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What Are Lumens In Lighting

What Are Lumens In Lighting

A lumen is the amount of light given off by light bulbs and lamps. It is the measurement of the total light production of a light source.

Defining what it is from a more technical point of view, a lumen is a determinate amount of perceptible light, which is given off by a source that allows it to be detected by the human eye.

Remarkable Facts about Lumens

  • Lumens are equal to a light bulb’s brightness.
  • The higher the number of lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light is.
  • An efficient LED light gives off more than 100 lumens.
  • The older generation of LED lights, compared to today’s newer ones, can only produce 80 lumens, or even less.

Why You Should Look for Lumens Instead of Watts

When you shop for a new light bulb, instead of looking for watts, look for lumens. In the past, buying light bulbs was based on how much wattage or energy they use. On the other hand, buying light bulbs according to how much light they emit is more practical.

An ordinary 150-watt light bulb gives off approximately 2600 lumens. If that bulb is to be replaced, you have to buy either an equivalent 42-watt CFL or a 25-watt LED. This means less power is needed by the light bulb. More specifically, the electricity that is needed is lowered by more than a quarter of what is normally required to emit the same light. This means that gauging light by the lumens actually results to more energy- and cost-effective lighting.

The Difference Explained in Details


Kelvin is a unit of measurement that refers to the color temperature of a certain source of light. It describes the warmth or coolness of a light source. For example, when you heat a piece of metal, the color of the light that it gives of will change – starting from red to orange, yellow, white and then blue-white to deeper hues of the color blue. It is the temperature of that heated piece of metal that is the physical measure in degrees kelvin.

By standard, yellow-red colors, like that of the flames of a fire, are considered to have a warm color temperature. Whereas blue-green colors, such as the light from a cloudy sky, are believed to have cool color temperatures. That means a higher degree kelvin that ranges from 3600 to 5500 are cool; and a lower degree kelvin that ranges from 2700 to 3000 are warm.

A light that is cool is a good preference for visual tasks for the simple reason that it gives off a higher contrast compared to a warm light. On the other hand, a warm light would favor living spaces because it flatters the skin tone and the color of clothing.


Watts is the measurement of energy consumption. For the usual incandescent light, a higher wattage means a brighter light. In contrast, energy-saving bulbs, such as LED, are different to a certain extent. This is because there is no firm rule that draws a parallel between wattage and output. For instance, a certain brand’s 9-watt LED bulb may give off an adequate amount of lumens that can replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb. On the contrary, another brand may have to use a less efficient 12-watt LED bulb to produce enough lumens to take the place of a 60-watt light bulb. This is the reason why it was stated above that looking at lumens instead of looking at watts is definitely more important when shopping for bulbs.

Watts and Lumens Conversion

Describing the wattage equivalent of a LED bulb is an easy way to let buyers know the level of electricity to be produced by that bulb. That is why when buying a light bulb, Lumens must be your guiding light when measuring the total amount produced by a certain bulb.

100-watt light bulb

Light bulb with 1600 lumens

75-watt light bulb

Light bulb with 1100-1200 lumens

60-watt light bulb

Light bulb with 700-900 lumens

40-watt light bulb

Light bulb with 400-500 lumens

Understanding and Checking the Label on the Package

For consumers to have a better understanding of the switch to lumens from watts, a new product label for light bulbs is required.

This will help shoppers know more about what they are buying.

The new product label for light bulbs includes the following details:

  • The Energy Star Logo, which is an indication that CFLs and LEDs meet the requirements set by Energy Star for quality, efficiency, and length of life
  • Brightness that is measured in lumens
  • Energy used measured in watts
  • Estimated energy cost per year
  • The light bulb’s lifespan, estimated in years, describing how long the bulb will last based on 3 hours of usage in a day
  • The bulb’s light appearance (calculated by Correlated Colour Temperature or CCT on the kelvin scale – from warm to cool)
  • Contains mercury

For consumers to have a better lighting system that saves more energy, they need to consider the lighting levels and lumens instead of the wattage of a light bulb. LEDs, which has higher lumens and lower wattage, will surely be able to provide optimum lighting without its users having to spend much on electricity.

Having a basic understanding of the importance of Lumens, as well as how to select the right light bulb for your home, will help you in making smarter and more economical decisions.

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