Flashlight vs Torch: What is the Difference Between Them?

 Last Updated on July, 2024

Most people say these are the same when it comes to flashlight vs torchlight! Due to the differentiation of the English language, this confusion occurs. 

Some English-speaking countries (like the USA, Canada, etc.) call it a flashlight, and some other English-speaking countries (like Australia, United Kingdom, etc.) call it an electric torch. 

But torch and flashlight are two different things! There are many differences between these two light sources. 

In this article, I will share some shocking differences between a torch and a flashlight you didn’t know before.

So, don’t miss this opportunity to enlighten yourself! 

Quick Summary

A torch is a burning stick that gets dimmed over time, while a flashlight is a portable, handheld electric light powered by a battery.

In the late eighteen century, David Misell invented the flashlight in the USA, while in other countries like the UK, the invention was known as the electric torch.

The key difference between a torch and a flashlight is that a torch is a burning stick, while a flashlight is a portable, handheld electric light.

What is a Torch? 

A torch is basically a burning stick that gets fired up at the tip, and it gets slowly dimmed after some time. This was a famous light source before the eighteen century. 

People used to lit torches before going out at night. 

Using a torch was risky as it has a flame at the top. It could easily cause fire, which was a big issue then. 

In the late eighteen century, David Misell came up with a 100% secure solution called a flashlight. And the flashlight was invented in the USA. 

burning stick

However, in other countries like the UK, the invention was known as the electric torch.

But in American English, a torch means burning torch (burning sticks) with flame. 

As you can see, In UK and Australia, burning a torch means using a flashlight, but in the USA, burning torch means using burning sticks.

What is a Flashlight? 

flashlight on the floor

A flashlight is a portable handheld electric light that uses the power of a battery to provide light. The early flashlights or early electric torches (for people of the UK) light source typically was an incandescent light bulb, and zinc carbon batteries powered it. 

There is an interesting story behind the name ‘flashlight.’ 

In 1899, When David Misell invented the first flashlight, it was a zinc carbon battery powered, that’s why, instead of stable, the light was flashing. 

Also, it couldn’t give light continuously, so after using it for a while, the flashlight has to be turned off to rest. 

After seeing the characteristics of the new invention, Conrad Hubert (a Russian inventor who marketed the flashlight) named its flashlight

Here’s our guide to know about the flashlight’s functioning.

The Key Difference Between Torch and Flashlight

burning stick
electric torch

So, if you are looking for torchlight and flashlight, then I am sorry, these two are basically the same thing! 

Not just that, many claims that the flashlight name is invalid in this era. How? The name ‘flashlight’ occurred because, at some point, battery-powered flashlights had to stop working. 

But today, it’s not true anymore! 

There are solar paneled or chargeable flash lights that never die due to the lack of power. So, they say, the word ‘flashlight’ is not valid for today’s flashlights

In my opinion, if the flashlight isn’t valid, the torch isn’t valid either! So, let’s drop it. And, get back to the difference between the torchlight and a flashlight. 


  • A torch is basically a burn stick, and by burning, a torch light source typically was found. 
  • Slowly the light gets dimmer, and the torchlight becomes dim light (not bright enough). 
  • Most people in eighteen century used the torch as a light solution. 
  • Nowadays, torches are only used to illuminate traditional events (like the Olympics), monuments (like statues of liberty), or in woods to rescue wild animals. 
  • Torches are very risky to use (as the flame can spread faster).


  • The flashlight is a portable handheld electric light powered by a battery. It uses incandescent light bulbs or light emitting diodes (LEDs) as a light source. 
  • The lighting power of the flash light is steady. It doesn’t become a dim light. 
  • The flashlight was very popular in the nineteen century, and even today, many people use this device to produce light. 
  • The usage of the flashlight is common. It’s a portable and affordable device that can be used anywhere. 
  • Flash lights are very easy to fit and safe to use. 
flashlights in the table

Torch vs. Flashlight: Which One is Preferable? 

a human holding fire torch
a human holding flashlight

Did you know! The word torch is an old french word that means twisting. 

In this modern world, there is no point in using a torch over a flashlight, and I won’t even describe why. 

Nowadays, flash lights are brighter with the power of LEDs, and many models don’t require a battery. These are super rigid that even if you dropped it, it’d still flash like a beast. 

Also, I have never heard someone using a torch these days. Still, there is nothing wrong with learning how to make torches and use them. You may need it in emergencies.

Final Words 

Just like the torch versus Flashlight, thousands of other arguments have no need! And, there is none to blame as it’s a fact of geographical change. 

But now you know the answer! So, I hope you learned something new today! Make sure to share it with others as well. 


Today’s flashlights use LED bulbs, while earlier flashlights used incandescent light bulbs.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are semiconductor devices that emit light when an electrical current passes through them. They are an energy-efficient and cost-effective lighting source.

The flashlight was named “Flashlight” due to its ability to emit light in flashes and its need for rest in between flashes.

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Dillon Morrison
I have been involved in the flashlight community since 2007. My brother has a flashlight shop from where I have tested and reviewed more than 600+ different types of flashlights. You can find more about me here.

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