How to Determine Equivalent Lamp Wattages
Convert the wattage of any standard incandescent lamp by dividing its wattage rating by four. This gives you the approximate wattage for a CFL with similar light output (lumens).
Visit the Energy Star website (see link) to view the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's conversion chart for the most popular lamp wattages. Many lighting manufacturers also have helpful website tools for determining the right wattage of CFL for your needs.
Examine the product packaging of CFLs in the store. Many list the wattage equivalency or include language such as “replaces 60-watt incandescent bulbs.” For the most accurate conversion, check the lumens rating on the CFL package, and compare that to the rating given for incandescent lamps. The lumens number tells you precisely how much light is emitted by the lamp, regardless of the lamp’s wattage rating.
Things You Will Need
- “Lamp” is the industry’s term for lightbulb.
- In addition to its lumens (light output), choose a CFL based on its color temperature. Measured in the Kelvin (K) scale, the color temperature indicates whether a lamp’s light is yellowish (or “soft,” like incandescent light), bright white, or bluish-white. Soft white is in the range of 2,700K to 3,000K; cool white is 3,500K to 4,100K; natural or daylight white is 5,000K to 6,500K. Color temperature, when available, is listed on the lamp’s packaging.