FAQ: What is the Difference Between CRI and CCT?

A fixture’s CRI and CCT are both very important. But what do these measurements mean? We’re here to lay out exactly why they’re important, and what you should be aiming for with your lighting.

CRI (Color Rendering Index) and R9 Value


What does it mean?

CRI, or Color Rendering Index, determines how accurately the lighting renders eight pastel colors. If the light renders these colors well, it should render all colors well. CRI is measured from 0-100. Generally, a CRI above 90 is considered great, and a CRI of 95 is best using today’s technology. Whenever CRI is considered, the term “R9” follows close behind. This is the value to determine how accurately the light can render a true red. An R9 value of 60 or above is considered good, although the higher the R9, the better.


Why does it matter?

A high CRI and R9 value is important in the case of depicting colors accurately in cases such as picture lighting for accurate paint colors, vanity lighting for applying makeup, restaurant lighting to depict food in an appetizing way, and retail lighting to show clothing or products in their truest colors.

CCT (Correlated Color Temperature)


What does it mean?

CCT, or Correlated Color Temperature, determines how amber or blue the light’s color is. CCT is measured in Kelvin and can range from 1900K to 7500K. The lower the number, the more amber the light’s color is. 1900K is warm enough to be considered equivalent to candlelight. The higher the Kelvin, the bluer the temperature becomes. 5000K is very cool, equivalent to daylight.


Why does it matter?

Intimate spaces warrant warmer light temperatures, as opposed to productive spaces calling for cooler light temperatures. We recommend restaurants, living rooms, lounges, and bedrooms use 2400K-3000K color temperatures. Office spaces, health-field spaces, and bathrooms can get cooler, with 3000K-4000K temperatures. Learn more about the ideal color temperature for your space here.

Juniper-THIN-Primaries-Rectangle-Mirror-Front-View-Frame-Bathroom contemporary lighting design

Essentially, both measurements should be taken into consideration when choosing lighting for any space. Aiming for the highest CRI and R9 value possible determines accurate color rendering, and knowing which color temperature is ideal for your space will help create the right mood. Juniper offers contemporary lighting in a range of color temperatures, all with a 90+ CRI because we know how important these values are for ideal lighting designs.

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