How to Convert Wattage from Old Incandescent to New LED or CFL Light Bulb

As the new energy-efficient light bulbs have been introduced on the market so too have new lighting measurements that go with them. For instance, what we’ve come to think of as a standard “60-watt” incandescent light bulb is now 10 to 15 watts for an LED or CFL light bulb.

The reason for this discrepancy is wattage tells you how much energy a bulb uses. And since the new LED and CFL light bulbs use much less energy, their wattage is much lower.

So “wattage” is no longer an applicable word to define how bright a light bulb is. Instead of using the term “watts” use the term lumens when you want to define how bright a bulb is.

Lumens measures brightness. More lumens means brighter light. For example, a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens of light. By comparison, an LED bulb produces that same 800 lumens using less than 15 watts.

Here is a chart from ENERGY STAR that converts the number of watts for an incandescent light bulb to the number of watts in an LED or CFL light bulb as well as the amount of lumens produced.

lumens watts equiivalents incandescent to LED or CFL

Here are some guidelines for choosing bulbs that are equivalent in light output to the familiar standard incandescent bulbs :

  • To replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 1,600 lumens.
  • To replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 1,100 lumens.
  • To replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 800 lumens.
  • To replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 450 lumens.
Energy Efficiency, LED Lighting, Light Bulbs