One of the most misleading pieces of information out there in respect to the quality and performance of LED’s is the notion that higher watts = higher light output (lumens). Put simply, watts is just an indicator of the amount of energy used by the LED the amount of light output or brightness is measured in lumens.
However, when comparing LED’s you should really be looking at the efficacy of the globe rather than watts or even lumens. To calculate the efficacy of an LED you can simply divide the amount of lumens that the light is rated at by the amount watts. As a guide you should be aiming to purchase an LED that has a minimum of 50-60 lumens / watt.
Some of the best LED’s out there can be as high 100 lumens / watt but they are certainly at the more expensive end of the price scale and are not yet viable in mainstream lighting applications. At the moment that best LED we stock is the CREE 10W MTG, which outputs a total of 720 lumens making its efficiency rating a tidy 72 lumens / watt! This is a staggering improvement on your standard 50w halogen, which is rated somewhere in the region of 16 lumens / watt.
So as a consumer how to determine the watts, lumens and efficacy? Well, the US government is looking to introduce mandatory labeling, similar to the nutritional labels you see around the place, to provide the consumer with accurate and concise information about the bulbs energy saving credentials…
I think we should be doing something similar here in Australia and I’m hoping that as LED’s become more popular that the government here will look to the US as an example of what should be done. For the time being we will always provide accurate information about the LED’s we stock and sell so that you as the consumer can make an informed choice.