Which colour of LED bulbs is preferred?

There's something you may need to bear in mind when going higher kelvin temperatures: the cooler the temperature, the higher the luminous pressure required for a pleasing visual experience. Check the Kruithof curve:

In normal daylight conditions the lux/m² proportion usually is a lot higher than what you usually get at home, let alone with a flashlight at a distance.

In essence, the cool white led fashion was probably due to involved people knowing no better.

We know have great high CRI cool white leds from Nichia, Samsung, Cree and Yuji to some extent. It may require some DIY effort from yourselves in modifying your home lighting setups, or look for specific high CRI cool white products.

Cheers ^:)

Thanks for posting Barkuti, very interesting. . . :+1:

Ok, if it’s for home bulbs then it’s WW. But prefer 3000K WW than 2700K WW. 80 CRI is fine, not anal.

Flashlights, it’d be NW, 4k or 5k is fine. I still have like 4 or 5 warm white LEDs, for that fun look trying to be like an incandescent flashlight. My brightest one is the nostalgic “DRY” 3 x XM-L budgetlight that some of ya would remember, it has a direct drive driver. ie it can pull the right amount of amps from the NCR18650A, approx 3.5-4 amps, esp useful if you are in a cold climate.

It would have been nice for Gary Vicker to define the temperature ranges for cool, neutral and warm white. As it is I find this a tad imprecise, For example: warm white for up to ≈3400K, neutral white from ≈3400K to ≈5000K, cool white from above ≈5000K or so.

Don't you think?

Cheers ^:)

I’d say that’s a good set of parameters, at least for how I’d use those monikers.

The poll is OK.

But I think the whole CCT thing ( WW, NW, CW) needs to be redefined from the ground up. What’ K’ really constitutes WW, NW, & CW? What is really NEUTRAL WHITE & adds little or no tint…… warm or cool?

For example, there is exactly nothing “Neutral White” about a 4000K tint…. much less a 3400K. It is Warm White.

And there is nothing Cool White about 5000K. It is NEUTRAL WHITE…. simple as that.

For flashlights give me 5000K - 5700K. That is pretty much ‘TRUE NEUTRAL WHITE’. No rosy red tint added and no harsh blue added either.

YMMV…… mine does not. . . :wink:

The comments above are in relation to ‘emitters’ used in flashlights. The majority of people use flashlights mostly outdoors. These comments are adressing that.

I’ve seen 4000K labeled “cool white” on a screw-in bulb, “warm white” from Armytek and a few small makers, and most often “neutral white”. These are marketing terms that don’t have fixed definitions.

A poll like this was conducted last year with actual color temperatures and 5000K won with strong showings from 4500K and 4000K. The plurality voting method used there is suboptimal with more than two options though. The poll for the FW3A color temperature using a ranked Condorcet method produced a similar result with 5000K on top, 4000K-5000K being popular and options far form that range being unpopular.

Polls have also been conducted on reddit and CPF using approval voting with the popularity peak covering the same range. (4000K won overall on reddit; 4500K on CPF)

Hmm… I would describe 5000 - 5700K as ‘pure white’ rather than neutral, but i suppose it depends on what is neutral to you or me.
But neutral sort of implies it is pure, so that’s confusing too… :person_facepalming:
I think 5000K is cloudy sky white, which is usually far from warm, a bit cool rather.
I’m not sure actually…
But we can agree that 6500K is cool white, although it, when you have a high CRI LED on the BBL (not greenish, not pinkish), looks quite pure too…
And then we have differences between LEDs of the same colour temperatures…
The Luxeon V 4000K looks warmer / more yellow than the Samsung LH351D 4000K.
As for Nichia, the 219C 4000K is a bit on the cool side, unless you buy it from Kaidomain…
So i don’t know.
But my own experience is that 4000K is neutral, when i use it as a work light in a head lamp.
But that’s usually in the evening, when every ‘normal’ light source is around 3000K.

Maybe we should try to determine it using spectrograms of LEDs.
Cool white is a down slope from blue to red, whereas warm white is an up slope from blue to red.
I guess neutral would be a flat spectrogram, but you always have that blue spike and the valley of cyan, and with low CRI low R90 LEDs that droop towards deep red…

:wink: . /\ . . :+1: … . “Pure” & Neutral are the same to me.

Besides that, as you aptly illustrated Jerommel; there is a lot to consider. :smiley: . :slight_smile: . :person_facepalming: . . :+1:

But… Who’s on first? :person_facepalming:

I prefer yellow (warm white). It is because yellow light is more relaxing. However, if you want to stay awake for work, the color temperature should not be too low.

See also https://www.lumens.com/how-tos-and-advice/kelvin-color-temperature.html


I’ve been using Feit 90CRI 3000K SKU number 1200267 lights from Costco. Rated 1600 lumens. Tested side by side with tungsten bulbs. Look very close to me. Not too warm.

Less phosphor coating = cheaper price

+ Less phosphor coating = more lumens = better selling muggle specs

This. The seduction of high numbers that don’t effectively matter is strong among the ignorant ones.

I completely agree. I've said this before somewhere else, but the way the lumen is defined I can tolerate, yet I do not concur. Let me quote where it says “the human eye's sensitivity to various wavelengths”, which is funny and ignorant because the eye is an organ of perception, the relative sensitivy to different frequencies is dictated by some program(s) in the mind. And the mind is not the brain… O:)

We are on the same boat.
For home, I can’t stand anything lower than CRI 95-CRI98 so i’m still using halogen bulbs.
For outdoor activities, the higher CRI the better even with a slight positive Duv. My throwers are 3000K-4000K. For close to medium range lightning : 3000K to 5000K.
For professional uses, the higher CRI the better even with a slight positive Duv. 4500K to 6500K, essentially Nichia 219B, E21A and optisolis, Luminus SST-20 (4000K).

I’m a long time adopter of high CRI LEDs and always hated CW but the optisolis 6500K was a game changer for me. Now I’m fine with cool white but only with a CRI above 95.

I’m really looking forward to Seoul Sunlike LED for household lights or something equivalent without a blue spike for NW and CW high CRI.

Quantity over quality. An insignificant increase in brightness (spex!) sells more vs better viewing.


For home, I’m planning to get some 4000k 95+ CRI LED strips around my homework+PC+work bench.

I don’t like the fact that incandescent lights consume a ton of power, make my work place even hotter, and don’t have as good dynamic range as high CRI LEDs.

Depends upon the application. In some cases, warm white works best while in others a neutral white is preferable. While I enjoy warm white, too warm and dark orange-like is too much. My preference is a lower temp neutral white, like about 3500~4000k.

I have to wonder if the only reason why cool white still exists is because of legacy (early on, cool white ruled), cost of manufacture, conditioned preference, or belief that the slight bit of higher brightness makes a worthwhile difference.

Based on all we see on the marketing end, since most lower end commercial LED flashlights are targeted to an ignorant audience, perhaps a muggle looking at 2 lights see one claim 2,000 lumens while the other 2,500 lumens, and the higher lumens is actually a little cheaper, well then that must be the better value! Not…

I find color temps above 5000k to become unrealistic and color altering, plus a more penetrating glare. It pains me when a company like JetBeam makes a great light and the only choice of emitter is cool white. Maybe that’s why there’s such a surplus of lights they released over 5 years ago.