You may notice that we talk about natural light, or “full-spectrum” bulbs, in a lot of our lamp descriptions. But you may wonder what exactly that means, or how this type of light is different from other bulbs. You may even have heard of something called a “daylight bulbs,” which seems to imply that it also acts as a more natural light source as well.
However, full spectrum bulbs and daylight bulbs are two different types of light sources. And they are not equally effective when it comes to helping you see things more clearly.
Bulbs are partially categorized by their color temperature. This is not a literal temperature. (Cool lights are not necessarily any more cool to the touch than warm lights.) Color temperature has to do with what side of the color spectrum the light falls on.
Warm lights give off a yellowish light, and cool lights give off a more white-colored light. (Due to it containing the blue light spectrum.) The sun naturally gives off a lot of blue light, so bulbs that lean towards to “cool” light range tend to get labeled “daylight” bulbs. This makes sense when we are comparing warm bulbs to cool bulbs.
However, sunlight doesn’t only contain blue spectrum light; it also contains a lot of red as well. Daylight bulbs don’t give off a lot of the other colors on the spectrum, so they aren’t true representations of sunlight.
This gets confusing when you think about how people are told to take things outside to see colors more accurately. They may think that a daylight bulb would give the same visual acuity as the sun. But that’s not true. The factor that affects acuity is the Color Rendering Index (CRI).
Full Spectrum Bulbs
The bulbs that we label as “natural light” light bulbs on our product pages are actually full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum bulbs give off both visible and invisible wavelengths of light. Full spectrum lights usually offer a color temperature of 6500K and a CRI of 96%- giving you a brighter, whiter light that also displays colors accurately.
If you have a visual impairment, it is helpful to have light that includes all of the color spectrum. Not only does it help with color identification, but also contrast. This can put less strain on your eyes while reading or doing hobbies or crafts.
A good example of one of our natural light lamps is the Daylight Naturalight Hobby Table Lamp. Whether you are putting together a puzzle or studying for your homework, the Daylight Naturalight Hobby Table Lamp is the perfect choice. It’s great for reading and task work. It has a powerful 27w Full Spectrum Naturalight tube that will light up large surfaces and give you the best color rendering ever. And the flexible neck allows you to direct the light to exactly where you need it.
Some people even speculate that full spectrum bulbs can help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Special lighting isn’t approved by the FDA as a treatment, but some doctors, including those at the Mayo Clinic, do recommend it as a complementary therapy to depression medications. Of course, you should never try something without speaking to your doctor first. This is just to say full spectrum bulbs are more likely to boost your mood than regular bulbs.
ILA carries high-quality lighting options. Check out our full range of task lighting here.