What Is the Best Wattage for Kitchen Lighting? [Solved]

Last updated on November 28, 2023

The best wattage for the kitchen is 1.5 to 2.5 watts per square foot. But also consider the lumens and color temperature of the bulb.

Figuring out what light bulbs and how many you need to properly illuminate your kitchen is paramount. Good thing you’ve decided to research this. And we are here to help. The following are the considerations you need to make that go beyond the wattage.

Next, we will figure out how many watts you should use a light bulb for kitchen lighting. We will also determine how many lumens you need (the amount of light). We will also see what color temperature of the bulb is ideal for the kitchen. All these things add up to the overall feel of the brightness of your lighting.

Note that there’s a different way to figure out the best wattage for kitchen pendant lights and the best wattage for a dining room.

Let’s begin!

What's Inside

How Many Watts Do You Need for Kitchen Lighting?

It is important to have enough light in your kitchen to see, and there are many ways to do this. There should not only be one type of lighting over the counter; blue-light emitting bulbs will help you wake up while preparing for breakfast. If you also have a table in your kitchen, dimming overhead lights can create an ambiance that balances out the blue lights. As well as taking advantage of recessed overhead lighting, which often benefits from LED bulbs, they are more energy-efficient.

How many watts of light do you need for a kitchen? In a nutshell, kitchen lights should be bright because you are working with knives and other cooking materials. For dark kitchens and more opaque fixtures, try 100 watts. If you get a lot of natural light, try using a slightly dimmer 80-watt bulb.

If you want to be specific, here’s a formula how you can calculate how many watts you need for your size of kitchen:

Multiply the length times the width of the area you want to light and multiply that number times 1.5 to get how many watts of electricity you need for general illumination (1.5 watts per square foot).

To find the needed wattage for specific task lighting in an area where stronger light is needed, multiply the square footage by 2.5.

Here’s an example. If your kitchen is 15 ft. by 12 ft. then it’s 15×12 = 180 square feet. If we multiply that by 1.5 we get 270 watts. That’s the total number of watts all light bulbs should add up to. So if you have a chandelier with 3 bulbs 100W each, it should be more than enough.

Sound simple enough, but if you know anything about light bulbs, the wattage does not always equal brightness, especially if we’re talking LED. To be exact, you need to know the lumens (which measure the amount of light.) That is because an LED bulb is about 4 times as energy-efficient as an incandescent bulb.

How Many Lumens Do You Need for Kitchen Lighting?

You can measure lighting in lumens. It is best to measure the lumens of the bulbs to see if you have enough light power for your desired area. A 25-watt fluorescent bulb puts out around 1500 lumens when new and may decrease as they age, but an optimal installation would put it at 3500-4000 lumen, assuming a good mix of on and off periods where you don’t use all four bulbs. Fluorescents gradually dim with age, so you must take this into account before determining what type of fixture or amount of lights are needed.

A well-illuminated kitchen should have 5,000 to 10,000 lumens depending on its size. Hence to know how many and what bulbs you need, you have to figure out how many lumens each light can provide. So using 25W LED bulbs (1500 lumens each) would put you at 4 light bulbs.

It’s important to note that a kitchen isn’t an empty box and there are obstacles to account for. Because a typical lighting setup is divided into zones and layers, you will likely need more than 4 light bulbs to properly illuminate the kitchen. That’s why you need different fixtures for over-the-countertops, dining area, sink area, kitchen island, and so on. Ultimately, you end up with a lot more light bulbs.

It’s fine to go overboard with your lighting wattage, especially when you’re using LEDs. You can always turn off the unneeded lights, but you can’t turn on something that isn’t there.

Kitchen Light Color Temperature

The color temperature of a light bulb can range anywhere from cool (higher Kelvin) to warm (lower Kelvin). When looking for lights for your kitchen, you should pay attention to the temperature of the bulb in addition to the wattage. This combination ultimately defines how bright the light feels.

A cooler bulb helps people see better in the kitchen but too much of a shift from cool to warm colors can detract from the mood.

The color of the light in a kitchen is closely related to what you’re doing, but if you can’t make up your mind, daylight bulbs reside somewhere between white (5000K) and cool white (4100K) on the color temperature scale. Clear sunlight has 5000 degrees, Kelvin. Daylight bulbs produce an almost bluish-white room with a 4100 K look.

Cool whites give even, crisp lighting without being jarring to any eye colors. As you go up the temperatures on the spectrum of color for appliances and lamps that emit light, then you also increase their heat output. Higher-temperature bulbs tend to have a blue tint instead of a yellowish one, so they’re ideal if you need

Light from soft white bulbs causes a yellow-ish and familiar light. This brightness will make reds and oranges more visible and should be used in “rooms that aren’t too blue.”

A kitchen needs to have light colors that will help you see well, and a light bulb with a higher color temperature will show more dimly. This is why it is important for the average person’s brightly lit kitchen not to use the most common bulbs: warm white incandescent bulbs, which are typically only used in bedrooms at 2500 Kelvin (K).

Kitchen Light Bulb Types

There are more energy-efficient alternatives and longer-lasting ones available to incandescent lights. They are obsolete.

The colder temperature light bulbs don’t appear to show the same level of reflective features. Halogen bulbs are typically more expensive due to their popularity with jewelers but are now considered old technology.

CFLs, which are spiral-shaped, are basically mini-fluorescents. They require some time to warm up. They can last ten times longer than traditional incandescents and are available in any color temperature; however, they contain a small amount of mercury, so if you break one, the extensive cleanup required makes them less than convenient.

LEDs have the lowest energy cost and are available in increasingly affordable and flexible technology. You can choose from directional or omnidirectional light bulbs, with omnidirectional bulbs being best for larger spaces like living rooms. The new version of warm LEDs (2700K) is perfect for a chandelier or moodier lighting, as well as vintage-style Edison bulbs (2000K), which would be great to add ambiance to a living room. LED lights have the lowest price in their efficiency and are now found in more affordable products.

FAQ

Does higher wattage mean brighter?

If it’s the same type of light bulb then yes, higher wattage means brighter. However, there are instances where higher wattage doesn’t equal a brighter light. For instance, a 40W incandescent bulb is only as bright as a 10W LED bulb.

Which is brighter LED or CFL?

LED and CFL bulbs produce more or less the same brightness per watt. However, LEDs last much longer.