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Watts to Lumens Cheat Sheet

When you need to convert watts to lumens, this simple watts to lumens cheat sheet can help you decide which bulb you need. Simply download this clever little chart, save it to your phone or print it out, and when you head over to the light bulb store, you’ll be able to shop for light bulbs like you did in the good old days.

Watts to Lumens Cheat Sheet


Buying light bulbs used to be easy when watts used to correspond with brightness. Traditional incandescent light bulbs were usually between 25 and 150 watts, with the bigger the number, the brighter the light emitted.

Now, with new LED, CFL, and other energy-saving lighting, you can’t rely on wattage to tell you how bright a bulb will be. You can sometimes find these new bulbs with ratings as low as 5 watts. The discrepancy is because wattage measures how much energy a bulb uses, and since LED and CFL light bulbs use less energy, their wattage is lower.


For LED and CFL bulbs, you’ll need to measure brightness in lumens. Today’s light bulbs are usually between 200 – 2700 lumens, and this information can be found on the packaging’s lighting facts section. The more lumens listed, the brighter the light will be that the bulb emits.

This can all be confusing, so try to think of 800 as your standard 60W light bulb, and go from there.

Need even more information about light bulbs? The article Best Lighting: A Room-by-Room Guide should be able to answer all of your questions!

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