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Looking to replace your traditional light fixtures with the newest LED tech? If you’re thinking about buying a new LED fixture, you may be wondering just how bright is this thing going to be?

Wattage vs Lumens: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve purchased or worked with traditional lighting before, such as HID or fluorescents, you might be under the impression that a higher wattage means a brighter light. This was a reliable rule of thumb in the past, but the rules have changed with LED technology!

Wattage is an indication of how much power a fixture draws, but with LEDs, this doesn’t always indicate how bright it will be. LEDs are all about energy efficiency, and some LEDs will perform better than others with the same amount of power.

Additionally, you may notice LEDs tend to have far lower wattages than what you’re used to. For example, an LED bulb with equivalent brightness to a 60-watt incandescent bulb may only draw between 8 and 12 watts. That’s a big energy savings!

So how do you know how bright an LED bulb or fixture will be? That’s where Lumens come in!

Unlike the wattage rule of thumb, Lumens are a precise measurement of the amount of light put off by a bulb or fixture.

If you’re used to measuring brightness by wattage, here’s a handy chart that can help you understand how many lumens you’re looking for:

It’s important to check the Lumen rating of a fixture before you buy. Your ideal lumen rating will vary depending on the size of the room you are lighting, and the desired brightness level of the room.

For more information about choosing your optimal brightness, check out our guide: How Much Light is Enough? – Central Lighting Service, Inc.