As mentioned in our 2014 and 2015 new Milwaukee tool preview, the red team is coming out with some new LED lighting products that they boast has new TRUEVIEW technology.
According to Milwaukee, the TRUEVIEW technology offers things like “best-in-class” light quality, “High Definition,” and a “true representation of colors and details.
So we asked…
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What’s the color temperature of the light?
What’s the CRI rating of the light?
Color temperature is a quantitative description of how “warm” or “cool” a light is. “Warm” is a yellow-orangey hue typically inherent to lower color temperatures, such as 3200K, while “cool” describes the blueish hue typically found closer to the 6000K color temperature range. These values are not exact, they’re just examples of what you would expect from warm and cool lights.
Milwaukee’s TRUEVIEW LED lighting products have a color temperature of 4000K, which is not quite what would be considered daylight (~5600K). 4000K is nearly right smack between warm and cool ends of the white light spectrum, and is quite pleasing.
My much-loved neutral white LED headlamp has a color temperature of 4400K. A 4000K source should be only slightly warmer.
A lot of LED lighting products have higher and cooler color temperatures. Personally, I find that cooler and bluer LED light is better suited for long-distance illumination, such as spotlight flashlights. For up-close work lighting, neutral or slightly warm LED color temperatures are easier on the eyes and more pleasing.
Milwaukee says that the 4000K color temperature of their TRUEVIEW LED products was specially chosen to closely match midday sunlight. Compared to other color temperatures, the 4000K light should provide best comfort and clarity to end users.
CRI, Color Rendering Index
The color rendering index (CRI) describes the color accuracy of a light. The highest value, 100, is possible with pure sunlight and incandescent light sources.
CRI is determined using as series of color swatches. These colors look truer in high CRI light sources, and muddied or off by a few shades in low CRI light sources.
LED emitters, and especially worklight products, have CRI values in the 60’s and 70’s range.
Low CRI values can change how colors look, which isn’t a problem most of the time – at least where factors beyond user comfort and convenience are concerned – but can be an issue at imes. Let’s say you’re working in an electrical panel with a lot of wiring. A poor CRI light can make it difficult to distinguish blue and purple wires.
Have you ever been in an office that looked and felt a little sterile? A bix box shop with fluorescent lights where everything looked a little dull and flat?
CRI isn’t as noticeable a light quality as color temperature, but it plays a big part in how objects and their colors look under illumination.
Milwaukee says that their TRUEVIEW LED products have a CRI of 85. 85 is not what would be considered “very high CRI,” but it’s somewhat of a high value. This means that colors should appear closer to their truer shades when illuminated with one of Milwaukee’s new LED worklights.
Some of the LED lamps I have also have CRI values of 85. I went down this path because CRI in the mid-80’s provides good color quality without too much of a sacrifice in intensity. Plus, there’s greater bang-for-the-buck compared to very high CRI lights.
In product descriptions, you’re going to see Milwaukee’s TRUEVIEW products described as mentioned above – with claims of exceptional light quality and better color rendering. I hope this rundown of color temperature and CRI gives you make better sense of why and how Milwaukee can make these claims.
Unless you see the light yourself firsthand, it can be difficult to understand what Milwaukee means when they talk about “better clarity, light quality, and color accuracy.” Once the LED products are available, I’ll put together a comparison so that you could see the difference a little more clearly.
Even so, the color temperature (4000K), and CRI (85), should give you a good idea of what you can expect from the TRUEVIEW LED lights. Light with CRI of 85 can be different depending on the LED emitter, but indicates rather good (at least for LED) color accuracy.
It’s hard to be impressed by a bunch of on-paper numbers, but I am very optimistic about the new TRUEVIEW LED products. The lights’ technical properties seem to back up Milwaukee’s claims about the benefits their TRUEVIEW technology can offer professional users.