Importance of High CRI Light Bulbs

Aug 21, 2023

You probably already know the benefits of switching to LED lights, like saving money and using less energy. But do LEDs benefit more than your wallet and the planet? How can changing a light bulb change the way a space looks, feels and functions?

Lighting is an essential element of every design project. While most contractors and managers know to look at lumens for brightness and Kelvins for color temperature, something that might get overlooked is CRI. Light can skew the way people and objects look by affecting the way colors appear, and understanding the concept of a Color Rendering Index helps demystify this phenomenon.

The pros at TCP love discussing the relationship between light and color! So we put together our answers to some questions about CRI you might have, like:

  • What is CRI?
  • Is there a basic CRI lighting chart?
  • What are some high CRI benefits?
  • Where can I use high CRI LED light bulbs?


What Is CRI?

Let’s start with a simple CRI lighting definition: The Color Rendering Index is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures how accurately a light source depicts the color of objects and people, as compared to natural daylight.

In other words, the index helps determine whether the light bulb will make colors look true to themselves or skew them with hints of yellow, blue or reddish tones. It’s in the same category as lighting color temperature and why it matters — because a high CRI benefits everyone with more brilliant illumination.

Unfiltered sunlight sets the bar with a score of 100, so most commercially available light bulbs come in under that.


Is There a Basic CRI Lighting Chart?

There are lots of CRI lighting charts available online, and most follow a similar formula. Choosing a high CRI LED light is easy, as most options on the market fall into the 85 to 90 CRI range. Here’s the TCP take on a basic CRI lighting chart to help you make the best choices for each project’s needs:

CRI Effect
95-100 Excellent: Colors appear as they would under natural sunlight.
90-94 Great: Colors appear authentic.
80-89 Good: Most colors appear authentic but may not be as fully saturated as under higher CRI.
Below 80 Poor: Colors appear noticeably altered, drab, desaturated or indistinguishable, as black from navy.


What Are Some High CRI Benefits?

Choosing the lighting for a workspace or residential property is a big responsibility, especially when you consider the psychological impact of light color on productivity, mood and overall health. So why go the extra step of selecting high CRI light bulbs if any old bulb will do?

The main benefits of installing high CRI LED light in any space are:

More Accurate Colors

Whether your client sells clothes, serves food or saves lives, the ability to differentiate between similar colors in their space likely ranks high on their priority list. That’s because their customers, clients or patients may have a vastly different experience with products or services if colors aren’t true — including color-coded equipment in healthcare facilities.

Higher Vibrancy

When the light in a room mimics daylight, the people in that room tend to feel more awake and energetic. This vibrancy can stimulate productivity, making high CRI light bulbs the perfect choice for offices, classrooms and other spaces that require alertness.

More Comfortable and Natural Ambience

Lighting can quickly create a mood, as you may have learned from the glaring harshness of fluorescent lights. One of the biggest CRI benefits is how light with a high score simply feels comfortable and natural. That’s because high CRI LED light very closely mimics natural sunlight, which helps people feel — and look — their best.


Where Can High CRI LED Light Bulbs Be Used?

Short answer: Everywhere!

Longer answer: We noticed that one of the trends for LED commercial lighting this year is human-centric lighting, aka lights that make people happier, healthier and more productive. We love this idea for the way it dovetails with our current obsession over high CRI LED light bulbs!

Here’s how to use TCP’s high CRI light bulbs in a variety of commercial, civic and residential spaces:

Retail Stores

Shopping can be an emotional experience. When you consider how light impacts mood and psychology in retail settings, you begin to understand the importance of choosing lights that create a welcoming and energetic atmosphere while rendering colors as accurately as possible.

From aisle lights and downlights to pendants and tabletop lamps, high CRI LED lighting displays products more clearly, invites customers to shop longer and elevates the appeal of any showroom.

Medical Facilities

Excellent lighting is crucial in healthcare settings. Not only do doctors and other professionals need to be able to see clearly and accurately for practical reasons, but light impacts psychology and mood in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities — for both the patients and their caregivers. Many medical devices and equipment are color-coded to lower the risk of potentially life-threatening misconnections, making high CRI lighting a necessity for high-quality care.

The natural-looking and -feeling light from high CRI LED light bulbs helps patients feel more at ease, helps caregivers stay more alert and can even help institutions save money.

