Why you need to ignore the term ‘warm white’

Today i went to visit a customer who lives locally to our offices in Yorkshire who’d found us on the Observers website. I’m going write more about the visit and the results at a later date, but the purpose of this article is to concentrate on one aspect that continues to really frustrate me as it rears it’s ugly head again and again – the ‘warm white’ LED Bulb.


The customer had explained to me on the phone that they had previously tried to switch their home to LED Lighting and had purchased products from a big online LED retailer that i won’t name (but can be mostly found promoting never ending ‘too good to be true’  discounts in Google adwords).


She told me that she had sent the majority of the products that she had purchased back to the retailer because they produced an “deeply unpleasant light that was nothing like the incandescent bulbs they had been using’. When i asked her what colour temperature the LED lamps she had bought were, she replied ‘warm white’. Thats when i knew this was another case of the ‘warm white’ led lamp striking again.


You see for some reason there are LED retailers out there who do not publish the actual colour temperature of their products on their website. Instead, they prefer to just use terms such as ‘warm white’, ‘natural white’ and ‘cool white’, which can be incredibly misleading, as it was in this car and it is in countless cases i’ve witnessed in the past.


There can be no reasonable excuse for not publishing the colour temperature of your LED Lamps other than the fact they do not want to advertise the colour temperature of their products. Perhaps they don’t want to advertise the colour temperature of their products because they do not produce the warm ambient, incandescent like light that the term ‘warm white’ suggest they do? That certainly seems to be case here.


The lamp in the left image is a 6w LED Bulb, with around 480 lumens with a colour temperature of ‘warm white’. When i’m provided with the box the product came in i can see the colour temperature is actually 3000k, so not warm white at all. To make matters worse, the CRI is only 80.


The LED Lamp in the right image is our 7w Dimmable LED Bulb,  470 Lumens, Colour temperature of 2700k with 97 CRI – this is an LED Bulb that does produce a high quality, warm and ambient light. In fact the difference between 3000k / 80 CRI  and 27000k / 97 CRI is absolutely massive.


Low-CRI-LED-bulb-E27-768x1024 High-CRI-LED-bulb-E27-768x1024



So the next time you are looking to buy LED Bulbs and you actually want it to produce a warm white light, then make sure you actually know the colour temperature of the product before purchasing so that you can make sure it’s 2700k.


Chris Stimson





One thought on “Why you need to ignore the term ‘warm white’

  1. how very refreshing to read a clear easy to follow idiots guide to lighting. Thank you. As a jobbing builder your absolutely right, client are only interested in “how much”. I will endeavour to educate them armed with your article. Thanks.

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