Shopping For Lights? Look for Lumens, Not Watts

May 23, 2022

When you’re shopping for lightbulbs, compare lumens to be sure you’re getting the amount of light, or level of brightness, you want. Today’s Lighting Facts Label will make it easy to compare bulb brightness, color, life, and estimated annual operating cost.

Look for Lumens, Not Watts

Lumens and watts are different, which can make it harder to figure out what type of bulb to buy. For decades, consumers have bought incandescent lights based on watts, which gives a good indication of the brightness of the bulb. The more watts, the brighter the bulb.

The rules have changed. An LED that uses 60 watts is in no way comparable to an incandescent bulb that uses 60 watts. LEDs are designed to use less energy and naturally have a lower watt rating. This means it’s useless to use watts to determine brightness.

What’s a Lumen?

Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb, the higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Lumens provide a more accurate indication of the amount of light the bulb will produce.

The brightness, or lumen levels of lights in your home may vary widely. If you want something dimmer, go for less lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens. Here’s a rule of thumb when replacing bulbs:

The Lighting Facts Label

The label clearly provides the lumens (lm) — or brightness — of the bulb, estimated operating cost for the year, and the color of the light (from warm/yellowish, to white to cool/blue). To learn more about lighting options, visit us at