Priority Energy and Lighting

Kelvin VS Lumens

Posted in Uncategorized by priorityenergy on April 12, 2011

To make the best, most intelligent choice, a consumer should first be aware of the importance of Kelvin and lumen measurements in determining which light bulb to purchase.  Most people assume that the brighter the light bulb appears to be, the more lumens it must put out and the less energy efficient it is. In fact, this is not the case when talking about CFL lamps. 

The Kelvin(K) (absolute) temperature scale describes the color temperature or the “whiteness” of incandescent lamp light. By convention, yellow-red colors are considered warm and blue-green casts are considered cool. In reality, higher Kelvin temperatures(3600-5500K) produce cool tones of white, while lower color temperatures(2700-3000K) produce warm colors. The whiter the white, the more brightness is perceived in a given space. Cool light is preferable for rooms in which visual tasks are performed such as warehouses, outdoor spaces, offices, a studio, library or kitchen. Warm light is preferable for most indoor living areas such as dining rooms and bathrooms because it is more flattering to skin tones. A chromaticity or color temperature of 2700-3600K is recommended for most indoor use and task lighting applications. We recomend 5000K CFL’s for hotel room bedside lamps, offices, and fabric rooms areas for furniture stores. Of course, if you’re still confused, call us today and one of our knowledgeable sales team members would be glad to assist you in choosing the correct light for your space!

CFL Color Reference Guide:


Definition: “A lumen is a unit of measurement that describes how much light is contained in a space or the brightness of a light source.”  A 26 Watt 2700K CFL will be a warm tone and put out up to 1800 lumens, just as the 26 Watt 5000K CFL will product the same amount of lumens at up to 1800 with a daylight color. IE The higher the Kelvin, the whiter it gets. However, it does not mean it will be “brighter”.

To make things even more confusing, some of this info pertains solely to CFL style lamps. When looking for LED’s a higher Kelvin Temp will ussually increase the lumen output. IE The higher the Kelvin, the whiter and brighter (higher lumens) the lamp will produce.

The best way to choose the right CFL for a particular lighting need is to remember this rule of thumb:  “Divide the wattage of a current incandescent by four.” In other words, a 100 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 23-26 watt CFL. CFL’s are energy-efficient and cost-saving tools which produce the same amount of light at one-quarter of the energy consumption. CFL’s with higher Kelvin temperatures produce a whiter, brighter light than standard incandescents at a greater cost savings. CFL’s are referred to as pig tails, spirals, twists, and energy savers. Priority Lighting has an energy-star logo approval indicating that its lighting products have gone through strict performance standards testing so are far superior to the CFL’s found in the “big box” stores. Call today to get help choosing the energy-efficient bulbs for your retail, commercial, industrial, or residential needs. 1 800 709 1119


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