What are Lumens and do they matter?

What are lumens article thumbnail image

Lumens are a unit of light that is becoming more widely used in describing the output of LED light fittings. They are not something new and Lumens and Lux have been used for some time within the lighting industry to ensure that levels of illumination were sufficient in the workplace.

It was relatively simple when there were 25, 40, 60 and 100 watt bulbs to choose from but LED’s don’t conform to the same standard. Lighting levels at home are a personal choice. Romantic dinners and watching TV require a warm lower light level, whereas you need good, bright white light in kitchens and bathrooms.

So, how do you choose the right wattage lamp bulb to give you the light output you require? Here’s a simple comparison chart to help you decide and select the right bulb:

Watts are a measure of heat and power consumption not light, so a 60w bulb used 60w of electricity and generated 60w of heat. Over time we got used to which bulb gave off how much light. The Lumen measure gives a more consistent approach to light output that can be transferred between types quite easily. The Lumen will be used to describe lighting output more frequently as old style incandescent light bulbs are discontinued.

Lumen output is measured at the bulb and not in the room, so if you have a chandelier with bare candle lamps you get full brightness. If you have fabric or opaque glass shades then some of the light is blocked from entering your room directly, so you may need a higher output to get the same brightness.

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