Light Bulb Moment

In the past I could pop into the ‘ironmonger’ and get a few bulbs 40, 60 or 100watt. I knew exactly what I was getting. A nice warm appropriate glow for a lamp, main light or whatever.

Now I have no idea what the ratings are or what sort of light I’ll get. Inevitably I end up with something which lights the room like a dentist’s surgery or illegal cannabis farm.

I just need the equivalent of a 60w bulb that gives a normal glow.

What kind of bulb do I buy?

(Feeling like a ‘curmudgeon’)


Hi G, light bulbs are no longer rated in watts, a watt is heat, Lumens is a measure of light
A 60 ‘watt’ bulb would give out around 750 to 900 Lumens & that means you need to have an LED that gives the same. You might find LED’s with a wattage equivalent rating & that will be something like 6 to 8 watts

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This might be helpful

Light Bulb converter


If you look on bulb manufacturer websites or resellers including Amazon, many descriptors for bulbs used to suggest they’d be conventional 40W/60W/100W equivalents.

I hated CFL bulbs with a vengeance, but to think 20 years ago we used to have a knock through room with 2 naff lights taking 3 bulbs each, requiring a total of 600W to light (and heat!) the room well, I’d be aghast at that kind of usage nowadays given that electricity prices are probably 4x higher.

I’ve used Philips Master LED bulbs in the past which gave fantastic light and 100W equivalents were around 20W. They were expensive, very heavy and there are now a multitude of good value LED lights available.

In general I’d suggest for LED or CFLs that 100W equivalents would be around 20W, 60 W equivalents maybe 11-13W, and 40W equivalents under 10 W.

You’ll normally see the light output in Lumens now which should be useful if you get one that’s too dim/bright as you can adjust the next purchase accordingly.

Also look at colour temperature depending on whether you want softer warmer incandescent bulb type colour or harsher bright/more bluish light - each have their uses.

If you want to push the boat out you could look at ‘smart’ bulbs which can be controlled by phones or accessories, timed etc - some bulbs will do a spectrum of colours/white shades, some various white colour temperatures, some fixed white colour temp.

50W conventioanl halogen GU10 ceiling lights can readily be replaced by 4-5W LEDs these days with phenomenal savings.

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Nice link Simon.

Philips Hue bulbs solved all my angst over watts/lumens. Variable whites and colours plus dimmable all in one bulb. (There are other brands).

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@GraemeH I feel for you. Decided to replace the light bulbs on my landing this week - the ones we were encouraged to buy a few years ago where you switched them on and half-hour later they reached full brightness and by that time I’d nearly fallen down the stairs.

It used to be like the three bears a 40w was too dull, a 100w was too bright but a 60w was just right.

I have, like a tog, no feel or grasp of what a lumen is - other than it appears to be a dating site for the over 50’s.


Graeme, most packaging shows the wattage equivalent but like yourself I’m lost when it comes to daylight/warmlight I just want to flick the switch and light the !!! room up.

I use Hue lights too - they’re excellent.

I could only find 60W equivalents at most last year, and some of our rooms really benefit from 100W equivalent bulbs - must look at the range again as I suspect it’ll only be a matter of time before we get higher output ones in domestically acceptable formats.

You need to be careful with these ratings, I’ve found USA (115v 60Hz) is slightly different to Europe (230v 50Hz)

Bulbs go in the garden!

…and don’t mix them up with small onions!

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Thanks all. The Philips ‘Hue’ looks a promising solution.


You might have missed some Black Friday deals at Amazon, but they might crop up again for their CyberMonday promotion which runs to 2nd Dec.

Often Amazon try to bundle an Echo Dot type device for peanuts, and you can control the bulbs via Alexa.

There is a small controller unit (zigbee based) which can control up to 50 bulbs which normally comes in a starter pack and is connected to the internet/home network via ethernet - either for controlling from phones/tablets/smart devices, or if you create an account for free you can control remotely too.

I think I just saw a wi-fi based controller on Amazon too.

I use a Hive heating thermostat and have added some bulbs, door and sensor switches all light are dimmable and all can be remotely controlled works well.

We use these Osram bulbs. They give a nice warm light. The wall lights have 7w bulbs and over the table we have 4w. There is also a pearl version.


I like the ‘filament’ type LEDs which look much like an old tungsten bulb. There are quite a few brands out there. Go for the 2700K warm white ones, and they will have a reasonably warm light that’s not too different from an old fashioned light bulb.
I found many LED, and all CFL bulbs to be VERY electrically noisy, and I did manage to find some filament LEDs that were not. Whether or not such electrical noise couples into your HiFi and affects the sound is another matter, but to me it seems like good housekeeping to avoid putting a number of electrically noisy fittings in every room in the house.

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Going just for color temperature might not be sufficient. Color Rendering Index (CRI) ist 2nd Parameter of an LED to consider. Usually given as value between 0 and 1 (CRI R_a) while 1 is best, i.e. spectrum is like of a black body.
Two LED with same color temperature but different R_a, e.g. 0.85 and 0.95, do make different warm white light. 0.95 is more natural, while 0.85 often contains too much blue in its spectrum.
Unfortunately CRI R_a is not always provided, and such LEDs are more expensive. But once you have it, you‘ll like it! It makes things to appear in the color they have because of better approximation of white.

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The Philips Hue system works well… you simply need to ensure you don’t have too far a distance between bulbs… especially if going between walls… as Zigbee is very low power and relays I believe between Hue lightbulbs… it integrates with Alexa as you say as well as Apple Home automation.

You can even set up to change the colour temperature and brightness for different times of the day…

Thanks again folks.

Simon - I take it one just needs the Hue ‘Bridge’ to control from an iPad? Alexa and/or Apple Home are not mandatory?