August 2012 Newsletter

The whole field of LED lighting is a minefield for the exhibition and display designer.  The lower energy use and reduction in heat output make LED’s an ideal step forward for our industry; but the inconsistency in light quality and output per watt and the obfuscation from many manufacturers can make planning an installation into a “best guess” exercise, and none of us wants that.


Here at Aardvark Lighting we are supplying more and more LED lighting solutions, from retro-fitting LED 12v or GU10 bulbs, through to LED flexible strip to LED light boxes.  The question we are always asked, and which we ask ourselves is “how bright is it?” 


To try to answer this question we have had to go back to basics.  For years we have grown accustomed to equating wattage to light output – a 50 watt spotlight, a 200 watt floodlight etc. and in the end, this will probably be a good approximation for LED’s, but at present this can be very misleading.  The problem occurs because of the massive variations in the basic Light Emitting Diode from one manufacturer to another.  The technology is still taking massive technical steps forward in terms of light output per watt.  In our workshop we have some 5watt GU10’s which are virtually twice as bright (light output) as a 4 watt GU10.  The difference is in the inner workings of the LED itself, not in the bulb design or wattage.  As designers, what we need to focus on is the light output for each bulb or light source.  The light output is measured in Lumens (lm) on a linear scale (ie 2 lumens are twice as bright as one lumen)


For our own internal use we have developed a fairly crude table of light outputs so that we can better answer the question: “How bright are they” and you may find this helpful in designing your next exhibition.                             



Light Output

Halogen Spotlight Equivalent

“Traditional” MR16 or GU10 50W halogen spotlight

750 lm


“Traditional” Linear Halogen 160 W floodlight

3,100 lm


3W LED GU10 Bulb

150 lm

10 watt

4W LED GU10 Bulb

175 lm

12 watt

5W LED GU10 Bulb

390 lm

26 watt

9W LED 12v Downlight

650 lm

43 watt

4w per metre LED Flexible Strips

60 lm

4 watt

14W per metre LED Flexible Strips

900 lm

60 watt

20W per metre LED Flexible Strips

1020 lm

68 watt

A1 size Lightbox

1600 lm

107 watt

600mm square Lightbox

3302 lm

220 watt


This isn’t the whole story though, because there is also light quality.  The above table is for Daylight or White Light bulbs.  There also warm white options which will reduce the lumen output per watt, sometimes dramatically.


If you want to use LEDs and want help and advice in planning your lighting, why not give us a call and we can help you from our most up-to-date information, which currently changes almost weekly.  Call our technical team on 01709 300050 or email your query to


We look forward to your query