When it comes to choosing the brightness of your lights, things can get a little confusing. Lumens and Watts are two different measures of light output, and many people don’t know how to choose the right one. In this blog post, we will explain what Lumens are and how to choose the brightness of your lights based on their Lumen rating so that you end up with the right lights for your next installation. We’ll even discuss traditional incandescent bulbs and newer LED light options.

Lumens measure the amount of visible light

Lumens (denoted by lm) are a measurement of all visible light (to the human eye) emitted by a lamp or light source in simple terms. The higher the lumen rating, the “brighter” the lamp appears.

In the past, we’ve all purchased 50W or 60W incandescent bulbs or spotlights assuming they’d provide a certain amount of light. This was due to a faulty correlation between wattage consumption (watts) and light output.

To give you an idea of how much light we’re talking about, here are some example lumen ratings:

  • Standard 60W incandescent light bulbs emit around 800 lumens.
  • An LED light with an equivalence of 60W emits around 850 lumens.
  • A CFL (compact fluorescent) light with an equivalence of 60W emits around 1200 lumens.

Wattage vs Lumens

Watts are a measure of the amount of energy consumed by a light, while lumens are a measure of the amount of light emitted. So, a 60-watt incandescent bulb emits less brighter light than a 60-watt LED bulb. The difference is that an LED light bulb is more efficient in how they use power to create light.

To put it simply, wattage measures how much energy a light uses, while lumens measure how much light is emitted.

More light can be produced with less power consumption with energy saving LEDs. A 6.5W LED lamp, for example, has a light output comparable to that of a 50W Halogen light bulb. That’s a savings of 87% in energy for the same amount of light! More energy is converted to light rather than heat when you use LED. As technology advances, more lumens will be generated using even less Watts – i.e., more lumens per Watt. As a result, the use of Watts as a brightness indicator is obsolete.

Watts Lumens
25 W 230 – 270 Lamp
35 W 250 – 280 Spotlight

200 – 300 Useful Lumens

390 – 410 Lamp

40 W 440 – 460 Lamp
50 W 330 – 400 Spotlight

350 – 450 Useful Lumens

60 W 800 – 850 Lamp
75 W 1000 – 1100 Lamp
100 W 1500 -1600 Lamp

How Many Lumens Do I Need?

The number of lumens you need depends on the purpose of the light and the area you’re trying to illuminate. Do you need the lights for reading and study? Do you need them in your bathroom? A general rule of thumb is that you need about 100 lumens per square foot of space.

For example, if you’re looking for a reading light for your bedroom, you’ll need about 1000 lumens. But if you’re trying to light up an entire room, you’ll need more like 4000 lumens.

Room Lumens per Square Metre
Kitchen 300-400
Kitchen (Task) 700-800
Living Room 400-500
Hallway 300
Main Bedroom 300-400
Main Bedroom (Task) 700-800
Bathroom 500-600
Bathroom (Task) 700-800
Study Area 400

How to Choose the Brightness of Your Lights

Now that you know what lumens are and how to choose the right number of lumens for your needs, it’s time to pick out the perfect light. Check out our wide selection of LED lights and find the perfect one for your home. With energy-efficient options in a variety of styles and colors, you’re sure to find the perfect fit.

Lumens Per Watt (lm/W)

This figure is a way to measure how well a light product works. You measure the total light output in Lumens and then divide it by the power usage in Watts. This will tell you how efficient the light product is. A higher lm/W means that it is more efficient and has lower running costs than similar products that are not as efficient.

Useful Lumens

Non-directional bulbs, like globes, golfballs, and candles, have a total lumen output that is calculated for all directions. For directional bulbs, like GU10 spotlights, the light is emitted in many directions. Some of this light (spill light) may not be useful, but it is counted in the total lumen rating.

A rating system has been introduced for lightbulbs. This rating is based on the amount of light that is useful to people. The rating takes into account how much light is emitted in a standard 90 degree cone. The “useful lumen” rating is normally lower than the total lumen output, but it is more important because it measures the amount of light that is useful in a forward-focussed direction.


Now that you understand what lumens are and how to choose the right number of lumens for your needs, it’s time to shop for the perfect light. With energy-efficient LED lights in a variety of styles and colors, you’re sure to find the perfect fit. If you want to discuss efficient lighting options or need some energy efficient bulbs installed at your home or business please give the friendly staff at Finnley Electrical a call today. We’ll be able to advise how much power is needed for your LED bulbs, how light is measured in lumens and answer any questions you may have.

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