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StevenHarris

Kitchen Lighting Color Temp

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After the new range was installed, my wife and I decided that upgrading the kitchen lighting to LEDs was the next step.  We have multiple ceiling cans with good ol' incandescent floods.  We headed over to HomeDepot to check out out options.  Looks pretty straight forward...whoa!  Color temperature?  I know about that from photography but we're not sure which temp is best for food prep/serving.  I'd like the food to look "good" or "correct".  Would the difference even be noticeable?

 

Choices are;  Daylight: 5000K,  Bright White: 3000k and Soft White: 2700K

 

Probably a silly thing to be concerned about, but inquiring minds would like to know.

 

Steven

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Good question, I'd like to know too

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12 minutes ago, StevenHarris said:

After the new range was installed, my wife and I decided that upgrading the kitchen lighting to LEDs was the next step.  We have multiple ceiling cans with good ol' incandescent floods.  We headed over to HomeDepot to check out out options.  Looks pretty straight forward...whoa!  Color temperature?  I know about that from photography but we're not sure which temp is best for food prep/serving.  I'd like the food to look "good" or "correct".  Would the difference even be noticeable?

 

Choices are;  Daylight: 5000K,  Bright White: 3000k and Soft White: 2700K

 

Probably a silly thing to be concerned about, but inquiring minds would like to know.

 

Steven

 

The differences are noticeable, and it isn't a silly question at all.  I remember my dismay at getting a daylight-temp light for the hallway and being dismayed at how blue it seemed.  That said, I can't remember what we settled on for the kitchen.  Bright white, I think, but we have dimmers.  When I'm working in the kitchen I want it BRIGHT - my husband jokes about the operating room - but when I'm done we dim the lights to a softer level. Do not omit the dimmer switches, and make sure your LED lights are compatible.

 

The do-it-yourself hardware stores like Lowe's, Home Depot and (our local favorite) Menard's should have displays so you can check them out.

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About 2 yrs ago I replaced the bulbs in all my ceiling fixtures with dimmable LEDs and installed LED-compatible dimmer switches. 

For brightness, I wanted 100-watt equivalent bulbs and at the time, I only found Daylight and Soft White.  Now, I see them in Bright White, too, and it sounds like that might be a good choice.

Like @Smithy, I find the Daylight bulbs too blue.  It also bothers me to have different lighting temperatures in adjacent rooms so I went with Soft White, because I prefer it in the adjacent dining and family room, which has the same sort of fixtures. 

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Incandescent light color temperature can vary, depending on voltage (dimmer).

LEDs color temperature remain the same when dimmed.

supermarket meat showcase lighting is modified to make meat look redder, and likewise, for produce to look greener.

 

dcarch

.

 

 

 

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I did my current house in 2010 and my previous home in 2007 with LEDs. I purchased direct from the manufacturers via ebay. My whole house is pretty much all cool white, 7500k. With a few bulbs, like inside my clothes dryer, and inside the fridge, I had to take the only type offered. I like it brght, and cool in the kitchen. In other rooms I have multiple lighting options, some brighter than others.

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I use 5k and buy "dimmable" format--cuz some of my cans have that option.

 

Buy what i can from amazon..I have bought Superior and other companies Kris Davis.  But pretty costly

 

I enjoy good lighting in kitchen and try to find natural outside light.. for best food colors 

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Not only is your question not silly,  it is pretty important, and yes it will impact how the food will look.   I added a bulb once that made waffles looked like they had a green tint,  very unappetizing.  Unfortunately, it really is a personal decision.  I am with Smithy, and find natural daylight far too blue for my tastes.  My lighting companies suggest warm white for a kitchen and dining, others suggest bright white,  but you really need to find what you like - try a few bulbs and see, the investment is not that high, the ones that you don't like can go into closets, etc. 

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Never mind if your food looks good or not under light.

I believe that psychologically and physiologically, we are all effected by light. Especially for people who are suffering with  S.A.D. condition, the lack of  quality of environmental lighting can be debilitating.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
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I prefer warm light for LED or elsewise.  In my youth I often dined by candle light but in my dotage I am too lazy.  Aggressively dimmed halogen works pretty well.  I minimize my awake time while the sun is up.

