23 Jul Color Rendering Index (CRI)
The Color Rendering Index, or CRI, can perhaps be better explained as the color accuracy portrayal of a light. Essentially, at what quality (on a scale of 0-100) does the light best represent blues, greens, reds, etc., exactly as they appear in broad daylight? In order to achieve a high CRI score, each bulb is measured on its ability to produce correct-looking colors for each color on the spectrum. The best rating possible is 100, which incandescents get pretty close to. But because of their inefficiency, consumers began turning to other options such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to save money and energy. Unfortunately, CFLs have a poor CRI of around 50 which led consumers to be skeptical of alternative lighting.
The good news is that LEDs solve both the issue of inefficiency and color quality. Most LEDs have a solid CRI of around 80 and higher, accurately portraying colors just as they should be. Most CRIs of 90 and above are reserved for professional uses such as photographers and in art galleries. That doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a high CRI bulb for your own non-professional use, though. Take a look at the image below to get an idea of how the difference in CRI can affect the quality and vibrancy of colors.
As you can see, the 50 CRI looks dull and unappealing. There is a considerable increase in quality with the 80 CRI, while the high CRI of 90+ looks extra vibrant in comparison. It’s the same reason why a bright yellow daisy will perhaps look a bit dull in a vase at the office compared to outside in a bright sunlit field. The human eye depends on the light source illuminating an object as to how well it perceives color. A high CRI will help reveal all the shades in between colors so you can see them more easily and accurately.
Looking for a high CRI light for your own use? We’ve gathered all of our high CRI bulbs in one convenient place ranging from your standard A19 bulb to BRs, Downlights, MR16s, and PARs. Check them all out here.
Image of colorful limes taken and adapted from brightgreen.com.mx.