What is CCT? How to choose CCT for LED lighting?

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Many first cooperate customers usually ask what is the correct color temperature and color rendering index (CRI) for their applications. In fact, different applications or users have different lighting requirements for fixtures, and colors may be more subjective. With LED lights, your choices will become infinite. In this article, I will solve the problem for you: choose the correct color temperature.

What is the color temperature?

Color temperature (CCT) is a technical term used to indicate that the light contains color components, that is, a measure of whether the light emitted by the lamp is yellow or blue. The unit of measurement is "K" (Kelvin), and the most common CCT is between 2200K and 6500K. The higher the Kelvin level, the whiter the light.

  • 3000K: Warm white
  • 4000K: Cool white
  • 5000K: Natural Daylight
  • 5700K/6000K/6500K: Daylight

In general, the color temperature of 2200-3000K appears to be a warm light source and has more light in the red, orange, and yellow range. A room for rest or a high-end restaurant that wants to create an atmosphere is suitable for choosing a warm CCT.

The cool light source has a higher color temperature (>4000K), which is expressed as more light in the blue range. In school classrooms and corridors, offices, or hospitals, this refreshing white or blue light will be more needed.

XSY Lighting can customize color temperature for you.

Whether you need an ambient light source or a high-focus task lighting source, remember the following Kelvin range:

  1. Less than 2000K: emit dim red light, similar to the light seen from candlelight.
  2. 2000K-3000K: emit soft white light, the external light is usually yellow
  3. 3500K-4000K: emit cool white light
  4. 5000K-5700K: emit bright light similar to daytime
  5. 6500K and above: emit bright blue light

color temperature

Questions to consider when choosing a color temperature

1. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create?
Do you want to invite people into a residential environment that looks warm and happy? Welcome people to restaurants with a big appetite? Want employees, students, and medical staff to maintain a clear mind? Communicate a passionate place? You should know who your audience is and what kind of atmosphere you want them to feel at your premises.

2. Which color do you want to apply in the space?
It can complement the color of the environment and can also be used to highlight the environment. For example, if the lighting project wants to install fixtures on the path in the living area (required to create a romantic environment for residents to take a walk at leisure), then we will recommend choosing a color temperature of <4000K. Furthermore, a road for vehicles to travel with must have a bright light at night, you can choose >5000K. Talking from experience, XSY Lighting customers also favor 5000K or more color temperatures when buying led street lights or parking lot lights. In addition, if there is a higher demand for lighting. This will go further into CRI, which we will discuss in the next article.

Guide to select CCT by application

This is a simplified guide that explains which color temperature is usually most effective in the lighting application.


Best Suited For Applications


Comfortable environments

Residential lighting, restaurants, bars


Neutral lighting

Garages, office, basements, schools, lobby


Task lighting

Garages, basements, classroom, office


High detail/accurate color required Workshops, factories, hospitals, warehouse


Exteriors and commercial spaces

Parking lots, display areas, retail, area lighting

6500K Full illumination

Security, street, large space lighting, display


This blog has explained in great detail how to choose CCT. You may have learned it in theory. However, I want to emphasize one thing, you still need to simulate it. Not all 3000K or 5000K products look the same between different manufacturers, so you can also get samples to install into your space and light up. Only seeing it in person is the truest color.

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