Lumens and watts

March 2, 2019

Lumens and watts

Lumen is the Latin word for ‘light’. Lumens measure the amount of light produced by a light bulb – in other words, lumens measure the brightness of a bulb. The more lumens in a light bulb the brighter the light bulb will be; the less lumens the dimmer the bulb. A standard 60-watt bulb produces around 800 lumens. The luminosity refers to the perception of light bulbs brightness.

Lumens are different from watts. Watts refer to the amount of energy needed to power the bulb. When choosing the light bulbs, focus on the number of lumens it has instead of the number of watts. The package should indicate the lumen level; this helps you determine the brightness of light for different lights around your home.

When choosing light bulbs for your home, the level of brightness required for each light will depend on the size of the room, the colour of the walls, where the light is directed and the purpose of the light in each room.

We used to compare bulbs strength by watts: the more watts the brighter the bulb. It is not as simple as this today, with more energy efficient bulbs like halogens and LEDs, comparing lights via the wattage will not give you accurate results. This is because these more energy-efficient light bulbs need less watts to create the same amount of light as the traditional bulb.

For example, to get the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb in LED aim for an LED light bulb around 800 lumens. The lumens will be clearly marked on the box and on the bulb base. A 6.5-watt LED bulb, for example, is equivalent to a 50-watt halogen light bulb. The light output is the same but the energy consumption is radically different and this will be reflected on your power bills.

Therefore, today it is not a matter of comparing the watts between incandescent, halogen and LED bulbs. Watts only measure the amount of power consumption. These days you need to focus on the level of lumens.