Soft White Vs. Daylight – What’s The Difference?

The tone or hue of the lighting has a great impact on setting the mood of your space. And here comes the confusion of whether to choose soft white or daylight. But what are the differences between them?

The main difference between soft white and daylight is their color temperature. Soft white lights have low CCT that produces yellowish light. These types of light are used to create a cozy and inviting environment. In contrast, daylight has high CCT and produces bluish light. These lights are suitable for creating an energetic atmosphere and are primarily used as task lighting. Both lights are widely used based on application requirements. 

I will present the differences between soft white and daylight in this article. Besides, you will also get a complete guide to choose the ideal one for lighting up your room. So, let’s explore- 

What Is Soft White Light?

Soft white lights refer to warm lighting with a lower color temperature of 2700K to 3000K. These lights produce a yellowish-orangish hue that mimics the natural light of sunrise/sunset or replicates the illumination of traditional incandescent light. Soft white lights work great to create a cozy and inviting environment. It is scientifically proven that soft or warm hue lights are good for your sleep cycle. It relaxes you and helps you have a good sleep. So, these lights are excellent for the bedroom. You can also install these lights in the dining room, living room, hotels, restaurants, or any other place where you want to bring a welcoming atmosphere. 

Pros & Cons Of Soft White Light 

Create a comfortable and cozy ambiance
Produces less glare compared to cool white
Enhances the appearance of warm colors in wood, textiles, walls, etc
Skin looks flawless 
Ideal for mood lighting 
Sleep-friendly lighting 
Not suitable for task lighting
Can decrease productivity 
Low intensity 

What Is Daylight? 

Daylight produces bright and crisp illumination, mimicking the natural sunlight. These lights have a cool tone with a high color temperature of 5000K to 6000K. Daylights have a bluish hue that works great for increasing productivity. So, these fixtures are used vastly for task lighting. You will find them in the reading station, office lighting, basement, bathroom, kitchen, etc. To know more about the color temperature of daylight, check this- 6000K vs. 5000K: A Comprehensive LED Lighting Comparison

Pros & Cons Of Daylight 

Capable of mimicking sunlight
Increases productivity 
Enhanced visibility 
Suitable for reading purposes
High intensity 
Can cause glaring
Might be too bright for house lighting
Blue rays can cause eye strain  

Soft White Light Vs. Daylight- Differentiating Chart 

Both soft white and daylight are widely used in residential, commercial, or industrial light settings. Here are the primary differences between them- 

Soft White Light Vs. Daylight
CriteriaSoft White LightDaylight
DescriptionSoft white lights mimic the illumination of traditional incandescent bulbs.Daylight resembles natural sunlight.
Color Temperature2500K to 3000K5000K to 6000K 
Color ToneWarm Cool
HueYellowish/orangish-white  Bluish-white 
AvailabilityLED bulbs, incandescent, strip lights, puck and stick lights, etc.LED, ceiling, strip lights, etc.
Best ForMood lighting or creating a cozy environmentTask lighting
Application Living area, dining room, or bedroom.Kitchens, study rooms, bathroom, garage, or offices

For your better understanding, I am discussing the differences in details- 

  1. Appearance of light color 

The major difference between soft white and daylight is their appearance or light color. Soft white lights appear yellowish, while the daylight has bluish lighting. Both the lights are which, but the difference in appearance occurs due to a change in color temperature. 

  1. Color temperature 

As the color temperature decreases, white lights tend to be warmer, which gives a yellowish hue. This is the reason soft white lights look yellowish or warm in color. Again, as the color temperature increases, the white lights appear bluish. As daylight has a high color temperature, they have a more bright or cool/blue appearance. You will understand the concept better if you have proper knowledge about Correlated Color Temperature or CCT. If you are unfamiliar with this term, read this guide-  How to Choose LED Strip Color Temperature?

