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LED Lighting - Watts vs. Lumens


What is the difference?  What should I look for?

  • Watts are the unit of power or amount of energy consumed. The more energy used, the higher the watts.
  • Lumens are the measure of brightness of the light emitted. Lumens are to light as pounds are to potatoes or gallons to gasoline.  The more lumens, the brighter the light.

We all would like to use less energy to lower energy costs, which means using less wattage. To do so, we should think in terms of lumens instead of watts.  Whether purchasing a light bulb for your home, relighting an office space or warehouse, lumens should be a major deciding factor in lowering energy cost.

How do I figure out what is best?

For our homes, we traditionally base our purchase on the wattage of a lamp.  If you would normally buy the 100w incandescent bulb, take a look at the lumens and compare it to the more efficient, longer lasting LED. To find the LED equivalent to a 100w bulb, look for approximately 1600 lumens which would only use around 14-18 watts instead of the 100 watts — saving significant energy!


The same theory applies if purchasing for an office or warehouse space. We can take a look at the existing wattage and fixtures to help determine a better energy saving LED replacement.  With LED fixtures we can reach the same amount of light or possibly better! 

For example, if in a warehouse you are currently using 400w metal halide high bay fixtures, you can potentially replace these fixtures with a 160W LED high bay, saving 240w per fixture.  Although the initial lumens on a metal halide lamp is higher than LED, the lumens depreciation rather quickly and the lumens of the life of the fixture are pretty similar, as shown below.


Next time you are shopping for any type of lamp or fixtures, remember to think about lumens instead of watts to get the absolute best energy savings.


If you're interested in seeing how the advantages of LED lighting can benefit your business, talk to one of our expertsfor a free LED lighting consultation!

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