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Lumens vs Watts – Choosing the Right LED Bulbs

When choosing LED light bulbs for your commercial building, it’s important to consider the difference between lumens versus watts. Unfortunately, many owners and facility managers look at wattage instead of lumens when purchasing LED bulbs. If you would like to understand the difference between lumens and watts, this blog has all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

At J & S Electrical Contractors, Inc. our commercial master electricians can handle all your lighting needs. Call us if you need advice on what kind of LED bulbs you need to keep your commercial or industrial facility well-lit. 

What’s Up with Watts?

When you buy incandescent light bulbs, watts tell you how bright the light is. The higher the wattage, the brighter the associated bulb. However, the same rule does not apply to LED bulbs. For example, if you buy a 60-watt incandescent bulb, it does not equate to a 60 lumens LED light. In reality, a 60-watt LED bulb puts out bright, nearly blinding, light. LEDs use less energy and have a lower wattage. Therefore, you cannot use watts to describe LED light brightness.

Fortunately, light bulb manufacturers have begun to use lumens on their packaging. This gives you a better indication of how bright your LED will be.

Why Use Lumens?

Lumens have been used as an accurate measure of brightness for LEDs for decades. However, they have just recently been displayed prominently on packages. LEDs use less power than incandescent light bulbs. Therefore, a one size fits all rating approach doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the power of the bulb you buy. Here’s an example. If you buy a 60-watt incandescent bulb, it generates comfortable light suitable for reading and lighting your home. On the other hand, a 60-watt LED will give off 3,600 lumens. You would definitely need sunglasses just to open your eyes!

Switching to LEDs that use lumen ratings can help you create a more energy efficient lighting strategy for your company.

What Power Bulb Should You Choose?

  • In most cases, you can’t go wrong with lumen ratings from 800 to 1,100 lumens. For comparison, 60-watt light bulb sheds 800 lumens of light. 
  • Meanwhile, a 75-watt generates about 1100 lumens. 
  • Keep in mind that anything below 400 lumens results in poor visibility that may become a liability and safety risk. 
  • Light bulbs over 1,500 lumens are too bright and should only be used when do you need a very high level of illumination. This may apply to security lights, for example.

Full-Service Lighting Design and Installation 

J&S Electrical Contractors can guide you through the right lighting decisions to make your commercial building, workplace, or industrial facility shine. Call us for the following services and more!

  • Electrical System Design & Build
  • Electrical System Installations, Upgrades & Testing
  • Electrical System Analysis
  • 24/7 Maintenance & Repair Service

J&S Electrical Contractors installs LED or incandescent lighting for your retail, commercial or industrial property. Call 215-633-8330 or contact us online.