It’s hardly surprising that there’s some confusion about modern light bulbs.

Over the last 10 years there’s been a huge change from traditional incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient technologies, such as LEDs. In addition, there are so many different bulbs available now with an array of different fittings, shapes and colours to choose from.

In this blog post, we explore some of the questions most frequently asked by our customers and bust three myths about modern light bulbs!

MYTH 1:  A 15W light bulb is brighter than a 12W light bulb

Back in the days of incandescent bulbs, it was true that the wattage of the bulb was related to the brightness of the bulb. The higher the wattage, the brighter the bulb was.

However, incandescent bulbs were not energy efficient (converting a lot of the energy used into heat rather than visible light) and so this type of bulb was phased out by the EU (and other countries) from 2009 onwards.

In their place came energy-saving bulbs, mainly in the form of LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps). These types of bulb produce light in a different way from incandescent bulbs and so the wattage no longer indicates the amount of light emitted by the bulb. Indeed, the wattage of the bulb only tells you how much energy the bulb uses.

So, what should you look for to tell you about the brightness of a modern light bulb? The answer is lumens. A fuller definition of a lumen is “a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, a measure of visible light emitted by a source”.

Put simply, lumens equal brightness.

Looking at the two real-life examples in the Chart below, you can see you’d have been disappointed if you’d chosen the higher wattage (15W) bulb, believing it to be brighter!

Chart 1: Comparing the brightness of a 12W and 15W bulb available on the market today

Chart of Brightness (lumens) of different wattage bulbs

You will see many bulbs on sale today are labelled with an equivalent wattage e.g. “40W equivalent” or “60W equivalent”. This gives an idea of the brightness of the bulb in relation to the brightness from the previous incandescent bulbs. This can be helpful if you grew up with incandescent bulbs but generally we think you’re better off to start thinking in lumens for brightness.

TIP 1: To choose the right brightness of bulb for your needs, look for LUMENS (not Watts)!

TIP 2: The lamp efficacy is expressed in lumens per watt and is an easy way to select the most energy-efficient bulb and reduce your lighting bills, without compromising on the light levels in your home. LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient, giving a higher number of lumens per watt.


MYTH 2: All energy-saving lights are slow to light up

We’ve all been there. You switch on the light as you enter a dark room and then wait 5 minutes while the energy-saving bulb warms up. In the meantime, you try your best not to trip over the furniture!

The good news is it’s really easy to solve this problem. Simply replace the bulb with an LED one. CFLs can take a while to warm up and become bright. In contrast, all LED lighting is instant on, meaning as soon as you switch the light on, it will be at full brightness.

TIP 3 – Replace CFL bulbs with LED bulbs for instant light when you want it!


MYTH 3: A dimmable LED light bulb will not work in a non-dimmable light fitting

Often customers will be put off from buying a dimmable bulb for a non-dimmable fitting as they think it won’t work. However, this isn’t true as a dimmable bulb will work fine in a non-dimmable circuit (it just won’t dim obviously).

Beware though, the same is not true the other way around!


We hope that’s helped illuminate some common misunderstandings about LED lighting. If you have any other questions about LED lights please get in touch at