  1. Lighting effect or mood 

The color or tone of the lights can greatly impact your mood. For instance, warm lighting makes you feel relaxed and is good for sleep. Again, cool lights keep you energetic. That’s why soft white lights are used where you need a cozy or relaxing ambiance, whereas daylight is installed to keep you awake or in an active mood.

  1. Brightness 

Regarding brightness, the cool effect of daylights looks brighter than soft white lights, even if they have the same lumen rating. For this reason, soft lights are installed for dimmed lighting effects. They also reduce eye glare with their soft illumination. In contrast, the bluish illumination of daylight can cause eye strain, headache, or vision problems. That is why high-intensity headlights are not recommended. It is best to keep the brightness in check before choosing any fixture. Check this article for tips on increasing fixture brightness- How To Make LED Strip Lights Brighter?

Soft White Vs. Daylight: Application 

The application of soft white and daylight depends on the type of ambiance you want to create. If you need a cozy ambiance, soft white light is ideal. Again, for an energetic and active atmosphere, daylight works best. Below, I’ve listed the application of soft white and daylight in different areas- 

  • Bathrooms 

Daylights suit bathroom lighting best. It allows you to see the mirror clearly. So, you can clean your face, shave, or do skin care on washroom mirrors with proper visibility. However, depending on individual references, soft white lights are also used in the bathroom. You will find them in the washrooms of spas, restaurants, or hotels. To learn more about bathroom lighting, check this- Top 26 Creative Bathroom Lighting Ideas.

  • Kitchen

Cutting/chopping, preparing food, and dishwashing are the major tasks operated in the kitchen area. And daylight suits best for these tasks. As you can get better visibility under daylight, it helps you to chop your vegetables or food elements safely. Another important lighting technique is to install LED strip lights under the kitchen cabinet for better visibility. You will find these strip lights of varying color temperatures that can bring a daylight effect. For more, check this- How To Choose the LED Strip Lights For Kitchen Cabinets?

  • Bedrooms

Who doesn’t want a cozy ambiance in the bedroom? And for this, soft white lights are an ideal choice. The low color temperature of these lights creates a yellow hue. The light’s warmth helps you relax, creating a cozy ambiance. This light is also good for your cardiac rhythm or sleep cycle. However, the best option for having soft white lighting is installing dim-to-warm LED strip lights in your bedroom. These lights allow you to adjust the CCT from 3000K To 1800K. You can create soft yellow to orangeish warm lighting using these fixtures. To get more bedroom lighting ideas, check this- 35 LED Strip Ideas for the bedroom

  • Living Room 

A living room requires a comfortable area to enjoy quality time with friends and family. Or read books or watch TV in your free time. All these activities demand a warm and welcoming environment; soft lights work best. Also, install pendant lights of a warm tone to complement the atmosphere of the living room. 

  • Dining Room 

You can go for either soft white or daylight for the dining room. Some prefer soft lights to bring a relaxing environment to the dining area, while others may find the yellow tone of light appealing for food. So, this depends on you, which lighting you like best. 

  • Office 

Daylight is always preferable for office lighting. If you install soft lights on working stations, it will create too much coziness for the employees. They will frequently feel sleepy, which will impact productivity. In this case, the bluish glow of daylight keeps the employees energetic and active. Nevertheless, you can use soft light in specific office zones like reception, restrooms, and hallway. For more office lighting ideas, check Office Lighting: The Definitive Guide.

  • Garage

In the garage, you do your car repair tasks and regular maintenance of your vehicle. So it requires sufficient visibility, for this daylight works best. You can install troffer lights or hanging light fixtures of CCT 5000K to 6000K in your garage area for adequate brightness. Nevertheless, always look for higher IK ratings when choosing garage lighting. This will ensure your light fixture remains safe from any kind of impact. To know more, check this- IK Rating: The Definitive Guide.