Educational Settings

A quick lesson on CRI light teaches us that high CRI light bulbs are ahead of the curve at creating a vibrant, welcoming environment. That means high CRI LED lighting for schools really makes the grade — by keeping students alert and engaged, helping teachers with classroom control and saving school districts a bundle on utility bills.

Choose high CRI light options for classrooms, hallways, enrichment areas, theaters and art rooms, cafeterias, administrative offices and more.

Hospitality Industry

They say we eat with our eyes — which is an artful way of indicating how light impacts a restaurant experience. Flavors and textures are subjective, but the way a dining area is lit can enhance or destroy a meal. High CRI light bulbs allow diners to fully appreciate a chef’s creations while giving hosts or managers control over changes in ambience through various meal services.

Travelers need good CRI for matching clothes and feeling comfortable on the road. Our hotel room lighting tips include choosing cost-effective high CRI LED light bulbs for reception areas and hallways, as well as guest bathrooms and dining areas.

Museums and Galleries

There might be no place where a high CRI benefits more people than in a museum or art gallery. These caretakers of culture and history need illumination options that help connect visitors to displays, protect fragile works of antiquity and fit within often tight budgets. TCP’s high CRI LED light selections meet all these criteria for gallery and museum lighting while also rendering artwork as accurately as possible.

Use the CRI lighting chart to make thoughtful choices about lighting for various gallery spaces, like multi-use areas that could benefit from dimmable light bulbs and administrative offices that may not have any natural light sources.

Residential Lighting

The connection between lighting and physical health is clear: Getting enough daylight helps us sleep better, regulate our moods and lower our risk of some serious diseases. Those facts make a strong argument for high CRI light bulbs in many residential applications. Their high-energy illumination is particularly fitting for active spaces, like kitchens, laundry rooms, garages and rec rooms. But with dimmable options from TCP that nix the flickering and buzzing of older LEDS, homeowners can have high CRI light in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, as well.

Whether it’s a new build or an existing home reno, counseling your residential clients toward high CRI LED light sources elevates your status as a problem-solver and source of cutting-edge technology.


What Kinds of CRI Lighting Does TCP Offer?

For more than 30 years, TCP has been on the cutting edge of innovative lighting technologies. We’re constantly developing new lighting solutions that deliver energy efficiency and the most brilliant illumination for every situation.

Check out two of our high CRI LED light bulb series designed to mimic sunlight while saving money, time and the planet — and contact us for help adding CRI benefits to your next lighting project!

Anew Lighting

Our newest LED line is the incandescent alternative that delivers full-spectrum light without the troublesome blue spikes found in other LED options. TCP Anew high CRI light bulbs feature the familiar A19 shape of those old incandescents and an E26 base that fits all the same fixtures. And with a 98 CRI, light from these beauties is nearly indistinguishable from natural sunlight. Plus, they are perfectly dimmable without flickering or buzzing.

SOListic Lighting

Reduce blue light in nearly any commercial or residential space while rendering colors beautifully and saving on energy bills with TCP SOListic high CRI LED light bulbs. Choose from T8 tube styles and two Starlight bulb types that feature perfect dimming, a 50,000-hour lifespan and a CRI of 97 for bright, even light that closely mimics daylight.

Related Articles

Types of Horticulture Lighting Offered by TCP Lighting

Types of Horticulture Lighting Offered by TCP Lighting

Want bigger, bushier, healthier plants at home? Looking for something more energy efficient to replace the outdated metal halide, high-pressure sodium or fluorescent tube grow light you’ve been using? TCP has your back! Our high-efficiency horticulture LED grow lights...

How to Improve Your Mood with Accents Ceiling Lighting by TCP

How to Improve Your Mood with Accents Ceiling Lighting by TCP

META TITLE: Impact of Lighting Accents on Mood - Aesthetic Psychology | Lighting and Design How to Improve Your Mood with Accents Ceiling Lighting by TCP Want to know the one design detail that lifts mood more than any other? You guessed it – lighting! The...

Brighten Up Your Workplace with Anew Lighting From TCP

Brighten Up Your Workplace with Anew Lighting From TCP

Now is a great time to refresh your company’s lighting with TCP Lighting. This year brings even more motivation than in past years, as incandescent bulbs have been banned from manufacture by the federal government. Effective August of last year, this ban is focused on...

Simplify Your Lighting Project with TCP

We’ll work with you from start to finish to bring your lighting ideas to life.

Online Quote

Pin It on Pinterest