Color Rendering Index

Color rendering index (or CRI) is a numerical scale (0 to 100) used in lighting to indicate how a light source will make the color of an object appear to human eyes and how well subtle variations in color shades are revealed. It is determined by comparing the appearance of a colored object under an artificial light source to its appearance under incandescent light (lights with a “warm” color temperature). A low CRI indicates than objects may appear unnatural under the source, while a light with a high CRI rating will allow an object’s colors to appear more natural. High (above 80) CRI is preferred in the home, and CRI values should only be compared when the light sources being compared have similar color temperature ratings.

It is important to note that CRI is independent of color temperature. Examples: A 2700K (“warm”) color temperature incandescent light source has a CRI of 100. One 5000K (“daylight”) color temperature fluorescent light source has a CRI of 75 and another with the same color temperature has a CRI of 90.

The table below lists typical color rendering index ratings for a variety of lights, including compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and LED lighting.

CRI

Lighting Products

Applicaton

22

High pressure sodium lighting

Street lighting

62

Common 4 foot fluorescent tube

Office

80-85

Compact fluorescent ligthing (warm white)

Redisential

85

Premium 4 foot fluorescent tube

Retail

80-90

Solid state LED lighting

Residential:museums, art galleries, high-end retail and other applications.

95

Incandescent lighting bulb

Residential

Description

CIR_50

50-60 CRI
Warm White Fluorescent
Cool White Fluorescent

60-70 CRI
Premium High Pressure sodium lighting

CIR_70

70-80 CRI
Thin Coat Tri-Phosphor Fluorescent

CIR_80

80-90 CRI
White High Pressure Sodium
Thick Coat Tri-Phosphor Fluorescent
Solid State LED Lighting

90-100CRI
High CRI Fluorescent
Incandescent Lighting Bulb