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Is Nanoleaf Bright Enough To Light A Room By Themselves?

Nanoleaf’s intricately-designed lighting panels bring a decorative flair to the modern smart home – a flair unsurpassed by any other because of their unique lighting options. You can use them to create a decorative piece on one or more walls, or even to liven up a house party as they pulse and change color to your music. 

However, how do they fare when it comes to actually illuminating the room enough for you to perform daily activities? Saying they’re pretty is an understatement, which is just one reason they also tend to run a higher price tag than many other smart lighting options. 

So then the question comes to the fore – can any of Nanoleaf’s products do the job of lighting up an entire room – or will they need help from other lights?

What is Nanoleaf?

Nanoleaf is a rather innovative company that’s produced a very interesting array of products.

They’re most well-known for their lighting panels that come in a variety of shapes – such as hexagons and triangles. These panels even come in different colors and sizes, and can be interlocked together to form beautifully creative patterns on the walls. When mounted with screws versus adhesive, they can even adorn the ceiling of your home. The decorative possibilities are literally limitless!

The lighting panels can even be synced up to your music, video games, movies, and even mimic the color scheme of your computer’s desktop. The newer Elements panels have a unique feature – the sides of these wood-like hexagon panels can light up independently of each other, giving them the ability to mimic natural patterns such as waterfalls.

But while the lighting panels are their most popular product, Nanoleaf has even more to offer.

Nanoleaf has since introduced another line of lighting called Nanoleaf Smarter Essentials. This line includes items such as decorative bulbs and light strips.

A Nanoleaf Essentials light strip near a TV
A Nanoleaf Essentials light strip near a TV

Their bulbs, though the same A19 size of standard bulbs, are decorative because they’re not completely round like the classic light bulb. The bulbs have a unique, almost hexagonal shape. Their shape, combined with the fact that they can display a plethora of colors, as well as be dimmed and brightened, make these bulbs a beautiful addition to any light fixture.

The Nanoleaf light strips also display a variety of colors, and are some of the brightest you’ll find on the market. They come in both 40 and 80-inch versions, and can be set to whatever mood your heart desires.

The light strips can even be set to automatically adjust to the lighting you’d like for a particular time of the day, and for special occasions.

Nanoleaf’s lighting panels, bulbs, and light strips are all compatible with most of the smart home hubs available today – from the Amazon Echo, to Samsung Smart Things, to Apple HomeKit, and beyond. 

With the introduction of Thread border routers, Nanoleaf’s products are even compatible with Thread – a groundbreaking IoT protocol that improves functionality, especially in the realm of response time and network security.

Lumen Output of Nanoleaf Products

Before getting into lumen output, it would first be prudent to consider what a lumen is. 

Merriam Webster defines a lumen as; “a unit of luminous flux equal to the light emitted in a unit solid angle by a uniform point source of one candle intensity.” Quite a mouthful! 

To put it in simpler terms, a lumen is the amount of light emitted from a lighting source. That luminous flux indicates how much light that the human eye actually perceives. The more lumens, the brighter it is, and the more space it will light.

To get an idea of how lumens work in the real world, consider the average 60-watt light bulb. This bulb typically emits about 800 lumens. To adequately light an average-sized room, about two 60-watt bulbs, or 1600 lumens is usually ideal

So how many lumens do Nanoleaf’s products emit? The summary is below, but read on as the answer gets a little more complicated depending on the exact product you buy:

Nanoleaf ProductLumens
Nanoleaf Hexagons100 lumens per panel
Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles80 lumens per panel
Nanoleaf Lightstrips2000 lumens per strip
Nanoleaf A19 bulb1,100 lumens
Nanoleaf approximate lumen count per product.

Lumen output of Nanoleaf Wall Panels

The lumen output of Nanoleaf’s wall panels varies according to which panels are in question.

For example, the Nanoleaf Hexagons, part of the Nanoleaf Shapes line, and Light Panels emit approximately 100 lumens per panel, while the Shapes Triangles emit about 80 lumens per panel.

8x Hex Nanoleaf wall panels in a room
8x Hex Nanoleaf wall panels in a room

When it comes to the Canvas panels, the number of lumens is even less, emitting about 44 lumens per panel. The elegant Elements panels come in at the lowest, emitting only 22 lumens per panel.

So when it comes to a Starter Pack of the Elements, with the 7 included panels, you average out to about 154 lumens at best.

Even a Starter Pack of the brightest panels – the Nanoleaf Lighting Panels or Hexagons, coming in at 100 lumens for each of the 7 panels, would give you a max of 700 lumens – not quite meeting the light output of even one 60-watt light bulb.

Lumen output of Nanoleaf Lightstrips & Bulbs

In contrast with their lighted wall panels which are mainly for decorative purposes, Nanoleaf’s Essentials Line provides much brighter lighting.

Their light strips are one of the brightest light strips available on the market today, and emit a whopping 2,000 lumens! This beats the Hue Lightstrip which is up to 1,600 lumens.

Their lights bulbs on the other hand, give off about 800 lumens, which is the average for a 60-watt light bulb. However, unlike the average light bulb, the Essentials bulb can get even brighter, up to a max of about 1100 lumens, depending on how you dim or brighten them in the Nanoleaf app.

Nanoleaf Essentials A19 lights on a counter top
Nanoleaf Essentials A19 lights on a counter top

Can Nanoleaf light a room?

