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When it comes to understanding the brightness of electronic displays, several terms often cause confusion: nits, lumens, and luminance. These metrics play a crucial role in determining the visual performance of various devices, including televisions, smartphones, and monitors. In this article, we will explore the differences between nits, lumens, and luminance, and shed light on their significance in the world of electronics.


Nits are a unit of measurement used to quantify the brightness of electronic displays, particularly those with emissive technologies like LEDs, OLEDs, and microLEDs. One nit is equivalent to one candela per square meter (cd/m²), where candela represents the standard unit for measuring luminous intensity. Therefore, nits measure the amount of light emitted or reflected by a display per square meter.


Lumens, on the other hand, are a unit of measurement used to describe the total amount of visible light emitted by a light source. Unlike nits, which focus on the brightness of a display surface, lumens measure the overall light output of a device. Lumens are commonly used to evaluate the brightness of projectors, flashlights, and other light sources. However, they are not directly applicable to measuring the brightness of displays.


Luminance refers to the amount of light that a surface emits, reflects, or transmits per unit area. It is expressed in candelas per square meter (cd/m²) or nits, making it closely related to the concept of nits. Luminance considers the brightness of the light source, the reflectivity of the surface, and the viewer’s position. In the context of displays, luminance indicates the intensity of light that a screen emits.

Understanding the Differences

While all three metrics relate to the brightness of displays, their applications and interpretations differ significantly:

  1. Nits are primarily used to measure the brightness of emissive displays, such as televisions, smartphones, and smartwatches. Higher nits values indicate brighter screens, allowing for better visibility in well-lit environments or under direct sunlight.
  2. Lumens are utilized to assess the total amount of light emitted by a light source, but they are not directly applicable to displays. Lumens are more relevant for projectors, flashlights, and lighting fixtures.
  3. Luminance encompasses both nits and cd/m² measurements. It is a comprehensive metric that considers the intensity of light emitted by a display’s surface. Luminance takes into account factors such as screen brightness, reflectivity, and viewing conditions to determine the perceived brightness by the viewer.

Practical Significance

Understanding these metrics is crucial for choosing the right display device for specific applications. For example, if you’re in the market for a smartphone, a higher nit rating will ensure better visibility in bright outdoor environments. Similarly, when selecting a television for a well-lit living room, a display with high nits and good luminance performance will prevent washed-out images and maintain vibrant colors.

It’s important to note that while higher nits or luminance values generally indicate better visibility, excessively high brightness levels can strain the eyes in dark environments. Adjusting the brightness settings to match the ambient lighting conditions is essential for optimal viewing comfort.


In the world of electronic displays, nits, lumens, and luminance are essential metrics for evaluating brightness. Nits measure the surface brightness of emissive displays, lumens quantify the overall light output of light sources, and luminance considers the intensity of light emitted by a display surface. Understanding the differences and applications of these metrics empowers consumers to make informed decisions when selecting devices that meet their specific brightness requirements.

Nits, lumens, and luminance play significant roles in various sectors beyond consumer electronics. Let’s explore how these metrics relate to displays in different industries:

  1. Home Appliance Devices: In the realm of home appliances, displays are commonly found in devices such as refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, and smart home systems. While these displays may not require extremely high brightness levels, they still benefit from clear visibility in different lighting conditions. Manufacturers often consider nits and luminance to ensure that the displays are easily readable in both well-lit kitchens and dimly lit environments, providing a seamless user experience.
  2. Industrial Devices: Industrial environments demand robust displays capable of withstanding harsh conditions and maintaining readability in various lighting situations. Industrial displays are frequently used in control panels, factory automation systems, and machinery interfaces. High nits and luminance values become crucial in such settings, as they enable operators to easily read the screen and interact with the device, even under intense lighting or direct sunlight.
  3. Military and Marine Devices: Displays utilized in military and marine applications face unique challenges. These devices often operate in extreme outdoor environments and require exceptional visibility, even in direct sunlight. Nits and luminance are critical in these scenarios, as they ensure that critical information displayed on navigation systems, radar consoles, and military vehicle interfaces remains clearly visible to operators under challenging conditions. High-brightness displays with sunlight-readable capabilities are essential for effective decision-making and mission success.
  4. Medical Devices: The medical field heavily relies on displays in various applications, including patient monitoring systems, diagnostic equipment, surgical displays, and medical imaging devices. In medical settings, accurate visualization of information is vital for healthcare professionals to make informed decisions. Displays with high nits and luminance values are essential for providing clear, detailed images and data, enabling accurate diagnoses, precise surgical procedures, and effective patient monitoring.

