Warm White vs Soft White – Which Is The Best Light Bulb Temperature?

Have you ever stood in the middle of the light bulb aisle at your local hardware store, debating which smart bulb color would be best for your home? The problem with many different bulb colors is that they all sound the same. Isn’t white, well, white? Isn’t white just white? Warm white vs. soft white, daylight vs. cool white. What causes some “white” light bulbs to appear yellow?

Let’s look at how to interpret those color codes and figure out which light bulb temperature is best for your smart home.

Daylight vs. warm white vs. soft white bulbs

Daylight vs. warm white vs. soft white bulbs
Daylight vs. warm white vs. soft white bulbs

The first thing you should know about the battle of the bulbs is that each type of white bulb represents a different Kelvin reference point. The color temperature of a light bulb is represented by this scale.

With incandescent bulbs, the term “color temperature” referred to the color of the metal element inside the bulb. As the temperature of the metal element rose, the light changed from a yellowish glow to a bright bluish-white.

There are numerous resources available to help you learn more about the color-temperature relationship. You don’t have to be an expert in science to read the color temperature of specific bulbs.

Each Kelvin value represents a degree of “warmth” or “coolness.” The higher the value, the cooler or less yellow the bulb.

The lowest end of the spectrum is represented by soft white and warm white bulbs. The Kelvin temperature of soft white bulbs is typically around 2,700. Despite their name, warm white bulbs are slightly less warm at around 3,000-4,000 Kelvin.

Cool white bulbs with a Kelvin temperature of around 4,000 and daylight bulbs with a Kelvin temperature of 5,000-6,500 are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Daylight bulbs produce a bright, almost blue light that is similar to that of the midday sun.

Read more: Lux Lumens Conversion – What to pay attention to?

The effects of lighting on mood

You’ve probably heard the term “mood lighting” to refer to a dimly lit or romantic environment. Take into account the color temperature of this type of lighting. Is it warm and inviting, like a crackling fire, or bright and fluorescent? Isn’t the latter more likely?

It’s no secret that light affects how people feel. Light is the most important cue in regulating many biochemical and physiological processes, according to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Warm lighting makes people feel at ease and relaxed. Cooler lighting, on the other hand, energizes and excites most people. That’s why lying down on a warm beach feels so good. It’s also why spending hours trapped under fluorescent lighting can be exhausting.

In most office settings, cooler lighting is advantageous because it keeps employees alert and productive. Another study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that too much blue light (light emitted at higher temperatures) can impair a person’s ability to sleep properly.

Some companies, such as Apple, even offer Night Shift, which turns off blue light from mobile devices at specific times of the day.

Choosing the right light temperature

Choosing the right light temperature

Could you imagine walking into an office with the lighting of a dinner date? Or how about a fireside chat lit by fluorescent lights? As you can see, selecting the appropriate lighting temperature is crucial. But how should you approach it?

As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the best lighting temperatures for each room. Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions because the color temperature you select is influenced by your personal preferences.

When you turn on the lights in the morning, use daylight or cool white bulbs to make your bedroom look like a sunny day. Just keep in mind that using these lights at night will most likely result in less sleep.

Soft and warm light: 2,700-3,500K is beneficial in living rooms and kitchens. You desire a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere in your kitchen and living areas. Dimmer switches can also come in handy in this situation.

Furthermore, if you watch television in your living room, you should consider purchasing a blue-light-blocking screen protector for your television. After binge-watching your favorite series, these protectors ensure that you can still get a good night’s sleep.

Cooler white bulbs are best used in offices and garages (4,000-6,500K). When you need to get some work done, using these bulbs will make you feel more energized.

Bedrooms: 3,000K soft white bulbs are ideal for use in bedrooms. Most incandescent bulbs operate at this temperature. Bedrooms, like living rooms, do not usually benefit from cooler lighting temperatures. If you have a vanity, however, a few cool white bulbs can help you see contrast much better than warmer bulbs.

