A friend recently asked me if I could help him fix his cheap flashlight. He doesn’t remember how much it originally cost, but thinks he bought it for a dollar or two a couple of months ago.
The flashlight only works intermittently, with a higher chance of success when it is jarred or violently shaken. To me it sounds like the problem is with the switch or battery contacts, but perhaps there is a short or broken lead in or near the LED.
Here is my recommendation about how to fix a cheap flashlight… discard it and purchase another one, preferably a better one from a brand that stands behind its products.
My first thought is usually to recommend one of the 5 best LED flashlights under $20 that we discussed a week ago, but a 2AA or 3AA mini-Maglite would also be an excellent choice. Actually, a mini-Maglite would probably be the best recommendation since they’re solid performers and most homeowners and less sophisticated flashlight users are more likely to recognize the brand or styling.
For those that insist on lower priced flashlights, there are many inexpensive LED flashlights over at Amazon, and similar models pop up by the pallet-full at home improvement stores around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To troubleshoot and fix a cheap flashlight often takes more time, effort and materials than it’s worth. Plus, when these cheap lights stop working properly, the defect is usually irreparable. I’m not one to recommend throw-away products, and often try to steer friends and family away from these cheaper lights.
Maglite 2AA LED Flashlight – this isn’t on our “best LED” roundup, but it is still a superb and highly recommended flashlight. Prices range from $20-$25, but they do drop below $15 every now and then, especially around major gift-giving holidays.
To sum it up, how do you fix a cheap LED flashlight? You don’t, you ditch it and upgrade to a non-disposable model.