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Lumens vs Watts

Over the years the introduction of energy efficient LED bulbs has slowly led to the unpopularity of the traditional incandescent bulbs, as the new energy saving bulbs performed better, last longer and consumed less power.

Back then the strength of bulbs were measured based on watts, the amount of energy required to light a bulb, however, the old method of measurement is not practical anymore for the new energy efficient bulbs. As LED bulbs consume less power, its strength is measured based on lumens, the amount of light produced. The more lumens, the brighter the light.

For a clearer understanding, below is a chart outlining the difference between Watts and Lumens.

Brightness 220+ 400+ 700+ 900+ 1300+
Standard 25W 40W 60W 75W 100W
Halogen 18W 28W 42W 53W 70W
CFL 6W 9W 12W 15W 20W
LED 4W 6W 10W 13W 18W

Lights are now categorised by lumens instead wattage. According to the Federal Trade Commission,

All packaging for medium screw base bulbs must include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Lighting Facts label with prominent information on the lumen output. The FTC Lighting Facts label emphasizes lumen output, and will help consumers choose the right bulb for their lighting needs, while moving them away from reliance on wattage when selecting a bulb. This effort is especially important with the Energy Independence and Security Act phase-out of inefficient bulbs.


The new changes under the Federal Trade Commission policy include:

  1. The FTC label on the front of packaging to provide information on brightness (lumen output) and estimated annual energy cost.
  2. The FTC label required on the back of packaging to provide information on:
  • Brightness
  • Energy cost
  • Bulb’s life expectancy
  • Light appearance.
  • The amount of energy the bulb uses)
  • Any contents of mercury.
  1. Lumen output to be printed on the bulb and if a bulb contains mercury, to be disclosed on the bulb.

How LED light bulbs compare with traditional incandescent bulbs

The following charts give an indication of how new LED light bulbs perform against older incandescent bulbs.

Energy Efficiency LEDs Incandescent Bulbs
Life Span (Hours) 50,000 1,200
Electricity used in watts. 6 – 8 watts 60 watts
Kilo-watts of Electricity used  (30 Bulbs per year) 329 KWh/yr. 3285 KWh/yr.
Environmental Impact LEDs Incandescent Bulbs
Contains Mercury No No
RoHS Compliant Yes Yes
Carbon Dioxide Emissions (30 Bulbs per year) 451 pounds/yr. 4500 pounds/yr.
Light Output LEDs Incandescent Bulbs
Lumens Watts Watts
450 4-5 40
800 6-8 60
1,100 9-13 75
1,600 16-20 100
2,600 25-28 150

View our great range of LED lighting at Display Lighting.