What are Lumens?

What are Lumens?

The brightness of any light source is measured in units called lumens, denoted with the symbol 'lm'. More accurately, lumens are used to refer to the amount of luminous flux or total visible light output being produced by a light source. For the average consumer, however, the term brightness is far more meaningful than luminous flux or even light output, and as there is a direct correlation between brightness and light output, it's perfectly admissible to think of lumens as a measure of brightness.

Before the advent of LED lamps, conventional light bulbs were bought based on the bulbs' wattage. The Wattage rating of a light bulb is a measure of its power consumption, not its brightness, but it was still a useful way to estimate the brightness of a light bulb, and as people pay their electricity bills based on how many watt-hours they've consumed, it was also a useful and familiar way to gauge how expensive it would be to run any conventional light bulb.

With modern LED lights, there's no precise direct correlation between power consumption and brightness, so all Integral LED lamps come with a clearly visible lumens rating printed on both the box and metal base of the lamp. We also include a useful equivalent wattage rating conversion guide, which indicates how many watts a conventional bulb would have to consume in order to produce the same brightness. For example, one 8 watt LED will be as bright as a 60 watt conventional bulb.

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Lumens Chart

Lumens ChartLumens and brightness

Energy Saving With LED Lamps

LED lamps are a breakthrough in lighting technology. Unlike conventional bulbs, most of the energy from an LED bulb is produced as light with very little heat produced, and so they only need a fraction of the power that conventional bulbs do for the same brightness. For example, a 6.5 watt LED lamp will produce a similar light output to a 50 watt halogen bulb. That's an energy saving of 87%, and it's expected that with future design improvements, even less power will be required to achieve the same brightness. LED lamps also last far longer - as much as 15 years longer in many cases. Their impressive money-saving potential and eco-friendly properties have made them very popular, not only with consumers but also with governments around the world, who promote their use at every opportunity.

Lumens and Useful Lumens

With standard non-directional lamps, such as candle or globe-shaped lamps, the lumens rating takes into account all of the light being emitted. A total lumens rating for directional lights, such as GU10 LED spotlights, however, would be misleading as a small portion of the light spills out and away from the required direction. So a 'useful lumens' rating introduced by the EU is used, which indicates the lumens rating only of light emitted within a 90 degree, forward-facing cone area from the spotlight (see image).

Use the guide below to help you choose how many lumens an LED lamp will need to have in order to provide the same brightness as any conventional bulb that you want to replace based on its wattage.


  Old Watts

Approx Lumens  


230 - 270 lamp  


 250 - 280 spotlight (200-300 useful lumens)  


 390 - 410 lamp  


440 - 460 lamp  


 330 - 400 spotlight (350-450 useful lumens)  


 800 - 850 lamp  


 1000-1100 lamp  


 1500-1600 lamp  


Useful Lumens Explained

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How many lumens do I need for a room?

As there are so many variables when lighting a particular room, it's not possible to be perfectly accurate. Apart from the size of the room, such variables include the shape of the room, the height of the ceiling, the colour of the walls, ceiling and flooring, the type and placement of the lamp, the size of any task areas and whether there are any obstructions. For perfect illumination, task lighting combined with general lighting is often required. The table below shows typical room settings with an estimation of the lumens per square meter (10.76 square feet) that will be required.

Kitchen LED Lighting

KITCHEN 300-400 Lumens

Kitchen LED Lighting

KITCHEN (TASK) 700-800 Lumens

Living Room LED Lighting

LIVING ROOM 400-500 Lumens

Hallway LED Lighting

HALLWAY 300 Lumens

Bedroom LED Lighting

BEDROOM 300-400 Lumens

Bedroom LED Lighting

BEDROOM (TASK) 700-800 Lumens

Bathroom LED Lighting

BATHROOM 500-600 Lumens

Bathroom LED Lighting

BATHROOM (TASK) 700-800 Lumens

LED Lighting for reading


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Read more LED Lighting Help and Advice in our Buying Guides Section by clicking here or check out which LED bulbs you need with our handy LED Bulb Base Selector Page by clicking here. You can find more specific LED light bulb advice by clicking here.

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