Wattage Vs Lumens – Understanding The Differences

Wattage Vs Lumens – Understanding The Differences

Last updated on June 13, 2024

Did you know that lighting in homes  consumes between 8-15% of the average household electricity budget? Using energy-efficient and well-designed lighting can significantly help to reduce your energy and help you save money

With a range of lighting options and terminology, it can be difficult to understand which light is right for your home or business. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between watts and lumens, so you can make the right LED light replacement decision

Lumens Vs Watts – What Is The Difference?

Many people are often confused by the difference between lumens and watts. This can make choosing the right lighting for your home difficult. 

It’s important to remember that more watts don’t always make a brighter bulb. To find the right brightness for your home or business, you should instead look at the number of lumens of the bulb. 

Previously, people would choose a bulb with the most watts if they wanted a brighter bulb. However, light bulbs are now more energy-efficient. Energy-efficient bulbs mean they use fewer watts (but still produce the same amount of light, due to the lumens).  

What is wattage?

When we used to buy incandescent bulbs, we did so based on wattage. If you wanted a brighter bulb, you would choose one with more watts. But watts are not the measure of brightness. Watts are the measure of energy consumption. This means how much electricity the bulb consumes to produce the light.  

Bulbs with higher wattage use more power and thus cost more money to use. However, nowadays, there are a range of energy-efficient downlights that can produce the same amount of brightness (lumens) without using as many watts (energy consumed). 

For example, a 40-watt incandescent bulb produces between 380 to 460 lumens and uses 40 watts of energy per hour. Nowadays, you can replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb with a 5 watt LED downlight, which will still produce the same amount of brightness. A simple LED lighting upgrade will ensure your home is lit up with the same amount of brightness as before, or brighter, but for less of the cost. 

Although watts are no longer used for comparing brightness, they are still important when you’re considering how efficient light is. 

For example, if you are looking at lights with the same amount of lumens (brightness) but they have different wattages then the one with the lowest wattage will be more energy efficient. The higher the lumen per watt (lm/W) the more efficient a light is (and the more money you’ll save).  

What is Lumen?

Lumens are the brightness a light gives off. More lumens mean a brighter light, fewer lumens mean a dimmer light.  

When you want to buy a light based on its brightness, you should always think about the number of lumens, instead of the watts. For example, a 5 watt LED downlight replacement is brighter than a 50-watt halogen light, because of the number of lumens. A 5-watt LED produces around 450-500 lumens. 

If you have a standard 150-watt bulb in your living room that is giving out 2600 lumens, you swap it with a 25 watt LED upgrade. The power used by the new 25-watt LED light will be significantly reduced, but the light will still produce the same amount of light. 

LED lighting technology can reduce energy consumption by up to 93% compared to incandescent or halogen lighting. This is because LED lights have a longer lifespan and use less power. LED lighting is not only more energy-efficient, but it’s also cheaper to run.  

Comparing and Converting Lumens to Watts

The best way to compare lights is by looking at the packaging. Look at the number of lumens produced and the wattage. 

If you’re looking for a light fitting that will produce the same amount of brightness as you currently have, then make sure you choose a light with the same amount of lumens. Then remember to check the wattage to compare how much energy it consumes.  

Use these conversions to work out which bulb is right for you: 

Traditional Incandescent to LED

A traditional incandescent 25-watt bulb will produce around 250 lumens. Whereas a LED bulb that produces 250 lumens will have between 3 and 4 watts. A traditional incandescent 50-watt bulb producing 500 lumens is the same as a LED bulb 5-8 watt bulb that produces 500 lumens. 

Halogen to LED

Although halogen bulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, you still might want to think about getting your halogen lights replaced to reduce energy consumption and save you money. For example, changing 20 halogen downlights to LED downlights can save you up to $210 per annum off your energy bill. 

A halogen 42-watt bulb that produces 800 lumens can be replaced with an 8-12 watt LED bulb. If you’re looking for the same brightness you get from an 1100 lumen halogen bulb (with a wattage of 52) then you can replace it with an 1100 lumens LED bulb (with a wattage of between 11-17).  

Making little changes such as opting for LED lights instead of traditional incandescent or halogen lights, can make a big difference. Not only will your home or business become more energy-efficient, but you’ll also notice large energy savings too. 

What are Lumens in lighting?

A lumen is a common term associated with lighting fixtures that classify lighting output – it is a key descriptive of all lighting types and is an important feature to understand. This article will clear all your questions regarding lumens and provide a thorough explanation of the term and its importance.

What Are Lumens?

Simply put, a lumen is an indication of the brightness of the light bulb. The lumen rating of a bulb determines the intensity and brightness of the light emitted. That is why it is recommended to always buy Lumens not Watts

There is a clear-cut difference between lumens and watts and your choice of light fixtures should be more focused on its lumen output rather than its wattage.

As a matter of fact, the wattage of the fixture is only reflective of the amount of energy required to power the light, whereas the lumen output tells how bright your bulb will shine. The higher the lumen value, the brighter the bulb will shine.

Choosing high wattage light fixtures will not contribute to a proper distribution or correct light output and will eventually increase your energy bill and lead to a larger electricity bill.

Lumen in conventional lights versus LED lights

Now let’s look at conventional lights and LED lights and compare the lumen output of each.

