How Much Light Do You Need?

Whether you're upgrading your old lighting or doing an install in new construction, you want to have confidence that you're spending money on the right type and amount of lighting for your application. Often, people ask our team what wattage would best achieve their lighting goals. Wattage, however, isn't a very useful reference, especially given the continued leaps in efficiency that LED technology has been making. A 100W LED high bay from a few years ago probably put out 10,000 lumens of light; today a brand new 100W high bay can put out nearly twice that (17,000 lumens ±5%)—they're both rated at 100 Watts, but they put out significantly different amounts of light.

So how do you determine which fixtures to buy? While there are complexities—fixture mounting height, activity height, beam angle, reflection/absorption of room surfaces, etc.—'s infographic walks you through the basic steps, which can give you some confidence in where to start:

Infographic: How to Select LED Lighting for Your Application


How Much Light Do You Need?

  1. Measure the SQUARE FOOTAGE (length x width) of the area you need to illuminate.
  2. Determine the required FOOTCANDLES based on your application. You can download a complete list of applications at
  3. Multiply footcandles by square footage to get the TOTAL LUMENS required for the space.
  4. If you're replacing existing fixtures, divide the total lumens by the number of fixtures to get the LUMENS/FIXTURE you'll need for your replacement fixtures. Otherwise, decide where and how many new fixtures you want, then divide the total lumens by that to get your lumens/fixture.
  5. Armed with that info, visit to find your lights based on the lumens you need!

NOTE: Ceiling height and other factors can affect light levels. Our team can run a free DIALux simulation that shows exactly what kind of light coverage you'd be getting with your specific application. Just give us a call or send us a text!

If you don't see your application listed on the Foot Candle reference PDF, contact our team—they have years of experience with a wide range of lighting needs and applications.