Types of Flashlight Bulbs


Flashlights are designed to be portable sources of light for use both in the home and on the go. The bulbs used in flashlights vary, and there are three primary types of bulbs, including incandescent, LED and fluorescent. Within these three types, there are a variety of subtypes and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Incandescent Bulbs

  • This common bulb comes in five types: standard, xenon, krypton, halogen and HID. Standard bulbs are cheap to make but are the dimmest of the bulbs. Krypton bulbs are the next step up from standard, offering a good balance between cost and brightness.

    Xenon and halogen bulbs are both filled with a mixture of gases to increase brightness, but according to FlashlightReviews.com, xenon bulbs offer the best white light brightness over the other types of bulbs. HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs are the least common and use electrical sparks to create light rather than a filament surrounded by gases.

LED Bulbs

  • LED bulbs come in three primary types, including 3 mm, 5 mm and high Power. The 5 mm are the most common and the best balance between size and power. A key advantage of LED bulbs is their lifespan; they can last for thousands of hours and use less energy than incandescent bulbs.

    These bulbs come in a variety of colors, according to FlashlightReviews.com, with white, red, green, and cyan being the most common. An LED flashlight may contain one bulb for focused light or an array of multiple LED bulbs for increased brightness.

Fluorescent Bulbs

  • This type of flashlight bulb is limited in its uses. These bulbs are usually found in larger flashlights designed to be stationary and focus light on one area at a time. They are ideal for work desks and work spaces. These bulbs are known for producing even lighting in a small area.


  • LED flashlights are ideal for those who do not want to replace batteries and bulbs often and who need light focused on a small area. LED bulbs are also quite durable.

    Incandescent flashlights use the cheapest bulbs but are prone to breaking and short lifespans. Fluorescent bulbs are good for stationary use and producing even and bright light for a small surface area.


  • Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs may contain gases that could be harmful when the bulb is broken. Incandescent bulbs may contain halogen, xenon or krypton gases or a mixture of multiple gases. Fluorescent bulbs may contain mercury that can be harmful if released. Always use care when handling and replacing these types of bulbs.

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  • Photo Credit Jonas Bergsten, Public Domain, Series of Maglite Flashlights.
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