When purchasing new light bulbs, you might see them advertised according to the type of white they produce.
The standard light bulb options can be described as “warm white”, “soft white”, “bright white,” and “daylight.” Descriptions try to be helpful, but what do they really mean?
Just what is the difference between the whites of daylight and the term bright white? Surely they are very similar?
A daylight bulb is brighter and has a more blue-white color than a bright white bulb. Bright white bulbs are considered to be pure white, while daylight bulbs mirror actual daylight by being further up the Kelvin temperature scale.
For an informed choice, it’s worth knowing that the range of white light is classified on a color temperature scale, measured in degrees of Kelvin (K).
The Kelvin scale ranges from 1000K to 10,000K, with the lower kelvin numbers resulting in amber to yellowish light, and as the Kelvin rating increases the whites become cooler and then become enriched with tints of blue at the top of the scale.
Only the Kelvin rating is an accurate specification of white color, all other labels can have some ambiguity.
For example, a bulb manufacturer will create a 4000K “bright white” bulb and another 3500K. There are no benchmarks or standards for descriptive labeling, so be sure to check the degree of Kelvin to find the right bulb for you.
Some manufacturers describe their bulbs as ‘Bright White Daylight‘ at 5000K. So you can see why the kelvin rating is the only way to really know what the light color will be.
A Daylight bulb will between 5000K to 6500K
A Bright White bulb between 3000K to 5000K.
3000K is a nearly perfect shade of white because it has the best balance of orange and blue. This creates a light that looks very pure and clean. This is the color halogen light naturally creates.
The light at 4000K begins to take on a blue color, but it still looks natural. It isn’t until 5000K upwards that the light becomes noticeably blue-white.
Anything above 5000K will look like the various shades of daylight, becoming bluer as the Kelvin rating increases.
At 6500K you have the brightest, bluest light available that is still useful as a daylight supplement. Anything above becomes too blue
So if you want to create an atmosphere of pure white in your home or office space, a bright white bulb below 5000K is probably the best choice.
Brightness is interesting because you can look at it from two perspectives.
However, the appearance of brightness your eyes perceive is influenced by the color temperature.
Even though both emit a bright light, daylight will appear slightly brighter because its appearance is colder as it contains slightly more blue light.
So 6500K is only actually brighter in output when more light is being created, but will feel slightly brighter than bright white.
Bright white is generally used in living spaces and kitchens, while daylight is more suitable for bathrooms, offices and task orientated spaces like laundry rooms and workshops.
Daylight can also be a good choice in areas with natural lighting to supplement the light from outside and reduce glare on computer screens by creating a more uniform natural light within the room that reduces contrasts between the screen and walls.
However, it’s important not to overdo it. Using daylight bulbs exclusively in a space without natural light can create an atmosphere that is too cool and uninviting.
Make sure to try to strike the right balance between bright white and daylight for a comfortable living environment, including warm whites and soft whites too to relax by and for evening use.
Tuneable white bulbs are great if you want to be able to adjust the color temperature of your lights. Tuneable white bulbs can emit a range of colors from warmer whites, through bright whites and cool whites all the way up to full daylight shades.
This gives you the flexibility to make sure your home or workplace has the perfect lighting for any mood or activity.
So, whether you’re looking for bright white light to help you focus or soft whites to create a calming atmosphere, tuneable bulbs can provide the perfect solution through smart lighting.
Daylight differs in Kelvin rating depending on where you live in the world, the season you are in and even the weather that day.
The northern hemisphere daylight contains a lot of blue, so 6500K is the closest to natural daylight, creating an energized atmosphere.
For gentler daylight on a sunny day, there is less blue in the mix of white light, so the most natural light is the 5000K bulb.
A sunset will infuse the natural light with reds and oranges, resulting in the warmer tones of the 2700K to 3500K region, creating a relaxing atmosphere.
The process of shopping for an LED replacement bulb is not as simple as it seems as descriptive labels can be misleading.
Both colors create very white colors, with the daylight bluer in tone and less flattering to spaces as it omits more reds in the mix than the bright white.
No matter what color temperature of bulb you choose, make sure to check the Kelvin rating before buying so that you get exactly what you need. This will help make sure whatever lighting solution you choose is the one that’s right for your space.
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