(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here.)
Technology has changed so much over the years, and it is almost hard to keep up.
The newest trend in projectors is a battle between Lux and Lumens. What are they? How do you measure them?
Read on, and let’s compare lux vs. lumens projector and find out more about the brightness of projectors.
The Different Units of Brightness for Projectors: Lumens, Lux, Foot-Lamberts, Nits, and ANSI Lumens
When you are looking for a projector, there are several units that you can use to measure brightness.
The two most popular units of brightness for projectors are Lumens and Lux. The other unit is foot-lamberts, but this isn’t used as much because it doesn’t give you a good idea of how bright your projector will be when in use.
Most of the time, if someone asks how many lumens their projector has, the answer will be lumens.
What are Lumens, Lux, Foot-Lamberts, Nits, and ANSI Lumens?
Lumens, Lux, foot-lamberts, nits, and ANSI lumens are units of brightness. Lumens is the standard unit for measuring light output from projectors and has been around since 1932.
A lumen (lm) measures how much visible light a projector emits within a specific area of space relative to our Sun.
This makes it very useful for measuring the light output of a projector in an environment where there are many different competing light sources, like sunlight or lamps.
A lux measures how much visible light is available within a specific area but considers that our eyes adapt to lighting conditions over time (by adjusting pupil size). If the lux level stays the same, then our eyes will adjust to that lighting condition.
A foot-lambert is just a different way of measuring light output in terms of lumens per square foot, and it’s rarely used for projectors these days.
A nit is a unit of brightness that describes the light output on your TV. It’s different from lumens because it considers how we perceive brightness at night when our pupils are more fully dilated than during the day.
An ANSI lumen is a standard method of measuring the light output from a projector that considers how we perceive brightness at night and in environments with many competing lights.
The problem with this measure, though, is it doesn’t say much about what you will see on your screen because other factors can affect how bright a projected image looks.
Lux vs. Lumens Projector: So How are Lumens and Lux Different?
The main difference between Lumens and Lux is that one measures total light output while the other measures light in your field of view. You can think about it like this:
Lumens tell you how much candlepower a projector has (total), and Lux tells you how bright a candle will appear when held next to your eyes (field of view).
Lumens are more useful because they give you an idea of how bright your projector will be when used, no matter what size or where you use it. On the other hand, Lux tells us about brightness only if we measure in our field of view.
In short, lumens tell you about how bright the projection is, while Lux tells you more about how comfortable a projector will be to watch.
So which should I use? Lumens or Lux?
Both units are beneficial for measuring the light output of projectors, and they both have their uses in different conditions.
Usually, when someone asks this question, they ask about what unit is most useful when measuring a projector’s light output.
Lumens are more relevant for most home theater setups because we usually only measure brightness when we’re right next to our projected images. There isn’t much else going on in the environment that could affect how bright it looks.
If you’re still confused, here is a short video on the difference between Lumens and Lux.
Lumens vs. ANSI Lumens
Lumens and ANSI lumens are similar, but there is a difference between them. The main difference is that ANSI considers the eye’s response to brightness in terms of night viewing (when we have fully dilated pupils), while lumens don’t take this into account at all.
Light Output (Lumens) vs. Brightness on Screen (Nits)
Lumens and nit are not the same things. Nits measure brightness on-screen while lumens tell us about how bright a light is (in general).
As such, it doesn’t make sense to say that one projector has more nits than another because this only tells you about what you’ll see when viewing the image from your seating position.
The two units are related to each other in that lumens can tell you how bright your image will be when displayed, but this doesn’t take into account the distance at which you will view it (which is why ANSI lumens were created).
So if all things are equal, then nits and lumen should give us the same result. However, there are a lot of other things that can affect how bright an image looks on the screen, including:
- The size of your projection surface (lumens don’t take into account viewing distance)
- Lighting conditions in the environment where you place your projector.
- Screen reflectivity of the surface you are projecting on.
Choosing the Right Projector
So what should you do? Well, first off, you need to understand that lumens are suitable for understanding how bright a projector will be in general.
Secondly, make sure to choose a projector that is bright enough for your environment. So, how many lumens does a projector need?
- Business presentations: we recommend a minimum of 1500 lumens for business presentations
- Home theater: we recommend a minimum of 2000 lumens for a home theater setup. If you have an exceptionally bright environment, a 3000 will do the job. Otherwise, choose your projector carefully to ensure it has enough brightness for the room where you’ll be using it most frequently.
- Gaming: we recommend a projector that has 2000 lumens or more.
For a home-theater setup, we recommend looking for projectors that display a minimum of 2000 lumens.
If you’re looking to step up your home theater setup, we’ve researched and compiled a list of the best home theater projectors in the market today. Click here to find out all about them.
Lumens and Lux are different light measurement units, so comparing Lux vs. lumens projector is not a fair comparison.
Lumens are suitable for understanding how bright your projected image will look in general but consider neither viewing distance nor room lighting conditions. In contrast, Lux does take into account viewing distance.
When choosing a projector, make sure to get one that is bright enough for your environment.