How Many Lumens for Reading Light?

Crucial things about brightening up your reading area include how many lumens for reading light, the level of focusing those lumens, and the distance between your book and the light bulb.

The best way to determine the level of brightness of two similar light types is by their lumens. Keep in mind that you can compare only the same kind of bulbs because they focus the light in the same way. Let’s see.

Light for Reading

Poor reading light can’t worsen your vision, but carefully chosen one will reduce eye strain and headaches. Plus, it will make reading much more comfortable.

Light fixtures

With excellent light fixtures and focusing bright light directly to your book, you will successfully prevent your eye muscles’ strain while reading. One of the best solutions is a desk lamp, especially the one with a lampshade. This convenient feature will direct light downward and make reading much more pleasant.

Light distribution

The next thing to consider is even lighting distribution throughout the space. Never read near the bright lamp while the rest of the room is entirely dark because that contrast puts too much strain on your eyes.

You should also avoid reading directly from the computer screen since its light reflects too much bright glare. The constant shifting of pixels will cause the occurrence of Computer Vision Syndrome.


Be prepared that you will need more light over the years since your eyes get older. In fact, the average person’s eyes need 1% more lights while reading every year compared to the previous one.

In other words, you need only 40 watts while reading when you are 10. Simple math says that you will need a 100-watt bulb after your 60th birthday.

In the past, you used watts that indicated the level of energy needed to produce the light. Nowadays, you should consider lumens. It is a new way to measure the amount and brightness of light that a bulb emits and much more accurate and precise than watts.

So, you need to determine adequate lumens to pick out the right bulb. Keep in mind that there is no suitable conversion method to transform watts to lumens or vice versa.

  • You should look for 450 lumens if you need a 40-watt bulb
  • You should look for 800 lumens if you need a 60-watt bulb
  • You should look for 1,100 lumens if you need a 75-watt bulb
  • You should look for 1,600 lumens if you need a 100-watt bulb

How Many Lumens for a Desk Lamp?

Believe it or not, you can sometimes have more problems with much light, not with a lack of it. The optimal level of lumens for your desk lamp will depend on its purpose.

  • 450 lumens (40 watts) – This level is enough for some everyday purposes like writing and reading.
  • 800 to 1100 lumens (60 to 75 watts) – It is the recommended level for delicate tasks like heavy-duty drafting or working with small pieces.

Keep in mind that you should still measure brightness in watts with incandescent bulbs. On the other hand, you will use lumens if you have LED lights in your home.

The government included lumens with these bulbs’ occurrence because some manufacturers advertised ’60 watts equivalents’ on the products with different brightness.

How many Lumens for Reading in Bed?

How many Lumens for Reading in Bed

Most of us prefer reading in bed before going to sleep. It is crucial to determine how many lumens you need for this activity to prevent eye strain and eventual vision loss.

On average, 25 to 50 lumens per 10.8 sq. ft (1 m2) of the book surface is enough for reading without eye strain. Keep in mind that only lumens of light focused on your reading area are counting.

Brightness is the level of light that falls in your eyes while reading. So, it may happen that you don’t have the required brightness on the book surface, although the bulb in your room produces enough lumens.

Therefore, the well-focused reading light for bed with fewer lumens is a better option than the light from a chandelier that doesn’t illuminate the reading area appropriately.

To get the best light, you should divide the bulb lumens over the room area. Otherwise, you can use the wrong light, your eyes will get tired and become red and achy, and you will start suffering from headaches.

The best lighting that produces focused light for reading in bed includes:


These mini lights are portable, which means you can carry them wherever you go. Some of them are lightweight, so that you can attach them to the book.

Bedside lamps

They are an excellent option if you have a side table next to the bed where you usually read.

Mounted reading lights

Nowadays, you can find numerous models of headboard reading light and wall mounted reading lights. They are highly practical, especially if you prefer reading at the same place in the bed.

Floor lamps

When you need both the focused and ambient light, the floor lamp is ideal for you. Plus, you can move it when needed. There is also a possibility to buy a bedside lamp that can convert to a floor one and vice versa.

Types of Light-Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs

Nowadays, you can find different bulb types, and you can pick out the one fitting you the best.

Incandescent bulbs

These classic bulbs were the standard in households until the late 1990s. They are still affordable and offer a cozy warm light that makes them an excellent option for kids’ reading light. Unfortunately, they are highly fragile, energy inefficient, and have a short lifespan of only 700 to 1000 hours.

Halogen bulbs

They contain a small amount of halogen that prevents wire filament degradation. That extends the bulb lifespan on at least 2,500 to 3,000 hours of use. Plus, halogen bulbs provide high brightness and pleasant warm light.

CFL (compact fluorescent)

CFLs use a low level of energy to produce cold white light. They are cheap, with a lifespan of 7000 to 10,000 hours.

LED (light-emitting diode)

You can expect the energy-efficient LED bulbs to become the standard very soon. Their lifespan is over 50,000 hours, but they weaken over time.

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