Are PIAA H11 Extreme White Plus Bulbs Better than Stock?

I got my new truck and figured for fun I'd pickup a set of the PIAA bulbs pictured on the left and see if there is anything to the claims that they are better or different than stock. The stock OEM bulbs are OSRAM / Sylvania 64211 (made in Germany). These bulbs are half the price of the Piaa's.

I bought a pair of part number 15211 from Amazon for 59.30 (5/2010). The wattage is the same (55 - 100) as stock so I was wondering what technical innovations would make this bulb better. The bulb is made in Japan. Since the bulb plugs into the stock headlight unit the beam pattern had to be pretty much the same. Here's what the PIAA advertisement spec's says.

It also was suggested that I try an H9 bulb. While H9's are 65watts as opposed to the H11 55watts the H9's only have a single filament so you would lose your high beam. For single filament applications such as fog lights or a setup with separate high and low beams this would work.

PIAAs Xtreme White Plus H-11 with a Kelvin rating of 4000K provides an intense white light and the superior performance of Xtra Technology. Xtreme White Plus light measures 4000 degrees on the Kelvin scale while normal halogen bulbs operate at only 3200K which is closer to yellow than pure white on the Kelvin color scale. So lose those boring factory bulbs and upgrade to PIAAs Xtreme White Plus H-11 and experience the difference.

Maybe I'm blind but I couldn't find out anywhere what Xtra technology is.

I did a US patent search looking for anything that might give me a clue to what 'Xtra' technology is. While PIAA had a number of patents just about all were described as "CLAIM The ornamental design for a lamp for a vehicle, as shown and described. "

Osram OEM

I decided to design a test that would show if the new PIAA's were any better than the Osram's that came with the truck pictured on the left. One of the hat's I wear is a Photographer. What I decided to do is take some pictures in the dark of both sets of lights under the exact same conditions.

I positioned the truck so the headlights were 20 feet from my garage doors. The doors are painted medium grey which provides a fairly neutral target. I waited till it was dark, 10:00pm.

I set a 12 megapixel Nikon D300 with a Nikon 24 - 70 2.8 zoom on a tripod 30 feet back and 11 feet over to the left of the truck on a tripod. I set the camera exposure on manual and set the exposure so the brightest part of the beam would not be overexposed, i.e. so the highlights wouldn't be blown out. I set the camera at ISO 200, 1/40 @ f 4.5 and shot in camera raw with auto white balance on. With the truck running I took a picture of the stock bulbs in low beam and high beam.

I shut the truck off and changed the bulbs to the new PIAA's and took 2 pictures exactly the same as the first without moving anything.

I brought the pictures into Adobe Lightroom. The camera detected the kelvin temp of the light as detailed below. The absolute measurement won't be perfectly correct because measuring off the painted garage door; even though it's grey doesn't mean it's perfectly grey. The thing to look at is the difference between the pictures.

Osram Low Beam

Osram Low Beam. Color temp 3450k

Piaa Low Beam

Piaa Low Beam. Color temp 3650k

Osram High Beam

Osram High Beam. Color temp 3500k

Piaa High Beam

Piaa High Beam. Color temp 3550k


As far as I'm concerned there is no significant difference between the stock Osram bulbs that came with my truck and the PIAA Xtreme white plus bulbs. The intensity and color temperature between the two are just about identical. At this point I don't know if one will last longer than the other. Only time will tell, but at least I now have a set of spare's. If you actually read what PIAA says in their marketing material there really are no actual claims that they are better. That's probably why I can't find anything about their 'Xtra' technology. In my opinion it's all marketing hype. Don't waste you money on the Piaa bulbs.