In all these industries, selecting displays with appropriate nits, lumens, and luminance values is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and user experience. Manufacturers consider the specific requirements of each industry and design displays that meet the demands of their respective applications. From outdoor readability to precise medical imaging, these metrics provide the foundation for choosing displays that deliver the necessary brightness levels and visual clarity in diverse professional settings.

It’s important to note that industry standards and specifications may vary for different sectors, and consulting with experts or referring to specific guidelines is essential when selecting displays for specialized applications. By understanding and considering nits, lumens, and luminance, industries can leverage the power of visual technology to enhance productivity, efficiency, and safety in their respective domains.

  • Nits, lumens, and luminance are key metrics for evaluating display brightness.
  • Nits measure the brightness of emissive displays like TVs and smartphones.
  • Lumens measure the total amount of light emitted by a light source, not directly applicable to displays.
  • Luminance considers both nits and cd/m² measurements, reflecting the intensity of light emitted by a display surface.
  • Nits and luminance are crucial in different industries:
    • Home Appliance Devices: Require readable displays in different lighting conditions.
    • Industrial Devices: Need displays that can withstand harsh environments and remain visible under intense lighting.
    • Military and Marine Devices: High-brightness displays are vital for clear visibility in outdoor and direct sunlight conditions.
    • Medical Devices: Accurate visualization is critical for diagnosis and surgical procedures, requiring displays with high nits and luminance.
  • Selection of displays should align with industry-specific requirements and standards.
  • Consulting experts and referring to industry guidelines is important when selecting displays for specialized applications.

Here’s a table highlighting the most important parameters and their typical values for displays in various contexts:

ParameterHome Appliance DevicesIndustrial DevicesMilitary and Marine DevicesMedical Devices
Brightness (Nits)200-400400-800800-1500500-1000
Luminance (cd/m²)200-400400-800800-1500500-1000
Operating Temperature0-50°C-20-60°C-40-70°C0-40°C
Sunlight ReadabilityModerateGoodExcellentGood
Viewing AnglesWideWideWideWide
Screen SizeVariesVariesVariesVaries
Contrast Ratio1000:11000:12000:11000:1
Response Time5-8 ms5-8 ms5-8 ms5-8 ms

Please note that the values provided in the table are approximate and can vary depending on specific display models, technologies, and manufacturers. It’s important to refer to product specifications and consult with experts in the respective industries for accurate and up-to-date information when selecting displays for specific applications.

Here are recommendations for electronic engineers looking to design or refresh LCD displays for their electronic devices:

  1. Define Display Requirements: Clearly define the display requirements for your electronic device. Consider factors such as display size, resolution, brightness, viewing angles, response time, touchscreen capability, and durability. Understanding the specific needs of your application will guide you in selecting the most suitable display technology and specifications.
  2. Research Display Technologies: Familiarize yourself with different display technologies available in the market, such as TFT-LCD, OLED, AMOLED, and E-paper. Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of power consumption, contrast ratio, color reproduction, viewing angles, and cost. Choose the technology that aligns best with your device’s requirements and budget.
  3. Consider Environmental Factors: Evaluate the operating environment of your device. If it will be exposed to extreme temperatures, moisture, or vibrations, opt for displays with ruggedized designs or enhanced environmental protection. Outdoor applications may require displays with higher brightness levels for sunlight readability. Ensure that the chosen display technology can withstand the intended environmental conditions.
  4. Collaboration with Display Manufacturers: Establish collaborations with reputable display manufacturers or suppliers. Work closely with them to ensure that your design requirements are met. Seek their expertise in choosing the right display technology, optimizing display performance, and addressing any potential compatibility issues. Collaborating with manufacturers can also help you stay updated on the latest advancements and emerging display technologies.
  5. Design for User Experience: Pay attention to user experience aspects such as intuitive user interfaces, ergonomic considerations, and ease of readability. Consider factors like font size, color schemes, touch interface responsiveness, and user-friendly controls. Conduct usability tests to gather feedback and refine the display design accordingly.
  6. Test and Validate: Perform thorough testing and validation of the display performance before finalizing the design. Evaluate parameters such as brightness uniformity, color accuracy, touch sensitivity, response time, and power consumption. Test the display under various operating conditions to ensure its reliability and robustness.
  7. Stay Updated on Industry Trends: Keep up to date with the latest developments in display technologies, such as mini-LED, microLED, or flexible displays. Stay informed about industry standards, emerging features, and advancements in display manufacturing processes. This knowledge will help your future-proof your designs and incorporate innovative display solutions.
  8. Compliance and Certification: Ensure that your display design meets the necessary compliance and certification requirements, such as safety regulations and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards. Consult with regulatory bodies or certification agencies to ensure adherence to the necessary guidelines.

Remember, designing and refreshing LCD displays requires a multidisciplinary approach, involving collaboration with experts in display technologies, human-computer interaction, and electronic manufacturing. By considering the specific requirements of your electronic device, staying updated on industry trends, and conducting thorough testing, you can create or enhance LCD displays that provide optimal performance and an enhanced user experience.

Here is an advice for designers of home appliances or industrial devices with displays:

  1. User-Centric Design: Prioritize user experience and usability when designing devices with displays. Consider the target users and their needs. Ensure that the display interface is intuitive, easy to navigate, and provides clear and relevant information. Use legible fonts, appropriate colors, and icons to enhance readability and user-friendly interactions.
  2. Ergonomics and Accessibility: Design the placement and orientation of the display with ergonomics in mind. Consider the viewing angles, optimal height, and accessibility for users. Ensure that the display can be easily viewed and operated without causing strain or discomfort. Provide options for adjustable mounts or stands to accommodate different user preferences.
  3. Ambient Lighting Considerations: Take into account the ambient lighting conditions where the device will be used. If the device will be situated in well-lit environments or exposed to sunlight, choose displays with higher brightness levels and anti-glare coatings to ensure readability. If the device will be used in dimly lit areas, incorporate backlighting or adjustable brightness controls to maintain visibility without causing eye strain.
  4. Durability and Robustness: Home appliances and industrial devices often face challenging environments, including temperature variations, moisture, dust, and vibrations. Select display technologies and materials that can withstand such conditions and provide adequate protection against physical and environmental factors. Consider displays with enhanced ruggedization, protective coatings, and IP-rated designs, as necessary.
  5. Clear Information Display: Present information on the display in a clear and organized manner. Prioritize the most relevant and frequently accessed information prominently. Use appropriate visual cues, graphics, and icons to convey information effectively. Consider incorporating real-time data, status indicators, and error messages to keep users informed about the device’s operation.
  6. Energy Efficiency: Design displays with energy efficiency in mind to minimize power consumption. Optimize the backlighting system, incorporate power-saving modes, and ensure that the display automatically adjusts its brightness based on ambient lighting conditions. This not only helps conserve energy but also extends the device’s battery life in portable applications.
  7. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that your device and its display comply with relevant regulatory standards and certifications, such as safety regulations and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements. Adhering to these standards not only ensures the safety and reliability of the device but also facilitates market acceptance and regulatory compliance.
  8. Collaboration with Display Manufacturers: Work closely with display manufacturers or suppliers to understand the latest advancements in display technologies and incorporate them into your designs. Leverage their expertise in optimizing display performance, addressing specific requirements, and ensuring compatibility with your device’s electronics and software.
  9. Usability Testing and Feedback: Conduct usability testing and gather feedback from end-users during the design and development process. Incorporate user feedback to refine the display interface, enhance functionality, and improve user satisfaction. Iterative testing and user-centric design approaches can help identify areas for improvement and optimize the overall user experience.