The answer to this question depends on which Nanoleaf product you want to use to light your room, as well as how bright you want the room to be.

When it comes to Nanoleaf’s lighted wall panels, though, it’s highly unlikely they can light your room sufficiently. 

Even though they emit a variety of colors at a fairly decent brightness, it still wouldn’t be quite enough to light a room entirely – at least not enough to perform daily activities like working from your home office or preparing meals.

The brightest light panels can only emit a total of 700 lumens with the 7-panel starter kit. Even if you purchase an Expansion Kit, they only come with three panels each – adding on even more than that can prove to add significant expense on top of the already pricey lighting panels.

When it comes to the Nanoleaf Essentials line, though, the light strips can emit a good 2,000 lumens (throughout the entire 40 or 80-inch light strip). While they do give off a decent amount of light, because of their size, it still typically ends up being just bright ambient/mood lighting in specific locations.

However, if used in conjunction with the Essentials light bulbs, they can provide extra lighting that enhances the look and feel of your rooms:

Nanoleaf Essentials A19 light and lightstrips in a bedroom
Nanoleaf Essentials A19 light and lightstrips in a bedroom

Though the light strips make a great addition, the Essentials bulbs can handle a room all on their own. At up to 1100 lumens per bulb, you’ll be able to light the room to your desired brightness – and beyond. 

Using Nanoleaf for General Lighting vs. Ambient Lighting

When it comes to smart lighting for your home, there are two kinds most smart home owners need; General Lighting and Ambient Lighting. Both have their place in day-to-day life, and also require different lighting options.

General Lighting

General lighting is what you typically need to perform daily functions in your home such as preparing meals, cleaning, and studying. It’s also the best lighting for productivity, such as working from your home office. This typically requires brighter light than Ambient lighting provides.

General lighting more closely resembles the brightness of daylight. Hues of white and off-white at approximately 1600 lumens (the brightness of two average 60-watt light bulbs) is best, and provides the best lighting to be able to see everything you need to.

For this purpose, Nanoleaf’s line of Smarter Essentials light bulbs are the best choice among Nanoleaf’s products. With the capability of emitting 800 – 1100 lumens per bulb, these decorative bulbs provide the lighting you need to perform all of life’s daily activities.

Ambient Lighting

This type of lighting is what you would use when you want to wind down after a long day at work or errands. Ambient/mood lighting is dimmer and softer than General Lighting, and is designed to put you in a calm mood, ready to relax.

Ambient lighting is also a good choice for entertainment – such as when you want your lighting to sync up with your music, movies, or video games. It can either mimic the rhythm of your music or give you that movie theater feel when watching a movie with the family.

Nanoleaf’s lighted wall panels were designed for just this purpose. With their low lumen output, and dazzling array of shapes and colors, these panels are perfect for relaxing at the end of the day, jazzing up your entertainment system, or simply giving you some mood lighting for a romantic dinner.

The Smarter Essentials light strips also make for good ambient lighting. Though they have the capability to glow brightly, they can also be dimmed to set the mood for relaxation in your home in a variety of colors to create the perfect ambiance.

Alternative smart lights for lighting a room

If Nanoleaf is a bit out of your price range, or you rather smart home lighting that can also do double-duty as general and ambient lighting, no problem – there are alternatives to using their lights for your smart home.

For example, one option you might consider are LIFX bulbs. Emitting up to 1100 lumens per bulb, these are another great option as they can provide both general and ambient lighting. 

A LIFX full RGB B22 bulb in its box
A LIFX full RGB B22 bulb in its box

Because they work primarily with Wi-Fi, LIFX bulbs tend to be popular with many smart home owners. They also work with a majority of smart home hubs for easy integration into your existing setup.

Another option you may consider is Philips Hue’s line of smart lighting. At a lower price point than Nanoleaf, their smart lights can produce the lighting you need whether it’s ambient, or general. Their E26 bulbs emit just 800 lumens per bulb and via the Hue app you can set them to the color or mood of your preference.

A Philips Hue full RGB White and Color Ambiance bulb
A Philips Hue full RGB White and Color Ambiance bulb

Just like Nanoleaf, they’re even compatible with a variety of smart home hubs, including the Echo and Samsung SmartThings, making integrating them into your smart home easy.

Philips Hue also offers lightstrips, and the Play Bar, which, much like Nanoleaf’s lighting panels, can be customized to sync up with your entertainment system.

Lumens Matter

While Nanoleaf panels are a very attractive addition to your smart home, they may not be the best choice in terms of functioning as general lighting. Their Smarter Essentials Line, however, is a different story.

With the ability to emit more lumens than the average light bulb, Nanoleaf’s Smarter Essential bulbs are a feasible alternative – or addition – to using the lighted wall panels. These bulbs not only provide exceptional brightness, but because of their geometric shape they can also be used to upgrade the look of any standard fixture. 

Say you have a fixture that you can’t put a cover over, and a regular bulb becomes an eyesore – not so with these bulbs! The bulbs provide a decorative way to light your home.

The Nanoleaf light strips are also a good choice to light a room – though for optimal brightness, you may still prefer the more traditional light bulb route.

If Nanoleaf isn’t your cup of tea – not a problem! Alternative smart lighting systems such as Philips Hue and LIFX may just be a better match for you and your needs.

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