How bright is 100 lumens? Just what is that level of light good for? We give you real life applications and comparisons to help you understand what levels of brightness certain quantities of lumens will deliver.
Table of Contents
A Lumen is a measure of the total amount of light emitted from a source.
100 lumens means the light has the intensity of 100 lumens of light.
When you are looking for how bright a certain light bulb will be, whether it is LED, CFL or incandescent – the number of lumens is what you need to use as your comparison.
Lumens is the unit measurement of brightness, with 1 lumen equalling the brightness of 1 candle, so 100 lumens has the brightness of 100 candles.
100 lumens is a low level of lighting, suitable for very close up task lighting from flashlights and puck lighting. It is also the level for accent lighting from floor marker lights and step lighting.
A low powered flashlight will have around 100 lumens and used for close up activities it will seem acceptable. Not too long ago 100 lumen flashlights were enough for soldiers and police officers, however today flashlights can have extremely high levels of output.
For general use, a torch with 400-600 lumens should be bright enough but if you are looking for a headlight for running or cycling, then 100 lumens is fine.
The brightness of an 100 lumen torch (UK for flashlight) is the power of light of 100 candles. This level is regarded as suitable for most outdoor tasks.
The throw of light will depend on the focus and beam angle of the light.
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A 100 lumen bike light is available but a low output for seeing the road ahead, and more useful to be seen by other road and pathway users.
To compare how much light you get with different lumens levels, imagine a one by one meter room. If the room has an incandescent bulb which emits 100 lumens then it can illuminate that area to roughly 100 lux (depending on the reflectivity of surfaces in the room).
LED light is directional and very efficiently delivers light compared to other lighting sources. This amount of light is distributed with minimal wastage and creates a brighter intensity on a surface than 100 lumens from other technologies.
LED light when cool white color temperatures of 4000K to 6500K will feel brighter when compared to the warmer yellowish tones of warm white when using the same lumen output.
The number of lumens you need for a room depends on the size of the room and the level of brightness you want.
So 100 lumens is bright enough to be one of the sources of light within such applications but not not enough to illuminate a habitable space.
We have more on How Much Lighting Do I Need for A Room?
This is not enough usually enough total lumen output for a bathroom, regardless of how small it may be. The minimum lumen output for a bathroom tiled or painted with white walls would be 600 lumens and how that light is delivered would effect the efficacy of that illumination.
A small toilet with the toilet pan only would just about have sufficient enough light from 100 lumens if the light was delivered directly over the pan to reflect light back out from the white porcelain back into the space.
Ideally a toilet would need a minimum of 300 lumens total output.
The answer depends on how high the light source is from the floor, how wide the light spreads and the type of lighting product delivering this light.
However, in general terms the foot-candle or lux requirement of an activity, 100 lumens would be bright enough to light directly over a reading area creating 100 lux if no wider than 1m x 1m sqaure and no further than 1m away from the source.
For reading purposes a light of around 100 lumens directly onto a page would be ideal. However this will depend on how far away the light source is from the book.
A 100 lumen head torch is acceptable for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, suitable for most close up and general applications.
A 100 lumen puck light is bright enough for under cabinet lighting and other general applications.
Battery powered closet light with 100 lumens output is good for general applications such as finding clothes in a closet. It is not going to be very bright and only suitable for small to medium sized closets.
A 100 lumen LED bulb is less than a G9 or G4 micro lamp, and not a typical output for LED bulbs.
A 100 lumen solar light is a common output for most garden LED solar lights on the market, particularly for the styles of solar driveway and porch lighting.
When considering 100 lumens to watts you need to consider the type of bulb or light source. The efficiency of the technology determines the power used to create the same amount of light.
For an LED light bulb, it would be around 1.8 watts.
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Useful comparative measurements often asked:
Lux can only be measured by knowing the distance and the area the lumens have to travel to.
100 lumens is 100 candles.
A degree of kelvin is the unit of measurement for color temperature, therefore there is no direct comparison with kelvin to lumen. However, an impression of brightness will increase with a high degree of kelvin as the light seems colder and brighter to the viewer.
Lumens and Candela. Lumens is the total amount of light from a fixture. Candela is how much of that light from a fixture shines in one direction. So 100 lm would be less than 100 candela with the candela only quantified if the angle of beam width is known.
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