Old MagLite? Best Maglite LED Conversion Upgrades and Replacements

So you are looking to spruce up your old MagLite lumens with a MagLite LED Convert kit?

LED upgrades for MagLites are available and for the most part they are easy to install.

So, lets get into the nitty gritty…

Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List:

MagLite Mini Bulb LED Upgrade

Upgrade 2 Cell MagLite to LED (C or D batteries)

Upgrade 3-6 Cell MagLite to LED (C or D batteries)

Serious MagLite LED Upgrades

Who Wants A MagLite LED Conversion Kit?

First off lets decide if it is even worth it to you. A good question to ask yourself all of the time is “Is it worth it?”

Straight out of the gate I want you to know that even the best MagLite upgrades will just barely come close to what you could expect from decent lower price new flashlight.

With that said maybe you have some sort of emotional connection with the light.
Maybe it was a gift or it was a parents or grandparents.
Maybe it was an old police friends duty light.
Maybe you really like the style that it represents or you need it to match a look you are going for or a costume.
Maybe you just are up for the challenge and it is fun project just to do.

Like I said, for the money you will spend on a good upgrade you could buy a considerably better flashlight.

So you really want to be a MagLite LED Convert? Okay, here we go…

New of Old Style MagLite Head?

This will effect what time of upgrade you can use. If at the beginning of the serial number there is a D then “usually” it means that you will have the new style. But, they did produce a couple of old lights with a beginning D. To make sure you need to measure to the bezel depth. With the bezel off you measure down to the internal lip. The new style will have a depth of around 3/4 of an inch. The old style will be around 6/10 of an inch (about an 1/8 less space). With the old style and less space you will have to adjust which upgrade unit you are going for.

Upgrade just the Emitter? Or Also Batteries?

If you really want to take this upgrade to the next level you will look at LED drop ins that can handle a different set of batteries. With the ability to use Li-ion you will get your light way closer to new flashlights on the market and you will be able to recharge your light. At the least I would urge you to not use regular alkaline batteries and use some good rechargeable batteries like Eneloops. Most likely upgrading to an LED will increase your battery life just because LEDs take way less power. Most of these are so easy you will not even need MagLite LED bulb replacement instructions.

Now The LED Upgrades For MagLites

Upgrade Mini MagLite To LED

If you have one of the Mini MagLites with a two prong incandescent bulb and you are happy with all of it aside from the brightness an maybe the battery life you are only a quick 10 minute change away from getting some thing way brighter that will take less power to run.

TerraLux Mini MagLite 2 AA Conversion

TerraLUX by Lightstar Mini Maglite LED Conversion Kit – For 2 AA Mini Maglite Flashlights – Upgrade or Replace Your Flashlight / Torch Bulb – 200 Lumens, 4 Hour Runtime – Ministar 5B TLE-5EX

This is one of the top replacement and upgrades for the smaller mini MagLites. It will only work for the mini MagLite that has an incandescent bulb as this is specifically an upgrade from those units. Coming in at 150 lumens and 4 hours of run time it is a big increase from the incandescent bulb but you do have a much cooler white look in the light. It is easy to install as you just unscrew the flashlight head, unscrew the cap that holds the lens and reflector in place and then reassemble with this in place.

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ABN Mini MagLite Flashlight LED Upgrade Bulb

Mag Lite LED Bulb Maglight LED Conversion Kit LED Replacement Bulbs LED Flashlight Bulb Pure White 1-2 AA Cells

This bulb replacement should fit in any light that is designed to run on 1 or 2 standard AA cells and uses a 2 prong incandescent connection. It is easy to install by simply removing the current bulb and plugging this one in as you would with any bulb replacement. The advantage of increased battery life, durability, and brightness is worth it if you really want to stick to your older flashlight. It is listed at 120 lumens with just 1 setting.

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Upgrade 2 Cell MagLite to LED (C or D batteries)

Some upgrade options only work for 3 cell flashlights and more. There are a couple that will work for the 2 cell flashlights, here they are.

Firefly 2-3 Cell LED Upgrade for MagLite Flashlight

LED Conversion Kit for Maglite Flashlight - 200 lumens, FireFly fits 2D, 3D, 2C, 3C Cell Flashlights- Focusable High Lumen Upgrade for Maglight with Cree XPG2 Emitter

A simple upgrade from a 2-3 Cell C or D flashlight to a Cree XP-G2 LED. This will only fit in lights that are originally incandescent lights and will not work for MagLites that are LED from the factory. This will work with newer or older MagLites since it comes with its own retaining rings. All you need to do is take off the old ring and put this right in and reassemble. Due to the way that the batteries are used you will get more out of this bulb replacement with a 3 cell light than a 2 cell light. This LED upgrade will take a 2 cell light up to 110 lumens or a 3 cell light up to 204 lumens.

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Upgrade 3-6 Cell MagLite to LED (C or D batteries)

The bulk of the MagLite upgrade options are for this segment of MagLites. The bigger 3-6 cell lights.

