What is a lumen?

lighting facts for LEDone A19-60WE-9WD27K 9 Watt A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb 2700K E26 showing lumen measurement Look for Lighting Facts labels on LED products for lumen and lumen per watt ratings.

A lumen is a measurement of light that emits from a bulb. Lumens can be used to refer to the amount of illumination in a specified area. This value is typically indicated on the packaging of the bulb. You can compare lighting apparatus of different types—halogen incandescent bulbs, CFL, or LEDs—just using their lumens values. Once you are certain how much brightness you need from your lighting apparatus, you can go on to compare the other parameters before buying one that matches your workspace needs.

For many people, shopping for light bulbs is looking for ones with the highest watt values. Not many know that in this age of energy-efficient lighting devices, basing the buying decision on watt alone is erroneous. Watt refers to the amount of energy that a light bulb consumes in a specific period of time, and not the amount of light that the bulb emits.


The ShineRetrofits.com website allows you to shop by lumens or wattage. Simply filter your search results by the number of lumens or wattage desired, in the left column. Shop by lumens now.


Your Main Objective - Brightness

As the owner of a business or a commercial space, you should be more concerned about how bright is the light emitted by a bulb(s). After all, you have to ensure that commercial and manufacturing spaces should be bright so that employees are not hampered, bothered, or unimpressed with the lighting situation while trying to perform their professional responsibilities. So when buying lights for your business, you need to consider the number of lumens.

What do you need to know about the relation between a lumen and watts?

Most people have all along been accustomed to shop for lights after comparing the watt values of various lighting devices. 

So why do you need to know the relation between the watt and lumens values of light bulbs? In a nutshell, this knowledge helps you make an informed buying decision. You shortlist a few light bulbs based on their lumens values, which is, how bright you want the light emitting from such a device to be. Now consider the watt values of these bulbs to determine the ones that consume the least amount of energy. When you consider both of these values, you can choose light bulbs that best fit the lightning needs of your workspace without drastically increasing the operational expenses of your business.

What should I know about the relation between lumens and color temperature?

color temperature widget from shineretrofits.com The color temperature indicator that you will find while shopping products on ShineRetrofits.com

When buying light bulbs, you should not only consider the lumen value of the light but also color temperature. For those who are unaware, color temperature refers to the particular color of the light emitted by a light bulb. Different lighting devices cast differently-shaded glows on the objects in an environment. These shades may range from warm red and orange tones produced by light bulbs with low color temperatures to white and bluish-white hues emitted by lighting devices with higher color temperatures. We measure color temperature(K) in Kelvins.

How bright the light from a bulb appears also depends on the color of the glow cast by it. For instance, two bulbs may have exactly the same lumen values. The bulb that has a lower color temperature produces a yellowish glow. The bulb with a higher color temperature may produce a glow that mimics natural daylight. The light from the second bulb will appear brighter than the bulb that casts a yellowish or reddish tint on the objects in the environment.


How can You Measure Lumens?

fotometer for taking lumen measurement A fotometer measures light. Source: Wikipedia

The brightness of the light emitted from a particular light source or the amount of visible light or illumination in a specific area is measured using a light meter. You may need to know the value of lumens per square feet at your commercial premises before you retrofit lights. For instance, if the existing lights at your workspace are not bright enough, you will want to know their lumen values before you order new ones with higher lumen values.

You may also have to provide a certain amount of illumination at your workspace to comply with OSHA safety guidelines. For this, you need to know the lumen values of the bulbs at your commercial location.

How to Calculate Lumens, Foot Candles & LUX

Apart from lumens per square foot, the brightness of light emitted by a lighting apparatus may also be measured in LUX and Foot candles. But the commercially available lighting apparatus usually sports the Lumens value on its packaging. If your light meter displays values in these units, the following pointers will help you with the conversion:

  • 1 Foot candle = 1 Lumen per square foot
  • Multiply the Foot candles value by 10.76891 to obtain the corresponding LUX value
  • Multiply the LUX value by 0.09290304 to obtain the corresponding Foot candles value

The above-mentioned information about a lumen will help make an informed decision when you decide to buy lights for your business, office, operation, warehouse, or other commercial space.

Shop for lighting products by lumens or wattage now. Filter by desired metrics in the left column.