5000k (or CFL/LED?) not as 'bright' as comparable Incandescent?

Old 10-13-14, 07:52 AM
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5000k (or CFL/LED?) not as 'bright' as comparable Incandescent?

So I've recently been swapping out old incandescent bulbs for comparable, if not brighter (i.e. more lumens) bulbs.

In particular, in my outside light posts I've replaced old incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs (couldn't find the right LED for the fixture). I also changed from warm (3,000k) to daylight (5,000k) and also tried 'bright' (4,100k), but both the 5000k and 4100k don't 'illuminate' as much as the 3000k (but also not as much as an incandescent 3000k).

The bulbs are very, very bright, but the light doesn't emanate as much (i.e. it doesn't light up the whole area around the light post like the old incandescent bulb used to do).

And even with some indoor fixtures, using omnidirection LED bulbs, the light just doesn't seem to reach as far/fill the room as much as an old incandescent.

In summary, is it the case that higher k bulbs don't illuminate as much as lower k bulbs? And/or is it the case the LED/CFL don't illuminate as much?

Old 10-13-14, 07:59 AM
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IMO, it's a case of those bulbs suck. It's just another scam, as far as I'm concerned. I will use incandescent bulbs as long as they are available.
Old 10-13-14, 08:18 AM
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It's been my observation (CFL only, have not bought any LEDs yet) that the lumen equivalency they provide is overstated. To that end, I always go up one notch to maintain and two or more to increase brightness. As an example, I replace 40 watt incandescents with 60 watt equivalent CFLs to maintain brightness, 75 or 100 watt equivalents if I want more light.
Old 10-13-14, 09:19 AM
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I think you are confusing the color temperature of the lamps with the lumens and the light distribution. Color temperature affects the color perception of the light. Lumens is the amount of light. The light distribution curves will vary based on reflector shapes than might be different between the bulbs.
Old 10-13-14, 09:29 AM
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Each bulb type can light much different than another. You need to experiment or go back to incandescent. I put 6000 K LED bulbs in my down stairs bathroom and they are so bright everybody tells me they think it's an operating room. I do like the brighter white and don't purchase any 3000 K bulbs. LEDs last longer than CFLs when the lights are switched off and on many times a day.
Old 10-13-14, 09:43 AM
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Compact fluorescents also do not generate full brightness when first turned on. As the bulb warms it's brightness will increase. How much it increases depends on the bulb but some can get noticeably brighter after running for a minute or two. And since I'm talking about temperature you may have some issue with the fluorescent bulbs outside in winter.

I too find that most compact fluorescents and LED's brightness does not agree with the packaging. If they say it's the equivalent of a 75 watt incandescent to my eye it appears like a 60 watt at best. Color temperature can affect it somewhat. Side by side and same wattage some color temperatures appear brighter to me.
Old 10-14-14, 06:52 AM
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Thanks for the info everyone.

Just to clarify my question(s) though:

1. All else being equal (i.e. lumens, etc.) does an incandescent (vs. CFL or LED) 'fill' a room (or illuminate an outside area) more? I've found that even if a CFL or LED is very bright (even brighter than an incandescent), it simply doesn't fill the whole room with light (even if omnidirectional).

2. All else being equal (i.e. lumens, etc), does a 3000k bulb fill a room (or illuminate an outside area) more than a 5000k bulb?

Thanks again!
Old 10-14-14, 08:17 AM
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3000K (kevin) and 5000k refers to the color, not the brightness.
3000k is a "warm, yellow-orange" light color or hue, more reminiscent of the older incandescent lighting. 5000-5600k is a bluer white (not brighter) reminiscent of outdoor lighting.Subsequently, a "warm" light color in the yellow range does not light up a room better than a "cool" light color. Only the lumens or nits are an indication of relative brightness.
A 1000 lumen bulb (whether 3000k or 5000k) will be equally bright.
Old 10-14-14, 08:35 AM
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"Kelvin" but who's counting.
Old 10-30-14, 01:58 PM
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So I did some further testing and discovered that an incandescent bulb (150W, 2800 lumens, 2900k) is much 'brighter' than any CFL or LED I've tried (CFLs all 2800 lumens, 3000k and 5000k, LED I can't recall the lumens but were 3000k and 5000k).

It's clearly noticeable that with the incandescent in our outdoor lamp posts, a much wider area is lit up. again, perhaps the bulb is the same actual brightness (i.e. if you stare at the bulbs they are all very bright), but the incandescent simply 'covers more ground', so to speak.

Does this make any sense?

Old 10-30-14, 02:35 PM
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It's all about the quality of the reflector in the bulb. If the "point source" (LED, filament, etc) is putting out the same amount of light (lumens) then how it's distributed is all about the housing and the fixture.

