The color white comes in many different shapes and sizes. Think about daylight white – it starts real warm and yellowish, turns very cool (in degrees Kelvin, not centigrade) , and then warms up again during sunset. What about paint – have you ever tried to pick out the perfect white for the new bathroom? Eggshell, semi gloss…you name it!
Lighting isn’t all that different. ‘White’ can vary from a yellowish to bluish hue. Before LEDs you were stuck with the color temperature of your everyday light bulb. Incandescent & halogen bulbs are a yellow, soft white. Many residents prefer a soft white and don’t like the pure or cool white CFL lights.
Finally, we have a choice. LEDs come in warm white, pure white or cool white. Check out this photo of four different MR16s from Green Lighting LED. On the left hand side is a very warm, soft white matching an incandescent bulb (2700K). Second from the left is another warm white option matching a halogen light (3200K). The third bulb over is close to a fluorescent tube at 4500K and finally our cool white bulb shines a cool, bluish-white (6000K).
That doesn’t mean LEDs are perfect, either. Each diode has a slight variation on the color temperature. With a high quality diode, this isn’t noticeable, but ‘cheapies’ or even quality 5mm (DIP) diodes have wide color temperature ranges. Warm white could be 3000-3500K. Pretty wide difference in color temperature there. SMD diodes from a quality manufacturer like Cree have a much tighter range (150 or so degrees). It’s important to understand about the variations in diodes because this directly affects pricing of products. This is one of the many reasons we strongly recommend Cree SMD diodes and use the XP-E as a standard chip for many products.
In the photo here, we used our standard Cree diode to make a color temperature comparison. We used our 9 watt MR16 LED for the photo.
Which color white do you prefer? Do you go for the warm, fuzzy feeling of a warm white or the clear, crisp illumination of daylight white? Take a look at the photos and let us know what you like!