Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

A light bulb just went off above someone’s head at the Federal Trade Commission. The agency had the bright idea to launch a campaign to educate consumers about newer light bulbs. Halogen incandescent, CFLs and LEDs last longer and use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

From the FTC’s new brochure:light bulb chart

“For years, people have chosen light bulbs by the watt, learning over time about how bright a typical 40-watt or 60-watt bulb is. But wattage tells you only how much energy a bulb uses — not how bright it is. With newer light bulbs designed to use less energy, wattage is no longer a reliable way to gauge a light bulb’s brightness. That takes lumens.”

Lumens measure brightness, no matter what sort of bulb you’re using. So if you’re looking to buy a bulb that will give you the amount of light you used to get from 60 wattts, you’ll need 800 lumens.

Elementary, my dear WATTS-on! Learn more at ftc.gov/lightbulbs 


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