From Watts to Lumens: Choosing Lights Based on Brightness
When incandescent light bulbs were the only options on the market, wattage (or power supply) was viewed as a measurement of a light’s strength, or brightness. However, the magic of LEDs and CFLs is that they can produce comparable levels of brightness while using very little power. This means that when choosing new, energy-efficient lights, wattage is no longer an accurate estimate of a bulb’s light output. To light your home the way you intend, you must stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens. Lumens represent the actual amount of ambient light coming from a light source. The higher the lumen value, the more “lit up” or bright a room will be. Unfortunately, there is no direct conversion from watts to lumens. Wattage-equivalent values are always more of an estimate and may vary across manufacturers. So if you have a 60-watt light bulb that you’d like to replace, you could still end up with the wrong bulb if you purchase a 60-watt equal LED. To choose the BEST replacement for your incandescent bulb, match the lumens of your old incandescent light bulb to the lumens of a new LED.
Check out our chart to learn the average amount of lumens for popular incandescent bulbs.
*To replace a reflector bulb (PAR-, BR-, MR-, or R-type) multiply the watts of the bulb you are replacing by 10 to find the number of lumens you need.
Keep in mind that the color temperature of light may also affect how bright a light appears, even if the lumens are the same. Since most people are used to the soft yellowish glow from incandescent light bulbs, bulbs that produce light closer to the color of daylight (color temperatures above 3000K) may appear brighter because the color of the light is less yellow.
Left with any lingering questions about about choosing a new bulb according to lumens? Check out our blog "How Many Lumens Do I Need?" or let us know below in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram!