CRI and CCT - differences and importance for lighting selection

Before the attention of interested parties and the general public was focused on energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting, the choice of light was quite simple. If a light bulb with a filament of, for example, 60 W does not provide enough light, get a stronger one of 75 W or 100 W.

LED technology has provided a wide range of possibilities in terms of performance and characteristics of lamps, which can be considered a big step forward in improving environmental protection, as well as the progress of industrial and commercial lighting applications.

However, with the advancement of technology and the appearance of a large selection of effects of modern LED lamps, the choice of adequate lighting for the desired space has become all the more complex. ZenQ offers lighting solutions depending on the functionality and needs of the area, all thanks to the fact that in our assortment, we have a wide selection of LED lamps for different purposes and possibilities.

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For this reason, it is crucial to understand the difference between two terms related to LED lighting:

  • CCT (Light Color Temperature) and
  • CRI (Color Rendering Index)


CRI and CCT in LED lighting - the differences you should know

Color rendering index and light color temperature are two critical specifications of LED lighting.

Although both terms refer to the emitted light from a fixture, and both have the word "color" in their name, they are two completely different things, measuring two aspects of light.

These two characteristics of LED lamps are fundamental when it comes to lighting, be it general or industrial lighting, given that depending on your mood, you can choose the light with the most suitable CRI or CCT. It allows you to improve user experience, work atmosphere, or increase sales.

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What is CRI, and why is it an essential element in lighting?

CRI indicates the color rendering quality of particular objects in the space under the light source compared to daylight. CRI is a specification of an LED lamp that expresses the realistic rendering of the color of the object being illuminated.

The color reproduction index is measured from 0 to 100, and the maximum value indicates that colors under an artificial light source are displayed identically to natural sunlight. This measurement is fundamental in the lighting industry and depends on the needs of the space being lit.


What value of CRI is most practical?

Luminaires with a CRI of 80 or higher are considered acceptable for most spaces. Lighting with a high color rendering index is essential in many industries and retail facilities, sports fields, galleries, salons, and other facilities where accurate color rendering is significant.

High CRI lighting is equally practical for in-home use. It can transform a space by highlighting design details and adequately displaying colors and materials that create an aesthetically pleasing impression.

What is CCT, and what is the significance of this characteristic of LED lamps

The CCT of LED lamps indicates the color temperature of the emitted light of a particular lamp. CCT is expressed in Kelvin (K) and helps describe the relative warmth or coolness of the light source. It does not refer to the actual temperature of the lamp; instead, the CCT number represents the temperature to which a particular black body would need to be heated for it to glow the same color as the lamp.

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For example, if a blackbody were to be heated to 3,000 degrees Kelvin, it would glow the same color as a lamp with a CCT of 3,000 K. This concept is borrowed from physics and is somewhat complex. Still, it is a practical way to assign a numerical value to the temperature colors of light.

The term "warm and cool colors" of light describes the color of the light source itself, not the CCT value, so for:

  • orange, which has a low CCT, is said to be a warm color, while it is
  • the blue color is excellent and has a high CCT value


LED lamps with a CCT of less than 3,000 K emit a light color predominantly in the yellow spectrum, while lamps with a CCT of more than 5,000 K are considered to cast a soft color more in the blue range. Lamps with a light color temperature between the two specified values provide light of a pleasant white color.


Application of LED lamps depending on their CRI and CCT

Most standard LED lamps have a CRI value of 70 or 80, and there are also lamps with high CRI values, such as 90. In most general-purpose spaces, such as residential buildings, hotels or office spaces, and other closed-type buildings, such as factories, LED bulbs with a CRI greater than 80 are used. In comparison, lamps with a CRI greater than 70 are also suitable for public lighting.

In rooms where high precision and observation of details are required, it is advisable to choose lighting with the highest possible CRI. For example, the colors in the gallery under a light with a CRI of 70 may appear unnatural. However, when the same image is viewed under a 95 CRI light source, the colors in the image will appear authentic and natural.

For most residential properties, it is recommended to use LED fixtures that have a CCT in the 2,700K to 3,000K range, as fixtures that emit these light color temperatures provide a friendly, warm look that creates a calm and relaxing ambiance.

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For retail or commercial establishments, a light color temperature of 4,000K is a popular option because it provides a more apparent, energetic white. This CCT range is also the most common in public lighting fixtures.

For industrial facilities or other facilities where demanding tasks requiring good visibility are performed, LED lighting with 5,000 K or even 6,500 K is the preferred option, given that these color temperatures best match natural daylight when the sun is at its zenith.

LED technology is slowly becoming dominant in numerous industrial and commercial facilities categories. In addition to easier maintenance of LED lighting, performance is also one of the critical advantages of LED lighting. Achieving the best lighting levels with the lowest possible energy consumption is extremely important, primarily because of the likely increase in energy costs.

That is precisely why we have positioned ourselves on the market with an offer of high-quality LED lighting products, which, depending on the purpose, provide a quality selection of light color temperatures and color reproduction indices.

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