Lumens are the key to understanding LED bulbs

What are Lumens?

There has been a lot in the news recently about new light bulbs such as LEDs. While it is true that LEDs are much more efficient than other bulbs, what gets overlooked is the way that new bulb technologies force us into new ways of evaluating bulb performance, and new ways of purchasing light bulbs.

So when confronted with an array of bulb choices in a store or online what should we do? The answer is to look to the lumens rating of the bulb.

So what are lumens, and why are they the key to buying new replacement light bulbs?

Lumens is the measurment of how much light a bulb produces. When you compare this rating to how much energy, or watts, a bulb uses, you'll get a great idea of how energy efficient a particular bulb happens to be.

For example, in looking at the chart below, we can see that a 60 watt incandescent bulb puts out 800 lumens of light. To make that same amount of light, CFL light bulbs use only 13 to 15 watts of energy, and  LED light bulbs a mere 9-13 watts.

Watts / Energy Used vs. Lumens

N/A = not applicable

As you can see, what's important these days is the amount of lumens a bulb produces, not necessarily the amount of energy used. This is a hard idea to get used to at first. We are so used to buying 60 watt bulbs for table lamps, because we have a good feel for how much light such a bulb will produce.

Lumens Information on a Light Bulb Box

To find the lumens information, just look to the bulb box. You'll see it lisited along with other information such as energy used and the average estimated lifespan in hours. Once you start shopping for new replacement bulbs by lumens instead of watts, you'll see that you'll be able to get the same amount of light output for much less energy.