Just like with any product, there are a couple of things to consider when buying a projector. One of these is its light intensity or output defined by units such as lumens or ANSI lumens. Because you see, the more lumens a projector has, the brighter it will be.
Just like any other unit, you need a standard for that. And just like most other units America has its own standard to make things even more confusing.
Yes, ANSI is just the American standard for lumens set by American National Standards Institute. And the standalone lumen is the international version. The ANSI vs lumens is sort of like the imperial vs metric situation of the projector world.
Now, we are gonna sort out this mess in this article. Stick along if you haven’t already gotten your answer.
Both ANSI lumen and lumen are excellent units for measuring the luminance of various lighting equipment like 1080p projectors. But before we look at what these units are and their differences, here is a head-to-head comparison of their features.
|Symbol||No specific symbol||Lm|
|Units||Not an SI unit but a standardized unit by the ANSI for determining the projector’s brightness level||Standard unit of light intensity or brightness by the International System of Units (SI)|
|Standardization||Regulated by ANSI||No form of regulation|
|Accuracy||Offers a highly accurate value as it is more specific||Less accurate and specific compared to the ANSI lumen|
|Applications||Measures video output of projectors||Best for rating lamps, lights, and other lighting equipment|
What is ANSI Lumen?
This is a unit you use for measuring light output or intensity. It is referred to as ANSI lumen because it is regulated by the independent American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Basically, the ANSI is a private and non-profit organization responsible for setting and overseeing voluntary conformity standards in the U.S.
The ANSI lumens use an average of various measurements that are taken across the face of a light source. Simply, it takes into account 9 points of your illuminated projector screen rather than just a single area. As such, you will find this unit more accurate than the standard lumen. However, you only use the ANSI lumen to evaluate the light intensity of the projectors, like the ultra short throw options.
What is Lumen?
While the ANSI is a standardized unit, the lumen is more of a generic unit you use to measure brightness, just like nits. You use lumen to compute the total amount of light coming directly from a particular source in a given beam or angle.
A single lumen is approximately equivalent to the light intensity emitted by a standard candle in just a second. This amount of light is expressed using the (lm) symbol. Therefore, the more lumens a bulb has, the brighter you can expect it to be. However, this may vary based on your projector screen size.
Although you use lumens to calculate luminous flux, you can also assess the radiance of your DLP projector in terms of surface area. In this respect, it is referred to as lumen per square meter, and you use foot lamberts or nits.
Differences Between Lumen and ANSI Lumen?
By now, you’ve probably already realized that lumen and ANSI lumen are quite different, which is the case with lux vs luminance. So, let’s look at their differences in detail.
Method of measuring light output
The first difference between these two is in how they measure light. You see, lumens measure the light intensity as it is emitted directly from a given source. This allows you to determine how efficient a particular bulb or lamp is at converting electricity to light.
The ANSI lumen, on the other hand, considers a combination of various measurements taken in different positions. Basically, in determining the ANSI of a full-size or mini projector, you record its light intensity at 9 different spots. You then average the measurements you take to get the light intensity of your 1080p projector.
While lumen is a unit defined by the International System of Units (SI), it is not regulated per se. The same goes for other units like the foot lamberts. This only means that the method of determining the lumens of different lighting equipment is not consistent.
The ANSI lumen, however, stands out because it is regulated by an independent body. Basically, a DLP projector with ANSI lumens will undergo rigorous tests to ensure it’s given a true ANSI lumen rating. Therefore, you can be sure that any projector with this rating meets high-quality standards and requirements in terms of quality.
You use lumens to estimate the volume of visible light being emitted directly from a given source. Because this unit is not strictly controlled, there is no set scope or rules on how to determine the lumens accurately. As such, you will find that this unit is more prone to human error. Some manufacturers even inflate lumens so that they can sell their 2000 lumens projectors.
Compared to the lumen, the ANSI lumen boasts a better accuracy level. Do you know why? It’s because it considers different variables and measures the light flux at multiple spots of your projector’s screen. Also, unlike the basic lumen, the ANSI is more specific. As a result, this unit provides you with more accurate values.
You use lumen to compute the light flux released from an unnatural light source. Therefore, you will find it common amongst incandescent lights, fluorescent lamps, LED lamps, and other equipment used to supply artificial light effects. Of course, it is used even on mini projectors.
Meanwhile, the ANSI is used to evaluate the brightness level of projectors. So, if you find an ultra short throw projector that does not list its ANSI lumens, the chances are that it could be lying about its correct lumen rating.
While it’s not a major difference, it is worth mentioning that the symbol of the lumen is (Lm). However, the ANSI lumen does not have an identification symbol. It is just written as it is.
How to Convert Lumens to ANSI Lumens
If your Epson laser projector only has the ‘generic’ lumen rating, nothing to worry about. You can easily convert the lumens to ANSI to determine the true brightness level of your projector.
Generally, the conversion rate for lumens to ANSI varies depending on different projector manufacturers. For this reason, according to ANSI, manufacturers are required to disclose their conversion rate publicly.
That said, the most commonly used conversion rate is 1.3-2.4. In this case, if you have ANSI lumens, you multiply by a figure between 1.3-2.4 to get your approximate lumens. And to convert lumens to ANSI lumens, you divide by the above figure.
This means that 1 ANSI lumens will approximately be equal to 1.3 to 1.4 lumens. However, if you have a BenQ led projector with 100 ANSI lumens, it should have around 130 to 240 lumens. You simply multiply 1.3 by 100 to get 130 Lm or 2.4 by 100 to get 240 Lm.
To help you understand better how this conversion works, check out this table on how to convert ANSI lumens to lumens.
Converting ANSI Lumens to Lumens
|1||1.3 to 2.4|
|100||130 to 240|
|150||195 to 360|
|200||260 to 480|
|300||390 to 720|
|500||650 to 1200|
Converting Lumens to ANSI Lumens
Here, you divide the number of lumens by any figure between 1.3 and 2.4. For example, to convert 6000 lumens to ANSI lumens, you divide with a figure between 1.3 and 2.4 to get approximately 2500 ANSI lumens. In our table, we shall use the higher figure, which is 2.4.
While there are other units for measuring the brightness level of your mini projector, ANSI and lumens are the most common ones. This is because lumens are defined by the International System of Units (SI), while ANSI is a standardized unit.
But considering their differences, ANSI lumens seem to offer a true measure of a projector’s brightness. This is because it considers up to 9 points when measuring the illuminance (lux) falling on your projector’s screen. As such, you will find it highly accurate than lumens.
But remember, if your 2000 lumens projector lacks ANSI lumens, it’s no biggie. You simply convert the lumens to ANSI to get a true value.