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How to Replace 1000 Watt Metal Halide with LED

Metal halide lamps are quite common in commercial spaces, especially in older offices. However, today, modern office owners look for efficient lighting systems that can reduce their electricity bills as well as energy consumption.

Often, business managers come to us and ask various questions when changing their metal halide lights. Some of the common queries asked by them include:

“How many LED watts do I need to change my 1000 watt metal halide lamps?”

“What are my options if I want to replace my metal halide lights?”

“Can I change my metal halide lighting system with a different and better technology?”

Here, we will provide you the answer to the first question. For the other two answers, you have to subscribe to our email list where we answer these and many more similar questions asked by company managers. The subscription will inform you when we post something new!

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How many LED watts do I need to change my metal halide lamps of 1000 watts?

The answer to this question is quite complex. This is because it does not depend on the number of watts. Rather, the answer lies in the number of lumens you require. After you figure out the number of lumens you require, the light that generates those lumens will determine the number of watts you will need. Here, we will treat both a new LED light and a Retrofit light to change your current lighting system to LED equally.

What are lumens?

Lumens refer to the measurement of light that tells you the amount of light a light fixture emits.

This is an important figure since it comes in handy when you replace your old lighting system with new and better lighting technology.

This means when you are changing your lights or lighting system, you must be aware of the number of lumens produced by each light fixture. Let us explain this with an example. For instance, your metal halide lights provided 100,000 lumens for every fixture of 1000 watts when they were newly installed. Here, you should not think that you require LED lights of 1000 watts in order to replace metal halide bulbs of 1000 watts. Rather, you should think that you need LED lights that have an output of 100,000 lumens. So, it does not matter the number of watts a bulb has but what matters is how many lumens the new fixture can emit and if it has the number of lumens you need for your commercial space.

In this example, a metal halide lamp of 1000 watts emits 100,000 lumens, which means it produces 100 lumens for every watt when it’s installed. This is a good number when it comes to modern lighting systems. However, there are some other things that you must pay attention to in this scenario, as written below.

Learning about initial lumens and L70

As mentioned above, a bulb that produces 100,000 lumens is bright. However, 100,000 is the initial lumen output of these metal halide bulbs, which are known for their quick depletion of lumens. Most of the metal halide lamps lose 50% of their lumens in the middle of their lifespan.

L70 refers to the number of hours before a light fixture produces 70% of its initial lumens.

This means that the metal halide lamp will produce 70% of lumens at around 5000 hours. Therefore, the lamps will not emit 100,000 lumens for a long time. Conversely, LED lights preserve their lumen output in a better way than metal halide bulbs.

In LED lights, the L70 is shown in 50,000 and 100,000 hours and not in 5,000 hours, which is the case in metal halide fixtures.

Reflection leads to loss of light

LEDs have directional light. On the other hand, traditional lights have omnidirectional light. This is why they need reflectors to bring the light together and direct it to the required area. Reflections that have more than one bounce lose the lumen’s effect. And, it is proven that 30% of these effective lumens are lost in the reflection procedure.

Thus, if a metal halide lamp has an initial lumen output of 100,000, then it would actually have 70,000 lumens due to the reflected lumens.

Lumen quality

The quality of lumens refers to the Color Rendering Index (CRI) of the lights. The lumen quality can be known when you compare the viewing quality of the light released by traditional lights and LED lights. A lot of our clients tell us that LEDs with an output of 20,000 lumens look brighter than other lights with an output of 60,000 lumens, such as high-pressure sodium vapor (HPS) lights.

The truth about lumen quality is that you require less number of lumens when the light quality is better.

Photopic versus scotopic lumens

These terms refer to the way a camera sees lumens and the way humans see lumens.

Photopic lumens are the ones that are recognized by a device like a camera. On the other hand, scotopic lumens are the ones that are recognized by the human eye.

LED fixtures emit light in these ways, which means their light is the one that we make use of. These fixtures rarely produce UV or IR spectrums. The wavelengths of this lighting cannot be seen by humans; this means they are useless to us when it comes to viewing.

Scotopic lumens enable us to alter the value of photopic lumens in order to know the usefulness of lumens. This factor is created by scientists to compare various light sources. It allows us to alter the lumen value either upwards or downwards as per the photopic lumens given on the light’s packaging.

A few lights, such as HPS lights, have this factor, which diminishes the number of lumens. However, LED lights have a 1.7 factor or more, which means that their lumens are more useful to us.

Thus, lights that have a high scotopic factor require lumens so that we can see the light.

To sum it all up:

You need less number of lumens from LED lights as compared to lumens from HPS or metal halide lamps.

Metal halide lamps are quite bright when they are new but they get dim within six months of usage.

LED lighting is directional and efficient. It stays focused on the area where it’s required.

LED lighting is of high-quality, which means you need a fewer number of LED fixtures.

How many lumens do you need from LEDs?

The number of LED lumens you need can only be cleared through a photometric. However, with our over 10 years of experience in selling LED lights, we can advise you that you need between:

  • 45,000 and 55,000 lumens indoors as per the mounting height and application
  • 40,000 and 60,000 lumens outdoors as per the mounting height and application

When you are looking for a LED fixture that is equal to a metal halide lamp of 1000 watts, you can go for the one that has more than 100 watts or lumens. And, when you opt for high-quality lights from reputed companies, you can opt for a light output of 150 watts or lumens. This will reduce the usage of watts for every fixture by up to four times, in turn saving a lot of energy consumption when you replace several lights.

What type of lighting “replacement” you should opt for?

Replacing your lighting system can be done in two ways, which include full replacement and retrofitting. In full replacement, the entire lighting system is changed, including the light sources and fixtures. And, in retrofitting, only the light source within the fixture is changed.

The replacement option you need to opt for depends on the current situation of your commercial space. If your current lighting system is outdated, old, and needs replacement, then you can opt for a complete replacement. On the other hand, if your current lighting system has good fixtures, which can be used further and are not old and outdated, then you can opt for retrofitting.

Is LED retrofitting equally good as a new LED fixture?

The retrofit option is great as opposed to what you might have heard. It goes on for a long time with optimum performance. Retrofitting is a great choice for people who have already invested a lot of money on their light fixtures or their appearance. We provide LED retrofit kits that have a 10-year warranty. Our LED retrofits have been used inside several closed sealed fixtures in hot regions, such as Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Middle East.

You must keep in mind that since the light fixture is not replaced in retrofitting, it is much cheaper than a complete replacement. Moreover, retrofitting requires less work and does not include a lot of new lighting materials. Therefore, when you can opt for retrofitting, go for it rather than a complete lighting replacement.


Now, you can replace your traditional metal halide fixtures of 30 to over 1000 watts with LED fixtures. You can either opt for retrofitting your current light fixtures or a complete replacement as per your requirements.

While some people think that replacing your old lighting system with LED lights is expensive and difficult, there are a lot of benefits of upgrading your lighting technology.  When you install LED fixtures, you get several benefits, including high-quality lighting and less energy consumption.