When selecting between D2R and D2s automotive light bulbs, it’s important to consider the difference in light output. D2R bulbs produce more light, while D2S bulbs have a longer lifespan.

The primary distinction between D2S and D2R hid bulbs is that D2S HID bulbs are created to be installed in a projector headlight, while a D2R type is manufactured for reflector applications – such as some driving lights and worklights. So, they are not interchangeable.

Which one is better for your vehicle and what are the bulbs` peculiarities? We are here to help.

Socket Compatibility

As we have already mentioned, D2S and D2R hid bulbs are not interchangeable.

D2S HID bulbs will only fit in a projector headlight, while a D2R is meant to be installed in reflector headlights. The difference between the two has to do with the beam pattern each emits. A projector headlight uses a shroud around the bulb to focus light in a specific pattern, while reflector headlights use the headlight’s bowl-shaped reflector to disperse light.

The compatibility of sockets is the main reason that you can’t install a D2R hid bulb in a projector headlight (and vice versa). In order to check out whether your lamps are compatible with each other you should look at their dimensions, wattage, and voltage and also check the shape of the light beam they produce.

D2R Bulb Hallmarks

D2R's method of identification is not as simple as its sequel; instead, you must use the Scroll of Identify. This item can be bought in most towns and occasionally drops from monsters. These bulbs are used in newer model cars such as the Audi A4, BMW E46 3-Series, and Mercedes W211.

These lamps have a P32d-3 base type, it means that drivers can use it for both low and high beams. The standard power of these bulbs is 35W, but some models can work on 65W. At the same time, the voltage of D2R lamps is about 85V which is pretty high. That's why these lights are not so popular among drivers. Their color temperature ranges up to 4300 Kelvin and we can admit, that it's really white. Usually, such white warm light is applied in headlights.

To replace D2R bulbs, you will need a special socket wrench that can be found in any auto shop. Overall, this lamp is characterized as a good light source that provides good visibility on the road.

Advantages of D2R lamps:

  • Emit white light
  • Good visibility
  • Relatively easy to replace

Disadvantages of D2R bulbs:

  • Have a high voltage
  • Not popular among drivers

D2S Bulb Gimmicks

The D2S is a projector system that uses a Xenon gas discharge HID or Xenon bulb. They are used in high-end cars with projector headlights. The D2R is a reflector system that uses a regular halogen bulb. You can find them in lower-end cars or even some higher-end cars that have non-projector headlights.

You don't need to replace your D2S bulbs frequently; most have a lifespan of 2000 hours. Also, this means it's unlikely the bulb will burn out within its warranty period. In fact, they are so reliable that some carmakers are now offering D2S bulbs with a lifetime warranty.

D2S bulbs produce a bluish light, which some people find unpleasant. If you're looking for a whiter light, consider the D2R. With a wattage of 35W and a voltage of 85V, drivers could put this lamp into an H1 holder and connect it to a 12V power source.

If you're not sure which bulb to choose, consult your car's owner manual or ask a professional at your local auto parts store. In general, D2S bulbs are more expensive than D2R bulbs but they offer better performance and longevity.

Pros of using D2S:

  • Long lifespan
  • Reliable
  • Produces a bluish light

Cons of using D2S:

  • More expensive than D2R bulbs

Specs Comparison


The D2S bulbs emit 3200 lumens of brightness per bulb, while the D2R bulbs are not far behind at 2800 lumens of brightness. With HID headlight options, these are some of the brightest and most vivid colors available on the market.

Base Type

There are distinct notches cut into the base of each bulb that enable them to be fitted into the headlight assembly. With D2S bulbs, these notches spaced further apart from each other, making it simpler to projector-style headlights.

D2R headlight bulbs are designed to be fitted more easily in a reflector-style headlight assembly. This is due to the notches in the bulb base being spaced closer together. Additionally, because of this design difference, the two headlight bulbs are non-interchangeable.


The key distinction between D2S and D2R headlight bulbs is the type of headlight assembly they accommodate. The D2S, in particular, is intended for projector-style headlights.

D2R headlight bulbs, on the contrary, are created to snugly fit into reflector-style headlights. Additionally, the construction and fitting of these bulbs also hinge upon the kind of headlight they're made for.


D2R bulbs have a painted surface which eliminates the yellow hues in light output. This makes the light appear cooler and more aesthetic. D2S bulbs do not have a painted surface, but rather emit a warmer, yellow-tinged hue.

Which Bulb Is For Your Vehicle?

D2R vs D2S comparison is not as simple as it might seem at the first sight. These bulbs have their advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a purchase.

We would recommend D2S bulbs for those who are looking for better performance and longevity. If you're looking for a whiter light, consider the D2R. With a wattage of 35W and a voltage of 85V, drivers could put this lamp into an H1 holder and connect it to a 12V power source. For those who are on a budget, we would recommend D2R bulbs. They are not as popular among drivers, but they still provide good visibility on the road. Additionally, they are relatively easy to replace if necessary.

Overall, the D2R bulbs usage is more widespread due to their affordability and the fact that they fit most car models. D2S bulbs are usually more expensive but offer a better light output. When choosing between these two types of bulbs, be sure to consider your needs and preferences.

Reviewed by Brent Ordway

Brent Ordway is an ASE-certified car technician. He has been working on cars since he was a teenager and loved helping people keep their vehicles running smoothly. Brent's skills as a mechanic are unrivaled. In 2022, he earned his place on the list of winners for the ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year award.

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