Lumens are the measure of light output for a given bulb, and you may have noticed that this number is often higher for fluorescent tubes than LED tube lights, leading you to wonder if LED tubes put out enough light to be worth switching over. After all, who wants to replace good lights with dimmer ones? Lumens, however, aren't the whole story.

Light Output vs. Light Perception

In fact, lumens are a lot like "perceived temperature," that phenomenon where 60 degrees feels more comfortable in a room with furniture, carpets, and curtains than it does in an empty, bare-floored, bare-windowed space. Which is to say that how much light you perceive vs. how many lumens the bulb is putting out is relative. Here's how…

With fluorescent tubes, light shines through the entire circumference of the bulb. They have what's called a 360 degree beam angle. Because of this distribution, as much as a third of their light shines up, into the fixture, where it's not doing you a lot of good unless your fixture happens to be mirrored. (In which case, you've probably got a lot of glare coming from up there.)

Most LED tubes, on the other hand, have a 120 or 150 degree beam angle. The backsides of LED chips don't illuminate (and the driver is installed behind them). All the light from an LED tube is focused toward the area you're illuminating, with none of it wasted.

If you subtract a third of the rated lumens on a fluorescent tube, this brings you right in the ballpark of standard lumen output of comparable LED tubes. For example, 2,950 lumens from a fluorescent tube would be equivalent to approximately 1,947 lumens from an LED tube. High-lumen tubes provide even more light, from where you'll be standing, than a fluorescent tube – even though the fluorescent may be "rated" higher.

Lumen Comparisons

This video review from Kent Diego shows three 8ft LED tube lights—standard lumen, high lumen, and ultra-high lumen—compared to the fluorescent bulbs they're replacing. As you can see, the LED tubes put out plenty of light and look much better quality than the fluorescent predecessors.

Resources for Your Lighting Upgrade

ELEDLights carries a selection of high-quality LED tube lights that will work with both T8 and T12 fluorescent fixtures. We offer 8ft led ballast bypass bulbs and 4ft LED bulbs that are both ballast bypass and dual mode. All of the LED tubes we sell come with a 5-year warranty. Upgrade today to significantly reduce your power bills—and enjoy not having to change a light again for years!