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Light Bulbs 101: How Many Lumens For Reading?

Light Bulbs 101

Do you plan to install your own light bulbs in the bedroom? If you answered yes, then this article is for you. We will give you advice on how to choose the right light bulbs to help you read better.

The first question you need to ask is how many lumens do you really need for reading? Once you can answer this with certainty, the rest is a piece of cake.

How Many Lumens for Reading: The Importance of Knowing

Knowing how many lumens you need for reading is quite significant, because it can help prevent eye strain and eventual loss of vision.

Simply put, you only need about 25 to 50 lumens to read without difficulty. However, the light should be directly focused on your reading area. Otherwise, it won’t matter if you use a 500 MW light bulb.

Also, if you are trying to purchase a book light for the bedroom, it is very important that you choose a focused light source. This way, even if they produce lower illuminance, you could still read quite comfortably.

To fully answer the question, “How many lumens for reading do you need?”, you have to understand the meaning of the word lumen.

Definition of Light Terms

Lumens refer to the total amount of light from the bulb itself. It is not about how bright the light is. Brightness is the specific amount of lumens shining on the surface area per 1m², which actually depends on how much focus the light has. The distance can also affect brightness.

For instance, you can have a bulb on the wall with a strong light source. However, if you’re reading in the corner, chances are this would still not be enough to properly help you read.

This is because the light source is designed specifically to disperse light in a bigger space. However, you can also have a tiny book light or lamp for reading. Despite the size, these smaller lights could still feel very bright. How can this happen when they only produce a few lumens? Because the beam is focused on one direction alone. As a result, it lights one section of the room efficiently more than any other.

Some examples of these types of lights are torches, flashlights, reading lamps, and book lights.

Analogy: The Water through Pipe

Do you want to understand brightness even more? Think of it as water flowing through a pipe. The amount of water that flows is the lumen. However, you cannot use the water properly if it does not have direction.

For example, let’s say that you want to wash your car. You would want the water to flow directly toward your car, right? The same goes for watering your plants in the garden. You would want the water to work on the whole space equally.

This is how lumens and brightness works. If you want your reading to be brighter, you have to focus the light source directly onto your space.

The next question would be how to light up your reading area properly. How much brightness do you think your reading area might need from one bulb? To answer this, you should look into the specific amount of lumens that your light source has. Next, you have to think about how focused those lumens are.

As mentioned earlier, the distance of the light source from your reading area is also one consideration. Before buying a reading lamp, make sure that you only compare lumens between similar light sources. For example, you cannot compare the amount of light coming from a reading lamp to a flashlight.

Aside from the lumens, you also have to consider the focus and direction of the light. By comparing two similar light sources, you will be able to compare its brightness through the luminescence.

This is because both contraptions have the same light focus. So, make sure that you compare the same brand of both lights and bulbs. This way, you will get an accurate measurement of brightness and lumens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you understand lumens and brightness, you will have a clear idea as to how great your reading lamp ought to be. However, there are other questions that you might need to answer before making your final purchase. These are as follows:

Which Reading Lights Provide More Lumens?

The brand doesn’t affect the lumens of the light source. However, depending on your wattage, you would need to find more lumens to compensate for the lack of brightness that low wattage can provide. Here is an example of specific wattage and their lumens equivalent.

  • 40 Watts: 450 Lumens
  • 60 Watts: 800 Lumens
  • 75 Watts: 1,100 Lumens
  • 100 Watts: 1,600 Lumens

As mentioned earlier, different light sources and brands can vary when it comes to lumens. This is why you would have to look for a brand that has a specific number of lumens mentioned above.

Will Size Affect The Brightness of the Light Source?

No. However, the wattage does affect the amount of lumens that it produces. The more wattage you have, the longer you can use the light. If you want to save on electricity, use a light bulb with low wattage but more lumens. This way, it will be brighter even if you use it for extended periods.

How Will the Watts Affect the Lumens?

The wattage refers to the amount of electricity you consume when using the light source. The more wattage you have, the more lumens the light source can produce. Depending on the products, there are also a specific number of lumens that you can use as well.

More Questions and Answers

Incandescent or LED Lights: Which One is Better for Reading?

Cooler lights tend to disrupt your sleeping patterns. If you want to read before bedtime, it would be best to use warmer tones for your bedside lamps. It’s all about the light color and not the type of fixtures. Both LED at incandescent bulbs can work for as long as the light source is focused and warmer to the eyes.

The only difference between the two would be that there is a lot of consumption. If you want to save money on electricity bills, choose to use LED lights during bedtime. LED lights are known to be more economic in design and function.

Which Light Color Should I Use for Bedtime Reading?

As mentioned earlier, warmer tones would be good for nighttime reading. If you love reading at night, it is important that you choose the light source that has warmer tones and colors. Yellow and green will be able to work for you. If you want to wake up early, switch to cooler colors for your light source.

Additional Tips

When trying to find the best reading lamps for your night time activities, there are certain considerations that you need to make. These are as follows:

The Company Reputation

First, you have to look into the company’s reputation. Make sure that you will be able to get products from a company that has a good reputation when it comes to delivery and customer support.

The Price 

Secondly, you have to look at the price. Buy something that you can afford. While it is important to look at the quality of the products, your budget is another consideration that you need to make sure. If you are willing to buy more expensive light bulbs, make sure that you have the budget for it.

The Quality

You also have to look at the quality of the product. Look for bulbs that will last for a very long time. This way, you will be able to save up on repairs much more. You should also use more focused lights when reading in bed. Do not work with centralized light bulbs. Use reading lamps and/or pen lights when reading in bed.


These are just some of the things that you need to think about before buying a light bulb for reading. Finding out how many lumens for reading you need is only the first step. You also need to find the best products that can help you read better. This way, you will be healthier and safer down the line.


If you want to have a great time reading at night, you have to make sure that you get the best light source possible. Get a more focused light source for reading. This way, you will be able to make the most out of your reading materials without straining your eyes too much.

Try to make use of natural light sources as well when reading at night. Choose a location inside the house that will provide you with the best lighting even during the dark. This way, you will not have to worry about too much energy consumption whenever you read at night.

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