How to Tell if Tanning Bulbs Are Old

Are you one of those people who like to have a tan year-round? If so, you know that using a tanning bed is the best way to achieve that. But how do you know when it’s time to change the bulbs in your tanning bed? Here, we’ll give you tips on telling if tanning bulbs are old and need to be replaced.

While tanning is a great way to get your skin summer ready, it’s important to use quality equipment. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to tell if their tanning bulbs are old and need to be replaced.

In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to tell if your tanning bulbs are old and what you can do about it. Stay safe and look great by following our tips! Keep reading for more information.

Summary: If you have old tanning bulbs in your possession, it’s time to replace them. Tanning bulbs are designed to last for around six months, but over time they can start to produce a weaker light that may not give you the same results as when you first bought them.

How to Tell if Tanning Bulbs Are Old

What is Tanning Bulb?

Before we dive into determining if your tanning bulbs are old, it’s important to understand what a tanning bulb is. A tanning bulb is the source of UV light in a tanning bed and is responsible for producing the desired tan.

Tanning bulbs have a limited lifespan and eventually will need to be replaced to continue producing the desired tanning results. How long a bulb lasts depends on the bulb type and how often it is used.

10 Effective Ways How to Tell if Tanning Bulbs Are Old

1. Check the Replacement Date 

Your tanning bed should have a manufacturer’s recommendation for how often the bulbs need to be replaced. This can vary from every 500-800 hours of use, so make sure to check and keep track of when the bulbs were last replaced. Be careful to also check the expiration date on the bulbs themselves.

2. Look for Signs of Wear and Tear 

If your tanning bed has been used for a while, there may be physical signs that the bulbs need to be replaced. This can include cracks, discoloration in the bulbs, or uneven tanning results. Don’t wait for these signs to appear, however, as it’s important to replace the bulbs as recommended by the manufacturer.

3. Consult Your Tanning Bed Manual 

Your tanning bed should have a manual detailing the bulbs, including how often they need to be replaced and what type of bulb is recommended for your specific tanning bed model. This is important to consult to ensure that you use the correct bulb for your tanning bed.

4. Talk to Your Salon or Technician 

If you are using a tanning bed at a salon or have a technician who maintains your tanning bed, they may have knowledge of how often the bulbs should be replaced. Consult with them for their professional opinion and recommendations.

5. Check for Diminished Tanning Results 

One of the tell-tale signs that your tanning bulbs are old is if you notice a decrease in the effectiveness of your tanning sessions. If you used to get a dark, even tan and now are not achieving the same results, it might be time for new bulbs.

6. Compare Your Tanning Results with Others 

If you use a tanning bed at a salon or with friends, compare your tanning results to theirs. If they are getting darker, more even tans than you, it may be time for new bulbs in your tanning bed. So, make sure to ask them about their tanning experiences and results.

7. Look for Changes in UV Light 

When your bulbs are new, the UV light emitted should be strong and consistent. If you notice that the light appears weaker or inconsistent, it may indicate that your bulbs are old and need to be replaced. Make sure also to check that all bulbs in the tanning bed are working properly.

UV Light Emitted
Should Be Strong

8. Ask for a Bulb Check at Your Next Tanning Bed Cleaning  

You should get your tanning bed cleaned regularly to maintain the equipment and ensure safety. When scheduling a cleaning, ask the technician to also check the bulbs for signs of wear or diminished effectiveness. Because they are trained professionals, they may notice things that you would not.

9. Consider How Often You Use Your Tanning Bed 

If you are using your tanning bed multiple times a week, the bulbs may need to be replaced more often than if you only use it once or twice a month. Consider your frequency of use when determining if it’s time for new bulbs.

10. Invest in Quality Bulbs 

Invest in top-rated bulbs for your tanning bed to ensure long-lasting, high-quality results. Research brands and read reviews to find the best option for your tanning needs. Remember that investing in quality bulbs may cost more upfront but will save you money in the long run by not constantly replacing old or ineffective bulbs.

Replacing your tanning bulbs may seem like an extra expense, but it is important for achieving the desired results and maintaining the safety of your tanning bed equipment. Keep these tips in mind next time you wonder if it’s time for new bulbs.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Consider keeping track of when you last replaced your tanning bulbs to better gauge when it may be time for new ones.
  2. Follow any additional recommended maintenance guidelines from the manufacturer for your specific tanning bed model to prolong the life of your bulbs.
  3. Keep spare bulbs on hand if one goes out unexpectedly during a tanning session.
  4. Remember to dispose of old bulbs according to guidelines and regulations properly.
  5. Be sure always to wear eye protection when using a tanning bed, regardless of the age or condition of the bulbs.

