The wattage of a light bulb refers to the power consumed to burn the bulb. Lumens refer to the brightness of the bulb.
We’re used to buying light bulbs based on their wattage, and we know a 100-light bulb is brighter than a 60-watt bulb because it uses more power to produce light and heat.
But starting in 2012, light bulb packages will show us lumens in addition to watts. Lumens measure light output. Also in 2012, the federal government will start phasing out traditional, incandescent bulbs. Watts are not an accurate measure of light output for the compact fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs and halogens that will replace them.
So get ready to learn a new language for light bulbs. It won’t be long before you’re buying bulbs that produce 800 lumens instead of using 60 watts.