What Does Kelvin Temperature Mean?

If you want a light source to emit a specific color light, you will need to be familiar with Kelvin temperature, or the color temperature, of the light source. The color temperature of a lamp indicates whether the lamp or LEDs have a warm, neutral, or cool color appearance. Color temperatures are measured in Kelvin. The video on the right provides a quick tutorial on Kelvin.

Kelvin Temperature from 1000K to 8000K

Light sources are often characterized by the color temperatures available. Available Kelvin temperatures range from 1000K to 8000K. The lower the Kelvin temperature, the warmer the light will appear. The higher the Kelvin temperature, the bluer the light will appear. A Kelvin temperature of 6500K or higher will produce a blue light similar to that of an overcast sky. Color temperatures of 3500K or lower tend to be warmer, similar to that of candle light. If you are looking for a more natural white light, a color temperature between 4100K and 5500K will provide a white light similar to that of natural daylight.

Kelvin Guide

Kelvin Considerations

Kelvin Temperature Difference

Click to see larger image

If you look at a building and notice some of the lights seem white while others seem to have a yellow hue. The lamps and/or LEDs have different color temperatures. This image shows a church that has lights on the front of the building emitting a warmer color light as compared to the bollards throughout the landscape that are using a white light. If you are adding new luminaires, or replacing lamps, be sure to match the color temperatures of the lamps or LEDs to ensure a consistent appearance throughout your property. Click the image on the right to view the front of the church with multiple Kelvin light sources.

Factors in Selecting the Correct Kelvin Temperature for Your Project

Understanding color temperatures and various Kelvins is only step one. The next step is to decide which Kelvin temperature is right for your application. There are many factors that go into this decision and they are outlined below.

  1. What light source will be used for the project?
  2. What color are the surrounding lights?
  3. What is the purpose of the light? i.e. safety, decorative, visibility, wildlife safe.
  4. Are there neighbors who might be bothered by a blue or white light?
  5. Where is the light being installed?
  6. Does the customer or property owner have a color preference?

Once all of these questions are answered, you will be able to choose the appropriate color temperature for your lighting project.

Most light sources have different Kelvins available to choose from. However, some light sources have “standard” color temperatures, such as High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide. High Pressure Sodium generally has a warmer color whereas Metal Halide has a more natural white color. Other light sources, such as induction, LED and fluorescent have various Kelvin temperatures readily available, making it easy to customize your light to suit any application.

Speak to an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist about Choosing the Right Kelvin

Access Fixtures has the right lighting to suitably illuminate your property. Are you still unsure what Kelvin temperature will best suit your project? Let us know! Our lighting specialists will help you get the best output for your space. Talk with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist at 800-468-9925.