Led tints

Can someone please explain to me the benefits for the various available Kelvin tints? I am a fan on 4k-5k and have a dislike for cold/blueish tint. I have read that 4500 - 5k offer the most accurate color rendition, so if true that make sense. But why a 2k-3500 tint or 6k +? Thanks, Ive done a search and was not able to find the answer.


Warmer temperatures cut through fog better, other than that, it’s mostly preference, and warmer usually has some better cri

Try to analize why you don’t like the 6500K cold. Unless you have somewhat similar lights in the different tints in your hands at the same time to look at the same objects it’s hard to appreciate and understand why that cold light is nasty to actually see down range. It reflects off of objects (trees, trucks, walls, fog, rain, snow, other)between you and what you’re trying to see beyond those objects. The same thing applies to a lesser extent between 4-5K and 2700-3000K. In the real world there are often all sorts of objects being lit up in your flashlights field of view that you don’t really want to see reflected light off of. So the overall picture may look dimmer but a lower tint lets you see the objects that you want to see without all the sparkling glitter.

My first reaction (daytime) to a 2700K light was, “Wow, that’s pretty yellow…”, but at night when you just want to putz around in the dark without turning on all the lights, warm-white is the only way to go. It’s soothing, almost like candlelight, brings out rich reds and browns (eg, woodgrain furniture), and it’s so easy to fall back to sleep.

NW, even in the 5000K range, is rather jarring in the middle of the night, and it’s almost a “wake up!!!” signal that makes it harder to go to sleep.

Even outside, WW is much more natural when looking at anything woodsy. Natural colors just pop, vs looking rather shrill.

Oh, I still got plenty of NW lights, even some CW ones, but my go-to nighttime-use light is almost always a WW Xeno E03 with diffusion film to lay down a nice comfy blanket of warm-white light.

If you’re used to CW or even just NW, then WW is a bit of a stretch, but once you get used to that, you really don’t want to go back.

Good question, shane. The most efficient LED’s are in the high temps. So that’s why many makers of cheaper lights use them almost exclusively. But the trade-off is the effectiveness of the tint for the human eye. Very bluish tints tend to incur eye strain. And they’re terrible for accurate color rendition of what’s being illuminated. They’re pretty much ideal for massive throwers employed on search tasks.

Below 3500k and you’re heading into incandescent replication. Very easy on the eyes. But less efficient, from what I understand.

Once I became aware of how important tint is over lumens, I started shunning anything above 5000k, if I could help it. I began to focus more on 4000~4500k. But then I got a 3500k… and have to say, the warmth is splendid. At first it seems a bit much, but it doesn’t take long for your eyes acclimate. I don’t think I’d go below 3000k for flashlight applications. But a 2700k bulb in a lamp is wonderful.

The real trick is to let go of the “more lumens is better” mantra. I’d much rather have a 1000 lumens light pumping 4000k, than a 2000 lumens light putting out 6500k. It’s all about usable lumens. How often do you run your flashlight on turbo? Many lights that put out seriously high lumens in a small form factor can’t maintain it for long. They’ll step down in short order. So, more lumens capability can be fleeting, unless you’re investing in a massive thrower, monster lights that require their own carry strap or dedicated handle.

I think a lot of it is preference; I think our eyes are pretty good at adapting to different color temperatures. But depending on the application a color temperature or tint might have advantages and disadvantages. As mentioned above it seems more natural to use a warmer color when we are closer to sleep; related to how blue light might disrupt our ability to sleep. It is commonly thought that cool light will scatter more off of fog and particles in the air, but I think this might be a myth. See here. Lots of people feel pretty strongly about it, so I would say more careful experiments are needed.

Back to the original question, obviously different color temperatures have different relative amounts of red, blue, green, etc. A useful way to view these differences is in the below plot. It shows the blackbody spectra for different temperatures, but their intensities at 550nm are normalized so the relative amount of the colors can more easily be compared. So the 5000K spectra is in a way more objectively “white” since it has the most equal contributions from all visible colors. Warmer and cooler temperatures have sloping lines so that they have more red or blue light, respectively, than anything else.

Source for plot: link.

For most of my time as a flashlight enthusiast I was not what one would call a tint snob. For what I used my lights for I never felt like the tint ever kept me from identifying what I needed to. But I have started to mountain bike at night more and I have identified the optimal tint for me for this application. Going fast in the woods one needs to quickly tell all he can about the trail conditions ahead. For example is that dirt or leaves or rocks or protruding roots on the trail ahead? When I used a cool light I felt like there was not enough red light and some details of the textures of the leaf covered ground was lost. I found a 3D (around 5000K) tint worked well for me. I tried using a 4000K SST20 and I didn’t like it as much as the 3D tint. I appreciated the extra red light of the 90cri 4000K SST20, but relative to the 3D it gave everything a red tint which seemed to decrease contrast. I probably would have gotten used to the 4000K, but comparing them side by side I preferred the 3D.

Similarly if the light is significantly off of the black body line it can give everything a green or orange tint. I tried using a triple dedomed XPG2 S4 2B on the trail and I found the green tint really decreased my perceived contrast.

> Can someone please explain to me the benefits for the various available Kelvin …?

High CRI is the most important criteria for me, in any Color Temperature.
I notice Green Tint more at night, I notice Green Tint less, during the day.

as far as Kelvin CCT
I like to use warmer High CRI lights at night, and cooler High CRI lights during the day

warm color temperatures, at low brightness levels, are relaxing

cool color temperatures at high brightness levels are stimulating


it is all about the White Balance of the brain, affecting how we perceive color temperature at the time

daylight white balance is 5600K, and it has green tint, like a Nichia 219c or many Cool White Low CRI lights

incandescent white balance is 3000k, the tint is more pink, like some Nichia 219b


how to become a tint snob
buy a light with a Nichia 219b :slight_smile:

What’s the best color temperature and tint for outdoors when waking up early in the morning like 3am to 5am, not just at night?

it is a matter of personal preference,

test some of your warmer, cooler, and high cri lights for that application, and see what you like

I would use a 219b 3000k

Here is a sales thread with photos of 4 different LEDs

see if it helps you figure out some of your preferenes

It has been said that neutral white and cool white CCT stimulates serotonin and cortisol production/reception which is useful during the day, but in the morning while it’s still dark non-diffused WW light seems to have less hectic effect on the mind compared to non-diffused CW light. Before LED flashlights the choice was easier. Even 12 years ago it was easier to buy some WW Luxeon Star at the local backyard electronics shop and stick it into some random old incan flashlight with DIY heatsink without worrying about tint bins, CRI and specific beam distribution.

brightness is also an important factor
do you know how many lumens you want at 3am?

Thrunite Ti3 (6000k 0.2 lumens, Low CRI)

Drop Tool (4000k 3 lumens, High CRI)

Sofirn C01 (3200k 7 lumens, High CRI)


have you tried a light with Rotary ramping, or at least electronic ramping…?

then you dont have to debate what UI modes to buy

you just have to decide what LED you want,

and whether it is available in a light you like,

or need to mod a light you like, to an LED you like…