What is the brightest LED? Lumen Outputs and Comparisons – FVTLED

What is the brightest LED? Lumen Outputs and Comparisons

May 22 2019

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So you want to know what our brightest LED is? I can tell you first hand that you definitely are not alone on that one. We get that question asked a lot, and to be honest, there is no straight up answer. We have different kinds of LEDs, different color temperatures, and different arrays that make the answer long winded which is why I’m dedicating a whole blog post to answering it as best I can.

Notably, as leds continue to gain traction, the days of measuring brightness by wattage are coming to an end. The component LED is measured in lumen, which is a measurement of light that is difficult to interpret if you do not have a general understanding of lumen output, etc. The best way I can explain it is to use this diagram where I made a loop that shows the wattage of some incandescent bulbs and the lumens they emit, so you know what to compare.

The power of an incandescent lamp is converted to lumens

Larger LED arrays
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, it's hard to directly compare all of our leds because we have many different types. Our chips such as Cree CXA will be the brightest choice for you to buy as a single board on LEDSupply. CXA is a high-density array that, as you can see from the product page and the output Numbers in the table below, takes up little space and can emit a crazy lumen. You will also notice that they can operate in A lower current range and at A much higher voltage, which reduces their optical power (wattage = current (A) x forward voltage). So basically, if you're looking for a quick answer, right here, Cree CXA is our brightest choice as a single LED light!

If you would like more information and other options, please read on...

We also have Luxeon K which is an LED array with 8 and 12 options. This is another option for high brightness because the array has so many diodes that the lumen output is added and can reach 3000 lumens!

The last odd ball LED we provide is Cree MC-E, which is a multi-chip LED. The MCE has three dice in the center, all under the same dome. If you want to drive at low current and still get good output, MCE is good, but in terms of brightness you can definitely do better because other leds can run at higher current.

Now that we have an odd ball LED, it's time for a more direct comparison. We sell our high power LED on MCPCB Star Board as bare emitter or surface mount 1-up and 3-up options. We set up leds on these boards for you so that you can easily connect power to them and so on. The plate is 0.75 in diameter and has solder joints around it. These leds are mainly from the Cree XLamp series, but we also have Luxeon Rebel which will be included in the Lumen comparison below. The LED is installed on the Star Board

Test temperature and thermal grading
Before we jump to the actual lumens, I would like to clarify that the charts and tables below show lumens at 25 C. This is the standard for testing the lumen output, and we extracted all the information and the Luxeon data table directly from this Cree LED comparison tool. These cavities are accurate when LED runs at C with approximately 25 temp, however, it is sometimes difficult to keep the LED at C which is why our lumen number at 85 tested temperature low C on some of our product pages. This is a process called hot boxing because it shows LED output at higher temperatures. I just want to point that out, so you don't see these lumens here, and then you go to the product page, and you see different Numbers, and you get all kinds of confusion. Just be sure to look at the listed test temperatures to understand the expected results and the differences.

Color temperature brightness
LED SColor temperature

Color temperature directly affects brightness. The significance of color temperature work is that the low temperature is warm white at about 3,000k, while the high temperature is cold white at 6,500k +. Neutral white is usually around 4,000-6,000K. Cold white LED is brighter than warm white is the industry standard. For example, if you take xp-g2 as an example, you can see that the lumen output of the LED is 350mA, as shown below:

Warm white = 121 lumens
Neutral white = 129 lumens
Cold white (6500K) = 158 lumens
So, if you're just looking for the brightest light and don't care if it's warm or cool, you should always stick with cold white to make sure you get the brightest light from your chosen LED. Check out the warm white, neutral white, and cold white lumens figures in the table below. Keep in mind that these Numbers apply to one LED, so if you want to be brighter, you can always use three, which will triple those Numbers. The only leds not included in the 3 up option are the early touch CXA, Luxeon K and MC-E, and Cree xm-l2. Since it has a larger chip, the 3 leds cannot be connected to our star board MCPCB.

