HomeTechnical InformationLight Wattage: What Is the LED Watt Equivalent?

Light Wattage: What Is the LED Watt Equivalent?

LED bulbs have shifted the focus to lumens as the primary unit of measurement, requiring finding an LED equivalent to the traditional bulb's wattage. LED equivalents for incandescent, halogen, CFL, and sodium bulbs are provided.


There's an array of light bulb types in the market today, each with a unique energy consumption pattern measured in watts. When you're looking to make a switch from conventional bulbs to their modern counterparts, understanding the relative brightness of each type is key.


wattage vs lumen

Decoding the Wattage vs Lumen Dilemma


Wattage is the standard unit for calculating energy consumption, and for traditional bulbs such as incandescent ones, wattage is the key metric. Incandescent bulbs, for example, release about 90% of their energy as heat, making their energy use inefficient. This is because the bulb's brightness is directly linked to its energy consumption.


On the other hand, LED bulbs, a highly energy-efficient lighting technology, have flipped the script and shifted the focus to lumens as the primary unit of measurement. Lumens measure the amount of visible light, thus giving us a measure of the light's brightness. This makes sense for LEDs as they require at least 75% less energy to produce brighter light, and they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting (energy.gov). Hence, it's lumens, not watts, that determine an LED's brightness, while watts remain the measure of energy usage.


This transition to LEDs necessitates a new approach. Replacing an old bulb with an LED one doesn't mean just swapping a 60-watt traditional bulb with a 60-lumen LED one. To make an accurate replacement, you need to find an LED equivalent to the wattage of the traditional bulb. The guiding principle here is: the higher the lumen count, the brighter the LED bulb, whereas, for a traditional bulb, higher wattage means brighter light.


LED Equivalent Wattages Against Traditional Lighting

Translating Traditional Bulbs into LED Equivalents


Let's delve into the LED equivalents for different types of traditional bulbs:


Incandescent Bulbs


The energy consumption of an LED bulb is roughly 90% less than that of an incandescent one. This stems from the incandescent bulb's need to generate heat to produce light, leading to higher energy usage. Here's a comparison chart showing the LED equivalent wattage for various incandescent bulbs:


Lumens Incandescent bulb LED bulb
 75-110 9 watts 1 watt
730-800 60 watts 7-9 watts
1380-1600 100 watts 12-14 watts
2000-2500 150 watts 18-23 watts

Halogen Bulbs


LED bulbs consume around 85% less energy than their halogen counterparts. Although halogens shine brightly, they also generate a significant amount of heat. Here's a comparison for halogen bulbs:


Lumens Halogen bulb LED bulb
1380 100 12
1200 75 11
230-270 50 6
375 30 4

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL)


CFL bulbs are recognized for their energy efficiency, using far less energy than ordinary bulbs. However, their use of mercury, a toxic liquid metal, poses a danger if the bulb is damaged. An LED bulb uses about 40% less energy than a CFL to produce light. Here's a comparison for CFL bulbs:


Lumens CFL bulb LED bulb
1380 22 12
750 15 9
450 9 5.5
100 5 2

Sodium Bulbs


Both high and low-pressure sodium bulbs have similar wattages, but their light is less bright than an LED's, even though they consume more energy. An LED bulb uses about 50% less energy to produce light. Here's a comparison for sodium bulbs:


Lumens Sodium bulb LED bulb
6,300 - 7,000 70 watts 40 watts
9,500 100 watts 50-60 watts
16,500 150 watts 80-90 watts
26,000 - 29,000 250 watts 90-125 watts

It's worth noting that these conversions aren't exact, as product variations can result in slight differences.


Right LED Wattage

Is It Advisable to Use a High LED Wattage Equivalent in My Fixture?


A commonly asked question pertains to the suitability of using an LED bulb with a higher wattage equivalent to replace a traditional bulb, such as an incandescent one. The answer is yes. If your fixture has a 60-watt limit, it refers to energy consumption, not brightness. This energy limit sets the bar at 60 watts, but because LED bulbs consume less energy, their wattage is lower. Therefore, you can use an LED bulb of a higher equivalent without exceeding the 60-watt energy consumption limit. The energy consumption ratio of an LED bulb to an incandescent bulb is approximately 6:1. 


led watt equivalent

In Conclusion


While traditional bulbs like incandescent and halogen ones use watts to measure brightness due to their energy-intensive nature, advanced technologies like LED bulbs use lumens. This shift is due to the fact that an LED bulb's wattage (energy consumption) doesn't determine its brightness. By 2035, it is estimated that the majority of lighting installations will use LED technology, potentially saving 569 TWh of energy annually—equivalent to the annual output of more than 92 1,000 MW power plants (energy.gov). Therefore, when you're looking to replace a traditional bulb with an LED, knowing the LED watt equivalent is necessary, as brightness in LEDs is measured in lumens, not watts.


Interested in making the switch to LED lighting for your business? Contact Infralumin today or explore our range of LED products. Offering a wide spectrum of wattages, our LED products are designed to cater to diverse lighting needs. Don't miss out on the chance to revolutionize your lighting system while saving energy and reducing overhead costs. Contact us now!

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