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Understanding LED Lights – Lumens not Watts

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You should switch to LED lights as soon as your incandescents burn out. The use and sale of incandescent lights is slowly being outlawed in the United States and a total ban is expected within the next five years. You might as well make the change now. It’ll be good for you, the economy, and the environment. LEDs are very energy efficient. They consume 70-90% less energy than incandescents. They last extremely long too, usually around 20 years.

Now is the right time to switch to LEDs.LED lighting technology has advanced far enough to make LED lights better than conventional lighting options in every way, from the emission of warm white light to the wide variety of colors available. Before you make your purchase, however, you need to first learn about at least the basic things about LEDs. First thing’s first, the brightness of LEDs is not measured by watts but by lumens.

You might be accustomed to looking for watts when looking for a bulb with the right level of brightness. This only works for incandescents. Wattage isn’t even a unit of measure for brightness in the first place. Wattage simply measures the amount of electricity the incandescent light needs. Wattage just eventually became an accepted means of estimating the brightness of an incandescent because the more electricity an incandescent can hold, the brighter it can shine. For LED lights, wattage should not be associated to brightness.

LED lights consume so little energy that it is difficult to determine their brightness through wattage. For example, a 60W incandescent bulb is usually just as bright as an 8-12W LED light bulb. There isn’t really a specific conversion rate but on average, an incandescent requires about 5 times the amount of energy to emit the same level of brightness an LED emits. It is simply more practical to just use a different unit of measure to gauge the brightness in LEDs.

The lumen (lm) is the official measurement unit for the brightness an LED light bulb provides. It is the number you should look for when shopping for LEDs. LED manufacturers today typically include both the product’s lumens and wattage in their labels. As long as you know the range of lumens you are looking for, you can just completely ignore the wattage.

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