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Do you know how to choose the right color temperature?

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Author : Green Tech Lighting
Update time : 2022-03-27 11:04:59

Do you know how to choose the right color temperature?

Color temperature is an important factor when considering buying LED lights. This article will tell you what color temperature is and how to choose the right one for your LED lights.

1. What is color temperature ? 


Color temperature (CCT) represents the color appearance of light from a lighting item, describing the warm (yellow appearance) or cool (blue appearance) color of a light source. CCT is measured in units of Kelvin, with higher numbers indicating bluer or "cooler" hues such as fluorescent tubes used in industrial settings (3100K to 4500K), lower numbers indicating the orange, yellower, cooler colors of old incandescent lamps Soft, "warm" tone lights (2000K to 3000K).

Explained in terms of how sunlight works, the sun changes color throughout the day, measured in degrees Kelvin. A midday reading might be 6000K, or a very bright blue-white, while at sunset the temperature might drop below 3000K for a very warm amber glow.


Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)

The technical "blackbody" definition of color temperature originally applied to incandescent light bulbs because the thermal radiation method they produce light is very similar to blackbody radiators. However, newer lighting technologies such as fluorescent lamps and LEDs do not produce light in the same way, so a method is needed to measure their light output characteristics on the same scale that everyone is accustomed to. Therefore, these light sources are assigned an adjusted measurement called correlated color temperature, which puts them on the same scale of comparison as incandescent light bulbs.


Why does the CCT go from "warm" (yellow) to "cold" (blue) while the actual temperature goes from low to high? This puzzling oddity is not only ubiquitous in photography, but everywhere the color of lighting is mentioned. "Cool" is associated with bluer colors simply because the human brain associates it with cool things like snow. On the other hand, we tend to associate "warmth" with the color of a flame or a warm theme like a campfire.


Let's take an example of a blue flame (which burns hotter than a red or yellow flame) is considered the hottest. It reminds us why "cold blue" and "red hot" are very similar to Kelvin numbers in opposite directions.

2. What is Color Rendering Index (CRI)? (0 – 100%) 



CRI, also known as Color Rendering Index, is a useful illuminance specification that predicts the potential of a light source to accurately display the color of the objects it illuminates. In color-critical applications such as operating rooms and artistic restoration, lighting sources with high color index are required.


100 is the highest "score" for having excellent color generation, revealing what can be seen in bright sunlight. So every type of  light can show color.



Color rendering index between 0 – 70 Color rendering index between 70 – 90 Color rendering index between 90 and 100
Mercury transparent lamps Standard LED light Hi-Fi LED Lights
Fluorescent tube High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Vapor Lamps Incandescent (basic bulb)
Low Pressure Sodium Vapor Lamp fluorescent tube  
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Vapor Lamps Metal Halide Lamps  


3. Color Temperature Chart    

The color temperature map reflects the changes in color on the Kelvin color scale caused by changes in degrees Kelvin.

Choosing the right color temperature can make a huge difference in choosing the right light for a space's purpose.

Color temperature charts range from 1000K to 10000K and show values in degrees Kelvin, rounded for ease of use:


Typical color temperature:

1800K - Candlelight

2500K - Sunrise and Sunset


3500K - Morning or evening sun


5500K - Noon Sun

6500K - cloudy sky

10000K - Clear Sky


LED lighting color temperature:


1900K-3500K-warm   some city street road choose for LED StreetlightSolar Street Light

3600K-4500K-Natural color;  main High Mast LightLED Flood Light choose it.

4600K-5500K-cool;   main LED StreetlightSolar Street Light choose it.

5600K-6400K-Cool Daylight

6500K+ - Ultra Daylight

4. How to choose color temperature? 

There are various properties to consider when choosing the right color temperature or even RGB color variation. The first factor is the type of space in which you want to place the lighting. Second, you need to identify the main goal of lighting that particular space.

It's also important to start by assessing the amount of natural light that already exists in the area, what spaces are currently being used, and what ambience you want to create with the illuminance.


Tips to Consider:

  • Create an atmosphere 

  • the purpose of the room

  • room interior style




  • Office/Workspace: Workspaces require bright lighting to create an atmosphere of focus, alertness, and productivity. In such setups, neutral LED lighting with a color temperature of 4000K is recommended. These are the most common types of LED lighting in office spaces due to their versatility and ability to serve multiple purposes.


  • Bedroom: This space is basically designed for comfort and is used to relax and unwind in a private setting. Bedrooms have a strong connection to their occupants because of the impact they have on their occupants and their relationship to the style and interior of the room. Therefore, it is natural to choose a comfortable and warm color temperature lighting for this space, usually between 2700K-3000K.

This range communicates directly with a human's light sensor and can detect the difference between bright sunlight and warm tones, which means the day is coming to an end.

Warm color temperature LED lights prepare the brain for a good night's sleep. A warm-light bedside reading light is also recommended for nighttime directional reading.


  • Dining Room: Choosing the right color temperature LED light for a dining room is crucial because it creates an atmosphere and creates a specific ambience.


  • High-end restaurants: High-end restaurants recommend warm color temperature LED bulbs in the range of 2500K-3000K to create a relaxed and pleasant dining experience for customers. Different values can be used depending on the purpose of the space, while keeping the values within a warm range to ensure clients feel at home and guaranteed comfort.


  • Fast food restaurants: On the other hand, customers in fast food restaurants are not looking for ambience or environment, they usually grab a quick bite and continue with their daily activities. Fast food restaurants recommend warm colors, but higher values than fine dining restaurants, between 2700K-3000K. This range still guarantees customer comfort, but does not give customers the relaxed feeling of a long stay, as the space is designed for short-term visits.


  • Hotels: It is recommended that hotels, especially hotel rooms, have a color temperature in the range of 2700K to 3000K to replicate lighting in clients' homes, making it easier for occupants to relax and fall asleep. Lobby and hallway can be lit at the same brightness to maintain a warm feel throughout, or with brighter or neutral color temperatures to enliven public spaces. 

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