One of the most useful measurements when referring to a lighting source is the Color Rendering Index, also known as the CRI. The CRI measures the ability of a light source to accurately show all frequencies of its color spectrum when compared to a perfect reference light, such as daylight. In other words, it is a measure of a light source’s ability to show object colors “realistically” or “naturally.” CRI is rated on a scale from 1-100. The lower the CRI level, the less accurately colors will be reproduced. The higher the number, the better the color rendering ability.
For a light source to be considered to have a “high CRI,” it must measure to be a 90 or above. For this reason, this CRI level is also the most acceptable for professional projects and imaging. Â This simply means that these bulbs are the closest to showing true object colors, or having a perfect CRI of 100. Light sources that are incandescent radiators have a CRI of 100 since all colors in their spectrum are rendered equally. Often times, LED light bulbs with a high CRI can be worthy replacements for incandescent light bulbs. Although high CRI bulbs can be used for several different projects, depending on the desired illumination, they are usually an excellent choice for retail, art galleries, museums, high end homes or anywhere extreme color accuracy is required.