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What is a Lumen?

What is a Lumen?

Posted by Jamie S. on Jul 24th 2020

Look at any LED product and you'll see a value for its lumens. But what exactly are lumens, and how do you know what number will work best for your space? Keep reading for more need-to-know details about this key lighting term.

Although lumens seemed to start when LED lights became more popular, this measurement has always been part of the lighting industry. As the industry has shifted more toward LEDs and further from incandescent lights, lumens have become more of a focus when buying lights.

Incandescent lights typically focus on watts - a measurement frequently confused with lumens. Where lumens measure the brightness of a light, watts measure the amount of energy a light uses. Because LEDs use such little energy, the wattage is normally inconsequential. (Learn more about the difference between watts and lumens here.)

When trying to determine if a certain lumen level is right for you, keep these few tips in mind:

  • The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.
  • When looking at the brightness of a light, also keep in mind the color temperature, which is the shade of white light (ranging from warm yellowish tones to cool bluish tones). Learn more about color temperature here.
  • The number of LEDs is irrelevant to the lumens or brightness of a light. One high-quality LED can "outbright" a handful of low-quality LEDs.

Now you know a bit more about lumens, what they are and why they matter - but you still need to see lumens in order to find the right light for your space. This is why we created our Brightness Comparison Tool, which allows you to compare lights and see the difference in brightness and light coverage. Mr Beams lights range from as low as 1 lumens to more than 800 lumens. Ready to see for yourself?

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