Lighting Guide

Don't let choosing light bulbs overwhelm you next time you are at the store. Use the DCSEU's Lighting Guide to help you find the right bulb for every fixture in your home. And don't forget to look for the ENERGY STAR® label on all the bulbs your purchase.

Choose Your Hue

When it comes to picking the color of light you want, there are a lot of choices. Measured in Kelvin (K), if you like the warm light that a traditional incandescent bulb produces, look for something around 2,700K - 3,000K. For a whiter light, look for something in the 3,500K - 4,100K range. Or if you prefer a bluer light, look in the 5,000K - 6,000K range.

Find Compatible Bulbs For Your Fixture

Select a fixture to view compatible bulb types.

Determine How Much Light You Need

Convert Watts To Lumens

With traditional incandescent bulbs, you may be used to looking at the wattage of a bulb to determine how bright it would be. But wattage is really a measure of energy used, not brightness. When replacing a traditional incandescent bulb with a CFL or LED, the best way to get what you want is to look for "brightness" on the label, listed in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.


Incandescent Bulb Energy Used


New Bulb Brightness

40 450
60 800
75 1100
100 1600
150 2600

Prepare For The Store

Making Your Purchase

Armed with the information to make the right choice, when you get to the store, look for the Lighting Facts label on every bulb to help you find the one you’re looking for.


Brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.

Estimated Yearly Energy Cost

Helps you compare the cost of using different bulbs.


An estimate of how long the bulb will last.

Light Appearance

Measure in Kelvin (K), this tells you the color of light a bulb produces.

Energy Used

Measures the energy required to light the bulb. The lower the wattage, the less energy used.

Additional Info

Some bulb labels carry additional information. For instance, CFLs contain mercury and should be disposed of properly.

Mercury label
You will likely see a label like this sample on lighting packaging in the store