By following these guidelines, designers of home appliances or industrial devices can create displays that are user-friendly, robust, visually appealing, and well-suited for the intended applications.

Here’s a summary of the advice for designers of home appliances or industrial devices with displays:

  1. Prioritize user experience and design displays with an intuitive interface and clear information presentation.
  2. Consider ergonomics and accessibility, ensuring easy viewing and operation for users.
  3. Account for ambient lighting conditions by selecting displays with appropriate brightness levels and anti-glare features.
  4. Design displays that can withstand challenging environments, incorporating ruggedization and protective measures.
  5. Display information in a clear and organized manner, utilizing visual cues and real-time data when necessary.
  6. Optimize energy efficiency by incorporating power-saving features and adaptive brightness controls.
  7. Ensure compliance with regulatory standards and certifications.
  8. Collaborate with display manufacturers for expertise in technology selection and optimization.
  9. Conduct usability testing and gather feedback from end-users to refine the display design and improve user satisfaction.

By following these recommendations, designers can create displays that offer excellent user experience, durability, and optimal performance for home appliances or industrial devices.

Riverdi is a company that offers a wide range of display products for various applications. Here are some of the product categories available on their website:

  1. TFT Displays: Riverdi provides a selection of TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) displays in different sizes and resolutions. These displays offer high-quality visuals and are suitable for applications such as industrial control panels, HMI interfaces, and consumer electronics.
  2. EVE Displays: Riverdi’s EVE (Embedded Video Engine) displays combine TFT technology with integrated graphics controllers, enabling advanced graphical capabilities. These displays are ideal for creating engaging user interfaces in applications like home automation, medical devices, and IoT solutions.
  3. HDMI Displays: Riverdi offers HDMI displays that can be easily connected to devices supporting HDMI interfaces, such as single-board computers, industrial PCs, and embedded systems. These displays provide crisp visuals and are convenient for applications requiring quick and straightforward connectivity.
  4. Arduino Displays: Riverdi provides displays compatible with Arduino boards, allowing developers to create interactive projects with ease. These displays come with integrated touchscreens and are suitable for applications involving rapid prototyping, education, and hobbyist projects.
  5. Raspberry Pi Displays: Riverdi offers displays designed specifically for Raspberry Pi boards, providing seamless integration and enhanced visual capabilities. These displays are ideal for IoT projects, home automation, and multimedia applications.
  6. Accessories: Riverdi also offers a range of accessories, including touch controllers, cables, adapters, and development kits. These accessories complement their display products and assist in the smooth integration and development process.

Please note that the specific product availability and features may vary. It is recommended to visit the Riverdi website or contact their sales team for the most up-to-date information on their product offerings, technical specifications, and pricing details.

Here are a few math formulas that are relevant to display technology:

  1. Aspect Ratio:\(Aspect Ratio = \frac{Width}{Height}\)
  2. Pixel Density (PPI – Pixels Per Inch):\(PPI=\frac{\sqrt{Number\ of\ Pixels\ Horizontal^{2} \ +\ Number\ of\ Pixels\ Vertical^{2}}}{Diagonal\ Size}\)
  3. Screen Resolution (Total Number of Pixels):\(Number\ of\ Pixels\ =\ Horizontal\ Pixels\ \times Vertical\ Pixels \)
  4. Display Area:\(Display\ Area\ =\ Width\ \times Height\)
  5. Brightness (Luminance) Ratio:\(Brightness\ Ratio\ =\frac{Luminance\ A}{Luminance\ B\ }\)
  6. Contrast Ratio:\(Contrast\ Ratio\ \ =\frac{Luminance\ of\ Brightest\ Color\ }{Luminance\ of\ Darkest\ Color}\)
  7. Color Depth (Bit Depth):\(Number\ of\ Colors=2^{(Bit Depth)}\)
  8. Scaling Factor (for resizing images or content):\(Scaling\ Factor=\frac{Desired\ Width\ }{Original\ Width\ } =\frac{Desired\ Height\ }{Original\ Height\ }\)
  9. Viewing Angle:\(Angular\ Resolution=\arctan\left(\frac{Display\ Width\ }{2\ \times \ Distance\ from\ Display}\right)\)

