With the introduction of new energy-saving technologies such as LEDs, power usage no longer matters when searching for the brightness of a light. Thus, the user is now given lumens, instead of buying bulbs based on watts, which only measures how much power a bulb consumes.

In traditional incandescent light sources, typically the higher the wattage, the brighter the light. With LEDs this is a bit different because there is no set rule for comparing wattage to output. Lumens are a measure of the total light output, i.e. the brightness of the bulb. The higher the lumen number, the brighter the light. As an example, you might consider what liter means for milk.

Most countries now require all bulb manufacturers to list the number of lumens on a label. It also includes life expectancy and estimated annual energy cost. As more energy efficient light bulbs enter the market, we're seeing fewer watts and more lumens. Below is a table that converts watts to lumens to ensure a match when replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs (these estimated numbers are based on incandescent bulbs only)

  • 150 Watts = 2600 Lumens
  • 100 Watts = 1600 Lumens
  • 75 Watts = 1100 Lumens
  • 60 Watts = 800 Lumens
  • 40 Watts = 450 Lumens
  • 25 Watts = 200 Lumens

Many home and commercial fixtures are not designed with LED bulbs in mind. They often have warnings that state "Future designed for one XXX maximum watt bulb". These are heat ratings designed to prevent users from placing a higher voltage bulb inside the fixture than it was designed for. Since LED bulbs consume much less watts, they produce less heat. Therefore, an LED bulb equal to 60 Watt can be safely used in a fixture rated for a 40 Watt incandescent.

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