What Do You Need to Know About Lumens and Candela?

Lumens and candela are both lighting measurement units, but they measure different aspects of a lighting device. Knowing about the difference between lumens and candelas will help you choose lighting devices that are ideal for your workplace. More importantly, this knowledge will ensure that your lighting supplier does not cheat you. Some may try to convince you about the merits of a lighting device by quoting impressive lumens or candela numbers. However, they may not be relevant for your needs.


Defining Lumens and Candela

candle emitting one candle power or candelaLumens refers to the total amount of light a lighting apparatus emits. We represent lumens as L. The higher the lumens value of a lighting device, the greater the area it illuminates. On the other hand, candela refers to the amount of light emitted by a lighting device in a particular direction. We represent candela with CD.

The lumens unit does not consider the spread or divergence of the light being emitted by the device. But the candela value of a lighting device is concerned primarily with a focused beam of light. For instance, a standard fluorescent light device that emits a wide-spread beam can have a rating of 1,700 lumens and 135 candelas. But if the light emitted from this apparatus narrows and must shine within a 20-degree beam, then its candela value will increase to 18,000.

Candela is another word for candlepower. Candlepower measurement is from times when the candle was the primary source of illumination. The word candlepower was substituted with the term candela in 1948. One candela is approximately equal to the light that a candle with specific dimensions, produces. In this context it is worth mentioning that the term Maximum Beam Candlepower (MBCP) is often used to refer to the maximum intensity of the focused beam of light emitted usually from the center of the lighting device, which is usually the source, and projected in a single direction.


So What is the Difference?

The difference between lumens and candela can be better understood in the context of a comparison between a pencil torch and an incandescent bulb or a fluorescent bulb. The torch has a high candela value because its light concentrates into a single point. It projects in a single direction as a high-intensity beam. While buying a torch, don't concern yourself with its lumens value because you will only use this device to illuminate a very small area. On the other hand, an incandescent light or a fluorescent light bulb has a low candela value but a high lumens value. This is because it emits a greater amount of light spread over a larger area than the pencil torch.


Why Do You Need to Know About the Difference Between Lumens and Candela?

Knowing about the difference between lumens and candela will help you choose the appropriate lighting device for your business premises. For instance, you need to install lights in your office premises to illuminate the objects in an area. Proper light is necessary in corridors and storerooms, so that your employees can move around easily. In such cases, you will need to concentrate on the lumens value of a lighting device.

The greater the lumens value, the more light the device will emit. Therefore, larger spaces will require a higher lumens value. On the other hand, some of your employees may work with intricate devices and need overhead lights to shine directly on the objects they are working with. In such cases, you will have to buy lighting devices after comparing their candela values. Do not allow a retailer to cheat you into buying an expensive lighting device that has a higher lumens value. It may not be suitable for your business needs.

We use both lumens and candelas to measure the luminous efficacy of lighting devices in industrial settings. The following equation roughly describes the relation between candelas and lumens:


1 candela = 12.57 lumens


However, note that directly comparing lumens and candela values of lighting devices is not wise. We explain the reason below.


Make the Comparison

Because lumens and candelas measure two different aspects of luminous intensity, it is not possible to compare the performance of two lighting devices using both these parameters. The best way to ensure that you buy the most appropriate device for your business is to compare the lumens value (or the candela value) of two lighting devices and their corresponding watts. Watts refers to the amount of energy consumed by a lighting device during a specific period of time. When you buy lights after comparing like parameters, you can find energy-efficient devices that not only suit your business needs but also optimize your operational investment.


On ShineRetrofits.com, all appropriate products will list the lumens they produce. Shop lighting products now.