Maglite LED conversion and upgrade kits

Upgrade guide + recommendations

Maglite upgrades

Table of contents:

Jump right to the category you are most interested in

  1. Guide: how to upgrade C+D maglites
  2. Simple LED conversion kits
  3. High Power LED conversion kits

Convert your Maglites to LED

The older Maglites were only sold with incandescent bulbs. The more batteries in those Maglites, the brighter they were. In 2006, Mag Instruments started to equip their Maglite flashlights with LED emitters.
LED lights have become more and more popular for many reasons, and Mag Instruments couldn’t stay behind.

The Maglite pictured on the right is mine. I did some hand filing on it to make it look more appealing. I also replaced both the tailcap and bezel, using those from a silver Maglite I still had around; to provide an appealing contrast.

In my honest opinion, I would only upgrade a Maglite to Drop-in PR bulb LED for one of the following reasons:

  1. The flashlight has an emotional value.
  2. You just want to use it for emergencies! (This is great because the ‘drop-ins’ that increase battery life are cheap)
  3. You don’t care about extreme brightness.
  4. You want to create a ‘one of a kind’ light you modded yourself (including some filework/CNC)

I would personally not upgrade a Maglite to PR-bulb LED dropin for the following reasons:

  1. I want to have an extremely bright flashlight.
  2. I want to have the newest LED in my Maglite.
  3. I want to keep it original for my ‘collection’.

How to upgrade your old “C” and “D” cell Mag light/Maglite to LED emitter?

The easiest way to upgrade your older incandescent Maglite is by buying a LED PR bulb replacement. Maglite has provided these PR LED emitter bulb replacements for many years. They are an easy way to increase brightness and extend the runtime of the Maglite multifold above that of the incandescent.

Increase Brightness or runtime?

You may have never thought about the question, but it is an important question to ask yourself before you upgrade your Maglite. Remember, an increase in brightness usually also means a decrease in runtime.

But, you can always modify your Maglite to your own liking. You can get both the best runtime and best brightness, at the same time; by using a regulated electronics board (driver). Upgrading a Maglite can be lots of fun! They are strong enough to endure quite a beating also. Just be aware, it will cost a bit of time and money if you want to go with high power LED dropins.
If you think the time spent would be an enjoyable experience & the money outlay doesn’t bother you….go for it.
Customize your Maglite in a way you will be proud of.

Otherwise, look at the list of brightest flashlights on the market or farthest throwing flashlights if you want the beam to reach out and light up things at extreme distances.

Easy MAGLITE  conversion LED (PR bulb) upgrades

LED bulbs for maglite

The following list contains easy drop in replacements. You don’t have to modify your flashlight. In some cases if you have a Xenon bulb, you might have to widen the screw-on part of the bulb…

Dorcy Maglite Upgrade to Maximize battery life

The Dorcy LED replacements have been on the market for many years and extend the battery life to the fullest. But the output is very, very low at around 40Lm.

Tip: Buy one of these drop-ins and put it in the tailcap behind the spring. If you run out of batteries with a more powerful drop-in, simply replace the bulb with this one to extend your battery life by a few hours. You can get them at BestBuy or Home Depot for a few dollars.

Note: I only recommended these for emergencies.

$7 Nite ize Led upgrade for longer battery life?

Do you mainly want to increase the runtime of your flashlight so you can run it for a few days? This is a common question asked by preppers. In that case, you could take a look at the Nite Ize LED upgrade bulb with only 55 lumens.

It is especially for upgrading your C & D 2-6 cell PR style Maglite flashlights. You simply unscrew the head from the Maglite, take the old bulb out, and replace it with the LED bulb.

The price seem to have gone up drastically. At this point, I would note recommend it anymore!!!

$3 Cheapest Maglite LED upgrade with 100 lumens from eBay.

This eBay drop-in is in my opinion the best and cheapest way to upgrade your 3C&D+ flashlight. You can’t use this drop-in with a 2 cell flashlight. Only with 3 cells or more. Just make sure you may have to open the existing bulb holder-hole…

You can get it at this eBay seller

maglite replacement led

525 lumens drop (2-modes)

This is a 2-mode drop-in for Maglites with 3-6 batteries. The lowest mode has an output of 55 lumens, and the max output is 525 lumens. I wouldn’t count on 525 lumens from 3 batteries, but who knows. I haven’t tested it.

Price around $20

This is the runtime graph with 3AA batteries in series. If you use D batteries, the flashlight will maintain its brightness much better, but this was to compare 3 dropins quickly.

530 lumens drop-in

This is a single mode drop-in for Maglites with 3-6 batteries. The max output is 530 lumens. I tested it with 3 batteries at 420 lumens. More batteries are likely better.

Price also around $20

This is the runtime graph with 3AA batteries in series. If you use D batteries, the flashlight will maintain its brightness much better, but this was to compare 3 dropins quickly.

1100 Lumen upgrade SCAM?

Back in 2011, the 36 Fusion was one of the brightest drop-ins you could buy. You just took the reflector and bulb out and replace it with the 36 Fusion (which means 36 pieces of 5mm LEDs). is a company making these drop-ins an easy replacement. They are about $24 per piece. But you can’t get 1300 lumens or even 1100 lumens from them. Because of the setup, the beam is very wide and you can’t see anything in the distance. And you won’t maintain the focus ability of the Maglite.

I tested this particular drop-in with 3 Eneloop AA batteries in adapters (so the test is finished much quicker). And I could only get 371 lumens at start. With 6 batteries I could only get 444 lumens.

Not worth the money, and on top of that, the batteries drain really fast.

maglite dropin fusion 4636 test
Maglite upgrade

Custom made High Power LED Upgrade for Maglite

A few flashlight enthusiasts dedicated their skills to producing high-quality Mag Light /Maglite dropins with the latest technology and LEDs on the market. All the dropins mentioned above use older LED technology, while these high power options, listed below, are using much newer LEDs.

2,000 lumen Maglite LED Upgrade, 12x XTE LED Bulb 3D cell Maglite.

Specs and explanations are taken from online store: This easy-to-use drop-in bulb will take your underperforming Maglite flashlight and turn it into a modern-day champion. Three Cree XP-L HI emitters and the Adventure Sport MOSFET driver pound out over 2,000 retina-searing lumens (output of the bulbs is based on the use of NIHM rechargeable cells. Also a great option is one IMR 26650 cell. Alkaline cells will power the bulb up at a reduced output so are best used as backup). Don’t be fooled; many other sellers make claims of having multi-thousand-lumen flashlights and parts, however, few of them can even touch their advertised numbers.

“This bulb is for use with the voltage of 3 D cells ONLY. 3x NIMH cells are best or one high drain li-ion such as 26650.”

3D cell 2000 lumens:

5D-6D cells 2500-3500 lumens