Cool Light or Warm Light LEDs – Which should I choose?

Colour Temperature 

With conventional lighting, choosing the colour temperature of your lighting is not always possible, however, with LED panels, there is a choice of colours, which will help you set the mood of your commercial space.

Colour temperature does not describe the actual temperature of the lamp itself, but the colour it produces. Correlated Colour temperature (CCT) in lighting describes how the colour of the light appears from a bulb, measured in kelvins (K). Imagine a scale from 1000K (very red) to 10,000K (very blue) – basically, the higher up the scale you go, the closer the light resembles blue daylight. The higher the colour temperature the “cooler” a light will appear. 

Warm or cool light?

There are no rules here – the choice is about personal preference and location of use.  

If you like prefer the traditional yellowish colour of a conventional bulb, then a warm white around (2700-3000K ) would be the ideal choice, this is the most popular choice for homes, as it gives a cosy and welcoming feel. It might suit kitchen and chill-out areas in a commercial space so that employees feel more relaxed in these areas.

If you are looking for a modern, clean look, you may prefer the cleaner, brighter feel of a cool white lamp (4000K+). Cool white light contains more blue light and looks brighter to the eye (this is why cool white bulbs have a higher lumen output when compared to the equivalent warm white bulb).  A cooler light might also help to promote productivity in an office environment, making employees feel more awake and alert – compared to a warmer tone, which could make them feel too relaxed and lethargic.

In commercial retail spaces, choosing the right colour temperature is very important and will alter the mood you want to create, as well as the products you are promoting. Freshly baked cookies and bread may look better under a warm white light, but clothing, jewellery, and accessories may look better under cooler light shade. It is always a good idea to do some trials to see what works best for your products.

 Mix and Match

It is useful to know that you do not have to select one shade and stick with it. There is no reason why you could not have a mixture in the same setting. For example, warm white for the main room lighting and cool white for task lighting over work areas. All Integral retail packs have a clear icon and colour temperature indicated on the packaging. In addition, each lamp will have the colour temperature printed on the base e.g. ” 3000K”. 

Due to variations in the manufacturing process and different measurement methods you should consider buying the same model of LED lamp for all the fittings in an area or room. It would also be a good idea to buy spares – as LED technology (as with other technologies such as mobile phones) is always improving and changing.