RGB vs. True White LED Lighting: Finding the Right Fit for Your Landscape

When it comes to lighting up your outdoor spaces, there's no shortage of options. There are three popular options when it comes to a light source, low CRI RGB lights, medium CRI white lights and high CRI white lights. While RGB LED lighting can add a fun and dynamic element for customers to use on special occasions, most designs are intended for white light.

Some RGB can be as low as 20 to 30 CRI while an adequate medium CRI white light comes in around 80 CRI which allows you to see more color than an RGB, but is only ok when it comes to design.  For spectacular color and the best results for lighting designers, true white, high CRI LEDs offer superior color accuracy and longevity, which we will be talking about moving forward.  High CRI Luminaires are ideal for landscape lighting design. Let's dive into the basics and see how these two options stack up.

RGB LED Lighting

RGB LED lighting uses a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs to create a wide range of colors through additive color mixing. By adjusting the intensity of each color, RGB LEDs can produce millions of different hues, making them perfect for vibrant, colorful displays and can be excellent for some commercial buildings. However, when it comes to outdoor lighting designs, RGB LEDs fall short in some critical areas. One major drawback is their inability to produce a true white light, often resulting in a cooler or bluish tint. Additionally, the Color Rendering Index (CRI) of RGB LEDs is quite low, often as low as 20 to 30, meaning colors might not appear as natural or vibrant as they do under other lighting types. Despite the versatility and fun factor of RGB lighting, these drawbacks make them less ideal for achieving natural color accuracy in your landscape lighting designs.

True White LED Lighting

True white LED lighting is all about delivering a pure, consistent white light. These LEDs typically use phosphor coatings to convert blue or ultraviolet light into white light, ensuring a stable and accurate color temperature. The result is a higher CRI, which means colors look more natural and vibrant under true white LEDs. For outdoor lighting designs, this accuracy is crucial, especially when you want to highlight the true colors of your landscape and architectural features. With a CRI often well above 92, true white LEDs make sure your landscape looks its best. While they might lack the appeal and fun of crayons of light, true white LEDs make up for it with their superior color rendering and longevity allowing your designs to be crisp and precise.


Comparing RGB and True White LED Lighting

When it comes to choosing between RGB and true white LED lighting for your landscape designs, it boils down to your priorities. RGB LEDs offer a wide range of colors and fun effects, making them great for special event displays. However, their low CRI and cooler color temperature are significant downsides if color accuracy is important to your designs. True white LEDs, on the other hand, deliver a consistent, pure white light with a higher CRI, ensuring that colors appear more natural and vibrant. They are also generally more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan, making them a more reliable choice for long-term outdoor lighting.


At Sterling Lighting, we understand the importance of quality lighting in your outdoor designs. Specializing in low voltage luminaires with the highest CRI, we offer a range of products including path lights, narrow spotlights, uplights, underwater lights, and downlights. Our exceptional luminaires are designed to deliver reliability, ease of use, consistency, and longevity, ensuring that your landscape lighting designs look their best, every night. With Sterling Lighting, you have the tools to bring out the true colors in your design with exceptional lighting solutions.