What Do You Need to Know About Watts & Lumens?

Man looking at watts & lumens on a light bulb

When shopping for LED lighting, you've probably seen a spec listed as '600-watt equivalent'. Wattage used to tell you how bright a light is, which is the case of incandescent light bulbs. However, LED lights play a different game; they consume less energy than incandescent and fluorescent lights, so their wattage is lower. But since LED lights are brighter, there is a disconnect between its brightness and its watts.

"What do you mean equivalent? Just tell me how bright it is!"

Along with the equivalent watts, you may have also seen lumens listed. But what do these numbers mean? What's the difference between watts and lumens?


The number of watts tells you about an LED light's power usage. We have been conditioned to correlate wattage with brightness because stronger incandescent lights have higher watts and vice versa. However, this metric has no bearing on brightness whatsoever. With LED lighting taking over the market, wattage is referenced less and less. 


Lumens describe an LED light's total output and should be the number you look at when shopping with brightness in mind. More lumens mean a brighter light; fewer lumens mean a dimmer light. This metric has always been a measure of light emission but has just recently been emphasized on product packaging.

Thinking lumens allow you to buy the amount of light you want. When it comes to LED lighting, the number of watts is irrelevant since LEDs use less energy to produce the same output as incandescent.

Equivalent Wattage

You may also see something called equivalent wattage, which acts as a correlation between an LED light's level of output with that of an incandescent light. While this is a good crutch, lumen should be the measurement shoppers use to decide how bright they want their rooms to be.

Regardless of your familiarity with watts or lumens, we at Hykolity Lighting list them both to help you make an informed decision. Learn more about the benefits of LED over incandescent lights and shop our commercial lighting solutions today. Also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for tips and updates.