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Are Lumens and ANSI Lumens the Same?

Are Lumens and ANSI Lumens the Same?

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Have you ever wondered what makes one projector stand out from the others? 

Undoubtedly, everyone is looking for a projector that portrays quality images: yet how can you tell that a particular projector is brighter than another without necessarily trying them out?

Well, this is where the Lumens and ANSI Lumens come in: both measure the brightness of light from a projector, except they do it in two different ways. 

Presumably, you have numerous questions on this topic. But not to worry, as this article will attempt to answer all of them.

So what exactly makes Lumens different from ANSI Lumens? 

Lumens measure a projector’s luminous flux, which denotes light sensitivity. It is more efficient in bulbs and lamps. 

The ANSI Lumen is the true measure of brightness regulated by the American National Standards Institute. It is perfect for projectors. 

When buying a projector whose brightness is characterized by lumens, you should know how to convert its value to ANSI Lumens.

Do you want to know more about the differences between these two measuring units? If so, you’re lucky to have bumped into this detailed guide on the subject. 

Are Lumens and ANSI Lumens the Same?

What are Lumens?

Epson Projector Guide Episode 11: Understanding what is lumens

Lumen is a scientific scale for measuring brightness. It is a standard unit of luminous flux systemized by the International Systems Unit. 

In case you are wondering what a luminous flux is, it’s the amount of noticeable radiation emitted by a bulb. The lumens are determined and adjusted depending on how people perceive light. 

Simply put: Lumens are the absolute measure of light sensitivity to the human eye. Meaning the measurements align with a weighted luminosity model rooted in people’s perception of light. 

Luminous flux is quite different from power and radiant flux. Here is a more complex scientific definition of the Lumen unit

Luminous intensity is a gauge of the capacity of visible light from a light source. The eye is responsive to three light wavelength ranges which is the foundation for RGB color-video systems. 

Lumens are primarily used to discern bulb brightness. If you are keen, you’ll notice that each time you buy a lighting bulb, its package is labeled with the number of lumens the device can project. The higher the quantity of lumens, the more illuminative a bulb is.

They are also a good measurement for projector brightness efficiency. They matter to projectors because they help discern the efficiency and productivity of the devices.

Most people assume that more lumens signify better quality: this might be true for light bulbs, though it’s not the case for projectors. 

Users have varying needs as some operate their projectors outdoors, while others are fond of indoor projects. The number of lumens needed outdoors is different from the amount required indoors. 

Projector brightness is more like headlight brightness. Look at it this way: it’s easy to note a car with its headlights on at night but near impossible to do the same in the daytime.  

There is a lot to consider when determining how many lumens your projector needs. Nonetheless, first, you should have an in-depth comprehension of ANSI Lumens to know which one fits you best. 

How Many Lumens Does My Projector Need?

What are ANSI Lumens?

The ANSI Lumen is also a unit used to measure the luminous flux. The American National Standards Institute standardizes it, yet its values are still lumens.

✅ Elite Screen ✯ Understanding ANSI Lumens & Screen Gain [Projector Screen]

So how does the ANSI standard denote brightness measurements? 

The original method of measuring ANSI Lumens originated in 1992. It stipulates that a projector is set to display images at a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. 

A projector is left to stabilize for about 15 minutes, after which the ANSI Lumen measurement is taken. There should be no other light in the room where the projector is set, and refracted/reflected light should not exceed 1% of the main incident light. 

The contrast and brightness of a projector are modified on a white field with six small blocks. For one to give a Lumens reading, they should quantify the light output by averaging the light on nine specific locations of the screen and multiplying it by the screen brightness. 

The ANSI method is most preferred when setting up a projector because it ensures the device maintains a reasonable contrast ratio. But more about that later. 

Now that you are caught up on the basic aspects of Lumens and ANSI Lumens, you’re ready to get to the most critical part. What is the difference between the two, and which is the most commended for projectors? 

What is the Difference Between Lumens and ANSI Lumens? 

ANSI Lumens VS Lumens | Must Consider Before buying a Projector | Head on Comparison | TechCanvas

As you already know, the first and most significant difference between the two is their standardization. Yet the two also differ in accuracy, applications, symbols, and systems of units. 

The ANSI Lumen is much more accurate than the plain Lumen because it includes numerous variables like the measures of contrast and brightness. Also, the measure of light is estimated hourly in watts, meaning that light and color brightness isn’t dependent on the manufacturer. 

A scientist, Dr. Christopher Cuttle, believes that Lumens should not be the single defining factor for light brightness, because it isn’t inclusive of the effects on non-visual impacts. 

ANSI Lumens is highly recommendable for projectors because it makes the devices work efficiently, even in high ambient light levels. Lumens are suitable for lighting bulbs and lamps because they allow you to go for either dim or bright light. 

Lumen is recognized under the SI system of units as the unit of Luminous flux, while the ANSI Lumen is not. 

Comparison Table

Feature ANSI Lumens Lumens
Standardization American National Standards Institute International Systems Unit
SI Unit N/A Unit of luminous flux
Symbol N/A lm
Application Projector light output Lamps


Precision Highly accurate and specific Less accurate

How Do You Convert ANSI Lumen to Lumens?

Generally, 417 ANSI Lumens equates to 1000 lumens. To convert to lumens,  ANSI is multiplied by 1.3~2.4. 

Sounds easy enough. But if you prefer a more straightforward way of converting, use the Projector Lumen Converter Tool, which is much more accurate. This tool is efficient when buying projectors to avoid being duped by merchants. 


How Bright are 500 ANSI Lumens?

Hot sale china dlp projector 500 ansi lumen 800w

500 ANSI Lumens are sufficient for projectors used in low ambient environments. A 500 ANSI Lumens projector will best serve you in a dark room: so you shouldn’t use it with artificial lighting or sunlight. 

500 ANSI Lumens is inadequate for medium and high ambient light environments; hence may be less functional for outdoor usage. Still, the 500 ANSI Lumens can be used in certain medium ambient light environments, such as camping in dark woods.

Keep in mind that the ANSI Lumens perfect for you will also depend on your location and the size of your screen.

 The bigger your screen is, the more brightness you need. It’s pretty obvious once you think about it.


So what does all this mean?

In essence, ANSI Lumen is more accurate in comparison to Lumen, hence it’s the ideal unit of measure for projectors. So when buying a projector whose brightness has been estimated by Lumens, try to convert it to the ANSI standardized unit to tell its adeptness.

Now that you are well-informed on projector and bulb brightness, it’s your turn to go out there and invest in good devices. Don’t let anyone defraud you by selling you a low-quality projector.  

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