LED Colour Temperatures

When purchasing  LED lights you need to ensure not only will they be bright enough, but that the colour will be suitable for the area you wish to light up. For example, a white light may be suitable for a kitchen but most likely not for a lounge area (who wants to relax in an area as bright as a 711 store!). 

The suitability of a light has to do with colour temperature which is a measurement in Degrees Kelvin. The temperature indicates the hue of a specific type of light source. The Kelvin colour temperature scale is shown below. The story goes that Mr Kelvin heated a block of carbon which began to glow. At low temperature the block glowed with a dim reddish hue and eventually started to change colour/hue as the temperature rose resulting in the chart we see today.

White LED light comes in a range of colour temperatures the higher the colour temperature the more white the light. At 2700K the light will have a warm yellow tinge whilst above 4000K it will become very white much like a fluorescent light.

The aim is to ensure you purchase the LED colour that is suitable for your application. Even so not all LED lights follow the Kelvin scale accurately. You might purchase a 2700K Warm White downlight from two different manufacturers to find their "warmness" varies greatly. Unfortunately sometimes trial and error is necessary to find the colour that is to your liking.

Another thing to note is that the colour temperature affects the brightness output (lumens) of the light. Cool white generate more lumens than warm white.

Colour Temperature Tips

  • LED lights come in a range of whites from warm to cool
  • Cool White and Neutral White are slightly brighter than Warm White LEDs



2700K Very Warm White Suitable for living areas, hallways, bedrooms
3000K Warm White Suitable for living area, hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms
4000K Neutral White Suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, work areas, garages
5000K Cool White Work areas, garages, locations that require strong white light, 711 Stores

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