How to Replace the Bulb in Your Flashlight

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How to Replace the Bulb in Your Flashlight

Flashlights are required in many different situations and under a number of different circumstances. They may need to be used in a professional sense by those who work in dark conditions, or they may need to be used whilst camping or in domestic situations where there is a power cut or lack of light.

Regardless of the situation that the flashlight is used in, the bulb will always need replacing at some point. The replacing of a bulb in a flashlight is not necessarily as hard as it seems and most manufacturers try and make it as easy as possible to do so.

The best places to look for replacement bulbs, if they aren’t owned already, are auction sites like eBay that often offer flashlight bulbs at affordable and reasonable rates.

The following guide looks to take those wishing to replace a flashlight bulb through the necessary steps to make it safe and efficient.

Check the Batteries

The first thing to when going to replace the bulb of a flashlight is to check the batteries. In doing this, one can see whether the flashlight has stopped working because the batteries have run out or if the bulb has blown. It is worth doing this so one does not have to purchase another bulb for the flashlight unnecessarily.

If new batteries are required either instead or alongside a new bulb, flashlights tend to use the following types of battery:

There are also flashlights available that use a winding mechanism to produce the power for the bulb. It may be worth checking that it is not a fault with this mechanism that is causing the flashlight not to function properly.

Research the Bulb Type

The next step in replacing the bulb in a flashlight is to find out what sort of bulb it is that the flashlight requires. This is important as it allows one to purchase the correct bulb, as well as work out how to replace it.

Below is a table detailing the more commonly used types of bulbs for flashlights:


Incandescent bulbs are the easiest of flashlights bulbs to replace. They are similar in design to household light bulbs and for this reason they are replaced in the same manner. Most incandescent bulbs are screwed into place and only require a few turns to release them. They are made of glass, however, so one has to be careful when replacing them, as they can be fragile in nature.
Incandescent bulbs are also very reasonably priced, so if a replacement bulb is required then it should be affordable. Incandescent bulbs are used most commonly in household flashlights and the design of these flashlights also makes them simple to replace.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs that are used in household flashlights are slightly easier to replace than the LED bulbs that are more permanently fitted in the likes of keyring flashlights. Keyring flashlights are often made in a way that makes it nearly impossible to get to the bulb. Therefore it is extremely hard to replace the bulb, as it cannot be taken out. In this instance it is both easier and more cost-effective to purchase a new keyring flashlight.
They are available at extremely reasonable prices on the likes of eBay and can even be purchased in bulk to ensure both a lower price and that a new one can be used immediately after the bulb stops working in the old one. In saying this, LED bulbs are well known and appreciated for their long lasting abilities, so when flashlights that use this type of bulb need a bulb replacement it is a rare occurrence.

HID Bulbs

Flashlights that use HID bulbs are very similar to those that use incandescent bulbs in that the flashlights are made so that the bulbs themselves are easy to access and replace. Much like incandescent flashlights, the bulbs of HID flashlights can be easily taken out. They are either screwed in or locked in using a twist clamp. HID bulbs tend to be a bit bigger than incandescent bulbs and are much less fragile; however, there is more glass involved in their production, so one should watch out when placing the faulty bulb on a flat surface and make sure that it does not roll off and smash. The only downside to replacing HID bulbs is that they are slightly more expensive than incandescent bulbs due to their efficiency and long lasting nature.

How to Replace a Screw-In Flashlight Bulb

Most incandescent and HID flashlights use screw in bulbs. The replacement of these is very simple to do, especially if one follows these steps and uses them as checkpoints:

  1. The first step is to locate the lens cap and unscrew it. The lens cap is at the top of the flashlight and is the part of the flashlight that the light shines out of. Once located, unscrew the cap. It should come loose after 4 or 5 turns. Do not get confused with the focus adjuster ring that may be around the same area on the flashlight.
  2. Once the cap has been removed it is time to unscrew the bulb. There may be a cap that holds the bulb in place at the bottom. One should unscrew this and make sure that it does not fall out in order to avoid it smashing. Take the bulb out and dispose of it safely.
  3. Before touching the bulb, make sure that the flashlight has not been used recently as the bulb may still be warm and can cause injury.
  4. Pick up the replacement bulb, make sure that it is the right type of bulb and that the fitting matches that of the flashlight and the bulb cap.
  5. Screw the bulb into the fitting and make sure it is secure and fits well. If it is turned too tight the fitting can snap and the flashlight may be deemed broken, as another bulb may not be able to be fitted. If the bulb is not screwed in enough then the connection between the bulb and power source may be weak and the bulb may not work.
  6. Screw the lens cap back on and make sure that it is fitted securely, but not tight enough that it cannot be unscrewed for the next time that the flashlight bulb needs replacing.
  7. Switch the flashlight on and it should work. Remember that if the flashlight bulb is fitted properly and doesn’t work then it may be a problem with the batteries or the flashlight as a whole.

Other Bulb Replacement Considerations

There are also a number of other considerations that need to be thought about concerning the replacing of a flashlight bulb:

  • Cleaning: It may be worth giving the fitting of the bulb a clean before putting the new bulb back in. This prevents a further build-up of dust, something that can potentially cause the bulb to stop working. Whilst the lens cap is off it may also be worth giving that a clean to improve its clarity.
  • Electrics: One should make sure that their flashlight is switched off before attempting to replace the lightbulb. If it is left on, the electrics inside the flashlight can cause injury if they are touched whilst live.
  • New Flashlight: Occasionally, when the bulb stops working in a flashlight it may just be down to faulty electrics or a loose connection. In this instance, it may be worthwhile to buy a new flashlight altogether. eBay has hundreds of listings for flashlights at affordable prices.

Buying a Flashlight Bulb on eBay

Flashlight bulbs are one of the many household and camping items that can found on eBay. The site has an extensive range of flashlight bulbs that can all be purchased at reasonable prices that do not necessarily reflect the recommended retail prices that are offered in hardware stores and online camping equipment retailers.

eBay’s Bidding option allows for potential buyers of flashlight bulbs to enter into an auction for their desired item and provides the chance for them to acquire their product at their named price. Sellers on eBay may also offer the chance for buyers to provide them with their Best Offer. The final buying option is the Buy It Now facility. This is popular amongst sellers who sell in bulk or who own eBay shops.

To make use of these buying options when buying a flashlight bulb, go to the Sporting Goods category of the site and select the Camping option. This should provide you with a list of filter tabs. Choose the Lights, Lanterns and Torches option and follow that through to the Flashlights/Torches listings.

Once a product is found, be sure to read the product description thoroughly and to check the seller’s previous transaction history to ensure that they come as recommended by others.


The physical replacing of a bulb in a flashlight is a reasonably simple exercise. However, without the other considerations mentioned in this guide the process may become confusing or more complex.

Be sure to know exactly what type of bulb is being used in the flashlight to ensure that the correct replacement is being fitted. Whether it is an LED, HID or an incandescent bulb that is being used, get to know the exact steps to take before commencing with the replacement of the bulb, so in order to make it as efficient and safe as possible.

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