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The wattage of a light bulb refers to the power consumed to burn the bulb. Lumens refer to the brightness of the bulb. 

Wattage = Power consumed by the bulb | Lumens = How bright the bulb will be

We’re used to buying light bulbs based on their wattage; we know a 100-watt light bulb is brighter than a 60-watt bulb because it uses more power to produce light and heat.

However, in 2012, light bulb packages started showing us lumens in addition to watts. Remember, lumens measure light output. Also in 2012, the federal government started phasing out traditional, incandescent bulbs. Watts are not an accurate measure of light output for the compact fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs and halogens that replaced them. 

So when you’re standing overwhelmed or confused in the light bulb aisle, remember these tips:

With the emergence of LED bulbs, we want to provide you with some basic tips to help decipher what you need to know so you can be confident in your purchase! 

Tip #1 | Start with Wattage/Lumens

When we used to buy incandescent bulbs we knew how much light we would get out of a 25 watt bulb vs. a 100 watt bulb. However, we can no longer compare wattage because LED is much more efficient. What we need to compare are the lumens. On average an incandescent bulb puts out 78 lumens per watt.

Example: A 25 watt incandescent bulb would give you about 325 lumens vs. a 5 watt LED would give you about 390 lumens. The higher the lumens  the brighter the light; fewer lumens means it’s a dimmer light.

Tip #2 | Kelvins (K)

Kelvins refer to the light’s appearance or color temperature. The lower the Kelvin (K) the warmer the color; the higher the K the cooler the color.

Example: Candlelight is approximately 1500K

Example: Grocery store or hospital fluorescents could best be more than 4500-4500k

Tip #3 | Fixtures/Dimming

Be sure it has the right base to fit your light (standard base/candelabra/bi pin etc.) If you are wanting to dim it make sure its noted as “dimmable” on the box. 

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