What is a Lumen?

Lighting—it’s all about lumens. But what are lumens, exactly? And how do you understand what are lumens in light bulbs and light fixtures? In addition to being the Internet's premier modern lighting and design store (hey, that's us!), lumens is now THE way to find out how bright a lighted bulb or an LED lighting fixture is. And if you want a fixture with bright, luminous personality, it's the key to choosing perfect piece for your lighting scheme.

The Lumens definition is: "a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions"

In short...

Lumens equals brightness!

And watts does not. Not that watts are bad, but they measure energy use, not light output. With new, energy-efficient LED technology, we can no longer rely upon wattage to indicate how bright a bulb is. See how to measure lumens below:

Lumens to Watts:

How Many Lumens Do You Need?More Lumens = More Light
If you used to buy this in incandescent Look for this much light in lumens LED
(most efficient)
CFL
(more efficient)
Halogen
(more efficient incandescent)
100 W 1600 up to 22 W up to 26 W up to 72 W
75 W 1100 up to 20 W up to 23 W up to 53 W
60 W 800 up to 12 W up to 15 W up to 43 W
40 W 450 up to 9 W up to 11 W up to 29 W
Lumens vs Watts: Output and wattages based on most common products available for each medium screw-based light bulb. Actual light output may vary by product.

Use the chart above to determine exactly how many lumens are in a watt and vice versa. This should provide you with a good understanding of how bright 120 lumens is vs. a fixture with 5000 lumens. Additionally, you can use the color temperature chart to help you in choosing the best lighting for your application.

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