What Is the Best Recessed LED Lighting Fixture?
Recessed lighting fixtures may seem a little boring – after all, most of the fixture is totally out of sight. However, recessed lights make a big difference in a room. The color temperature, the angle and the trim stand out more than you realize. Hopefully, our guide gave you an idea what you want for your own situation, so let’s look through our top 5 recommendations.
Our Top Choice
The Lithonia Lighting LED Dimmable Ceiling Light will shine bright for up to 36,000 hours which is about 6 years when used for 6 hours a day! If you’d prefer a square light fixture with the same great features, you need the Lithonia Lighting WF6 Square LED Recessed Light
Lithonia Lighting LED 30K Ultra thin 6-Inch Dimmable Recessed Ceiling Light – Available in Multiple Styles and Colors
For over 60 years, Lithonia Lighting has been providing a huge line of industrial, commercial, residential and institutional lighting fixtures. They’re an Acuity Brands company who focus on quality, solid performance and reliability. Customer service is also a top priority for them, hoping to provide expert help from start to finish to make your buying experience as pleasant as possible. They have outdoor lighting, LED lights, emergency lights, track and display lighting as well as home decorative lighting.
One of their quality products for the home is the Lithonia Lighting LED Dimmable Ceiling Light. This light is designed to be “wafer-thin”; well, not literally, but it’s thin enough to be installed in a ceiling with just 2-inches plenum clearance. It’s a comprehensive recessed downlight so no other products are needed to get this installed and working.
Let’s see what features are getting everyone excited about this product:
- It’s IC-rated meaning it’s safe to install with direct contact to insulation
- LED light maintains 70% light output for over 6 years (36,000 hours when used for 6 hours a day)
- Outer frame is made of aluminum with a powder coat paint to prevent any rusting
- Available in 2700K warm white, 3000K bright white or 4000K cool white options
- Lights are dimmable down to 10% and work with certain Lutron, Synergy, Levitron and Sensor Switch dimmer switches
- You get close to 80 lumens per watt of power
- Even illumination with the edge-lit LED technology
If you like the sound of this recessed light fixture, you can choose from four finishes; matte white, matte black, brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.
Want to take things to the next level?
The Lithonia 6SL Speaker Light
has a dimmable LED module with integrated wireless speaker
Experience truly connected home entertainment with the Lithonia Lighting 6SL Speaker Downlight. | Courtesy of Acuity Brands Inc.
Our featured Torchstar lighting fixture has impressive adjustability and energy efficiency. If you need a 4 inch recessed light
instead of a 5 or 6-inch one, you could choose Torchstar’s 10-watt Gimbal Directional fixture.
Torchstar 5/6 inch Dimmable Recessed LED Downlight – 2700K Soft White or 5000K Bright White
Torchstar is a relatively new, and very innovative, player in the lighting industry. Founded in 2009, this company is focused on energy-saving LED technology. It also tries to meet consumer demands with user-friendly, customer-first products and service.
We’ve chosen the 5/6 inch Directional Dimmable LED Lighting Fixture because it is versatile in size and application. It can tilt up to 30 degrees in one direction and is 360-degree adjustable in a tilted plane. It’s also dimmable and compatible with most LED dimmers.
Here are some other Torchstar products to check out:
- Torchstar 200 LED Extendable Christmas Net Light – Warm white, 8 modes
- Torchstar Under Cabinet Lighting Kit – Set of 3, 2-watt warm white LED puck lights with UL-listed power adapter
There are also multiple LED and regular bulbs to choose from.
The Hyperikon 6-Inch LED Downlight is available in four brightness levels from 2700K to 5000K. If you would prefer smaller lights, check out the Hyperikon 4 Inch LED Downlights
Hyperikon 6-Inch Dimmable LED Downlight Recessed Lighting Fixture – Available in Multiple Brightness Levels and Pack Sizes
Since 2010, Hyperikon has become one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of LED lighting in the US. They aim to maintain this position by continually innovating, keeping up-to-date with the newest technologies, qualifications and certifications. Their product range includes rugged outdoor lighting, industrial indoor lights, workplace lighting and classic home favorites.
The Hyperikon 6-Inch LED Downlight is an adjustable light that comes as a 5-inch fixture, however all you need to do is adjust the screw and you’ve got yourself a 6-inch light! Bring the sunshine indoors with four brightness levels available. Choose from 2700K warm white, 3000K soft white glow, 4000K daylight glow or 5000K crystal white glow. Different warmness levels are ideal for different rooms or applications so consider where you want your lights before deciding.
If you want to do something for the environment, then switching to LED lights is a fantastic start. They’re much more environmentally friendly than incandescent, fluorescent or halogen lights as they consume much less energy and they last longer. These lights will last up to 45,000 hours or 21+ years depending on your usage. One way that you can use less energy is utilizing the dimmable feature. You can dim these lights from 100% down to 20%, compatible with most modern LED dimmer switches. Installation of these lights is made easier by the E26 screw and step-by-step installation guide from Hyperikon. Depending on your intention for these lights you might need 1 or you might need more which is why they’re available in 1, 4 or 16-packs.
