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Differences Between RGB vs RGBW LED Lights

Differences Between RGB vs RGBW LED Lights

What Does RGBW Mean?

RGB came before RGBW and has a long history of achieving more development and spectrum possibilities in lighting effects. Pure white can be obtained by mixing RGB (red, green, and blue), but it is a complicated process where white is not always up to the desired effect. With more demand and further developments in the lighting industry, RGBW was created and continues to evolve.

RGBW adds a white light-emitting chip and adds a new level of dimension and a broader spectrum to home lighting.

What Does RGB Mean?

RGB is a principle mix of three optical primary colors (red, green, and blue) which are the basis for basic light. The higher the mixing degree, the higher the brightness. 

RGB vs. RGBW Main Differences


RGBW is created by taking the basis of RGB and adding white pixels (W) to create four-color pixels. RGBW is brighter than RGB because of the addition of pure white, with better light transmission and lower power consumption. 


Because RGBW lighting is newer technology with better light and lower power consumption, it is priced higher than basic RGB lights. It has a more complicated manufacturing process and provides an overall improved brightness.  


RGB light is used for practical lighting applications, like a desk lamp or a light on a nightstand. RGBW can achieve more complex forms of color mixing, therefore providing more options for brightness and color tones - which is more suitable for large spaces like a living room, office, or kitchen. 


CRI stands for Color Rendering Index - basically how well a light can process different tones and reflect the colors around it. RGBW has a higher CRI, so the lights reflect the color of objects purely. This means higher color reproduction and more options for desired ambient lighting. RGB will still reflect the colors around it, but they will not be as true to their actual shade.

Maximize Spectrum

Since RGBW has the added white chip, it can display more precise colors and a fuller lighting effect. It is the best option for having more choices in terms of brightness and tones. RGB has a basic color spectrum but takes more to produce a true white - which is still never as white as what RGBW can produce.


RGB vs. RGBW LED Strips

RGB LED strips are the original light strips that opened the door for a wide range of customizable colors and the ability to cut them to any length or shape you’d like. With RGBW, the extra white chip has been added into the LED strip, allowing for more color variations and brighter whites.

Why do we Need an Extra White Chip?

An LED light strip with dedicated white tone provides more options for adding extra warmth or cooler. It also provides a larger range of shades for color mixing.

Should I Choose RGB or RGBW?

If you want a basic lighting set-up with no pure white light, an RGB light is the better option, and you’ll save some money. However, if you want an option that provides more color and brightness options, along with a greater CRI, the RGBW lighting set-up is the best option for you. You may be paying a bit more, but it is worth it if you want the full range of color and brightness available, along with the added benefit of lower power consumption.

Are we Able to Produce Black with RGB Lights?

RGB works with colors being added to it, but not by taking colors away, which means it cannot produce black. With light, you cannot add colors together to produce black - it can only be achieved by getting rid of any color and light altogether.

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