These tips can help maintain the effectiveness and safety of your tanning equipment.

Be Sure Always to
Wear Eye Protection

5 Precautions You Can Take While Replace Tanning Bulbs

  1. Unplug the tanning bed before beginning to replace the bulbs.
  2. Wear gloves while handling the bulbs to protect your hands.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for properly removing and replacing the bulbs.
  4. Make sure all replacement bulbs have the same wattage and UV output as the original ones.
  5. Have a professional perform the bulb replacement if you are unsure of how to do it yourself properly.

Taking these precautions can help prevent accidents or damage to your tanning bed during the replacement process.

What Can Make Your Tanning Bed Bulbs Pink?

Pink bulbs typically have a lower UV output and are used for those who want a gradual tan without as much risk of burning. They can also be combined with other bulb types for a more customized tanning experience. Some tanning beds also offer pink bulbs for face tanners, as the lower UV output may be safer for the delicate skin on the face. Some tanning beds may offer a mix of both traditional and pink bulbs, allowing users to choose which type they prefer.

Lower Uv Output
May Be Safer

However, it is important to note that using pink bulbs alone may not provide enough UV exposure for some individuals to achieve desired results. It is always recommended to consult with a professional before making any changes to your tanning routine.

Additionally, it is important to remember that no type of tanning bulb can completely prevent the risk of skin damage and the possibility of developing skin cancer. Using proper protection, such as sunscreen, and limiting UV exposure are key in safe tanning practices.

Do Tanning Bed Bulbs Contain Mercury?

Some tanning bed bulbs may contain small amounts of mercury, although the amount varies by manufacturer. It is important to properly dispose of used bulbs according to guidelines and regulations in order to prevent harm to the environment and potential exposure to individuals handling the disposal process.

There is also some debate about whether or not the use of tanning beds, and the UV exposure they provide, can harm the user’s health. It is important always to follow safe tanning practices, such as wearing eye protection and limiting exposure, to minimize potential risks. Consulting with a professional before making any changes to your tanning routine is also recommended.

Properly Dispose
Of Used Bulbs

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Still Get a Tan With Old Bulbs?

There is a misconception that all light bulbs have been rendered useless after their designated lifespan. This is not true. In fact, there are still many incandescent and halogen light bulbs that can be used with reasonable results after their original expiration dates.

The main factors that affect the quality of a tan are time of day, intensity of light, and location. The best way to determine how long any light bulb will last is to test it using the manufacturer’s instructions.

Why Are My Tanning Bed Bulbs Pink?

Some tanning bed bulbs are designed to emit a pink light because it is more effective at producing a bronzing effect. The pink light is also more gentle on the skin than the other colors, which may be why some people prefer it for tanning.

What Do the Numbers on Tanning Bulbs Mean?

The numbers on tanning bulbs indicate the intensity of the light emitted by the bulb. The higher the number, the more intense the light. To ensure that you are using a tanning bulb that is appropriate for your skin tone, it is important to look for bulbs with a number that corresponds to your skin color. For example, a tanning bulb with a number that corresponds to light brown skin tones would emit a more moderate level of light than a tanning bulb with a number that corresponds to darker skin tones.

Does Level 1 Tanning Do Anything?

Tanning bed levels typically range from Level 1 to Level 3, with Level 1 being the least intense and Level 3 being the most intense. Levels 1 and 2 are considered “low-level” tanning, while Levels 3 and 4 are considered “high-level” tanning.

Level 1 tanning typically results in a gradual tan, while Level 2 tanning may result in a more rapid tan. Level 3 tanning is the most intense form of tanning and can produce a deep, dark tan within a few minutes. Levels 4 and 5 are used for special cases such as treating skin cancer or for people who are very sensitive to the sun.


As you can see, replacing your tanning bulbs every few months is important to ensure that you are getting the best possible results. Not only will this help you maintain a consistent tan, but it will also prevent your skin from being damaged by old bulbs. Be sure to check the manufacture date on your bulbs before each session, and always discard any bulbs that are more than six months old.

With these tips, you should be able to know how to tell if tanning bulbs are old and in need of replacement. To err on the side of caution, it’s always best to consult with a professional before making any decisions about your tanning bulbs. A professional will be able to help you select the right type of bulb for your needs and ensure that they are properly installed.

Hopefully, this information will help you keep your tanning equipment in tip-top shape and keep you safe while achieving the perfect glow. Happy tanning!

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

I'm Jennifer, and I love everything about lighting. I have spent the last two years learning all I can about how lighting affects your home, and now I'm an LED light enthusiast. My passion is helping people see just how beneficial proper lighting can be for their lives. When you're working with me, you're getting someone who truly cares about making your home look and feel its best.

Leave a Comment