Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs (2023)

LED and Incandescent Light Bulbs

Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs (1)

Incandescent bulbs were the standard light bulb for years. However, LED lighting is increasingly popular for both energy savings and environmental friendliness. LED bulbs are more efficient and last longer than incandescent light bulbs.

“LED” stands for light-emitting diode. LED light bulbs work by having an electrical current pass through a semiconducting material, the diode. The tiny diodes within an LED bulb cast light when electricity is applied. This technology doesn’t rely on heat to produce light and has greater energy-efficiency than incandescent bulbs.

Traditional incandescent bulbs have a thin metal filament that heats up as electricity passes through it. When heated enough, the filament glows to produce light.These bulbs can get quite hot during use.

LED bulbs are energy efficient and also low maintenance. Because they don’t have a filament that will burn out, LED bulbs have a lifespan of more than 10 years.

Light Bulb Brightness

Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs (2)

There are a few terms to keep in mind when you shop for light bulbs. Traditional incandescent bulbs are categorized by watts. If you’re looking for a brighter incandescent light bulb, select a higher wattage in the bulb.

For LED bulbs, you need to note the lumens. Lumens refers to brightness, and the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.

LED bulbs have a Kelvin number that indicates the color temperature from warm to cool. Warmer bulbs have the lowest numbers on the scale, while the cooler lights are at the upper end of the scale. For example, the warmest colored light bulbs have a Kelvin number around 2,700 and the coolest blue light is at 6,500.

Both incandescent and LED bulbs offer soft white and daylight options. Consider the room where you will use the light bulbs to offer the best light in your home.

Dimmers allow you to change the intensity of light in a room. You can use a dimmer switch for overhead lights. A plug-in dimmer can be used with a lamp. In addition to lighting flexibility, use a dimmer can help you save energy. With a dimmer, a light bulb can be used for a longer period of time.

Some LED bulbs allow the color temperature to be easily changed. With smart light bulbs, you can control the bulb’s appearance with an app on your phone or tablet. Some smart bulbs also offer the option of scheduling light to look a certain way at a particular time. When you connect smart light bulbs to your home network, you can control them with your voice.

Daylight Bulbs

Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs (3)

For vibrant light to work in, choose daylight bulbs. These bulbs emit a bright, cool light that is close to the sun’s natural light. You need bright daylight bulbs in rooms when you’re reading or working on projects like cooking and crafting. Daylight bulbs are ideal for focused task lighting in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms.

The cool light of daylight bulbs has a modern feel compatible with clean lines and minimalism.

Daylight bulbs are a good choice for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices. Additionally, daylight LED light bulbs can brighten windowless spaces like basements that don’t typically get natural light. This color temperature can enhance cool color schemes featuring blues, greens, blacks and greys. Daylight bulbs can be too harsh for some rooms, however.

Soft White Bulbs

Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs (4)

Soft white bulbs project a warm golden light ideal for rooms made for relaxing. Use soft white bulbs in fixtures in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms for an easy, comforting atmosphere.

The warm light of soft white bulbs is considered very traditional. It may remind you of the glow of a campfire or lantern.

This color temperature goes well with warm color schemes, such as reds, yellows and oranges. Soft white light also pairs well with wood. For rooms with hardwood floors, wood cabinets and other wood features, soft white bulbs may be a good fit.

When you’re deciding between daylight vs. soft white bulbs, consider which room they will be used in. Getting the right color temperature for each room in your house may take some experimentation. You might want to try several bulbs of different color temperatures to see which ones look best.

Ready to get new light bulbs for your home? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.


Daylight Bulbs vs Soft White Bulbs? ›

What's the difference between daylight and soft white light bulbs? The main difference is color temperature. Daylight bulbs measure between 5,000K and 6,000K, meaning they produce light that is perceived as bright white. Soft white bulbs measure between 2,700K and 3,000K, casting a warm, yellowish glow.

Do I want soft white or daylight bulbs? ›

Soft white has more warm tones and is often in the yellow color range. Daylight however, is far more cool and has more white and even blueish tones to it. Soft white is ideal for residential environments and has more earthy tones. Daylight is ideal for commercial environments and has more blueish tints.

Is soft white or daylight better for kitchen? ›

Bright white bulbs often work better in bathrooms or kitchens, especially when chrome fixtures are present. If you need to do a lot of reading, daylight bulbs are an excellent choice.

Which is brighter daylight vs soft white? ›

Daylight bulbs can illuminate more surface area and are brighter than soft white lights. Use soft white lights in residential spaces, like bedrooms, living rooms, and home libraries. Reserve daylight bulbs for commercial or high-task areas, such as offices, kitchens, and public restrooms.

