What Are Lumens in LED Lights?

Joe/ October 29, 2019/ Terminology

When shopping for LED lights, one term you will come across often is the term lumen. In fact, on the information panel of an LED light, lumen ratings are often listed first. Lumens are an important measurement in lighting and understanding them will help you choose the right lighting for your needs. Here’s a closer look at what this term means, and how it affects your lighting choices.

The Definition of Lumen
In LED lighting, lumens measure the brightness of a light. This is different than Watts, which measure the amount of energy in a light. The term lumen means “light,” which makes sense when you understand what this measures. In other words, lumens measure the amount of light your LED light puts out. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be.

Why Are LED Lights Measured in Lumens?
Measuring the brightness of a light is more important than measuring its power. Traditional incandescent bulbs were measured in watts, which showed how much power they used. More wattage meant brighter light. Now that the industry has so many energy efficient lighting options, more wattage does not actually mean more light, unless you are staying within the same type of light bulb. That is why LED lighting is measured in lumens.

Lumens are a particularly helpful unit when trying to calculate how many lights to buy for your facility. Most facilities have a minimum requirement for proper visibility, and you can only calculate how many lights you need if you calculate in lumens. If you need a particular number of lumens per square foot, and know how many lumens the light produces, you can install or purchase the right number of lights.

How Do Lumens Compare to Watts?
Lumens and watts measure different things, so they can’t really be compared. This would be like comparing a pound of apples to a gallon of milk – the measurements are completely different. However, you can estimate the amount of lumens a particular watt bulb would produce. An incandescent bulb that uses 100 watts, for example, produces about 1600 lumens. In the world of LED, a 26-watt bulb creates the same amount of lumens.

Why Is There So Much Confusion?
Why is there so much confusion between watts and lumens? When incandescent lights where the primary light source used in homes and businesses, all were measured in watts. Though watts measured the amount of power used, people started to associate them with level of brightness, because everyone knew a 100-watt bulb was brighter than a 40-watt bulb. Now, with LED, CFL, and other more efficient lighting options on the market, this connection no longer works. A 22-watt LED bulb is much brighter than a 60-watt incandescent bulb, because the 22-watt LED produces 1600 lumens, where the 60-watt incandescent produces only 800.

Clearly, in the case of measuring LEDs, lumens are the better measurement. Use lumens to find the right lighting for your next need, remembering that higher lumens mean a brighter light. If you are looking for bright, efficient LED lighting, trust HyLite LED Lighting to deliver the solutions you need.

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