Choosing a new headlight bulb is an extremely important decision. While standard bulb replacements are cheap, more expensive bulbs, such as halogen bulbs, provide better visibility, making driving at night safer and easier. Sylvania's SilverStar and SilverStar Ultra series of bulbs are two high performance, moderately priced choices of halogen bulbs.
Halogen Bulb Basics
Before choosing a halogen bulb, it is important to understand the specs given for bulbs. The first spec generally provided is energy usage, given in watts per hour. The second is the color temperature. The color temperature -- given in Kelvin -- determines the color and brightness the bulb puts out. The higher the temperature, the brighter the bulb, and the closer to daylight the bulb is, with daylight being around 4870 Kelvin. Finally, some bulbs will provide a rating of lumens, or the measurement used for the amount of light recognized by the human eye.
The specs of the SilverStar series vary slightly from bulb to bulb, and the type of bulb you use will be largely determined by your car. However the SilverStar series generally falls in the same range. These bulbs have a color temperature of about 4,000 Kelvin, use 55 to 65 watts per hour, and produce between 1300 and 1400 lumens. Sylvania, maker of the SilverStar series, boasts that the SilverStar bulbs are 35 percent brighter than regular bulbs, provide 30 percent more vision straight ahead, and 35 percent more to the sides. The set costs around $30 to $40 as of 2011.
SilverStar Ultra Specs
Sylvania claims the SilverStar Ultra bulbs are 50 percent brighter than regular bulbs, provide 40 percent more vision straight ahead, and 50 percent more to the sides. SilverStar Ultra bulbs use 65 watts per hour and a color temperature rating of about 4,100 Kelvin. Lumens are not provided for the SilverStar Ultra bulbs. As of 2011, these bulbs cost around $50 for a set.
Making Your Decision
To make this decision, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend and how well you can see at night. While both bulbs provide excellent visibility, the SilverStar Ultra provides a brighter and greater field of vision than the SilverStar bulbs. So if you have trouble seeing at night, the SilverStar Ultra may be the better choice; if you do not, then the SilverStar bulbs may work just fine and save you a few dollars. A final thing to consider is bulb life. The filament in the SilverStar Ultra series runs at a higher temperature, and therefore generally has a shorter lifespan than the SilverStar series.
- Photo Credit 4x4 jeep`s head light. image by Sergejs Nescereckis from Fotolia.com
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