Lighting Lesson: How to Read a Lighting Facts Label


Fact: Buying light bulbs is not as easy as it used to be. These days, there are so many choices and you need to look for more than simply the number of watts in a light bulb. While having a lot of options is always a good thing, it can be a bit overwhelming to determine which bulb is best for you.

Thankfully, many bulb packages feature a helpful “Lighting Facts” label. Similar to a nutrition label on a food product, a Lighting Facts label tells you exactly what’s inside the bulb. It’s an easy way to determine if a bulb is the right choice for your desired application and also makes it easy to compare bulb performance.


To help you decode the Lighting Facts label, let’s break it down:


This is the amount of light emitted from a light bulb. Brightness is measured in lumens, and more lumens equals brighter light.

energy-costsEstimated Yearly Energy Cost

This gives you an idea of how much the bulb will cost you each year. A helpful tool when comparing different light bulb types (incandescent, halogen, CFL, LED). Because LED bulbs are the most efficient, they will cost you the least amount in yearly energy savings.


This gives you the bulb’s average lifespan. LEDs have a much longer life than other bulb types.

icon-color-temperatureLight Appearance

Measured in Kelvins, the light appearance tells you if the color temperature is warmer (orange or yellow glow) or cooler (white or blue glow). The easiest way to choose the correct color temperature is to determine the bulb’s application. This handy chart breaks down the color temperatures by ambience and room.

icon-wattsEnergy Used

Measured in watts, this tells you the amount of energy that a light bulb uses. The fewer watts a bulb requires, the less energy it uses (which equals a lower electric bill). We use watts to determine a bulb’s efficiency. So when you hear that LEDs are the most efficient, this is because an LED bulb can deliver the same brightness (lumens) as an incandescent or CFL while using much fewer watts.

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Now that you know the facts, you’ll be able to choose the right bulb for your lighting needs. Still have questions? Visit our Lighting Education resources or leave us a comment below!

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