RGB VS RGBW, How to Select ?


RGB VS RGBW has been a hot topic for many people. Both of them have a long history and provide possibilities for lighting design and application. Based on the multiple combinations of optimal primary colors – red, green, blue and white, these LED lights are the trendsetters. Every source of light emits a characteristic referred to as ‘color temperature’ that the human brain perceives differently. For instance, lower temperatures appear as a warm color such as yellow and red while higher temperatures are perceived as cool colors such as blue and green. In this article, you will get to know about RGBW and RGB lights that how both the lights are different from each other.

What Are RGBW And RGB ? 

RGB LED light strips have a long history which provides even more possibilities for lighting design and application. It is based on multiple combinations of three optical primary colors, red, green, and blue, and designed from the principle of color light emission. RGB LED light strips are regarded as three lights of red, green, and blue. When these lights are superimposed on each other, the colors are mixed and this mixed brightness is equal to the sum of two lights.

RGB three primary colors 1:1:1 mixing can get pure white in principle. But now in response to the popular demand of people, there is a new product in the lighting world; RGBW! RGBW LED strips to add a white sub-pixel on the basis of the RGB LED three primary colors to form an RGBW four colored pixel. 

Several marketers and advertisers claim that RGB LEDs can produce ‘full-spectrum light’ but that is not true. However, RGB color mixing can produce a wide range of customizable colors in different hues, using just red, green, and blue wavelengths is not enough to achieve the beautiful, functional lighting most people desire. For instance, the typical RGB LED strip cannot produce white even when all three colors are at full brightness. These so-called primary colors can only produce approximations of other hues resulting in greyed washed-out colors. No RGB fixture can ever be truly “full-spectrum.”

RGB LED lights have been around for many years that provide more possibilities for lighting design and application. But now due to technological advancement, there is a new product ‘RGBW’ – adds a white chip to the mix. RGBW adds a white sub-pixel on the basis of the original RGB three primary colors to form a RGBW four-color pixel LED light. 

RGB VS RGBW : Difference Between RGB And RGBW LED Lights

Here are some of the salient differences between RGB and RGBW LED lights:

  • RGB – 3 in 1 LED Chip 

RGB LED lights use 3 in 1 LED chip that is made up of the primary colors; red, green, and blue. 

  • RGBW – 4 in 1 LED Chip 

RGBW LED lights use 4 in 1 chip that adds white to red, green, and blue. But why there is a need for an extra chip?  As mentioned earlier, a standard RGB LED strip cannot produce pure white. So, a dedicated white LED chip produces a more refined white tone that adds to the vividness of colors that can be produced. 

  • Illuminates colored objects 

RGBW LED lights illuminate colored objects and skin tones more naturally than regular RGB LED lights. 

  • High Color Rendering Index (CRI) 

RGBW LED lights have much higher values on the Color Rendering Index (CRI) as compared to RGB lights and it allows colored surfaces to be more illuminated and intuitive every single time. 

  • More fuller color palette 

RGBW LED lights allow a much fuller color palette as compared to RGB lights.

  • More precise performance 

RGBW LED lights provide more precise performance than that RGB LEDs. 

  • Full Spectrum Lighting 

RGBW LEDs achieve what can be described as full-spectrum lighting much better than RGB LEDs.

Things To Consider Before Choosing A LED Light 

Before buying a LED light, there are several things that you must consider. And the topmost is the quality of LED light. 

You should look for the following:

  1. More than three colors within the light engine. RGBW LEDs provide more accurate light accents and can illuminate your space with pure white light
  2. An LED fixture that illuminates people and colored objects naturally and with better color rendering
  3. A well-balanced color ratio for intuitive mixing and adjustable brightness levels

In the lighting industry, LED technology is now well established. LED light utilizes significantly less energy and lasts long. Moreover, LEDs consistently outperform incandescent lights bulbs and other energy-saving bulbs across the board and come in every color imaginable. Although RGB LEDs can theoretically produce white light, it does not produce pure white light. But a dedicated white LED chip can provide a purer white and allows you to choose additional warm or cool white chips. The additional white chip also creates greater possibilities for color mixing with the RGB chip, presenting more and richer color changes.

Final Verdict: Which is better? RGB or RGBW? 

After knowing about the RGB and RGBW LEDs, you must be thinking that which is better? Well, the better choice is down to the application. If you only want basic RGB colors with no requirement of pure white light then a basic RGB LED strip is better, efficient, and cost-effective for you. However, if you are looking for the option of white light with a mix of RGB lights then RGBW is a great choice for you. RGBW LEDs give a different bright white color and it also has a special RGB+WW+W controller.

When choosing between RGB and RGBW LED lights, you pay extra for the white chip. RGBW luminaires project a cool shade of white which enhances the color palette and is excellent at producing pastel color. Adding white light to any standard color produced by a regular RGB can produce the desired shade without sacrificing saturation.

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