Light Bulb Comparisons

Compare Lumens

Lumens are the amount of light or brightness of the light. This will become the new way to buy lighting; consumers will focus more on lumens rather than watts. A traditional 60 watt incandescent bulb is around 800 lumens. The higher the number (i.e. 900 lumens), the brighter the light. Many LEDs are in the 450-800 lumen range but be careful. Some LEDs are as low as 72 lumens which isn’t very bright. It would be acceptable to find a low number of lumens in a candelabra or a night light. However, if you’ve found a standard (A19) bulb with a price too good to be true, a low number of lumens might be the reason! Consider your application when you check the number of lumens.

Compare Color Temperatures

Color temperatures typically range from 2,700-5,000°K (kelvin). Lower color temperatures (2,700-3,000°K) are called warm colors (yellowish light), while higher color temperatures (5,000°K and above) are called cool colors (blueish white).

A 2,700-3,000°K light may be refered to as warm white or soft white. A 5000°K light may be refered to as natural daylight. You may expect to pay a little more for a higher color

Choosing a color temperature is a personal preference. Again, consider your application. A yellowish light would be more relaxing and a blueish light would be more intense for concentrating.

Many retailers have a display with examples of the different color temperatures to give consumers a better look at their options.

Compare Watts

Watts are the amount of energy a bulb will consume. Watts are what we used to look for when buying lighting, but this method is going away.

Although, it is still very important to check the number of watts to determine how much energy will be used, we also must consider other factors to determine if a light will actually produce the amount of light (lumens) and the color of light (°K or kelvin) we hope to achieve.    

Other than energy usage, the main thing to consider when looking at watts is to be sure you don’t buy a higher wattage than the rating on your light fixture. Doing so, could create a fire hazard. For example, a fixture rated for a 60W bulb needs a bulb rated at 60W or less.