Warm White vs Cool White: Which Should You Choose?

We often get asked which type of LED lighting to choose. Whether it's for LED Strips or LED bulbs, we have three types of whites available: Warm White, that generates around 3000 Kelvin Degrees (3000K), Natural White that generates around 4500Kelvin degrees (4500K) and Cool White that generates between 5000 and 6000 Kelvin Degrees (5000-6000K). Warm White is a yellowish that resembles a traditional incandescent or halogen light. Cool White on its side, leans towards shades of blue and more like the light you would get from a neon.

Warm White Vs Cool White - What's The Difference? (Photo Examples) - The  Lighting Outlet

Although we all perceive light in a different way and personal tastes vary, there are some scenarios where most people agree on the most appropriate lighting type.

Warm or cool ?

There are no rules - the choice is about personal preference and use. If you like the traditional yellowish colour of a conventional lamp then warm white around (2700-3000K ) would be the ideal choice, this is the most popular choice for homes. If you want a modern, clean look, you may prefer the cleaner, brighter feel of a cool white lamp (4000K+). Cool white light contains more blue light and looks brighter to the eye (this is why cool white bulbs have a higher lumen output when compared to the equivalent warm white bulb).   It also seems people from sunnier countries tend to prefer white light compared to people from cooler countries who prefer more warm light. 

Warm White or Cool White?

In commercial applications choosing the right colour temperature is important and will depend on the mood you want to create and the products you are promoting - for example freshly baked cookies and bread may look better under a warm white light. A cool white light may not make the product look as appealing but it would be a good idea to do some trials to see what works best.

Where can I use them?

Below are some common areas where the different colours can be used:

  • Warm to Warm white – living room, bedroom, hallway
  • White to Cool white – kitchen, study, bathroom, cupboard, office, retail
  • Daylight - Commercial, retail, art studios

Allow some time to get used to any change especially if changing from warm to cool white. 

For LED strips, the same principles can be applied, with a few small differences. For LED lighting under kitchen cabinets, most people will turn to Cool White. However for more rustic or country looking kitchens with wood cabinets and counters, we suggest to go with Warm White. Cool White has a more modern look and will best suit laboratory kitchens, granite counters, tiles and similar materials.

In a nutshell, we can conclude that Cool White LED lighting best suits practical applications while Warm White is best for living areas. However, as mentioned earlier, everyone has different tastes. When in doubt, buy a bulb of each kind to see which one you prefer, prior to buying bulbs for the whole house.


Conclusion :

A good color temperature choice can be the final, victorious touch on your project, while a poor one can make it fall flat, and in some cases even drive people (maybe even customers!) away.

Be sure to think hard about what you're trying to accomplish in your space, get in touch with our customer service team if you're having trouble and we'll help you out!