Where should daylight bulbs be used? ›

Daylight bulbs are ideal for focused task lighting in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. The cool light of daylight bulbs has a modern feel compatible with clean lines and minimalism. Daylight bulbs are a good choice for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices.

Should I use bright white or daylight bulbs in living room? ›

If you want task lighting in the living room, a bright white bulb is the best option for most settings. Ambient lights are often soft white, while daylight bulbs are nice to use in darker spaces where sunlight doesn't enter often. Table lamps play a critical role in your overall scheme.

Can you mix soft white and daylight? ›

Of course, you can. In fact, experts recommend you use them together in certain spaces, like a kitchen. Warm light in a kitchen can look great during daytime (especially if your kitchen gets a bit of sunlight), but at night you can switch them off and use cool white for greater clarity.

What lighting is closest to natural light? ›

Halogen Lights

Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent that gives a close approximation of natural daylight, known as "white light." Colors appear sharper under halogen light and the bulbs can be dimmed.

What light bulb gives the most natural light? ›

Recommendations. On its own, an incandescent or halogen light bulb produces the purest, most natural form of artificial lighting. We suggest using incandescent or halogen bulbs throughout the day + night if you're after a greater sense of well-being.

What LED light is closest to natural light? ›

By definition, the color of the light emitted from a 6500K daylight white LED bulb will appear roughly the same as natural daylight.

What is the best color light bulb? ›

Bright White (Between the White and Blue Ranges, 4000K to 5000K): These bulbs work best in kitchens and bathrooms with chrome or white fixtures. Daylight (Blue Range, 5000K to 6500K): These bulbs are perfect for reading because they're bright but still easy on the eyes.

What color light is best for living room? ›

2. What colour temperature is best for living room lights? Warm white light between 2,700 and 3,300 Kelvin is considered to be particularly pleasant in the lounge.

Do daylight bulbs use more electricity? ›

Not only do LED's consume less energy, but the bulbs also use energy more efficiently, which saves a lot of money. The Indiana University of Pennsylvania found that LED lights convert 80-90% of their energy into light, whereas incandescent bulbs only convert about 10-20% of their energy into light.

What light bulbs should not be used? ›

Light Bulbs that are Hazardous Waste Contain Mercury or Electronics
  • Compact Fluorescent (CFLs)
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID)
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED)
  • Incandescent (including those made with argon, krypton, and xenon gases)
  • Halogen.

Should kitchen lights be warm or daylight? ›

With kitchens often doubling up as dining spaces and hosting family and guests over important holiday periods, adding warm lighting can help make a house look cozy. 'Lighting should always be warm in our books,' states Catherine Dal, founder of Cat Dal Interiors.

What is the best color light for a kitchen? ›

Warm white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) is more yellowish-white. These bulbs are best suited for kitchens and bathrooms.

What light bulbs do interior designers use? ›

In the 2700K to 3000K warm light color range, the atmosphere tends to be cozy and inviting. Interior designers often use bulbs in this “soft white” range for table lamps, floor lamps, pendants, and chandeliers in living rooms, dining rooms, family rooms, and bedrooms.

Should I use daylight or soft light in bedroom? ›

One of the major differences between daylight bulbs and soft white bulbs is the color temperature they offer. Daylight bulbs can be great to see better details for improving productivity making them great for kitchens and offices. Soft white bulbs offer a better feeling making them ideal for bedrooms and living rooms.

Should I use warm white or daylight bulbs in bathroom? ›

Is Soft White or Daylight Better for a Bathroom? The perfect light color temperature for a bathroom lies somewhere in the middle of soft white and daylight. Soft white can be too yellow and daylight can be too blueish. You want a bathroom to be a place that makes you alert, yes, but not annoyingly sterile.

What is the best color light bulb for a bedroom? ›

The light colours very warm white (2200-2700K) and warm white (3000K) are the most suitable for bedrooms. In general, people don't prefer to wake up with too bright lighting. Therefore, warm white lighting can be perceived as too bright by some people.

What wattage is good for living room? ›

The Formula for Lighting a Room

So, if you have an 18' long room x 12' wide room multiply times 1.5 = 324 watts, that's how much wattage is needed to adequately light the room.

What color light bulb is best for bathroom? ›

Bathroom lighting experts often recommend sticking to the warm white light, as shown in the color/temperature breakdown below. (Hint: Try warm white 2700-3000 kelvins (K) for the most flattering bathroom lighting).

What are soft white light bulbs for? ›

Soft white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is warm and yellow, the typical color range you get from incandescent bulbs. This light gives a warm and cozy feeling and is often best for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.

Which bulb to buy for white light? ›

Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent that gives a close approximation of natural daylight, known as "white light." Colors appear sharper under halogen light and the bulbs can be dimmed. They're a little more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they're more expensive and burn at a higher temperature.


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