What is the Equivalent Wattage for LED Bulbs ?


There are different bulb types, and every bulb has its energy utilization estimated in watts. From the conventional bulb to the quite contemporary ones, if you must replace one with another, you have to know the equivalent brightness of each one. This is an important factor.


What Is the Difference Between Wattage and Lumen?


Wattage is used to calculate energy consumption, and for conventional bulbs like the incandescent bulb, wattage is the primary measurement. This is because their energy consumption matters as this equals the light's brightness. The problem with these bulbs is that a lot of energy is wasted in generating light.


Newer bulb technologies like the LED bulb use lumen as a unit of measurement.

Lumen gauges the quantity of visible light, which is the light's brightness level. This is because such bulbs do not require ample energy to generate light; instead, they use lesser power but shine brighter. Nowadays, it's no longer the watt used to measure brightness but the lumen, while the watt is used to measure energy utilization.


So, to accurately replace a traditional bulb with an LED bulb, you cannot just supplant them using the wattage of the traditional bulb. You cannot fix a 60-lumen LED bulb in place of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Instead, it would help if you found the 60-watt LED equivalent. The brightness differs because an LED bulb's brightness is calculated using lumens instead of watts. The higher the lumen, the brighter the light for an LED bulb. On the flip side, the higher the wattage, the brighter the light for a traditional bulb.


Below is a list of bulbs and their LED watt equivalent.


Incandescent Bulbs


An LED bulb's energy utilization is about 90% lesser than that of an incandescent bulb. Since the incandescent bulb requires heat to generate light, it uses more energy. Below is a table showing the LED equivalent of various incandescent watts. 


LumensIncandescent bulbLED bulb
75-1109 watts1 watt
730-80060 watts7-9 watts
1380-1600100 watts12-14 watts
2000-2500150 watts28-23 watts


From the table, a 9-watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 1-watt LED bulb.

A 60-watt LED equivalent is 7-9 watts. 


A 100-watt incandescent bulb produces 1600 lumens of light, while a 12-14 watt LED gives off the same.


A 150-watt incandescent bulb produces 2600 lumens of light, while an 18-23 watt LED gives off the equivalent.


Halogen Bulbs


An LED bulb uses approximately 85% less energy than a halogen bulb. Though the halogen bulb glow is bright, it stimulates a lot of heat. Below is a table showing the LED equivalent of some halogen watts. 


LumenHalogen bulbLED bulb


Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL)


The Compact Fluorescent Light is deemed one of the best because it doesn't consume as much energy as other ordinary bulbs. The fluorescent bulb however contains mercury which is a toxic liquid metal. This poses a danger when using the CFL bulb because the mercury will get released if the bulb breaks. An LED bulb uses about 40% less energy to generate light than the Compact Fluorescent Light. Below is a table showing the LED equivalent of some CFL watts. 



LumensCFL bulbLED bulb



Sodium Bulbs


The High-pressure sodium bulb and the low-pressure sodium bulb have close wattage. Its light is less bright than an LED bulb, although it consumes more energy. The sodium bulb produces white-yellow light. An LED bulb uses up about 50% less energy in producing light. Below is a table showing the LED equivalent for various sodium bulb watts. 


LumensSodium bulbLED bulb
6,300 - 7,00070 watts40 watts
9,500100 watts50-60 watts
16,500150 watts80-90 watts
26,000 - 29,000250 watts9-125 watts



Note that there is no precise equivalent, and the more significant part is an approximation. Another disparity comes with the various available products so that the equivalent will vary slightly from one product to another. 


Is It Right To Use a Higher Led Wattage Equivalent for My Fixture? 


A familiar question is whether it is okay to change a traditional bulb, like the incandescent bulb, with an LED with a higher wattage equivalent. The simple answer to this question is yes. You can fix an LED with a higher wattage equivalent to an incandescent bulb. If you followed through till here, you would understand that LED bulbs' brightness is not calculated in watts but lumens.


On the flip side, the traditional bulb uses watts which measures energy consumption. So when your socket has a 60-watt limit, it refers to the energy consumption, not the brightness. This sets the energy limit at 60 watts. Because LED bulbs don't consume as much energy, their wattage is lesser.


To explain this better, when your bulb is a 60-watt LED equivalent, it implies that the LED bulb's brightness is equal to that of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. This has nothing to do with the LED wattage but rather its lumen. As a result, you can use an LED bulb of a greater equivalent, such as a 100-watt equivalent, as long as it doesn't exceed the 60-watt energy consumption limit.


The energy consumption of an LED to an incandescent bulb is about 6:1. An LED bulb consumes about 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb. So to know the actual variation in energy consumption, you must find out the wattage of the LED bulb, some of which have been displayed in the tables above.




The brightness of traditional light bulbs like the incandescent bulb and halogen bulbs is best measured using watts because its energy consumption transcends its brightness. However, bulbs that use better technology like the LED bulb use lumen as a measure of its brightness because, unlike the traditional light bulbs, an LED bulb's wattage (energy consumption) has nothing to do with its brightness.


When equating the brightness of a traditional bulb to that of an LED bulb, you need to find the LED watt equivalent to know the LED bulb to replace the traditional bulb with. This conversion is necessary because LEDs' brightness is measured in lumens while the traditional bulb's brightness is measured in watts.


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