Brighter Bulbs: What’s in a Lumen?

We’ve all had to go shopping for new lightbulbs for our homes. But, if you’ve been shopping for new bulbs within the past few years, you may have noticed a change when it comes to the packaging of your traditional choices. Those 60 watt bulbs you used to get now have a new label on them, revealing how many “lumens” a light may provide. Why should you care? Lumens are just another fancy way to describe how powerful a lightbulb is, right?

Actually, lumens open up a whole new way to shop for lightbulbs.

What are Lumens?

Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb. The more lumens, the brighter your light will be. When you’re looking for new lightbulbs, you’ll find that a typical 60W bulb gives off 800 lumens. A 75W bulb gives you 1100 lumens. A 100W bulb gives you 1600 lumens, and so on.

Why Does This Matter?

Now you know what lumens are, but so what? You can identify how bright the lightbulbs you purchase will be, but that shouldn’t change what you get.

LightingFacts-250x323If you don’t care about energy savings, then you can live the rest of your life without having to worry about lumens ever again. However, if saving money on your electric bill sounds good, then maybe you should inspect what other bulbs produce the same amount of lumens for fewer watts. Lumens have been used to measure brightness for a long time, but retailers now put them on the packaging of lights and bulbs, so you may take advantage of what uses the least energy and produces the greatest light. Lighting companies have made it easy for you to determine what is best by placing “Lighting Fact” labels on all their new packaging.


How You Can Take Advantage of Lumens?

By comparing the amount of lumens to the number of watts per bulb, you can determine which bulbs work best for your energy savings. Where to start looking? Well, it’s easy to walk into your local hardware store and start comparing bulbs, but let’s give you a head start on where to start: LED lighting.

Light Emitting Diodes, or “LED,” can give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to lumens v. watts. Take your traditional 60W bulb, for example. A 60W incandescent lightbulb provides about 800 lumens, as previously stated. However, replace that incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, producing 800 lumens, and only 8-12W are spent. You could go all the way up to 2600 lumens, and still only be spending 25-28W per bulb.

Cnet.com provides an easy to follow chart that tells you how an incandescent bulb compares to its LED counterpart:


When your old bulbs burn out, don’t get left in the dark with dim and energy sapping incandescent lights. With your newfound knowledge of lumens and how watts aren’t what’s lighting your room, you can make sure to find the proper balance between the two. Make sure to give LED bulbs a try, with their incredible brightness and low energy consumption. You’ll be happy you did!