Bulb Wattage Guide
Bulb wattage is something that most consumers are aware of, even if they do not understand exactly what different wattages mean. In most cases, the higher the number, the brighter or stronger the light. However, the science behind bulb wattage is complex and measuring wavelengths and the brightness of different wattages can depend on the type of bulb.
So, what exactly is a watt? Does bulb wattage matter when you are shopping for bulbs? Are there average wattages that you should use for bulbs in your home or business? Finally, what is the relationship between watts and lumens? In today’s bulb wattage guide, we will answer all of these questions and more. Additionally, we will help you find the best high-quality bulbs to fit your individual needs.
What Are Watts?
In the International System of Units, a watt is a unit of measurement used for energy transfer. One watt is equal to one joule of work performed per second. Therefore, in scientific terms, 1W = 1 J/s. However, this probably won’t help most consumers understand the concept of wattage any better. So, let’s look at more practical ways of evaluating how watts work.
Though many people associate watts with light bulbs and lamps, they can apply to a wide range of electrical appliances. Watts simply measure the amount of energy or power being transferred from a power source to a device. Thus, higher wattage measurements are equivalent to more power moving within a connected electrical circuit.
It is important to note that, like just about any form of measurement, watts can be multiplied or divided into different amounts. For example, a kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1,000 Watts (W). This can help engineers and other experts measure energy requirements for electrical appliances and devices of virtually any size, from tiny microchips to large, industrial machinery.
With lighting, watts offer the simplest way to measure the energy transfer between an energy source (like a lamp or electrical outlet) and an energy output (like a light bulb). Every light bulb has a specific wattage associated with it. This number represents the amount of energy required to keep the bulb lit. The higher the wattage, the more energy you need to supply to the bulb. While this means that higher wattage bulbs generally produce more light, it also means that they burn more energy. For this reason, many consumers want to strike a good balance between bulbs that provide ample light and quality energy efficiency at the same time.
It is important to note that wattage is not a measurement of light per se. If you want to know exactly how much light a source will produce, you will need to look at the number of lumens. That said, there is a direct connection between wattage and lumens (more on that below). So when you think about lighting, just remember that wattage is more closely associated with energy requirements, while lumens are associated with the actual brightness and wavelengths of light.
Does Wattage Matter?
The short answer is yes — wattage matters a lot. As previously mentioned, every watt refers to a certain amount of energy required to keep an electrical device up and running. As previously mentioned, wattage is directly linked to electricity usage. This means that using bulbs with lower wattage throughout your house could actually save you a lot of money on your utility bill.
However, you also want to keep in mind that higher wattage usually means a higher number of lumens. Therefore, if you want more light, you will have to pay for it. This is especially true when it comes to traditional incandescent light bulbs.
With LED bulbs, wattage still matters, but you cannot analyze the meaning of the number the same way you would with an incandescent bulb. Why? Because LED bulbs are far more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs. In other words, the wattage in an LED bulb will equate to less energy required and higher lumens produced than the exact same wattage of an incandescent bulb.
For example, let’s say that you need a light bulb to put in a living room lamp. You could buy a standard, 60-Watt incandescent bulb that would last for roughly 1,200 hours and use 72 kWh (kilowatt-hours) over its lifespan. Alternatively, you could get an 8-10 Watt LED bulb that would provide the same number of lumens as a 60-Watt incandescent bulb.
However, the LED bulb would last roughly 20x longer and use about 4x as much energy over the same time period as the incandescent bulb (1,200 hours). This means that LED bulbs are about 5x more energy-efficient than their incandescent counterparts and have a much longer lifespan, reducing replacement costs over time.
While this example shows that wattage can vary based on the technology used, it also shows that the number matters, particularly if you are concerned about energy usage. Whether you are using LED bulbs, incandescent bulbs, or another type of bulb entirely, a higher wattage will mean that more energy is used. This, in turn, will increase your electricity bill while also providing greater amounts of light (depending on the type of bulb you use).
What Is A Normal Light Bulb Wattage?
If you are shopping for light bulbs, you will definitely want to know what will work for your particular needs. Some of the standard light bulb wattages include 25W, 40W, 60W, 75W, and 100W, though there are plenty of other wattage measurements available. Also, remember that these numbers apply to incandescent bulbs because those have been the standard for more than a century. However, the LED equivalent will be far lower. As previously mentioned, the LED equivalent to a 60-Watt incandescent bulb is roughly 8.5W, which shows the energy-saving capabilities of LED bulb technology.
The average outlet can safely handle up to 1,500 watts. This is why refrigerators and other high-energy appliances are typically plugged into their own outlet, while lamps and phone chargers can usually share one outlet. In any case, the wattage you should use with bulbs will depend on how much lighting you want or need. 60W is the standard for most living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and other frequently-used parts of your home. However, if you have a specialty light fixture like a chandelier that uses multiple bulbs, you may opt for more energy-efficient options, like 25-Watt bulbs.
Light Bulb Wattage To Lumens Chart
Since wattage measures energy transfer and lumens measure light production, it is important to understand the relationship between both measurement types. As previously mentioned, higher wattages typically align with higher lumens. This means that more light will require more energy. However, LED bulbs can make this assumption a bit more complicated, since an LED equivalent bulb uses far less energy while producing the same amount of light as a higher-wattage incandescent bulb. In any case, here is a wattage chart to help you see how the two measurements relate to one another on a typical bulb:
Lumen to Watt Chart
|250||25 Watts||3 Watts|
|450||40 Watts||5 Watts|
|750||60 Watts||8 Watts|
|1,000||75 Watts||10 Watts|
|1,500||100 Watts||14 Watts|
|1,750||125 Watts||18 Watts|
|2250||150 Watts||21 Watts|
We hope you found this guide on bulb wattage both fun and informative! Do you want to learn even more about bulb wattage? Are you ready to purchase high-quality bulbs at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!