Bathrooms: Warm to cool white (3,500-5,000K) is ideal. Although this temperature range is entirely subjective, super-cold bulbs aren’t always the best option for this application.

Cooler bulbs, on the other hand, are ideal for applying makeup, and blue light brings out the gleam in chrome fixtures. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these fixtures if you have several of them in your bathroom or if you want the extra contrast that cooler bulbs provide.

Read more: Power Consumption Calculator Of Any Electrical Equipment

A Word on watts, lumens, and CRI

A Word on watts, lumens, and CRI

Color temperature is important in determining mood, but bulb brightness should also be taken into account.

Too much light is just as bad as not enough light at any temperature. While lighting is measured in lumens, wattage is still an important factor in determining incandescent bulb brightness.

Wattage could previously be used to predict how bright a bulb would be. LED bulbs, on the other hand, use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs. A 60W incandescent, for example, will produce far less light than an equivalent LED. For the same lumen output, an LED would only consume 8-12W.

If you’ve converted your smart home to LEDs, lumens should be your primary indicator of bulb brightness. A lumen and wattage calculator can help you figure out how many lights you need in a given room.

The color-rendering index is another value you may come across in your search for smart lighting (CRI). This value represents the color accuracy with which light can be reproduced. In photography, CRI is especially important. Color-accurate bulbs typically have CRI values of 90 or higher.

Make the most of your ideal smart home lighting

While choosing the right lighting for your space can be challenging at times, once you understand how the color temperature scale works, you can easily choose the lighting that works best for you. Understanding how lighting affects mood can also assist you in determining how to light your space.

Finding great lighting for your smart home does not have to be difficult. You should also feel free to try new things. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to lighting. Choose what suits you best, whether a cooler kitchen or a warmer bathroom.

Your smart home should always be a place where you feel at ease, and one of the simplest ways to do so is to have lighting that you enjoy.

Another area where you can save money when building a smart home is with smart bulbs.

Read more: Illuminance Calculator: All-to-know about Calculating Illuminance

Frequently Asked Questions:

#1. Should I use warm white or soft white?

The color temperature of light bulbs is divided into three categories: Soft white is a warm and yellow color with a Kelvin range of 2,700 to 3,000, similar to that of incandescent bulbs.

This light creates a warm and cozy environment and is commonly used in living rooms, dens, and bedrooms. Warm white with a yellowish cast, ranging in temperature from 3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin.

Warm white for bed room
Warm white for bed room

#2. Is soft white suitable for the bathroom?

Again, soft-white LEDs, particularly A-shaped bulbs that are also good for reading, are a good choice. Color temperatures in the 5000K – 6500K range are ideal for true color accuracy and clarity in the bathroom, as opposed to the bedrooms.

#3. Should warm white be used in bathrooms?

Warm white is ideal for larger living spaces that want to feel welcoming. Extensive research has revealed that ‘daylight’ LED lighting is preferable in bathrooms where the space should appear and feel clean.

#4. Is warm lighting good for reading?

Warm light aids relaxation; many users report sleeping better after reading in warm light rather than white light. Because of the color and the lower number of lumens provided by the lamp, this type of light is gentler on the eyes.

#5. Can you mix soft white and daylight?

Mixing cool and warm white bulbs in the same room is also possible, particularly in the kitchen, where warm yellow glows are used during the day. However, after the warm white lights are turned off at night, under-shelving or cabinets can be enhanced with cool white lights.

Mixing soft white and daylight in the kitchen
Mixing soft white and daylight in the kitchen

Read more: Aquarium Lighting Calculator – Why Is It Important?


In a nutshell, you now understand the comparison of warm white vs soft white. Soft white and warm white are the same color; they are just referred to differently by different people. Warm white appears to be more professional when it comes to LED lighting colors.

Please leave any additional questions in the comments section below, and we will do our best to answer them.

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