What Lightbulbs are White? Warm vs Soft vs Cool Vs Daylight

Those who are yet to switch to LED bulbs should do so now as they are not only far more efficient but also offer better value for your money. They are better for your wallet as well as the environment which makes is the best option when it comes to illumination purposes.

You may have asked yourself, “What lightbulbs are white?” and which among warm, soft, cool, or daylight bulbs is the best. If so, then the short answer is that LEDs come in three types of whites; soft white, cool white and daylight. As for which one is better, it depends mainly on your purpose.

Let’s take a look into the illuminating and interesting world of LED bulbs.

What Lightbulbs are White?

Unlike incandescent bulbs which typically come with a warm, yellow hue, LED bulbs are available in a wide variety of colors ranging from purple, reds, yellows, greens, and whites. However, the most popular type of LED bulbs are whites which come in two types and they are soft white and bright white. The soft white LEDs provide a warmer tone similar to a candle whereas the bright white produces white light. The color of light coming from a bulb is defined by its color temperature. The lower the color temperature, the warmer the light it produces.

For a better frame of reference, a soft white bulb usually comes with a color temperature of 2500 to 3000 Kelvin whereas cool white LED bulbs fall within the range of 3000K to 4500K. Daylight produces light with a higher color temperature of 4600K to 6500K and more. So the brightest white LED bulb you can get is the daylight one.

Warm vs Soft vs Cool vs Daylight

Let’s take a look at how they can illuminate a space differently.

What Lightbulbs are White Warm vs Soft vs Cool Vs Daylight

1)  Warm White Bulbs – Perhaps one of the most popular of all the white LEDs, warm white bulbs offer a familiar yellow glow similar to the old incandescent ones. The light sets up a sense of warmth and relaxation while enhancing warm colors painted on the walls.  However, they do clash a lot with cool colors so having warm lightbulbs inside a light blue painted interior may look very disturbing. So warm white lightbulbs are mostly used in living rooms and dining rooms as most prefer to have a calming atmosphere when they have dinner or watch TV. They are also very good for bedrooms because the light emitted from them isn’t as harsh as the other white LEDs.

2)  Cool White Bulbs – These offer a more energetic atmosphere and pair well with white, blue, and green interiors. The light is a bit harsher than warm light but lesser than daylight LEDs. As a result, they are used in bathrooms, home offices, garages, and kitchens where you need enough light to illuminate the space properly but not too bright to distract you. Blue light helps to keep you awake and so is ideal for rooms where you need to enhance your productivity or at least keep you from dozing off. They also work well with modern and contemporary interiors and create a classic yet elegant atmosphere.

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3)  Daylight Bulbs – Daylight LED bulbs produce the harshest light among the three but are perfect for rooms where you need to do detail-oriented work like a sewing room or a workshop. They are also perfect for illuminating bookshelves and other display areas such as a collectible cupboard. It’s also great to use for security purposes due to the intensity of the light. It offers a more natural lighting atmosphere instead of the blue-ish hue that you get from cool white bulbs.

If you are not sure which one to get, you can also go for a smart LED bulb which will let you change the color as per your desires. These bulbs come paired with an app that you can use to customize your lighting needs. They are more expensive than other types of bulbs, so do keep that in mind.

How to Understand Light Bulb Ratings?

Lightbulbs come in many different types, lumens, and wattages that may make you feel like it’s difficult choosing one. However, you can simplify the process by breaking it down into three things.

1)  Lumens – Lumen is how you can measure the brightness of a light bulb. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the bulb will be. Some prefer light bulbs with a lower lumens rating whereas others prefer bulbs with higher ratings. Ultimately, it will depend on your purpose. If you are looking to illuminate a room where you work, you should go for an LED bulb with higher lumens. On the other hand, if it’s for your bedroom or living room, you should go for a lower one. To get a good frame of reference, you can check out the different lumens and watts calculators online.

2)  Watts – This shows how much power the bulb will consume. So bulbs with higher wattage may be brighter but will cost you more money in the long term as the power bill will be higher. When it comes to LEDs though, wattage doesn’t matter much as all of them consume very little power compared to incandescent or halogen bulbs. An 8W LED bulb can offer as many lumens as a 60W incandescent bulb to offer the same brightness. So it’s a significant reduction when it comes to power consumption.

3)  Color Temperature – The color temperature helps to set the mood or the atmosphere within a space. Soft white bulbs are more relaxing and calming whereas cool white bulbs are ideal for productivity. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins and each type of LED bulbs comes with a different range of color temperature. Similar to lumens, you need to pick the one that best fits your lighting needs and purpose. Don’t go for the name of the bulbs when it comes to color temperature as some manufacturer may name their products differently and occasionally even mix them up.


The best way to pick the right type of white LED bulb is to define the purpose you have in mind. From there on, all you have to do is pick a bulb with the right lumens rating and the right color temperature and your job will be done. 

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