Globe Electric 4-Inch Shower Dimmable Downlight Recessed Lighting Kit, 4-Pack
Globe Electric makes light fixtures, bulbs, and electrical products to meet diverse consumer needs. Its products are manufactured with practicality and value in mind – for builders, contractors, and end users. Its recessed lighting kits are relatively easy to install and are available in multipacks on Amazon. These are great for new constructions or remodels.
The Globe Electric 4” LED Dimmable Lights are damp rated for showers with a water-resistant sealant pre-installed in the trim kit. With 4 LED lights in the pack, these couldn’t be easier to install. It’s a simple, push-n-click technology that doesn’t require any tools. The clips are adjustable too and even work on uneven surfaces.
When this kit is installed with the included LED bulbs, it’s IC rated as there’s an integrated cut-off switch. This switch ensures that, whether used with or without an insulation box, the bulbs never overheat. With a durable, die-cast construction these fixtures are built to last. They’ve got a longer shaft constructed of one-piece of spun aluminum and the tempered steel clips keep the removable side panels of the electrical box in place.
The Sunco Lighting 4” Dimmable Recessed Lights use 11-watt bulbs that can last up to 35,000 hours or over 32 years on 5 hours a day use. If you would prefer larger light fixtures, check out the Sunco Lighting 5\/6-Inch LED Recessed Lights
Sunco Lighting 4-Inch Dimmable LED Downlight Recessed Lighting Kit – Available in 2 Pack Sizes and 4 Colors
Sunco Lighting has been producing high-quality light bulbs for over 20 years. They are extremely passionate about their customers and strive for no less than 100% customer satisfaction. They hope to achieve this through exceedingly superior products and exceptional customer service. Their product range now includes indoor light bulbs, recessed and track lighting as well as a range of rugged outdoor lighting.
The Sunco Lighting 4” Dimmable Recessed Lights are suitable for new and retrofit construction with one of the highest CRI’s on the market today. They illuminate the room without being harsh on tired eyes; a comfortable, dimmable light. With Sunco’s recessed lights you can reduce your energy consumption up to 90% which is incredible. The 11-watt bulbs can last you over 32 years (over 35,000 hours) if you use them for an average of 5 hours per day!
Once you’ve decided you need these lights, you can choose from 2700K soft white lighting up to 5000K daylight and rest-assured knowing they’re super easy to install. It comes with 2 flip mounting clips and an E26 base adapter for easy installation. Having met strict guidelines, these LED bulbs are UL-listed, Energy Star certified and ROHS compliant.
Pot Lights, Can Lights, Downlights — How to Choose the Best Recessed Lighting Fixture for Your Home
Home lighting is one of the most decorative elements of any home, and has the ability to create both enhanced reality and illusion effects. Lighting fixtures, be they hanging lights, flush mount ceiling lights
, outdoor Christmas lights
or recessed lights aka downlights, or even pot lights, highlight our favorite colors and most treasured objects. They can change the mood just as they can the perceived size of a specific room.
And they don’t necessarily just need to go in our homes! There’s some lighting out there designed specifically to go elsewhere like the Acegoo RV Boat Recessed Ceiling Lights
, designed to light up your boat with energy efficient 12-watt LED lights.
Even a house appointed with plenty of windows does not guarantee your rooms will be well lit, but properly arranged downlights give you the best of both worlds—make your space(s) feel bigger, especially when installed on low ceilings, and take up less visual space as they are set into the ceiling itself. Another noteworthy benefit of downlights is that they create a “wall washing” effect, which is not taking soap and water to the walls, but via its trim adds character to a wall without the need to paint it or hang elaborate artwork. Read on for a few more tips on what to look for in the best recessed light fixtures.
If you want to see what selection of lighting brands usually have to offer, you should take a look at GE Lighting
(a brand that simply didn’t make it to our top 5 list because of space). They’ve got tons of bulbs, fixtures and recessed lighting options.
LED Recessed Lighting — 5 Things to Know Before Buying Recessed LED Lights
LED lights have changed the recessed/can lighting market. | Courtesy of The Honest Carpenter
There are several factors that can contribute to the cost of recessed lighting, most importantly its type (whether a complete kit or just the trim), the flexibility it provides, such as tilting, and the bulbs it’s compatible with. For example, if you’re looking to create a wall washing or wall grazing effect, you should ideally invest in downlights that can be tilted in several directions. High hats offer a better energy star rating that others – a feature that may be pricy to begin with, but is highly cost efficient, especially if you’re installing several pieces of lighting.
