For customers who are “spoiled by halogen”, it would be a ray of hope if the legislature, together with the renowned lamp manufacturers, formulated precise rules to enable such lamps to be approved. What is also forgotten again and again: The reflectors of many modern vehicles(especially with H7 lamps) are simply too small! The small reflector, not the light bulb, is often to blame for the bad cunning. The large H4 lamps often have an advantage here.

This is how we tested

The test according to ECE standard R 112 was carried out by DEKRA lighting experts. And this is how it works: A complete headlight is fixed on the goniometer and the basic setting is made with two precise test lamps. Then all the light bulbs to be tested are mounted one after the other and carefully adjusted according to the instructions. This is extremely important for the measurement results, even a vertical deviation of 0.5 degrees can bring 20 lux more onto the road, but it increases the glare for oncoming traffic massively. Therefore, the hiring of two employees is meticulously checked. During the eight-minute test run per lamp, the goniometer swiveled the headlight to 63 contour lines 45 degrees to the left and right. The light falls on a photocell at a distance of 25 meters. 5670 measured values ​​per lamp are determined by the computer as an image of the actual light distribution of both headlights and displayed as a light curve of the low beam on the road. The outer limit of the light distribution shown in blue is the three-lux line. Objects are recognizable up to there. High beam is not measured. The test voltage for all test runs is exactly 13.2 volts.

All tested retrofit lamps including the detailed results can be seen in our picture gallery.

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