  • Hallways

The entryways of your house or the hallway of any commercial area demand a warm and welcoming ambiance. So, undoubtedly, soft white lights work best for this zone. You can experience low CCT LED strips, pendant lights, recessed lights, or chandeliers for your hallway. Check out this article- Top 27 Creative Hallway Lighting Ideas, to get more hallway lighting ideas.

  • Outdoor

You can go for soft lighting for your house patio, decks, or guardians. This will make your residential area look more homely. Besides, in a hotel outdoors, warm lighting is preferable for inviting customers. For more outdoor lighting tips, check this- 34 Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Front of House.

  • Industrial Area 

When lighting industrial areas, daylight is given more preference. Installing bright lights makes the space energetic and helps the workers to work more effectively. Besides, it also aids in better visibility. Review this article- A Comprehensive Guide To Industrial Lighting– for more industrial lighting ideas. 

  • Commercial Spaces 

Different commercial spaces have varying lighting requirements. For instance, a restaurant’s lighting won’t fit a hospital’s lighting. When lighting any commercial room, consider the ambiance requirements, select soft white, and say light accordingly. For example, the doctor’s chamber requires daylight in a hospital for proper patient examination. Again, the patient ward demands soft white light for adequate relaxation. Likewise, soft white and daylight applications will vary based on different locations. To know more, read Commercial Lighting: A Definitive Guide

soft white vs. daylight 2

Things To Consider In Choosing – Soft White Vs. Daylight

Light greatly impacts the environment and mood of any room or space. That is why it is important to install the right light fixture. Here are some facts that you should consider when deciding between soft white and daylight:

Function Of The Room

Before selecting the light fixture, consider what activities you do in the room. For example, go for soft white light if it’s a bedroom. This will help you to relax well at night and remove all the tiredness of the busy day. Again, if it is an office room where you work, go for daylight. For most of the task lighting, daylight is a better choice. However, the purpose of lighting matters a lot in choosing the CCT of light. For instance, if you are lighting up a jewelry shop, which one to select- soft white or daylight? The answer depends on what type of jewelry you are having. If it’s a gold jewelry shop, go for soft white lights. The warmth of these lights makes gold look more beautiful. But if it’s a diamond jewelry shop, daylight is a must because the glow of the diamond comes best in cool lighting. To know more about jewelry shop lighting, check this guide: How to Choose Lighting for Jewelry Stores? That is why you need to analyze the function and purpose of the illumination well before selecting any light fixture.

Mood Of The Room: Color Temperature

Do you know light greatly includes your mood? If you are willing to bring a romantic mood, warm or soft white lighting is what you need. And that is why candles are used for romantic dinners. Low-color temperature lights give a warm tone that brings comfort. Soft white temperatures are of low CCT ( 2500K to 3000K), so they work best for cozy mood lighting. Again, for an energetic mood, daylight is suggested. The bluish light tone of higher CCT (5000K to 6000K) that daylight has kept you awake. And thus, this encourages us to be active and thus increase productivity. This is why daylight is used in offices, factories, and other workstations. 

Task Lighting Or General Lighting?

As I said before, daylights are better for task lighting. But what type of task you are doing also matters. For instance, it won’t work if you install daylight in the spa room where customers get massages to relax. In this case, soft white lights are preferable. Therefore, the type of task also matters. Again, soft light and daylight are equally preferable for general lighting based on the location requirement and personal preferences. 

Size Of The Room 

Do you know light can make your space look smaller or bigger? Shocking right? But cool or bright-colored lights can indeed make your space look larger. So, if you have a very small room to illuminate, go for daylight, creating an illusion of space. However, if you have a large room, you can experiment with either soft white or daylight. 

Wall/Paint Color 

Warm colors look more prominent in soft white lights. And cool colors are more pleasing in daylight. For instance, go for daylight if your room is painted blue or green. This will make the room look brighter. Again, if the room is painted red, yellow, orange, or a similar color palette, soft white light will make the color pop up. 

