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Are LED Lights Measured in Watts?

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You’ve probably bought LEDs without knowing anything about wattage and now you’re here. If you want to know more about LED lights and watts, this article will give you a lot of information. More importantly, we’ll answer the question: are LED lights measured in watts?

Are LED Lights Measured in Watts?

While you can measure LED lights in watts, the more popular way people do it is by checking the number of lumens a LED light has. Lumens and watts go hand in hand, so you’re just basically measuring both units. The wattage determines the amount of lumen your LED can have. 

In the past, people use watts to determine the bulb’s brightness. Nowadays, researchers have invented the unit lumen which determines the brightness of your bulb. You normally see both watts and lumen in most LED light packaging. 

Person holding a LED light bulb and trying to measure its watts

Don’t get it wrong, watts still play an important role in picking LED lights. You can determine the amount of energy you use and conserve by deciding how much watts you use. You just use lumens to determine the brightness. 

What Are Watts?

Watts or wattage refers to the amount of energy it takes to produce a certain amount of light. The higher the wattage, the brighter your light shines. However, it also takes more power the higher the wattage goes.

People use this system during the time incandescent lamps were popular. For example:

  • 40-watt incandescent lamp produces 380 – 460 lumens and uses 40 watts of energy per hour
  • 100-watt incandescent lamp produces 1700 – 1800 lumens and uses 100 watts of energy per hour 
  • Direct sunlight produces 100k lumens and does not require an energy per hour measurement

Analyzing that data, researchers made the system and used watts as the basis of brightness. Later on, more lighting options came up like CFL and LED that prompted the change of using watts to lumens as a basis for measuring brightness. 

These lighting options provided better brightness at a lower wattage so watts can’t be the standard unit of measuring brightness anymore. For example:

  • A 40-watt incandescent has the same brightness as a 9 watt CFL or a 4 watt LED
  • A 60-watt incandescent has the same brightness as a 13 watt CFL or a 7 watt LED
  • A 100-watt incandescent has the same brightness as a 32 watt CFL or a 15 watt LED

Does Higher Watts Mean Brighter LED?

Generally, the higher the watts, the more lumens you get. This means the brighter your LED light would be. This holds true to every type of lighting. 

While different lighting options have different lumens for every watt, all of them have a directly proportional relationship to the number of lumens it can contain. 

Therefore, if you want to go look for brighter lighting and you don’t see a lumen equivalent, you can just check the watts and you can easily estimate the amount of brightness it can light.

Hanging LED lights

What Are Lumens?

Lumens is the measurement you use for measuring light output. Compared to watts, lumens offer a much more accurate representation of how much brightness you should expect from a bulb. 

Watts only measures the amount of energy a light uses. A lot of people mistake the number of watts equates to a bulb’s light output. However, that doesn’t hold true to today’s standards. People used to believe that a 100-watt bulb has 2 times the brightness of a 50-watt bulb and that was unreliable. 

If you want to accurately know how bright your bulb will shine, you should check for its lumens. You shouldn’t rely too much on watts as your brightness indicator.

Why Use Lumens? 

The lumen measurement wasn’t as popular up until LED lights became popular. In fact, the lumen measurement that has been used for decades for measuring how much light a bulb emits. 

When the US Federal Trade Commission required manufacturers to use lumens as an indication of the brightness of a bulb, people started to learn more about it. 

Now, people use lumens to gauge how bright a bulb would shine. Companies also use lumens to manufacture their lighting products.

How Many Watts Do LED Lights Use?

LED lights have the highest ratio for lumens to watts in all lighting options. When it comes to energy efficiency, LED lights top all the other lighting options. They use the lowest amount of watts for every lumen. 

Take a look at the chart below:

Light OutputLEDsCFLsIncandescent
4504 – 58 – 1240
750 – 9006 – 813 – 1860
1100 – 13009 – 1318 – 2275 – 100
1600 – 180016 – 2023 – 30100
2600 – 2800 25 – 2830 – 55150
LED tube light

Related Questions

It’s clear that LEDs produce more lumen using only little amounts of watts. That’s why if you want to save on energy, you should start using LEDs. Before we finish this article, it’s time to answer some of the most common questions on this subject.

Does Watts Matter in LED Lights?

Yes, watts do matter in LED lights. If they weren’t you wouldn’t see them being shown in their packaging and in online stores. They also give out different information for you to know. 

Watts tells you how much energy your lighting will consume per hour. Watts work hand in hand with lumens to predict how much brightness your LED light would emit in a specific watt. A lot of LED lights use the term watt equivalent. 

When you see a label that says 100-watt LED equivalent, it doesn’t mean that it actually uses 100 watts. It means that it produces the same amount of light equal to that of a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. You can safely socket a 100 watt equivalent LED light to a 60 watt socket.

Is Using Both Watts and Lumens Efficient?

If you want to know the effectiveness of a light bulb, you should know how to interpret its lumen to watt ratio. This means the number of lumens it produces for every watt used. 

LEDs have the highest lumen to watt ratio for any type of lighting. This means LEDs can produce a large amount of light using less energy. 

Using both watts and lumens for picking your lighting options will give you better options for energy-saving, money-saving, and effective and quality grade light bulbs.


Although watts don’t accurately measure LED lights anymore, you can use them to gauge how much energy you would consume in your light bulb. You can also use watts with lumen to gauge how effective an LED light would be in certain watt levels.