There are specific tests on how they measure lumens. The meter is at a certain height and distance from the bulb.

I have no LED edison base replacements, and since I always up the wattage on curly CFLs they seem much brighter and I adjust the temp based on usage. Kitchen and bath with lots of wood I use the highest temp I can find...usually 6000-6500k. That really doesn't work in other rooms and I drop to about 5000k IIRC, since the higher temp one seems too harsh.
Old 10-30-14, 02:39 PM
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Oh...and much depends on how old your eyes are. I can still maneuver from the bed to the bathroom or kitchen in the dead of the night, but that's muscle memory I imagine. When I'm chopping veggies or working on something small I need as bright and white as I can get.

Typical warm soft white bulbs only work for accent lighting for me, they don't help me see anything smaller than a cat or a table.
Old 10-30-14, 04:15 PM
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I've been running CFL bulbs in my outdoor porch lights for over a decade. A few years ago I tried some "40 watt equivalent" LED bulbs and while I could certainly see the bulbs from sixty feet away they gave NO illumination to the surrounding area. I went back to my CFL bulbs, either 9 or 13 watt depending on which is the lowest price, and I'm happy.

Conversely, I prefer the LED bulbs indoors. I use 9 watt equivalent LED reflectors in many of my recessed lights and I far prefer them to the CFL reflectors. My CFL reflectors take upwards of five minutes to reach full brightness and yet the curly bulbs I have in one bathroom achieve full brightness almost immediately.
Old 10-30-14, 05:28 PM
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I sell a lot of bulbs to mainly older people at our store. What I find is that there is a definite division among generations. The older generation (seniors) will buy incandescent bulbs for the most part and no amount of science fact will convince them that the lumens or color of CFL or LED's are equivalent to incandescent bulbs. But any person 40 or younger for the most part will buy the CFL and/or LED's without a blink. If I ask them do they see a difference most say very little and are happy with the new technology.

That being said, I ( I'm of the older generation) tend to agree with many of those who commented that the CFL's and LED's even with equivalent specs do give a different kind of light. However, I think it all depends on the room and use of the lighting that you need. That is how I approach most of my customers who ask questions as to what to buy.

It's a real hoot to see the consternation of those older people when I tell them that the typical incandescent bulb will be gone altogether next year. We still have a pretty good amount of 60 and 40 watt left. They buy them buy the dozen. Most of these people will be dead by the time they use most of them.

Several points...
The newer CFL's get full brightness within 3 to 7 seconds.
LED's tend to have a single "direction" to the light. As Gunguy says the reflective surface of the bulb has a lot to do with it.
Manufacturers are getting better and better with trying to match the "yellow" light that most of us older folks grew up with.
I advise people to use a CFL in the 800 plus Lumens range and color in the 3000K range for their living rooms and bedrooms. Go much higher for kitchen and work areas. Outside just use the the 13 watt CFL's for accent lighting or if they need real "working" light go to a different type altogether.

BTW...specialty incandescent bulbs and special shapes will still be available at least for the present time.
Old 11-03-14, 07:47 PM
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BTW...specialty incandescent bulbs and special shapes will still be available at least for the present time.
Yep, rough service, 3-ways and appliance bulbs aren't going anywhere for quite a while.

I noticed recently when comparing self ballasted CFL and LED lamps that a 60 watt equivalent Sylvania LED lamp uses 8.5 watts versus a 60 watt equivalent self ballasted CFL that uses 13 watts, only 4.5 watts more. The Sylvania LED lamp supposedly will last 22 years, but on the packaging they are warranted for 2 years. Is the exhorbitant price of a LED lamp really worth it? In this case though, the LED lamp is subsidized by the power company and costs $4.98 each. The Feit self ballasted CFL lamps are also subsidized and come in a 4-pack for $1.48. Both are 2700 K, the color of the old incandescents. Which is the better deal?
Old 11-04-14, 07:40 AM
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In my outdoor lamp post I've tried many types of bulbs, including some that required base adapters to fit the standard bulb base. Lamp posts--at least the kind with the base at the bottom of the housing--make awful light emitters. The only bulb I liked was a 25W halogen in a rugged fluted glass "flame" shape that's packaged specifically for lamp posts. It's got the "twinkle" clear quality I want (my post has beveled clear glass panes). LEDs only shone OUT--not down--so they lit the front of the house but not the walk. Unsafe. CFLs were dull-looking and in winter were dim. All other incandescents I tried that were bright enough to light the walk got so hot inside the housing they would burn out or crack in a few weeks.

Now that I've found a bulb I like I bought 10. As long as I can remember where I store them, I'm good til the NEXT technology is invented!

PS-I'm not anti-tech. I have a $50 Feit LED 3-way bulb in my reading lamps that I LOVE. For $50 it better last...

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