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LED Colour Temperatures and How to Choose the Best Ones

LED colour temperature comparison

The LED colour temperature chart shows the expected brightness of an LED bulb in relation to its temperature in degrees Kelvin. A bulb with a lower colour temperature of 1K – 5K gives off reddish-yellow hues. A bulb with a higher colour temperature of 5K – 10K gives off cool white-blue light.

You might be used to choosing light bulbs by their wattage. After all, the higher the wattage, the brighter the light – right?

Well, not exactly if you’re in the market for energy-saving LED lights. In fact, it’s the colour temperatures of LED lights that you need to look out for, which is also known as the ‘Kelvin’ value of a bulb.

What is a Kelvin?

Put simply, LED colour temperature is measured in ‘Kelvins’ (K), and it’s Kelvins that determine what shade of white light your bulbs beams, ranging from ‘warmer’ colours reminiscent of traditional incandescent bulbs, to ‘cooler’ colours that are whiter in tone.

What are LED colour temperatures?

There are 4 main LED light colours to choose from, each with a different kelvin rating:
• Very warm white (under 2700K)
• Warm white (2700-3200K)
• Daylight (4000K-5000K)
• Cool white (5500K-6500K)

kelvin chart

In short, the higher the kelvin rating the ‘whiter’ the light, which brings us onto wattages and lumens.

The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens – the higher the lumen value, the brighter the bulb. This in turn means that cooler shades of white light – such as cool white – have higher lumen values.

Traditionally, people bought bulbs with higher wattages to project a brighter light. In the world of LED lighting, you need to look for a combination of lumens and kelvins.

Lumens actually offer a far more accurate measurement of brightness than wattage values alone. In fact, an LED bulb can emit the same amount of lumens as a halogen equivalent while consuming a tenth of the energy.

To get an idea of how traditional halogen wattages compare with that of modern – and energy saving – LED wattages, see an example in our table below:

Fitting LED wattage Halogen Wattage Lumens Kelvins
GU10 spotlight 5W 50W 360 2700K

How to choose the perfect colour temperature

The beauty of being able to shop-by colour temperature means you can choose from an array of subtle shades and tones to complement and illuminate any home décor.

While there’s no hard-and-fast rule with what LED light colour temperature you choose, our quick guide will give you a good idea on where to start.

Warm white: for subtle, homely tones

warm white led

Warm White LED Lighting

very warm white led

Very Warm White LED Lighting

Warm white and very warm white cast inviting, cosy shades that’re more reminiscent of traditional incandescent bulbs of old. Warm white has long been a favourite of our customers and often get used in areas to relax, such as the living room and bedroom.

Best for: livings rooms and bedrooms

Daylight: neutral and natural

Getting slightly cooler, daylight bulbs mimic the effect of natural light and can be used to great effect anywhere in the home thanks to it neutrality.

Best for: conservatories and garages

Cool white: fresh and modern

Cool White LED Lighting Cool White LED Lighting

Often used in kitchens and bathrooms because of its refreshing and clear tones, cool white also perfectly complements contemporary décor in more modern settings.

Best for: kitchens and bathrooms

Looking for affordable LED lights that’ll dramatically reduce your energy bill?

LED Hut is the UK’s largest LED retailer, so whatever LED colour temperature you need, we’re sure to have it – even unique multi-colour options you can control from your phone.

Browse our range of LED bulbs here.

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