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The higher the rated wattage of the bulb, the greater the luminous efficacy, which means you get more lumens per watt using a 120-watt bulb than using two 60-watt bulbs.

Check the lumen ratings for the two 60 watt bulbs, and compare it with the lumen rating for the 120 watt bulb. That should give you the answer you seek. The 60 watt bulbs may give off a light that is more yellow than the 120 watt.

A More Accurate

It depends upon the type of light bulbs used, and what you mean by "light". Incandescent light bulbs are very efficient at converting electricity into light, but unfortunately they emit most of that light in the infrared band, which humans cannot see. Therefore, we describe incandescent bulbs as being inefficient in terms of converting electricity into visible light.

Generally, higher wattage incandescent light bulbs operate at higher temperatures, and they therefore emit a greater proportion of the light in the visible spectrum. Consequently it is common to say a 120 watt bulb emits more than twice the light of a 60 watt bulb. In truth, a 120 watt bulb emits almost exactly double the luminescent energy of a 60 watt bulb, but because the 120 watt emits a greater proportion of its energy in the visible spectrum, it is common to claim that the 120 watt bulb emits more than double the light of a 60 watt bulb.

The situation changes considerably when talking about fluorescent and LED bulbs, which emit the majority of their luminescent energy in the visible spectrum. That is why they are so popular, because they use much less electrical energy to emit the same amount of visible light, compared to incandescent light bulbs. As a general rule, a 120 watt fluorescent or LED bulb will emit about twice the visible light as a 60 watt bulb.


Watts is not a unit of light, but of power consumption. However, many people are familiar with the amount of light emitted from an incandescent lamp (bulb) of a given wattage, so that has become an unofficial way of expressing brightness. Many compact fluorescent packages are labeled with the incandescent wattage giving a similar light output.

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Q: Do two 60-watt bulbs deliver the same light as one 120-watt bulb?
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