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How do I know what LED wattage is the best replacement for incandescent, halogen, or CFL bulbs?
- Nov 22, 2018 -

    The first step is to remember that wattage does NOT equal light output. The historical use of incandescent bulbs has conditioned many consumers to believe that light output is equivalent to wattage. Therefore,  many consumers believe that a 60W incandescent bulb needs to be replaced by another 60W bulb. Actually, wattage shouldn’t be the deciding factor when trying to figure out if a light bulb has the proper light output needed. LUMENS is the proper measure of light output, and should be the primary factor in determining if the selected bulb has enough light output for the intended use. Since LEDs are more efficient than incandescent (and most other lighting technologies) at converting electrical power to lumens, the  actual wattage needed to create the necessary amount of light is quite low in comparison, and decreasing each year as LED technology becomes even better. Whereas a 60W incandescent bulb typically produces 800 lumens (abbreviated “lm”) of light, similar LED bulbs in 2018 require only approximately 9W of power to produce the same 800 lm. Thus, the replacement for your 60W incandescent bulb would be a 9W LED bulb. LED technology is still becoming more efficacious, so in the short future, this same 800lm can likely be produced by a 7-8W or lower LED bulb. It is important to know what lumen level you are trying to replace, and by knowing that info, you can properly select the best LED replacement. Most LED bulb manufacturers will state which common incandescent bulbs their LED bulbs can typically replace on their packaging and in marketing literature. LED lamp equivalents will vary by manufacturer and product type, but for the most common types of bulbs such as everyday Omni A-19 lamps, today the equivalents would approximately be:

40W INC = 450lm =  9W CFL = 6W – 7W LED
60W INC = 800 lm = 13W CFL = 7W – 10W LED
75W INC = 1100 lm = 18W CFL = 11W – 12W LED
100W INC = 1600lm = 23W-26W CFL = 14W-17W LED


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