Colours of LED
LED lights come in a range of colours. Colour temperature is a measurement in degrees Kelvin (K) that indicates the hue of a specific type of light source.
Higher colour temperatures (5,000K or more) are cool (blueish white) colours, and lower colour temperatures (2,700–3,000K) are warm (yellowish white through red) colours.
Light colours: warm vs cool
The Kelvin (K) scale measures the colour temperature of a light. Colour temperature describes the appearance of the light emitted, not the heat output. Lights with “cool” colour temperatures emit a blue-tinted light; those with “warm” colour temperatures emit a red-tinted light.
Which LED light matches my old incandescent globe colour?
All light bulb packaging includes a colour temperature reference. To determine the appearance of the light emitted, use this as a guide:
- a colour temperature of 3,200K or lower has a warm appearance;
- a colour temperature of 4,000K or higher has a cool appearance.
Basically, as the colour temperature increases, the colour of light appears less yellow and more white. When the colour temperature reaches 5,000K or higher, the light appears bluish-white. littil LED lights have found that the 3000K 9W LED MR16 globe is the popular choice as a direct replacement for the traditional 50 watt halogen downlight globe still found in most homes today. This light mirrors what most consumers have been used to and in fact it appears slightly brighter.
Businesses tend to use higher colour temperature lighting which has more of a cooler/whiter, natural daylight feel to it, such as 4000K, 5000K or 6000K.
Quick colour temperature reference guide
- candlelight has a colour temperature of 1,850K.
- a standard incandescent bulb’s colour temperature falls in the range of between 2,700K and 2,800K.
- fluorescent bulbs come in a range of colour temperatures depending on which model you select: a warm white fluorescent bulb comes in at 3,000K, a neutral white fluorescent bulb 3,500K and a cool-white fluorescent bulb 4100K.
- on a bright day at midday, the sun has a colour temperature of around 5400K.