What is Kelvin Temperature?

When customers come to our showroom to see our LED lights one of the most common questions is about Kelvin temperature. We often hear that buying a led light for the first time is like learning a new language. As we all know the customer is always right and yes it is a bit like learning a new language. We would like to offer our simple explanation of what kelvin temperature is and why it is important in choosing the right LED light for you application.

Kelvin temperature refers to the light colour, not the light output. When having this discussion either in person or on the phone with a customer we will suggest an easy way to relate to kelvin rating on LEDs. Everyone can relate to the standard 60W incandescent bulb we have used for years. Most standard 60W bulbs are sold with a light colour that ranges between 2700K and 3000K. It is a warm light and the most popular light colour for residential use. LED bulbs in this range are usually referred to as warm white.

The next step up the kelvin scale stops in the 4000K to 4500K range. Since natural sunlight is approximately 4500K this light colour is referred to as natural white or some manufacturers variation of this term. This colour could be called nature white or daylight. The light colour is whiter than warm white but not as white as the next step up which is cool white. One of the advantages we hear from our customers and design clients is that colours are more accurately seen in this natural colour light since it is close to sunlight. Think about when you had to choose a paint colour or fabric and took the sample to the window of the store or outside to see what the “real” colour is. This can only be seen in sunlight or at 4500K.

The last choice is very interesting when you can see the 3 colours lit up side by side. Cool white is usually in the 5500K to 6500K range. Manufacturers who make their cool white at 5500K are trying to keep the light pure white and not have any blue in the light. The blue in the colour spectrum starts at about 6000K so anything 6000K or higher will have a small amount of blue in the light.

Choosing the right light colour is strictly a personal choice. There is not a right or wrong colour. It is all about how the light colour fills the space and how you feel in this space. You should always remember that light reflects off of any surface it comes in contact with and the colour of these surfaces will also effect the light colour you see. LEDs offer a unique choice that enables you to change the kelvin temperature buy using a LED chip that will change colour temperature. We have posted a video that explains this if you would like to take a look here.

Learning about LED lights is like learning a new language and understanding what it is will make your conversion to LEDs a great experience.

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