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Xenon Vs Bi-Xenon Vs Hi-Low Beam - What’s The Difference?

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XenonPro - HID Bulb Types Explained Diagram

Customers frequently ask us about the differences between regular Xenon bulbs, Bi-Xenon bulbs and Hi-Low Beam Xenon bulbs. Many drivers want to know which of the three is the best for their vehicle and why?

In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between all three types of Xenon HID bulbs so you can get a deeper understanding on the subject and be ready to choose the perfect Xenon HID kit for your specific car, truck or motorcycle.

Overview

Bi-Xenon and Hi-Low beam bulbs are designed for dual-beam headlight systems, which is when a vehicle requires only one bulb for both the high and the low beam function.

On the other hand, regular Xenon bulbs are for vehicles that require separate bulbs for each of the low and high beams, commonly known as single-beam headlight systems. Visit our detailed guide to learn more about the difference between low beam and high beams.

There is, however, one important caveat to consider: it is not the driver that decides whether or not to use a single-beam (Xenon) or a dual-beam (Bi-Xenon/Hi-Low) bulb but rather the vehicle.

For example, a 2018 Ford F-150 has a single-beam headlight system, which requires an H11 bulb for the low beam and a 9005 bulb in the high beams. Many drivers think they can outsmart their vehicle’s lighting system and save money by buying dual-beam bulbs but they will simply not fit or work. Vehicle’s require specific bulb sizes and they must be respected.

Older F-150s, on the other hand, such as the 2014 Ford F-150, require an H13 dual-beam bulb, which covers both the low and the high beam with a single bulb. You cannot use single-beam bulbs (Xenons) even if you wanted to!

Not sure which bulb size your vehicle requires? Use our Vehicle Finder to find the exact bulbs needed for your specific car, truck, motorcycle or snowmobile.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of Xenon HIDs bulbs and their key differences.

Xenon Vs. Bi-Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs

The difference between Xenon and Bi-Xenon HID headlight bulbs is that Xenons are single-beam bulbs which only cover one beam at a time (low, high or fogs) while Bi-Xenons are dual-beam bulbs, which cover both the low and high beam in one bulb.

XenonPro - Xenon Vs. Bi-Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs Comparison

Both Xenon and Bi-Xenon HID headlight bulbs produce all of their light by heating Xenon gas inside a bulb.

If you were to upgrade your entire single-beam headlight system, you would require four Xenon bulbs, two for your high beams and two for your low beams. With a dual-beam headlight system, you would only require two Bi-Xenon HID bulbs to cover both your high and low beams.

Bi-Xenon HID headlight bulbs also have a more complex design compared to regular Xenon bulbs. Activating the brights on regular Xenons is done electrically as opposed to mechanically for Bi-Xenons.

As such, Bi-Xenons have a special mechanism to create the extra light for when the brights (high beam) are activated. Typically, this mechanism either pushes the bulb forward or pulls it backwards, which impacts the amount of light and the direction of the light beam, creating incremental light exhibited by high beams.

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Bi-Xenon Vs. Hi-Low Headlight Bulbs

Bi-Xenon and Hi-Low HID bulbs have one main thing in common, they are both dual-beam bulbs. As explained above, dual-beam bulbs cover both the high and the low beam in one single bulb.

The difference between Bi-Xenon and Hi-Low Xenon HID headlight bulbs is that Bi-Xenons are powered entirely by Xenon gas while Hi-Low Xenon HID bulbs are powered by Xenon gas for the low beam and halogen for the high beam.

XenonPro - Bi-Xenon Vs. Hi-Low Beam HID Headlight Bulbs Comparison

As you can see from the picture above, Hi-Low beams are a hybrid of Xenon (low beam) and halogen (high beam). Hi-Low beams are generally cheaper than Bi-Xenons but they are less bright for the high beam since Xenon HIDs are significantly brighter than halogens.

Since Bi-Xenons and Hi-Low HID bulbs are dual-beam bulbs, they are both not designed for and will not fit fog lights. They will also not fit single on single-beam headlight systems. Only regular Xenon bulbs (single-beam) will fit in fog lights and single-beam headlights.

Summary

  Xenon Bi-Xenon Hi-Low Beam
# of Bulbs 2 1 1
Low Beam Xenon HID Xenon HID Xenon HID
High Beam Halogen/Xenon/LED Xenon HID Halogen
Lighting Technology Xenon Gas Xenon Gas Xenon Gas - Halogen Hybrid
Single-Beam Bulb Yes No No
Dual-Beam Bulb No Yes Yes
Can Fit Fogs Yes No No
High Beam Activation Electrically Mechanically Electrically
# of filaments 0 0 1
Price $$ $$$ $$
Energy Efficiency High High Above Average

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Bi-Xenons Better than Xenons?

Both are equally as good since they both create light entirely from Xenon gas. The difference is that Bi-Xenons are for dual-beam headlight systems (1 bulb for both low and high beam) and Xenons are for single beam headlight systems (2 bulbs, 1 for the low beam and one for the high beam).

Are Bi-Xenons Better Than Hi-Low Beam Xenon HIDs?

Yes. Bi-Xenons produce both the high and low beam light using Xenon gas while Hi-Low bulbs produce the low beam using Xenon and the high beam using halogen. Xenons are significantly brighter, cooler and more efficient than halogens.

Can I get Bi-Xenons Instead of Xenons?

No. Bi-Xenons are dual-beam bulbs (one bulb for both the low and high beam function) designed for dual-beam headlight systems. Xenons are single-beam bulbs (one for each the low and the high beam function) designed for single-beam headlight systems.

As explained earlier in this guide, headlight systems are vehicle-specific, which means that if your vehicle has a single-beam headlight system, you will require separate bulbs for your low and high beams and a dual-beam bulb will simply not fit or work.

Not sure which bulb size your vehicle requires? Use our Vehicle Finder to find the exact bulbs needed for your specific car, truck, SUV, van, motorcycle or snowmobile.

Can I choose between Bi-Xenons and Hi-Low Beam Headlight Bulbs?

Yes. Bi-Xenons and Hi-Low beam headlight bulbs are both dual-beam bulbs. They are generally available in the same sizes such as H13, H4, HB2, 9003, 9004, 9007, and 9008.

As explained in this guide, the difference between the two is that Bi-Xenons will provide Xenon light for both high and low beam while Hi-Low beam bulbs will only provide Xenon light for the low beam and halogen light for the high beam.

Can I Put Bi-Xenons in my Fog Lights?

No. Bi-Xenons are only for dual-beam headlights and will not fit fog or work in fog lights.

Can I Put Hi-Low Beam Headlight Bulbs in my Fog Lights?

No. Hi-Low Beam headlight bulbs are only for dual-beam headlights and will not fit fog or work in fog lights.

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