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Nothing’s ever simple, is it? Is there a fantastic new(ish) type of lighting that can save us money on our energy bills and give us articulate control over the ambiance in our homes? Yes, LED lighting.
Can we make a straight swap for LEDs from our now defunct halogen bulbs? Not quite, at least not without engaging in a bit of math!
It’s not the voltage that’s an issue (on that front, it is pretty much a straight switch), it’s the way in which brightness is measured.
See, with halogen lighting, it’s the wattage that signifies the luminosity of a bulb, but with the new king of home lighting, you need to keep an eye out for the aptly named unit, lumens.
The reason this has caused such a kerfuffle is that people who want to match the luminosity of their current halogen setup don’t know which LED bulbs are up to the job, which is why I’ve composed this guide.
Stick with me, and the halogen-to-LED transition will be totally pain-free!
The Lumens To Watts Conversion
In this article, I’ll be giving you the lowdown on this tricky conversion and explaining why lumens are an essential part of the exchange process.
After all, what was so wrong with watts that we had to flip the system with a new unit?
Watt-Lumen Conversion: When Life Gives You Lumens
In the age of halogen bulbs, picking a brightness was simple and stress-free. All you had to do was check out the wattage. The higher the wattage, the brighter it would be; the lower the wattage, the dimmer it would be.
This was because, for the halogen blueprint, the wattage genuinely did a great job in communicating the brightness.
Not only did this make initial bulb selection very intuitive, it also meant that replacing that bulb was a total breeze. Did your 60 watt bulb kick the bucket? No worries, grab another from the store and you’re golden!
With LEDs, on the other hand, although watts are still an essential measurement that indicates the power consumption of a light, they’re no longer the only indicator of brightness. Rather, watts only tell part of the story when it comes to the luminosity of an LED bulb.
There are simply too many other variables involved in LED technology that can alter brightness. For instance, two LED bulbs with the exact same wattage can have extremely different levels of luminosity, but why is this the case?
Well, it mostly comes down to the quality of components. In LED technology, there is more space for variation in this department.
Those with lower quality components won’t be as bright as those made with the good stuff, even if they were both rated for, say… 5 watts.
Just What Are Lumens Anyway?
Lumens are a unit of measurement that expresses the degree of luminous flux emitted by a light source. While watts refer to overall power consumption, lumens – written “lm” – refer to the power of the visible light emitted per second.
Although it’s a little irritating that we have to familiarize ourselves with this unit in order to capitalize on all the epic gains LEDs bring to the table, lumens are actually a very helpful construction.
The great thing about lumens is that they allow us to compare different lighting formats accurately; lumens are universal.
It doesn’t matter what technology you’re talking about or the efficiency of the lights in question, lumens are a bridge unit that helps us make sense of everything.
Lumens To Watts Converters
If you’re not big on equations (I don’t blame you), there are a number of online automatic lumens-to-watts calculators you can use to get the job done in a pain-free manner.
How To Use A Lumens To Watts Calculator
Lumens To Watts
To use these nifty calculators, you’ll have to first select the conversion you wish to make. Let’s say you have the lumens; all you have to do is select lumens from the drop-down menu.
You’ll also have to select the type of bulb you wish to compare your prospective LED bulb with.
For instance, if you currently have halogen bulbs, that’s what you’ll select from the list. You have to specify as the wattage will be different between lighting technologies.
Next, you’d input the figures. If you’re starting with lumens, you’d type the lumen count into the given field.
Then you can trigger the calculation and let the converter do the work for you.
Watts To Lumens
The reverse conversion follows the exact same principles, but you’d set the conversion type as watts to lumens before entering the key details into their corresponding fields.
Keep in mind, though, that these converters may not always be absolutely correct, but they’ll absolutely be close enough for you to make the LED switch in your home.
Lumens To Watts Conversion: A Table Reference
To give you a good idea of what you’re working with when aiming to convert lumens to watts, let’s take a look at this table displaying a collection of approximations based on averages.
It references standard halogen light bulbs, halogen lamp bulbs, energy savers, and, of course, LEDs.
Halogen Light Bulb
Halogen Lamp Bulb
Comparison Examples Using The Table
Finding An Equivalent LED Light To Replace A 60 W Light Bulb
If you’re starting out with a 60 watt halogen light bulb, direct your attention to its position on the table. It can be found in the second column on the third row down.
To the left, you’ll see that it equates to 730–800 lumens, and to the far right, you’ll see that the LED equivalent would have a power rate of 7–9 watts.
Finding An Equivalent LED For A 13 Watt Energy Saver
Now let’s say you’re looking to replace your 13 watt energy saver with an LED to take those savings to the next level. This light is referenced in the third row down in the fourth column across.
To the far left, you’ll see this light emits roughly 730–800 lumens, and to the right, you’ll see the LED equivalent has a power consumption of 7–9 watts.
Watts To Lumens Conversion: A Table Reference
Now let’s flip the system and take a look at another table, this time displaying the watts to lumens conversion, just in case you need it.
Halogen Light Bulb
Halogen Lamp Bulb
As mentioned near the beginning of this article, the reason that we can’t rely solely on watts to express the luminosity of LEDs is that the quality of components has the bigger impact.
With this in mind, it’s perfectly reasonable that they’ll get even brighter in the future as the technology is refined time and time again.
Things To Remember About Converting Lumens To Watts
Lumen Score Is Different To Beam Angle
While understanding the luminance flux of a light is a great start, bear in mind that intensity and beam angle are completely different things, meaning lumens won’t give you the full picture in terms of how the light will spread throughout a space.
LEDs Have A Lower Beam Angle
Generally speaking, the beam angle of an LED light will be slightly lower than that of a halogen or incandescent bulb. In other words, the indirect lighting supplied by an LED will be dimmer. You can think of them as more focused light sources.
To account for this, you may want to install a second LED to balance the spread of light across the room.
If you dive into the process of updating your bulbs before considering the difference between lumens and watts, you’ll most likely end up buying a far too bright LED that will fry yours and your guest’s corneas — not cool!
Take everything we’ve discussed here into consideration, and you and your precious corneas will love a long happy life, and if you’re feeling unsure when shopping around, don’t hesitate to ask for help from someone who works in the store. They’ll be able to guide you through the conversion process.