What Is a CRI Rating?

What Is a CRI Rating?

What Is a CRI Rating?

There are a lot of factors you need to consider when picking out LED bulbs and strip lights, from the brightness to the warmth. But one element you might not have considered is the CRI rating. This can completely change the look and feel of a room, though, so it’s incredibly important that you take this into consideration.

But what exactly is a CRI rating, and why is it so important that you put plenty of thought into choosing the right rating for the project you're working on? Here, we’ll outline what a bulb CRI rating is and how it can affect the look of a space.

What is a CRI rating?

CRI stands for "colour rendering index", and every bulb — whether it’s a halogen, incandescent, CFL, or LED version — has a CRI rating out of 100. And the closer to 100 this is, the more accurate your bulb will be at showing the true colours of the objects it illuminates.

Of course, the way colours appear can completely affect how a space looks, and there are certain settings where you’ll want to ensure lighting gives a very accurate picture of what a colour looks like. This is certainly the case in the likes of furniture stores and the windows of clothing shops. Grocery stores might even choose lighting with a CRI rating that makes the likes of fresh fruit and vegetables look more vibrant so more people are tempted into buying them. 

How is a light bulb’s CRI rating determined?

A light bulb’s CRI rating is decided by comparing the appearance of coloured objects under an artificial light source to their appearance under an incandescent light with a CRI rating of 100. The higher the CRI value, the better a bulb is at accurately showing the colour of an item. The lower the CRI rating is, the more unnatural the colours will appear to be.

How do you choose the right CRI rating?

You should pick the CRI rating of your lighting by considering how you plan to use it. For example, if you’re working on a living room project and your clients would like to make cosiness a priority, they might be happy with warm lighting that has a lower CRI rating. However, if you’re working on a project for the likes of an interior design showroom, clothing store, or even a paint shop, people who visit will want a clear picture of the objects and colours they’re looking at. Therefore, accuracy is of the utmost importance and you’ll want to choose lighting that has a particularly high CRI rating.

For most indoor and commercial lighting, you’ll typically want to opt for a CRI rating of around 80. However, in environments where visibility is a top priority — such as in hospitals, factories, and photography studios — a CRI rating of 90 or above is likely to be best.

Here at Ultra LEDs, we offer LED bulbs and strip lights with an array of different CRI ratings, so you should have no trouble picking out the products that will work best for your clients. And, if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, feel free to get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to help.