The Difference Between Watts and Lumens

One of the most common questions we receive is about the bulb wattage to use with a chandelier. Simply put, bulb wattage tells you the amount of power a bulb uses and not the amount of light it produces. This amount is measured instead in units called lumens. 

Because the majority of bulbs on the market in years past were incandescent bulbs, most people knew how much light could be produced by a 40W, 60W, or 100W incandescent bulb. For that reason, the wattage count became the standard for knowing how much light a bulb created. With many of the newer bulb technologies including LED's and CFL's, this same amount of light can be achieved at much lower wattages. This meant that we must now rely on the lumens count to tell us how much light a bulb produces. Check out the table below from ovoenergy.com which shows the lumens count for different bulb types by wattage.

As you can see, higher lumen counts can be achieved using far less power; however, this efficiency comes at a cost. Luckily, this higher cost can be recouped over the longer life of the bulb (theoretically at least). Also, the continued adoption of the efficient options will continue to push the price per bulb down. So next time you're shopping for bulbs, check the back for the lumen count. Look at the bulbs in the displays. Compare the lumen counts on different bulb packages, and choose the bulb that works best for you.


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