Type Of Lights 

Almost every light fixture variant is available in different CCTs that meet soft white and daylight requirements. So, you can get recessed lights, headlights, track lights, LED strips, pendant lights, or chandeliers to create soft white or daylighting. However, tunable lights are the best choice to go for. These color temperature adjustable light fixtures allow you to control the lights’ hue. Thus, you can get soft white light and daylight in the same fixture. For instance, tunable white LED strip lights are excellent options. These fixtures have controllers allowing you to adjust the CCT from warm to cool. They usually come in two ranges: 1800K to 6500K and 2700K to 6500K. So, if you want to take advantage of soft white and daylight, a tunable fixture is your ultimate solution. To know more, check this- Tunable White LED Strip: The Complete Guide.

LED Vs. Incandescent

Incandescent lights are more popular for warm lighting, yet they are also available in a cool tone. But when it comes to technology, nothing can beat LED lights. Incandescent is a traditional form of lighting. You won’t find many smart features in these fixtures. Besides, incandescent lights have a lower life span. They can last only for 1000 hours. Overheating is another issue with these fixtures. 

In contrast, LED lights are more versatile. You will get them on any CCT ratings, whether soft white or daylight. They are highly durable and can last for 50,000 hours to 100,000 hours. Besides, LED lights use 80% less energy than incandescent lights. And the most impressive fact is that LED technology is found in every lighting variant; it could be bulbs or LED strips. Even in fancy lights like chandeliers or pendant lights, LEDs are used. So, undoubtedly, LED lights are the best option.


Soft white lights are more yellow. They have a lower color temperature that makes them look more yellowish. In contrast, daylight is bluish as they are of high color temperature.

Electricity consumption doesn’t really depend on whether it’s a daylight bulb or a soft white light bulb. It depends on the watt rating. If the soft white light and daylight have the same wattage ratings, they will consume nearly the same amount of electricity. However, due to having high CCT, the electricity consumption of daylight can be a little greater. But the difference can be just about 5%, which is not a significant consideration.

The better one between soft white and daylight depends upon its application. For inviting and cozy lighting, soft white lights are better. Again, for active or energetic lighting, daylight works best. 

Daylight bulbs are used where you need proper visibility to do tasks effectively. It could be your reading table, office room, kitchen station, or garage where you fix cars, etc. In short, daylight suits task lighting that needs an energetic environment.

Yes, you can mix soft white and daylight to bring a balanced ambiance. Having separate switches for them will allow you to light up the space as per your mood. However, tunable lights are the best solution in this case. 

Prolonged exposure to LED daylights can be harmful to your eye. These lightings have a blue ray that is not good for the eyes or health. You can have headaches, eye strain, or face vision problems due to using bright headlights for a long time. 

Yes, daylight bulbs are good for bathroom lighting. They provide sufficient visibility to get ready in the bathroom. Besides, it also aids in comfortable mirror viewing while shaving or doing facials. 

The brightness of the light fixture depends on lumen ratings, not on the color temperature. But, high-temperature lights look brighter than low-temperature lighting even though they have the same lumen rating. For this reason, daylight appears brighter than the soft white light.

The Bottom Line

Both soft white and daylight are popular choices for different kinds of applications. You can use soft white lights in your bedroom, fine dining restaurants, hotels, etc. Again, daylight is popular for offices, garages, or other working stations. However, which lighting to choose depends on individual preferences. Yet, to get the best outcome, use daylight, where you can’t decide the ideal CCT. This is because daylight mimics natural sunlight. So, wherever you set them, this will give a natural setting. Yet, in some cases, daylight can be too bright, so be careful about this matter. 

However, LEDYi has the best solution to this! Choose our tunable white LED strip lights to adjust the lighting from soft white to daylight per your requirements. So, when you need cozy lighting, reduce its CCT to get soft white lighting, and while doing any tasks that need proper visibility, increase the CCT for daylight. Besides, you have dim-to-warm LED strips for those who want adjustable soft white lighting. So, why are you waiting? Contact us ASAP and light up your space as you desire!

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