Posted by Doug Root on 14th Apr 2016

How to Choose the Right Color Temperature with LED's

Multiple versions of a man in an office to show different lighting temperatures

The benefits of LED bulbs are widely known at this point. Energy reduction, maintenance cost reductions, longer life, and cooler operating temperatures are par for the course with this type of lighting. But one advantage that tends to get overlooked is the ability of this SSL, or solid-state light, to be dialed into the exact color temperature of LED lights that you desire on what we call the Kelvin color temperature scale. Now, you might be wondering: what is Kelvin in lighting?

If this is a new concept for you, read our guide to discover how you can fully customize the color temperature of your bulbs and find the best indoor LED lights for your situation.

Correlated Color Temperature

The term used in general illumination to reference the color temperature of LED lights is Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). The color of the light that we see with our eyes varies based on the rated CCT of the LED light module. The measurement of the hue of "white" light started in the late 1800s when the British physicist William Thomson, also known as Lord Kelvin, heated a block of carbon. The block of carbon changed color as it heated up, going from an orange-red to various colors of yellow and all the way up to a bright blue-white at its highest temperature.

What is Kelvin in Lighting?

The Kelvin color temperature scale was named after Lord Kelvin and is based on Celsius temperatures and his work with carbon. This scale is now the basis for choosing the perfect color temperature for your lighting needs.

The Kelvin color temperature scale describes the relative color appearance of a white light source, indicating whether it appears more yellow ("warm") or more blue/white ("cool"), in terms of the range of available shades of white. The "warm" white has a color temperature of 3000K and casts a more orange/reddish light on surfaces and objects. A "cool" white bulb commonly has a color temperature of 4100K.

A modern white living room with multiple warm white lights

The most popular color temperature of LED lights is 5000K, or "balanced white light.” This color temperature is a perfect neutral white on the scale and has minimal yellows or blues, making this color temperature ideal for indoor LED lights. This is why many LED manufacturers have begun to produce two CCT lamps in each version. These versions are typically either a warm white 2700K or a white light 5000K.

Measurement Basics

To fully understand what Kelvin is in lighting, we have to look at the measuring basics. The color temperature of LED lights can be measured simply by using a handheld meter. The reading can be taken in seconds with the press of a button. When the button is pressed, readings are taken from a group of sensors and processed through algorithms to produce a Kelvin temperature reading for verification or simple reference purposes. It is especially useful for photographers so they can calibrate the white balance settings on their cameras to avoid photos that are too yellow or too blue.

A woman reading a book about changing the way you think

Choosing the Color Temperature of Your LED Lights

The color temperature of the lighting in an area greatly affects the people that use that lighting to perform tasks. For example, rooms that are used for tasks such as reading or looking at detailed instrumentation can benefit from incorporating lighting on the cooler end of the Kelvin color temperature scale. In an office area where the work is primarily on screens, however, you will want to use a warmer color with lower light levels so the glare on the screen does not give the user headaches. Many studies have been done on classroom and work settings that show reading improves when done under a color temperature of LED lights that nears 5500K (Day White - 5500-6000K).

Order from Atlanta Light Bulbs Today

Whether you need red bulbs for urgency, a bright white for reading, or gold light for style, Atlanta Light Bulbs can help you. Take a look at our high volume pricing policies if you’re interested in ordering a large number of bulbs for your business and stick with Atlanta Light Bulbs for everything you need regarding LED light bulbs. We carry a wide array of lighting products from over 100 manufacturers and offer free shipping on most orders over $199* with a 30-day return policy.

Call now to place orders or ask any questions regarding the Kelvin color temperature scale.