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How do I choose the right colour rendering index CRI ?

CRI: colour rendering index


The colour rendering index (CRI) of a light source is a quantitative measure of its ability to reproduce the colours of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. In general terms, CRI is a measure of a light source's ability to show object colours "realistically" or "naturally" compared to a familiar reference source, either incandescent light or daylight. It is significant because it has been the most difficult metric for incandescent replacement light bulbs to match (while maintaining high efficiency) and therefore the most frequently ignored (the CRI spec value appears only on a very small percentage of LED product packaging, For that reason, LED light bulbs with a high CRI can be worthy replacements for incandescent light bulbs. Most LED lights do not have a CRI above 90.


With a good color display, subtle variations in the color spectrum are revealed. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a scale of 0 to 100 percent. This index indicates how accurate a light source displays colors are compared to daylight. The higher the CRI, the better the lamp displays colors. Lamps with a CRI between 80 and 89 have a high color display. This makes them suitable for almost all applications. Light sources with a CRI higher than 90 have excellent color reproduction. They are only needed for the most accurate tasks that require an almost perfect color rendering, such as spray booths and shop windows.


It is important to know that CRI is independent of the color temperature. The color temperature creates ambience, but does not affect the color display.



CRI: 90-100
CRI 90
Excellent colour rendering
Application booth, showcase

CRI: 80-89
CRI 80
Good colour rendering
Bureaux, public spaces, industrial areas

CRI: 70-79
CRI 70
Average colour rendering
Outside lighting, emergency lighting

CRI: 60-69
CRI 60
Low colour rendering
Street lighting

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