Firefly 3-6 Cell LED Upgrade for MagLite Flashlight by Adventure Sport Flashlights

LED Conversion Kit for Maglite Flashlight - 280 lumens, FireFly fits 3 4 5 6 D Cell and C cell Flashlights- Focusable High Lumen Upgrade for Maglight with Cree XPG2 Emitter

Designed to fit in incandescent MagLites from 3 to 6 cells in either C or D standard types. This will upgrade your incandescent light to a fully focus-able Cree XP-G2 emitter. Just unscrew the old one and screw this one in and you are done. Cheap and easy upgrade that gets you up to 276 lumens.

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Serious MagLite Upgrades Down Here…

Right here we will get into some more serious upgrades both in terms of lumens but also in terms of cost. All of the previous upgrade options were under $20 MSRP. The next set ranges from $50 to $150 MSRP but can get your old tired incandescent MagLite upgrade from 800 to 5000 lumens depending on which MagLite and upgrade you choose.

Older Style MagLites With The 6/10 Depth Inside

FireFly 3-6 D Cell LED Upgrage XM-L2 (older style head)

LED Conversion Kit for Maglite Flashlight - 800 lumen FireFly fits 3 4 5 6 D Cell - High Power Upgrade for Maglight with Cree XM-L2 Emitter - 3 Brightness levles Low 45, Mid 315, High 800 Lumen.

This upgrade will take your incandescent MagLite and put a Cree XM-L2 in it with the ability to have 3 Modes that top out at 800 lumens. It will not fit into lights that have LEDs from the factory. Since this will fit in the older style if you have a D cell MagLite without a D in the serial number this is the one to go with. Just unscrew the head of your MagLite and remove the reflector, retaining ring and bulb from the switch tower. Put the retaining ring back in. Remove the bezel and lens from the MagLite head, put the Firefly in and then put it all back to together.

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MagCharger 800 Lumen LED Upgrade For Rechargeable MagLite (older style head)

LED Conversion Kit for MagCharger Flashlight- Rechargable Maglite Replacement Bulb - 800 Lumen Firefly with Cree XML2 Emitter

Similar to the previous one but specifically for the Mag Charger System from MagLite. It has a Cree XM-L2 LED and is installed in a very similar fashion, easily… The only difference with this one is since it is for the MagCharger system you will lose the 3 modes and are stuck with just the high of 800 lumens.

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Newer Style MagLite Head

If you have the newer style MagLite head then this is the ultimate upgrade. These drop ins can handle Li-ion batteries and range between 2000 lumens to 5000 lumens depending on the size of your flashlight and the voltage.

2,000 lumen LED Upgrade for MagLite Flashlight 3x Cree XP-L HI LED (newer style head)

LED Conversion Kit for Maglite Flashlight - 2000 lumen for 3 D Cell - High Power Upgrade for Maglight with Cree XPLHI Emitters

This upgrade is meant to run on the voltage of 3 D cells only or you can use a Li-ion battery with a small upgrade to your system. The measurements were taken with rechargeable NiMH batteries and Alkaline cells will not perform quite as well. If you want to use this upgrade in a MagLite that can fit more than 3 batteries you will need to use “dummy batteries” or spacers since adding more batteries will increase the voltage and it may overload the drop in. This drop in will replace your incandescent bulb with 3 Cree XP-L Hi LEDs with an output of 2000 lumens. This will truly make your old MagLite be able to keep up with some of the more current lights but it is pretty expensive. To install first remove the head and take out the reflector, retaining ring and bulb. Next remove the bezel and lens from the head. Drop the upgrade through the top of the head and put the included O-ring on the face. Now just reassemble. This setup comes with three brightness settings of Low, Medium, and a High of 2000 Lumens.

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5000 Lumen 6 Cell LED Upgrade For MagLite Flashlight (newer style head)

LED Conversion Kit for Maglite Flashlight - 5000 lumen for 6 D Cell - High Power Upgrade for Maglight with Cree XHP50 Emitters

This upgrade is designed to run off the voltage of 6 D cell batteries or 2 IMR Li-ion cells. You can use this drop in with MagLite that is smaller than 6 D cells but then you will need to use 2 Li-ion batteries instead of D cells to meet the voltage requirement of the unit. The installation of this drop in is exactly the same as the previous and you will need spacers in your light if you intend on using Li-ion cells.

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Final Thoughts on the Best MagLite LED Conversion Upgrades

MagLite themselves have stepped up their game but it is still not to the level of some of the other flashlight makers in the industry. So really if you want to keep your old MagLite form and step it up one of these might be necessary. Also, like we said earlier the real reason to do one of these upgrades would be if you have an emotional connection to the light. Which is the best MagLite LED Conversion Upgrade for you? It depends on what you currently have and how much you are willing to put in to get it updated. If you really want a bright light check out our brightest lights buyers guide.

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