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Understanding Color Temperatures of LEDs

When it comes to finding the perfect LED light bulb for your particular needs, there are generally two primary considerations when making your final selection:

                                How much energy does the bulb consume?
                                  What color light does the bulb produce?

This article is designed to help you understand how to select an LED bulb with the right color temperature rating for your use. More information on energy consumption can be found in the Information Center (located to the left of this article).

The color output of a light bulb is commonly measured, and stated, in Kelvin units (having the unit symbol K). We also refer to the color output of a light bulb as the ‘color temperature’ of the bulb. You must understand a bulb’s stated color temperature  has nothing to do the heat output of the bulb (LEDs produce very little heat), it only refers to the perceived color of light emitted from the bulb.

Generally speaking, when we discuss the color output of a particular light bulb, we will refer to it as producing either warm light, cool light, or daylight. Each of these types of light have their purpose:



- Warm White LED bulbs, also known as Soft White, have a lower color temperature rating of 2500K to 3300K. The light produced by warm bulbs features tones of yellow and orange, which results in cozy, relaxed lighting (resembling candlelight or incandescent lighting). Warm bulbs are the preferred choice for use in your Living Room, Dining Room, Bedrooms, and general purpose lamps.

- Cool White LED bulbs have color temperature ratings of 3400K to 4500K, and is generally consider to be friendly, inviting, clean, efficient light. Most people will find Cool White light bulbs ideal for use in Kitchens, Bathrooms, Garages, and various work environments. This type of lighting is popular in Light Commercial applications.

- Daylight LED bulbs have color temperatures ranging from 4600K to 6500K (and higher), and is generally considered to be a bluish white light associated with alertness. Daylight bulbs are ideally suited for Display Areas, Security Lighting, Commercial, and Industrial applications. Many people like to use Daylight bulbs for reading.


Which temperature of light is right for you, and your home? Only you can decide. But if you are accustomed to the light produced by a standard incandescent bulbs, you are likely to prefer Warm White LED light bulbs with a Kelvin rating in the 2700K to 3000K range. Garages, basements, and outdoor lighting are good places to go with Cool White LED light bulbs with higher Kelvin temperatures.

If you are selecting LED lighting for your commercial or retail space, you should consider bulbs with temperature ratings in the 4000K to 5500K range. This type of light is often referred to as pure white, or noon time sunlight. This cooler type of lighting will tend to keep your work staff more alert, more productive, and less likely to make errors due to sleepiness. In a retail space, color temperatures of 5000K will enhance all of the colors in your store equally, and some believe this type of lighting may actually stimulate sales (we cannot promise this result, but it makes sense that if a customer has better visibility of what you are offering, they may be more likely to buy).

We trust this article has prepared you to make the perfect selection for your particular needs. If you need more information, please call us at (575) 770-8149, we are here to help. Remember our motto:

"Saving the planet one bulb at a time".