desk lamp

From Watts to Lumens: Choosing Lights Based on Brightness

desk lampWay back when incandescent bulbs were your only choice, wattage was generally viewed as a measurement of the bulb’s brightness. Today, LEDs and CFLs can give people a similar amount of brightness with far less power. Wattage is no longer the best way to select your light bulbs. If you want to light your home in a way that you are used to and comfortable with, the new standard is lumens.

Unfortunately for those just making the switch to LEDs or CFLs, there is no direct conversion between lumens and watts. The conversion will depend on the manufacturer and the bin. It would be a mistake to replace your incandescent 60W bulb with an LED with 60W. The color level you get can be drastically different.

To get the most bang for your buck in terms of your satisfaction, grab the incandescent bulb you typically purchase off of the shelf and look at its lumens. The next step is to find an LED with the same lumens. Although it will differ, below is an average conversion to help you out:

  • 25W = 250 Lumens
  • 40W = 450 Lumens
  • 60W = 800 Lumens
  • 75W = 1,100 Lumens
  • 100W = 1,600 Lumens
  • 150W = 2,600 Lumens

Another thing you want to consider is the color temperature. Even when lumens are the same, the temperature can be different than what you are used to. The light of a typical LED bulb is less yellow than that of an incandescent and can seem harsh at first. Color temperatures above 3,000K simulate daylight. If you want a bit of a yellower or warmer light, look for color temperatures below this number.

Making the change to LEDs or CFLs is not difficult once you know what you are looking for. If you have any questions, an employee at your local home improvement store may be able to help you. You can also look for displays with lit bulbs to help you decide which is right for you.

For more tips and information regarding LED bulbs and fixtures, be sure to check out the rest of our site. If you would like information sent directly to your inbox, sign up for the greencents newsletter.


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