 

Cool illumination does not appear appetizing to me in the kitchen.

 

True, my old, broken teeth are pretty sharp.

 

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I like a warmer light balance in most of the house.

 

But I like cooking under daylight balanced light.

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I agree, we use 3000 K lighting for general lighting but have 4000 K for the kitchen and exterior. For me 5000 K or higher is just too white.

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Not that they're installed yet, but we are putting dimmable 2700K in the overhead/ceiling cans, and dimmable 3000K in the under counter lighting.  

 

One of the issues that we are experiencing in NYC is the replacement of the old-style street lights (which cast a lovely yellow glow) with new and "efficient" LEDs. It has caused a bit of an uproar, as the streets where they've been installed are way too lit up - and if your apartment happens to look onto them, it sucks.

 

Obviously, nothing is ever easy in NYC.

 

 


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Looks like there might be a small consensus for the 3000K bulbs.  Weedy's suggestion (2850k) is interesting and I'd like to see them in person, but at about $25 each it's a tough sell.  We're experimenting with a Cree Soft White 2700K (100 watt equivalent).  We haven't noticed any odd color casts and really like how bright the light is but it won't dim down enough for my tastes.  That's likely to be true for all these type of bulbs.  I did buy a modern, made for LED dimmer.  I assume that the 65w will produce lower light levels then the 100w when dimmed fully.

Do most people go for the 65 or 100 watt?

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There's a cultural component to this as well.  In Europe and North America most people prefer 2700-3000K.  In Asia 4000K is often preferred.

 

There are LED bulbs on the market with the ability to change color temperatures.  Some people prefer different color temperatures at different times in the day (cooler in the morning, warmer in the evening, for instance) and those bulbs allow that.  Also, there is some, not uniformly accepted, evidence that certain color temperatures at certain times in the day might have positive or negative health or behavioral effects.

 

As far as color rendering is concerned, that's separate from color temperature.  You can have a 2700K light source in which many colors look off, and a different 2700K light source in which most colors look great.  There aren't good, readily available metrics used for most lighting available.  There is a relatively poor metric in common use, Color Rendering Index (CRI), which rates the quality for eight defined color samples against a reference source of light, with 100 as the top of the scale.  Incandescent has a CRI of 100.  Typical LEDs are around 83, though specialty LEDs go as high as around 98.  CRI as a metric is significantly flawed, however, so a higher CRI source can look better for those eight colors than a lower CRI source but worse for general use.  If you can it's best to see the actual light source in your target environment and see how it looks to you.

 

Dimming is another subject.  Some LED lights don't support dimming.  For those that do, the minimum illumination before flickering or the light turns off completely is a function of both the specific lights and the dimmer.  Sometimes manufacturers offer lists of recommended product pairing for best dimming performance but it's not common.  Again, unfortunately, you're usually best off trying combinations on your own.

 

There is yet another light option with dimming.  Dim to Warm LED lights lower their color temperature automatically as they are dimmed, similar to incandescent lights.  At full brightness they might be 2700K to 3000K and at minimum brightness they might be 1900 to 2200K.  This has the "dim to candlelight" effect many people used dimmers to get with incandescent lights.

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Well...Dang!

 

Great info Stumptown, thank you.  However now I need to restart my research.  Fortunately there's no hurry...

 

Steven

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6 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

Having grown up in NYC in the 60s/70s, I remember the bright white of mercury vapor streetlights before they were switched to the sodium vapor lamps.  I like incandescent/2700K inside my house but I was never a big fan of the pinky-yellow sodium vapor streetlights.  

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LED lights may seem brighter, but not really. The source of LED light is smaller for the same lumen output, therefore it looks much brighter.

 

LED is a diode, requiring a minimum voltage to start firing, therefore they are never as dimmable as incandescent.

 

Bring a small fan to check LED lights. Many of them flicker.

 

5 hours ago, StumptownGeek said:

There is yet another light option with dimming.  Dim to Warm LED lights lower their color temperature automatically as they are dimmed,

That is interesting. Because there is no such thing as white LEDs. All so called white LEDs are colored LEDs exciting  white phosphorous coating to generate white light.

dcarch

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