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Why You Want a High CRI LED Light

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Bolster, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity "best knives" or "best caliber," this is just my opinion on a debatable topic. But if you don't own any High CRI LED flashlights yet, please try one, you might like it.

    High CRI (Color Rendering Index) means that the LED is emitting more of the color spectrum than typical LEDs do. Your typical bright-blue tint LED drops red, orange and aqua wavelengths, but modern hi CRI emitters do a better job of outputting the entire spectrum. The sun, as well as your favorite incandescent light, has a CRI of 100. You can now buy LEDs with CRIs of 85-90, which is not bad.

    What's the big deal, when you can get regular LEDs that are brighter and cheaper? For prepping and survival, I think high CRI is worth the compromise, because it makes searching for things in the dark easier. Police were notorious for continuing to use their SF incans, long after brighter and tougher and more efficient LEDs were available. Why?

    They could see better with their old, dimmer incans. Even though the incan may put out a third of the light, you could spot a perp hiding in the bushes better with an incan. Whereas your typical LED gives a "flat" look that people sometimes describe as looking at a color-tinted black-and-white image.

    Personal story: Back in the old days when low-CRI, blue-tint LEDs were all that was available, I hired an electrician who worked on my house. He worked with one hand, the other holding a dim, handheld incan flashlight. I gave him a nice new (low-CRI) Zebralight headlamp as a gift. He was very first...then a few weeks later he gave it back. He said, "It's very bright, but I can't see anything with it." Bingo.

    High CRI is not mainstream have to hunt for it (one of my favorite sources is, and they are a little more expensive, and usually a little less bright. But you may be very pleased that you get the beam quality near an incan, with all the advantages of an LED.

    Two images to consider, low and high CRI lights:



    See an entire thread with comparison photos here:

    ...check out the photos of the owl in the tree...I think he's easier to see in the dimmer hi-CRI light.

    Just my opinion, worth what you paid for it. :mememe:
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  2. Akita

    Akita gone

    Jul 22, 2002
    Interesting info. Thanks for the post.

  3. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    My Only question: does it show zombies better at night?

    Seriously, here is my other question: What about when you aren't flashing a tree at 3'. For example, say I was looking across an open yard or field?

    Maybe its the angle, but I think the first photo's lower shrubs on the left are clearer
  4. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    I think the correct answer here, is that the old-style blue-tint LEDs make ANYONE look like a zombie.

    Regards your preference for various purposes, it's ultimately what you like best (but what are the advantages to a light that drops large parts of the spectrum)? Obviously I'm not recommending HCRI for looking at trees, but we were fresh out of photos of perps hiding in bushes.

    If you visit the linked thread, you can see other comparison photos...such as that owl perched in the tree. Is he more visible in one photo than the other? I think so.

    The reason I'm recommending HCRI is for its ability to help you see better, to distinguish color better...for the same reasons that the cops held on to their incans for so long. Better object recognition at night.

    But nothing beats an in-person test. For me, I sold off all my previous-generation LEDs and repurchased HCRI (or at least neutral/warms) once I saw the difference.

    If your goal is to get maximum blinding light on a subject, then you're probably better served with the brightest blue-tint LED you can find. For some applications, people really like the blue-tint, they describe it as more "piercing."
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012