With traditional incandescent light bulbs it was simple to make sure you were getting the right light bulb. If a 60 watt bulb is the one that broke or stopped working you'd just get another 60 watt and call it a day. When it comes to LED lighting, it's very different. Since LED light bulbs don't use the same amount of power that incandescent bulbs do, they are described in terms of incandescent equivalence so you may see an LED bulb described as a 60 watt equivalent when in reality it only uses about 9.5 watts. This is because LEDs are measured by lumens (the total amount of visible light put out by a light bulb). There is not a direct mathematical comparison between the lumen ratings used in LEDs and the wattage consumed by an incandescent. To fix this, a comparison of the average lumen output of a standard wattage bulb is given to determine the wattage equivalence of an LED light bulb.
The chart above provided by the Department of Energy tells you everything you need to know. When looking at LED bulbs you have to ignore the wattage rating because it isn't consistent across different bulb manufacturers. For example some brands sell 60 watt equivalent LED light bulbs that use 11 watts versus others that only use 9 watts. What will be true is that both will provide a similar lumen output. If you're upgrading to LED from an incandescent bulb you'll notice that an LED bulb of equivalent wattage will appear bright due to incandescent bulbs decreasing in lumen output over time.
Jump to Section
1) Bulb Shape