Please note that these formulas provide general representations of the concepts involved and may vary depending on specific display technologies and manufacturers. The actual calculations may involve additional factors and considerations.

Here are math formulas that help explain the relationship between nits, lumens, and luminance:

  1. Nits to Lumens Conversion:\(Lumens=\ Nits\ \times Display\ Area\ ( in\ m^2)\)
  2. Lumens to Nits Conversion:\(Nits=Nits\times Display\ Area\ ( in\ m^2)\)
  3. Luminance Calculation (in nits):\(Luminance (in nits)=\frac{Brightness\ ( in\ nits)}{\pi \times ( Distance\ from\ Display)^{2}}\)
  4. Luminance Calculation (in candelas per square meter):\(Luminance\ =\ Brightness\ ( in\ cd/m^{2}) \times Reflectivity\)

These formulas help relate the brightness metrics and the physical characteristics of the display, such as area and distance from the viewer. They demonstrate how nits and lumens can be converted and how luminance is influenced by factors like brightness and reflectivity.

Please note that these formulas provide a general understanding of the concepts and may not capture all the complexities involved in actual display technologies. Additionally, specific formulas and calculations may vary based on display technologies and manufacturers.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) related to displays:

Q1: What is the difference between nits, lumens, and luminance?

A1: Nits measure the brightness of displays, lumens measure the total amount of light emitted by a light source, and luminance measures the intensity of light emitted by a display surface.

Q2: How are nits relevant to display brightness?

A2: Nits quantify the brightness of emissive displays like TVs and smartphones, with higher nits values indicating brighter screens for better visibility in well-lit environments or direct sunlight.

Q3: Are lumens directly applicable to displays?

A3: No, lumens measure the overall light output of light sources and are commonly used for projectors, flashlights, and lighting fixtures, but not directly for displays.

Q4: What is luminance and its significance in displays?

A4: Luminance refers to the amount of light emitted, reflected, or transmitted by a surface per unit area. In displays, luminance indicates the intensity of light emitted by the screen, considering factors like brightness, reflectivity, and viewing conditions.

Q5: How do I select the right display for my application?

A5: Consider factors such as display size, resolution, brightness, viewing angles, response time, touchscreen capability, and durability. Define your specific requirements and collaborate with display manufacturers to choose the appropriate technology and specifications.

Q6: What should I consider for displays in outdoor environments?

A6: For outdoor use, consider displays with higher brightness levels for sunlight readability, anti-glare coatings, and ruggedized designs to withstand environmental conditions.

Q7: How can I optimize display energy efficiency?

A7: Optimize backlighting systems, incorporate power-saving modes, and utilize adaptive brightness controls to minimize power consumption and extend battery life.

Q8: Are there industry-specific considerations for display design?

A8: Yes, different industries have unique requirements. Consider factors like readability in different lighting conditions, ruggedness for industrial environments, and compliance with regulatory standards for medical devices.

Q9: How important is user experience in display design?

A9: User experience is crucial. Design displays with intuitive interfaces, clear information presentation, and consider ergonomics, accessibility, and user feedback to enhance usability and satisfaction.

Q10: How can I ensure regulatory compliance for my display design?

A10: Stay updated on relevant safety regulations, electromagnetic compatibility standards, and certifications. Collaborate with experts and consult regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with necessary guidelines.