Choosing LED downlights by wattage

If you’ve already started researching LED downlights, you’ve probably noticed that they’re available in a range of different wattages. So, what does this actually mean and, most importantly, which wattage should you choose? Can you choose an efficient, low wattage LED downlight and still achieve your desired brightness and colour temperature?

Whether you’re buying lighting for your home or commercial premises, it’s important to understand the different options available so that you can find the most suitable products for your needs.

What are LED downlight wattages, and what do they mean?

While most people still associate wattage with the amount of light you expect to get from a bulb, watts are actually a measurement of how much power goes into the bulb, not how bright it is.

So, why do we often get confused?

Since wattage measures energy consumption, traditionally, bulbs with a higher wattage would produce brighter light than low wattage bulbs but, with modern LED lighting, this is no longer the case.

As LED lighting is much more energy-efficient than it’s halogen and fluorescent counterparts, a high wattage no longer indicates more brightness. In fact, two different bulbs with the same wattage can provide a different lighting intensity.

What are lumens?

Lumens are now used as a more accurate measurement of brightness, and watts to gauge energy consumption. Modern LED downlights are designed to use less energy and therefore have lower wattages, making them much more energy-efficient while providing more light output.

Lumens are a measure of the amount of visible light emitted by a light source. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light will be. LED lighting offers much brighter lighting, using much less power because less energy is lost through the heat of the bulb.

How do LED downlight wattages compare to halogen and fluorescent downlights?

Typically, standard halogen lights have a wattage of around 55 watts, while LED equivalents range from 4.5 watts to 14 watts.

As you can see, LED downlights offer a much more energy-efficient solution and use up to 90% less energy. When compared with fluorescent lighting, LED downlights consume around half the energy, with a 12-watt LED downlight capable of providing the same brightness (or lumens) as a 24-watt fluorescent bulb.

While any LED bulb will be more energy-efficient than a ‘normal’ bulb, those looking for maximum efficiency and cost savings should look at low wattage LED lighting. Take a look at the table below for an idea of halogen and fluorescent bulb wattages, and their LED equivalents:


Incandescent Halogen CFL LED
40w 29w 9w 7w (450 lumens)
60w 43w 14w 10w (800 lumens)
75w 53w 19w 17w (1,100 lumens)
100w 72w 23w 20w (1,600 lumens)

Why replace older lighting with LED downlights?

Cost saving

Replacing older bulbs with LEDs can help to reduce energy consumption and save money on your energy bills. In addition, an LED downlight will usually last longer than a halogen downlight, reducing the need to keep buying and changing replacement bulbs.

Bright lighting

One of the biggest benefits of LED downlights is aesthetics. An LED downlight or ceiling lamp will be brighter than the halogen equivalent, making them perfect for high-traffic rooms and functional areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Range of options

When it comes to LED downlights, there are a wide range of options available. You’ll be able to choose your desired colour temperature and brightness to get the exact look and feel you’re aiming for. Most recessed ceiling downlights also allow you to adjust the beam angle as required, allowing you to achieve the perfect light in any environment. Adjusting the beam angle of your LED downlights allows you to focus light in the areas you need or want it or for more focused task lighting.

Top picks: The best LED downlights

If you’re looking for LED downlights for your home or project, we’ve rounded up some of the best options available here at LampShopOnline.


Product Watt Colour Temperature Lumens Lifespan Warranty Cost
Britesource LED Downlight 6w 4000k 600lm 50,000 hours 3 years £9 inc VAT Buy Now
Philips LED Coreline Recessed Spot 840 – Dimmable 6w 4000k 650lm 30,000 – 50,000 hours 3 years, 5 years if registered via Philips direct £25 inc VAT Buy Now
Bright Source Eco LED Dimmable Downlight 5w 6000k 635lm 50,000 hours 3 years £8.99 inc VAT Buy Now
SOLO Tilt All In One LED Dimmable Downlight 10w Variable 850lm 50,000 hours 5 years £19.97 inc VAT Buy Now
Bright Source All In One LED Dimmable Downlight – GST18 Plug 8w Variable 635lm 50,000 hours 5 years £16.64 inc VAT Buy Now

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