LED MFG
Type
CCT Range Lumenous Flux (lm) @ 25°C 
Forward Voltage (Vf)
LEDSupply Part Number MFG Emitter
Order Code
Min. Typ. Max. Group 350mA 700mA 1000mA 1500mA 3000mA 1-Up 3-Up
Luxeon Rebel 5000 K 5000 K 10,000 K N 105 (3V) 189 (3.2V) 236 (3.4V) N/A N/A 07040-PW750-N 07007-PW750-N LXML-PW31
Cree XP-E2 5000 K 5000 K 10,000 K Q4 116.7 (3.04V) 200 (3.19V) 254.5 (3.29V) N/A N/A CREEXPE2-750-1 CREEXPE2-750-3 XPEBWT-L1-0000-00C51
Cree XP-G2 5000 K 5000 K 8300 K R2 129.3 (2.91V) 236.4 (3.04V) 314.4 (3.12V) 426.3 (3.25V) N/A CREEXPG2-W129 CREEXPG2-W387 XPGBWT-L1-0000-00EE4
Cree XT-E 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K R4 149.2 (3V) 265.6 (3.2V) 347.1 (3.33V) 459.6 (3.52V) N/A CREEXTE-W130 CREEXTE-W390 XTEAWT-00-0000-00000G51
Cree XP-G2 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K R5 157.6 (2.91V) 288.2 (3.04V) 383.4 (3.12V) 519.8 (3.25V) N/A CREEXPG2-W158 CREEXPG2-W474 XPGWHT-L1-0000-00H51
Cree XM-L2 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K T6 166.9 (2.84V) 318.9 (2.95V) 437.9 (3.02V) 616.1 (3.14V) 1048.1 (3.43V) CREEXML2-W318 N/A XMLBWT-00-0000-0000T6051
Cree XP-L 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K V5 192 (2.87V) 363.7 (2.98V) 499.7 (3.06V) 705.7 (3.17V) 1198.9 (3.46V) CREEXPL-665-1 CREEXPL-665-3 XPLAWT-00-0000-0000V5051
Cree MC-E 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K M 430 (12.4V) 750.7 (13.61V) N/A N/A N/A CREEMCE-W430 N/A MCE4WT-A2-0000-000M01
Cree XHP35 5000 K 6500 K 8300 K E4 716.9 (11.78V) 1270.3 (12.36V) 1653.9 (12.78V) N/A N/A CREEXHP-765-1 CREEXHP-765-3 XHP35A-00-0000-0D00E40E1
Cree CXA 1310 5000 K 5000 K 8300 K K4 897.7 (18.15V) 1428.5 (18.82V) 1877.2 (19.43V) N/A N/A CXA1310-18-5000 N/A CXA1310-0000-000F00K450F
Cree CXA 1520 5000 K 5000 K 8300 K P4 1646.2 (36.14V) 2913.2 (37.9V) N/A N/A N/A CXA1520-35-5000 N/A CXA1520-0000-000N00P250F

