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Color Rendering Index (CRI) and LED Lighting | What is CRI?

High CRI Ultrabright LED strip lighting

What does CRI mean and why is CRI important in LED lighting?

Can’t tell the difference between the black and navy colored socks in your walk in closet? Could be that your current lighting source has a very low CRI! Not all light is made equal; some light renders color better than others. Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measurement of how colors look under a light source when compared with sunlight. The index is measured from 0-100, with a perfect 100 indicating that colors under the light source appear the same as they would under natural sunlight.

This rating is also a measurement in the lighting industry to help discern naturalness, hue discrimination, vividness, preference, color naming accuracy, and color harmony.

- Lights with a CRI that is measured greater than 80 are considered to be more than acceptable for most applications.
- Lights with a CRI that is measured greater than 90 is generally considered “High CRI” lights.

While all of our strips have 80+ CRI ratings, our UltraBright™ High CRI Series strips boast 93+ CRI ratings. These lights have important applications especially for photography, retail display and grocery lighting, where accurate color presentation is key. High CRI lighting is equally valuable in home use, as it can transform a room by highlighting design details and creating a comfortable, natural overall feel.

Testing for CRI requires special machinery designed specifically for this purpose. During this test, the light spectrum of a lamp is analyzed onto eight different colors (or “R values”), termed R1 through R8 There are 15 measurements which can be seen below, but the CRI measurement only uses the first 8. The lamp receives a score from 0-100 for each color, based on how natural the color is rendered in comparison with how the color looks under a “perfect” or “reference” light source at the same color temperature as that lamp.

High CRI Test Data R Values

Example of our Natural White High CRI LED Strip Light Test Data

High CRI LED strip lighting offers the best of all worlds, using a fraction of the energy used in traditional lighting, while rendering beautiful, vibrant tones across the full color spectrum. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why you should take notice of CRI when making your next lighting decision. Lighting manufacturers have begun listing CRI ratings on their products, and government initiatives such as California’s Title 24 are providing financial incentives for the installation of efficient high CRI lighting. Though CRI is not the stand alone method for measuring lighting quality, this Lighting Research Institute report also recommends the combined use of TM-30-15 Gamut Area Index.

See the difference with our UltraBright High CRI Strip Lights

High CRI Strip Lighting

Additional Resources on CRI

NEW! - CRI, CQS, & IES TM-30 - What's the difference between CRI, CQS, & IES TM-30 and why it is important? 

CRI and LED Retrofits

Further Questions?

Any more questions how CRI applies in your particular lighting project? Contact one of our LED design specialists and we'd love to help out any way we can!

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