What Are Lumens? Choose Energy-Efficient Bulbs with Lumens

Lumen is a phrase that you may frequently encounter when searching for LED lights. Lumen ratings are often listed first on the information panel of an LED light.

Lumens are a vital measurement in lighting, and knowing how to use them will help you select the best lighting for your purposes. Let’s take a closer look at “what are lumens” and how it affects your lighting decisions.

What are lumens?

Lumens are a unit of measurement for visible light that the human eye can see. They quantify how ‘bright’ a light is in simple terms.

Lumens quantify light brightness in modern lighting, mainly LED lamps and bulbs, and are commonly used in conjunction with the golden color, which usually defines how ‘white’ the light is.

Why should lumens be used instead of Watts?

Why should lumens be used instead of Watts?
Why should lumens be used instead of Watts?

Why have we switched to using lumens instead of watts? Everyone is familiar with the classic light bulb, with a 60W (or 60 watts) light bulb being the most common light used in the home. 

Using watts as a fair measurement measures energy, not light. This used to be OK because most light bulbs had approximately the same brightness and used roughly the same amount of energy, but this is no longer the case with modern lighting, mainly LED lights. 

LED lights are substantially more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs, with 80-90 percent energy savings than conventional (incandescent) light bulbs. An 11.5W LED light bulb may typically produce the same light as a 60W incandescent bulb.

***Refer to more: Top 6 Best LED Filament Bulbs: Perfect Choice for Classic Style

Because each manufacturer’s light output varies, the amount of energy utilized (in Watts) isn’t a reliable brightness indicator. LED lights provide several different options. The LED lights’ quality and the reflectors and drivers are all concealed within the light bulb. As a result, we require a more precise method of measuring light, which is where Lumens come into play.

Lumens vs Watts

Lumens to Watts conversion chart
Lumens to Watts conversion chart

So you now know that watts don’t make sense in terms of light (though they are still crucial for energy consumption, so keep an eye on them), but converting the brightness of a standard light bulb to lumens might be complicated. We’ve included a rough guide to a handful of the most often used light bulbs:

1100 Lumens from a 75W incandescent light bulb

800 Lumens from a 60W incandescent light bulb

440 Lumens from a 40W incandescent light bulb

200 Lumens from a 25W incandescent light bulb

What are Useful Lumens?

While lumens are beneficial for non-directional light bulbs (bulbs that emit light in all directions), they are not helpful for directional light bulbs. With directional light, things can get a little more tricky. A GU10 spotlight is the most common lamp for this type of light. The brightness in the center of the light is the most crucial light with these lights. Some light at the edges, referred to as light spills, is ineffective.

***Refer to more: The 6 brightest 12V spotlights for you: Top Expert Picks in 2022

What Should You Look For on the Package?

What Should You Look For on the Package?
What Should You Look For on the Package?

The Federal Trade Commission mandates light bulb producers to provide a product label on the packaging to assist consumers. It helps consumers in purchasing the proper light bulbs.

Like the helpful nutrition label on food products, the Lighting Facts label helps customers understand what they’re buying. The following information is included on the label:

  • Lumens are a unit of measurement for brightness.
  • Annual energy cost estimate (similar to the EnergyGuide label)
  • Lifespan
  • On the Kelvin (K) scale, light appearance is assessed by correlated color temperature (CCT), ranging from warm to cool.

How Do I Choose an Energy-Efficient Light Bulb?

How Do I Choose an Energy-Efficient Light Bulb?
How Do I Choose an Energy-Efficient Light Bulb?

#1. If you love incandescents, look to halogen.

It is not illegal to acquire and use ordinary incandescent bulbs, but once shops’ inventories run out, they are no longer available. The incandescent bulb, on the other hand, isn’t dead.

Halogen light bulbs, which are essentially a subtype of incandescent bulbs, will be accessible in the future as general service bulbs. They use 25% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to three times longer. They’re also dimmable and come in various sizes, styles, and colors, just like ordinary incandescents.

The following are the available halogen alternatives and their discontinued conventional incandescent equivalents:

  • 29 watts halogen = 40 watts incandescent
  • 43 watts halogen = 60 watts incandescent
  • 53 watts halogen = 75 watts incandescent
  • 72 watts halogen = 100 watts incandescent

#2. Look for the ENERGY STAR label.

ENERGY-STAR label of light bulb
ENERGY-STAR label of light bulb

Bulb manufacturing quality varies, especially in LEDs, with lower-quality bulbs not lasting as long as their better-built counterparts. Only buy ENERGY STAR-qualified LED light bulbs, according to lighting experts, because they must pass a series of quality tests to get that distinction.

#3. Look at the bulb’s Color Rendering Index (CRI).

This is especially useful with CFLs. Your fluorescents should have a high Color Rendering Index, which measures how an object’s color appears under the bulb’s light. A CRI of 80 or higher is recommended for most indoor residential applications. A decent one has a rating of 90 or more, which is ideal for bathroom vanity lights. The CRI of all halogen/incandescent light bulbs is at or near 100.

#4. Check the color temperature.

The color temperature of modern light bulbs is measured on the Kelvin scale and may be found on their labels. The warmer light colors associated with incandescents come on, the lower end of the range. If you prefer this, seek LEDs and CFLs with light color temperatures ranging from 2700K to 3000K. Pure white light has a color temperature of roughly 4000K, while cooler temperatures that simulate daylight have a color temperature of 5000K or more excellent.

***Refer to more: 6500K Light: Top 7 Best Lighting Choices For Your Spaces

Color temperature of light bulb
Color temperature of light bulb

#5. Forget watts…look for lumens.

Why? Watts do not equal brightness; lumens do. (Watts are a unit of measurement for energy consumption.) CFLs and LEDs consume far fewer watts than incandescents with the same intelligence. You’ll usually replace a regular 75-watt bulb with an energy-saving bulb that produces around 1100 lumens. Replace a 40-watt light with a 450-lumen energy-saving bulb on the low end. New bulb labeling standards can help you choose the optimum brightness for your needs by displaying lumen output.


Lumens are the better measurement when it comes to LEDs. To choose the correct lighting for your next project, use lumens, considering that higher lumens equal brighter light. If you’re searching for brilliant, energy-efficient LED lighting, you can count on us to deliver.