Neutral-White LED Brightness Comparison Table

LED MFG
Type
CCT Range Lumenous Flux (lm) @ 25°C 
Forward Voltage (Vf)
LEDSupply Part # MFG Emitter
Order Code
Min. Typ. Max. Group 350mA 700mA 1000mA 1500mA 3000mA 1-Up 3-Up
Luxeon Rebel 3500 K 4000 K 5000 K N 105 (3V) 189 (3.2V) 236 (3.4V) N/A N/A 07040-PW740-N 07007-PW740-N LXML-PW51
Cree XP-E2 3700 K 4000 K 5300 K Q4 116.7 (3.04V) 200 (3.19V) 254.5 (3.29V) N/A N/A CREEXPE2-740-1 CREEXPE2-740-3 XPEBWT-L1-0000-00CE4
Cree XP-G2 3700 K 4000 K 5300 K R2 129.3 (2.91V) 236.4 (3.04V) 314.4 (3.12V) 426.3 (3.25V) N/A CREEXPG2-NW129 CREEXPG2-NW387 XPGBWT-L1-0000-00EE4
Cree XM-L2 3700 K 4000 K 5300 K T5 154.9 (2.84V) 296.1 (2.95V) 406.6 (3.02V) 572.1 (3V) 973.2 (3.43V) CREEXML2-NW296 N/A XMLBWT-00-0000-000LT50E4
Cree XP-L 3700 K 4000 K 5300 K V3 175.3 (2.87V) 332 (2.98V) 456.3 (3.06V) 644.3 (3.17V) 1094.6 (3.46V) CREEXPL-740-1 CREEXPL-740-3 XPLAWT-00-0000-000LV30E5
Cree MC-E 3700 K 4000 K 5300 K K 370 (12.4V) 646 (13.61V) N/A N/A N/A CREEMCE-NW370 N/A MCE4WT-A2-0000-000KE4

Warm-White LED Brightness Comparison Table

LED MFG
Type
CCT Range Lumenous Flux (lm) @ 25°C 
Forward Voltage (Vf)
LEDSupply Part # MFG Emitter
Order Code
Min. Typ. Max. Group 350mA 700mA 1000mA 1500mA 3000mA 1-Up 3-Up
Luxeon Rebel 2700 K 3000 K 4000 K K 77 (3V) 130 (3.2V) 173 (3.4V) N/A N/A 07040-PW830-K 07007-PW830-K LXM3-PW71
Cree XP-E2 2200 K 3000 K 3700 K Q2 102 (3.04V) 174.8 (3.19V) 222.5 (3.29V) N/A N/A CREEXPE2-830-1 CREEXPE2-830-3 XPEBWT-L1-0000-00AE7
Cree XT-E 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K Q4 114.8 (3V) 204.3 (3.2V) 267 (3.33V) 353.6 (3.52V) N/A CREEXTE-WW100 CREEXTE-WW300 XTEAWT-00-0000-00000LCE7
Cree XP-G2 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K Q5 121.3 (2.91V) 221.9 (3.04V) 295.1 (3.12V) 400.1 (3.25V) N/A CREEXPG2-WW121 CREEXPG2-WW363 XPGBWT-L1-0000-00DE7
Cree XM-L2 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K T3 131.1 (2.84V) 250.6 (2.95V) 344 (3.02V) 484.1 (3.14V) 823.5 (3.43V) CREEXML2-WW227 N/A XMLBWT-00-0000-000LT30E7
Cree XP-L 2700 K 3000 K 3500 K U6 158.6 (2.87V) 300.4 (2.98V) 412.8 (3.06V) 582.9 (3.17V) 990.4 (3.46V) CREEXPL-830-1 CREEXPL-830-3 XPLAWT-00-0000-000LU60E7
Cree MC-E 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K J 320 (12.4V) 558.7 (13.61V) N/A N/A N/A CREEMCE-WW320 N/A MCE4WT-A2-0000-000JE7
Cree CXA 2600 K 2700 K 3700 K J2 723.8 (18.15V) 1151.7 (18.82V) 1513.4 (19.34) N/A N/A CXA1310-18-2700 N/A CXA1310-0000-000F00H427F
Luxeon K 8-Up 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K A 855 (21V) 1496.2 (22V) 2137.5 (22.75) N/A N/A LUXEON-K-COBWW08 N/A LXK8-PW30-0008
Cree CXA 1520 2600 K 2700 K 3700 K M4 1244.1 (36.14V) 2201.5 (37.9V) N/A N/A N/A CXA1520-35-2700 N/A CXA1520-0000-000N00M427F
Luxeon K 12-Up 2600 K 3000 K 3700 K A 1280 (31.5V) 2240 (32.75V) 3200 (33.5) N/A N/A LUXEON-K-COBWW12 N/A LXK8-PW30-0012

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