When comparing the brightness of a conventional light bulb with that of an LED bulb, you should only look at the lumen output, as it is the only factor to determine the brightness of the bulb.

However, for the same lumen level, LED bulbs are capable of achieving the lumen output at much lower wattage consumption ratings. For example, to give a lumen output of 800 lumens, an LED light of 11 to 12 watts is needed, however, it will require a conventional light with as high as 60 watts to provide the same amount of lumen output.

This difference translates into much higher energy consumption for the same light effect in the case of conventional lights and effectively higher electricity bills. Whereas with LED lights the energy consumption is much less with great cost savings.

What Is A Lumen Chart?

The shown chart approximates the lumen output lumen per watt value and gives an idea about the brightness of a light. This can portray the brightness of a 200-lumen bulb, what the brightness of a 1000-lumen bulb will be, as well as the value of brightness of a 5000-lumen bulb.

A lumen chart can give a very clear indication of the bulb being considered and indicates how many lumens are required to achieve the level of brightness desired.

Lumens vs watts chart

How to choose a bulb based on its lumen output

You’re aiming for a specific light bulb but are unsure of the lumen output to select for your space? Below are a few pointers to follow. The first factor is the location of the bulb. The size of the particular room or space is a decisive figure to determine the respective lumen output.

For example, the lumen output required to illuminate a 20 square meter room will differ from the output needed to illuminate a 70 square meter room. Location and the area of the location are the initial key indicators.

The second factor is the number of sockets that have been installed. Are you buying just one bulb or multiple bulbs for the same space?

In general, you will have to rely on a standard lumen chart. The chart will provide the necessary information on how much brightness a specific lumen output will provide. The chart will also guide you on lumen to watt conversion.

The bulb typically displays the lumen information on the packaging and can also serve as a guide to selecting the right bulb.

How many lumens do I need?

How much brightness do you desire? The value of lumen you are looking for is determined by the amount of brightness you intend for the area. The higher the lumen output, the brighter the bulb will shine.

Another consideration is the location of the bulb within the space, is it ceiling mounted, wall fixed or table-mounted? All the different location and installation options will necessitate a varied lumen output level.

This is typically a personal choice to match the function of the area, however, it’s always advisable to consult the lumen chart to help in the decision on the exact lumen output.

To calculate lumens per watt, the wattage of the fixture and its lumen output needs to be determined, and effectively the lumen efficacy can be calculated. The lumen efficacy is a measure of how effective a light source is in converting its consumed watts into lumens. 

LEDs have a lumen efficacy 4 times higher than conventional bulbs and that’s why they can produce bright light levels at low wattages.

Why are LED lights measured in Lumen?

With traditional light sources before the development of LED lights, the only measure used to compare light fixtures was the energy consumed. There were no methods to determine the brightness expected from a light source. However, with greater emphasis on lighting for homes and businesses, this needed to change.

Lumen output is a factory tested and guaranteed value that can determine the precise brightness level each light fixture is expected to produce. That is why it has been widely adopted in the design of LED lights, to determine how bright the bulb will shine

Why is there so much confusion between lumen and watts?

Although the two concepts are very different, and the watt value and lumen value indicate different features of the light source, consumers are generally used to watt levels for their everyday appliances and devices and tend to classify the brightness of light fixtures according to their watt levels only.

It is sometimes counterintuitive for many that a bulb with a low wattage value can shine more brightly than an alternative with a wattage 5 times higher.

However, it is worthy to note that lumen output and lumen values have become more widely assessed and considered, with manufacturers placing more attention and promoting light fixtures based on these features and their important association with the brightness of lights.

Save Money and Energy With a LED Light Replacement

Now that you understand what a watt is and what a lumen is, you should be able to find the right LED light replacement. Remember that wattage is all about energy consumption, as opposed to brightness. If you want a bright light, you need to find one with higher lumens.  

Get in touch with our friendly team now to discuss your LED needs or to see if your home and/or business is eligible for a subsidised LED lighting upgrade

e-green electrical logo image

E-Green Electrical

E-Green Electrical is a top tier energy efficiency company based in Sydney. We focus on utilising government rebates to help reduce our clients energy consumption by installing energy efficient solutions. E-Green boasts a rich heritage within the realm of energy efficiency, consistently staying up to date with cutting-edge technologies to deliver optimal results for our valued customers.

We don't just sell products and services; we also provides tips and information on how to help reduce energy consumption. We believe in using energy wisely and teaching others how to do the same. For E-Green, it’s important to share knowledge with the community. That's why we regularly write articles about saving energy, new government rebates available and increasing sustainability.

Related Articles

5 Reasons to Use Recessed LED Ceiling Lights

When designing a lighting plan for a home, one of the most popular and versatile options to consider is recessed […]

How To Choose The Right LED Downlight in 2024

What are LED downlights? LED Downlights are a type of energy saving light fixture that is commonly used in residential […]

11 Indispensable Business Lighting Tips for 2024

In this world of market competition and a thriving industrial revolution, businesses tend to run at an optimum level. Therefore, […]

11 Reasons To Switch To LED Lights In 2023

What is an LED light? An Led light, according to Energy Star, is a light-emitting diode. These bulbs use less […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Call Us:
1300 326 636 Follow Us: