What are Lumens in Solar Lights? How Many Do You Need?

While shopping for light bulbs we come across two main factors watts (w) and lumens (lm) and most people need clarification on them. In the past light bulbs were bought by considering how many watts they use and brightness was measured by the amount of energy being used. More watts meant more brightness which was right to some extent. But now lumens are used to measure the actual brightness of bulbs.

Technology is evolving and becoming better. We can now get more light by using less energy. So the concept of more energy means more light is not relevant. LED bulbs use less energy than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs and emit more light.

So next time when you shop for solar lights compare brightness by lumens, not watts.

What are Lumens?

Lumen (lm) is the SI unit to measure the luminous flux. In simple words, it is used to measure the actual amount of visible light or brightness emitted from a source. So more lumens means more lights.

The difference between lumens and watts is that the watts are used to measure the amount of power consumed by the bulb and lumens are used to measure the amount of light produced.

Why Lumens Matter in Solar Lights?

Lumens directly matter in the amount of brightness you will be getting from solar light. More lumens mean more bright light. So you need to compare the lumens of solar lights before buying them. The amount of lumens you need varies on the outdoor spaces you want to illuminate.

Security lights, flood lights, and spotlights have a high number of lumens ranging from 700 to 1400 lumens. Whereas step lights, pathway lights, fence lights, and deck lights have fewer lumens ranging from 10 to 200 lumens.

Do Higher Lumens Mean Brighter Light?

The brightness or intensity of light is measured in lumens. More lumens mean brighter light and fewer lumens mean dimmer light.

Solar light lumens vary by the type of light. Spotlights or flood lights will have more lumens as you need more brightness while patio or pathway lights will have fewer lumens because more light will irritate you and your guests.

How many Lumens are Suitable for an Outdoor Solar Light?

There are various types of outdoor solar light and each of them has different lumens according to their application.

Pathway lighting may range from 100 to 200 lumens.

Step Lights may range from 10 to 100 lumens.

Flood lights may range from 700 to 1300 lumens.

Pond/Pool lights may range from 200 to 400 lumens.

Wall lights may range from 50 to 150 lumens.

Determining Lumen Requirements

What are lumens in Solar lights - A beautiful lamp placed on the floor.

Determination of the lumen requirement depends on:

(i) The areas you want to illuminate: Lumen requirement depends on the areas you want to illuminate. Large areas or large rooms will require more lumens. Similarly, small areas will require fewer lumens.

(ii) Purpose and functionality of solar light: The purpose and functionality also affect the lumen requirement. Flood lights or spotlights that illuminate a large area or security lights that deter people from entering your premises need strong light hence they need more lumens. Whereas ambient light will require very few lumens.

Lumen Ratings and Labels in Solar Lights

The federal trade commission requires manufacturers to add labels for the light bulbs on packages to help the consumers. Just like the nutrition label on food, the product label on solar lights will include important facts like:

Brightness in lumens

Energy Cost

Bulbs life expectancy

Light appearance like warn or cool


Contains mercury or not

So check the label to know what you are buying.


In conclusion, when shopping for solar lights, it’s important to pay attention to the lumens rating, which measures the actual brightness emitted by the light. Unlike in the past, where watts were used to measure the brightness of bulbs, lumens are now the standard for determining the amount of light produced. When determining the lumen requirement for your outdoor solar lights, consider the areas you want to illuminate and the purpose and functionality of the light.

Remember to check the label on the package for important information, such as brightness in lumens, energy cost, and life expectancy. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and choose the right solar lights for your needs.

Hyder Ali is a writer from Pakistan who writes well researched articles on different topics. He has been writing on Medium and other platforms for a long time. He tries his best to write correct information and help his readers solve their problems.

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