The advent of the lightbulb drastically changed the way that we live our daily lives. It allowed us to be more productive during darker times of day, as well as add a certain ambiance to our work and living spaces. That simple little idea has evolved over the generations, and has become a broad spectrum of various different lightbulb options.
What started as a simple filament and some glass has become an entire industry. We now have access to a whole gamut of lightbulbs to choose from. Our options range from different color options, dimmable settings, shapes, and ‘warmth’–with warmth being the most crucial choice to make for most of us.
The warmth of a lightbulb is the overall tone of color that the bulb emits. Two of the most popular being ‘cool white’ and ‘daylight’ bulbs. Despite being very similar in appearance, they both accomplish different effects within the home/work space. But how different are they exactly, and where should you be using each of them?
At Cleaning King we took the initiative to break down the difference between these two types of LED–here is what we found.
Before we dive into the actual bulbs themselves, it’s important for us to break down a quick explanation of what we mean by light ‘temperature.’ This can be a bit confusing to those who may be unfamiliar with buying bulbs in general.
Lightbulbs are graded on a scale to measure their temperature. This scale is measured in Kelvin units. The Kelvin scale is a unit of measuring temperature much like Fahrenheit or Celsius. However, in terms of lightbulbs, it measures the color temperature.
Generally light bulbs you can buy commercially for your home are rated between 1,000 Kelvin and 10,000 Kelvin. The lower the number the ‘warmer’ the light is going to be–i.e more yellow/orange. The higher the number, the ‘cooler’ the light will be–i.e more blue/white.
Now that we have that established, let’s move on!
Now that we have a good understanding of what each bulb is used for, let’s take a quick look at what you should be considering/looking for when buying new bulbs for your home.
The most important thing when choosing a new light bulb is to look for the color temperature that matches your room and preferences. Generally all modern light bulbs are LEDS so at this point all you need to do is choose the proper temperature.
As we mentioned above, the Kelvin scale is what you need to know when choosing the right lightbulb temperature. The lower the temperature, the warmer the light will appear. As a general rule, here is what you are going to aim for:
You can never go wrong with any type of LED, as long as you are matching the temperature to the setting and atmosphere you want to create. This is the single most important aspect of buying a new LED!
Cool white LEDs are a relatively modern invention. They are a newer addition to the already large scale of color temperatures available on the market. The best way to describe a cool white bulb is one that is very much middle of the road in terms of temperature and color gradient. Hence the term ‘cool white’. White is by its very nature colorless. Generally a cool white LED will be between 3,000 – 4,100 Kelvins. This provides a nice even white coloration that doesn’t overshadow anything in a specific tone or ambiance.
Cool white bulbs are popular in modern homes as they provide a more crisp and clean look to your living space. They appear very sterile–in a good way, don’t worry. With cool white bulbs you can get a very neutral feeling no matter where you install them.
Cool white bulbs are great for areas of the home where productivity is valued. This makes them ideals for rooms such as your home office, the kitchen, the garage, etc,. This is because the crisp white hue, slightly tinged with blue, provides a very awake and vibrant atmosphere for you and your home.
More and more, cool white bulbs are gaining traction. They are especially popular in homes designed to fit the modern Scandinavian/Nordic design that has become more commonly seen across home and interior design trends. The cool white LED bulb helps achieve a whole new atmosphere for your home.
Daylight bulbs are also a pretty modern member of the lightbulb family. They have become popular in recent years for a lot of the same reasons that cool white bulbs have. They are a more modern and clean approach to interior lighting. Where soft white bulbs emit a soft yellowish hue, daylight bulbs are on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Daylight bulbs are generally between 5,000 – 6,500 Kelvins. This makes them much further down the ‘cool’ scale than cool white. They are far less neutral, and can even emit a slightly bluish tint. However, this effect can be rather pleasing when used indoors.
Daylight bulbs are made to synthesize the actual color and brightness of… Well… Daylight. They are great for bringing a more natural light into the home without making it feel overly warm. While warm lighting–lower Kelvin bulbs–can be ideal for creating a cozy atmosphere; daylight bulbs are ideal for creating a natural and organic atmosphere.
One downside to daylight bulbs is that some feel like they create a far too ‘sterile’ environment. This is because we have become conditioned to prefer indoor light over a more naturall tone. This comes from the traditional yellow coloration that lightbulbs have had since their advent. However, more and more people are getting on board with the blueish/white daylight tint within their homes. It takes a bit of brain rewiring, but the effect is nice!
Daylight light bulbs are ideal for rooms that you want to feel more organic and ‘open’. This makes them a great addition to your living room, game room, or even bathroom in certain circumstances.
Effectively the only difference is the temperature of the light. Cool white is more neutral, and daylight is more crisp with a slightly stronger blue hue. Aside from color, they are functionally the same.
Daylight bulbs are designed to mimic natural sunlight. However, modern technology hasn’t quite nailed this yet in the eyes of many. However, it is as close as you are going to get at the present time. It still maintains a slight blue hue, but it does allow your room to feel more like it is illuminated by the sun rather than a bulb.
Many people often mistake Kelvins for brightness. This is a common misconception. In fact, the lumens of the light are the actual ‘brightness’ of the light. The Kelvins are purely associated with color. In this regard, daylight and cool white LEDs are exactly the same in brightness, except when you compare higher lumen options against lower lumen options.
Ultimately it all comes down to your preference. Cool white is far more palatable to most people, as it comes off as more neutral. However, daylight can be a lot more natural once you get used to it. It all depends on how you feel at the end of the day. There is no clear-cut winner.