In the olden days (or at least a couple of decades ago, back in the late 20th century), we used Watts to determine how bright a traditional light bulb was. It was a straightforward correlation – more Watts meant more light. Things got more complicated when other technologies emerged, and the correlation between wattage and brightness went away, as they needed less electricity to produce the same amount of light—comparing different light sources suddenly became hard, especially for people who weren’t familiar with the new technologies. Let’s take a closer look at comparing the brightness of LED lighting to other commonly used lights.
Equivalent Wattage – What Exactly Is It?
Equivalent wattages were conceived as a bridge between new and old technologies – they tell you approximately how much light a bulb gives off compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. The values may vary, as it’s not a straightforward correlation. For example, 60W incandescent light bulbs would be equivalent to 6-8W LED bulbs (at least those are the most commonly stated values). So it’s just a rough estimate and not a solid match.
Why Do LED Lights Use Lumens?
As Watts stopped being enough to accurately classify brightness (and are finally used just for what they are intended – telling us how much power the bulb uses), we needed a new unit of measurement. That’s when Lumens came into play.
Lumens directly tell us how much visible light a light bulb produces (they measure the so-called luminosity). In other words – Lumens measure brightness. That’s why all newer light sources – including halogen bulbs, CFL bulbs, and LED lights – use them to determine their light output. They are far more accurate and don’t require complicated calculations to compare different light sources.
There’s no direct correlation between a bulb’s wattage and luminosity, but you can safely assume that the more energy-efficient the light bulbs are, the more Lumens per Watt they produce. This ratio is called “luminous efficacy”. For instance, traditional light bulbs can land anywhere between 8 and 18 lm/W, compact fluorescent lamps mostly have 45-75 lm/W, and LED light bulbs to start at about 70 and can go way past 100 lm/W. As a curiosity, it’s worth adding that in 2014 Cree broke the then theoretical limit of luminous efficacy for a white light LED bulb, reaching 303 lm/W.
Is Wattage Still Relevant?
Of course, it is – the Watts of installed light bulbs directly affects your electricity bills. So replacing your traditional lighting based on incandescent bulbs with lower wattage and more energy-efficient lighting is the only logical choice. LED bulbs are a good replacement for practically any other light source commonly used in homes and businesses, even the CFLs. Or maybe especially the CFLs, as they are tiring for our eyes (particularly with long exposure) and contain some mercury.
You can find a wide selection of high-quality LED bulbs, including dimmable and RGB ones, at https://lucasled.ie/led-bulbs-fitting-light. They come in many shapes and sizes, making it easy to pick ones that suit your tastes.
Examples Of LED Equivalent Wattages For Popular Bulbs
To wrap things up, let’s get back to the equivalent wattages and see how LED light bulbs compare to others. Here’s a tally of the most popular wattages used in commercial lighting:
Traditional Incandescent Bulbs – LEDs
A LED bulb is very roughly equivalent to 1/10 of a traditional bulb’s wattage. The real converter is more complicated than that, but as we already mentioned, all of this is just an approximation. So in most cases, it would look something like this (incandescents – LEDs):
- 30W – 3W
- 50W – 5W
- 60W – 6W
- 75W – 7.5W
- 100W – 10W
Halogens – LEDs
Halogen bulbs are enhanced incandescents with slightly higher efficiency. Still, LED bulbs are about 85% more efficient.
- 30W – 4W
- 50W – 6W
- 60W – 8W
- 75W – 11W
- 100W – 12W
CFLs – LEDs
Compact Fluorescent Lamp offers a longer lifespan and better efficiency than a traditional bulb. LED bulbs top that, offering about 40% more efficiency and being about twice as long-lasting.
- 5W – 3W
- 9W – 5.5W
- 15W – 9W
- 20W – 12W
Metal Halide Lights – LEDs
MHLs are high-powered gas discharge lamps that provide intense bright light. They’re mainly used in public spaces like parking lots, sports stadiums, parks, and large shopping malls. Many businesses also use them as security lighting. They can be replaced by LED bulbs, which sacrifices light output for far lower electricity bills.
- 100W – 30W
- 150W – 80W
- 250W – 100W
- 400W – 200W
Replace Your Old Bulbs With Future-Proof Options Today!
Although there’s no such thing as a perfect bulb (at least not yet), LED bulbs are the best option we have so far. You can dim them, setting their colour temperature to your liking, change their colours or even control them remotely. All of this makes them a worthy investment that will set you for long years, especially now that their prices are far lower than they ever were.