Considering you won’t be replacing pot lights often (except for when the bulbs give up), you should avoid buying cheap recessed light fixtures as they will either be detrimental to your existing décor or not provide great service life. To give you a rough idea, prices for recessed lights can cost anywhere between $20 and over $50 for a 4 or 6 pack, which is significant savings given that you don’t have to buy them separately. Apart from the price of the recessed light kit or trim, you will also (unless you’re a DIY enthusiast) have to bear the costs of installation, which could significantly spike the overall bill.
Choosing Recessed Lighting — How to Retrofit or Convert Recessed Lights
Options for converting, upgrading and installing recessed lighting fixtures. | Courtesy of Renos 4 Pros & Joes
Recessed light fixtures offer a clean and modern look, and can be one of the fastest ways to illuminate your space. There are, however, a few aspects to consider such as the size, what you want to light, and the necessary wiring needed to power your solution.
Here are a few important factors to give some thought to when shopping for the best downlights:
- Trim Size – This is the visible part of the light and comes in several different sizes starting at 1" and going up to 7" in diameter
- Trim Style – Choosing the right trim style mostly depends on the type of application and the desired effect, and options include baffle, reflector and wall washed trims
- IC or Non-IC Rated – IC or insulation contact means the recessed light can come in direct contact with thermal insulation, whereas non-IC pot lights should be installed at least 3” away from any insulation
- Low or Line Voltage – Low voltage is much more energy efficient and uses a 12v current rather than normal household 120 volt current with line voltage
- Type of Light Bulb – Recessed light fixtures are compatible with several different types of bulbs including LED, halogen and incandescent
- Type of Housing – This is the part that holds the electrical wiring and socket for the bulb and the two main types are remodel and new construction
- Swivel or Non-Swivel – Swivel motion allows you to adjust the light to focus on certain things/areas such as furniture and artwork
- Dimmable or Non-Dimmable – This allows you to control the recessed light fixtures with a remote or automated system to change the light levels
- Energy Star or UL Rated – Dictates how energy efficient and safe the respective pot light is to use
- Housing Compatibility – Check to ensure the recessed light will fit perfectly in your housing
- Combo Packs – Some recessed lights are available as single items, while others can be purchased in sets of 2, 5, 10, or more, which is ideal if you’re lighting a large space, as you will get consistent style and lighting
- Warranty – Most recessed light manufacturers offer some level of warranty that generally safeguards your investment against any factory defects
Construction and Design
Recessed light fixtures consist of three main components—the trim, housing and the bulb. While choosing the perfect trim is solely based on personal taste, selecting the best recessed light housing is where things can get a bit technical. The housing is available in a choice of new construction or remodel styles, where the former just like the name would suggest is basically ideal for new spaces that provide you with complete access to the wall, ceiling and the beams. New model recessed light housings are a great choice if you have limited access to the overhead space, making them a perfect fit for homes without crawl spaces, attics and apartments.
Once you’ve selected the right housing, you should pick the trim size that matches the lighting effect you desire such as 6” for residential and wall wash illumination, 5” for task lighting, 4” line voltage for access lighting and 4” low voltage for precision accent lighting.
How to Install Recessed Lights
Electrician Charles Vargas upgrades some ceiling lights to recessed lighting. | Courtesy of This Old House
Performance and Ease of Use
The performance of recessed lights and the effects they’ll render largely depend on the style of trim you choose. Baffle trims are the most common, and are a perfect choice for several different spaces in your home including dining areas, bedrooms and living rooms. Reflector trims are ideal for high ceilings, kitchens, and commercial applications, whereas adjustable trims serve well for myriad applications including general lighting, wall washing, accent lighting and task lighting.
One of the big questions that often crops up when shopping for the best recessed lighting what type of bulb is best? In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and it truly depends on your project. LED bulbs have higher startup costs, but on a brighter note are extremely energy and wallet efficient, and offer enjoy a remarkable service life. With regards to installation, it’s best to have recessed lights professionally installed in order for them to deliver the performance and lighting effects you desire.
Get the Best Recessed Lighting Fixture of 2021!
If you’re in the middle of a remodel and stopped to check out recessed lighting fixtures, we hope we’ve been of help. Likewise, if you just need to replace a single light, we would like to think we’ve helped you out. Whether you liked our featured items or not, you should be pointed in the right direction now. So, it’s time to make your home a little brighter!
Our Top Choice
Lithonia Lighting LED Dimmable Recessed Ceiling Light Kit
Torchstar Directional Dimmable LED Recessed Lighting Fixture
Hyperikon LED Downlight Recessed Lighting
Globe Electric LED Dimmable Recessed Ceiling Lights
Sunco Lighting Dimmable Recessed Ceiling Lights
Recessed Lighting Fixture FAQs
What is recessed light fixtures?
Commonly known as downlights, recessed lights are modern looking light fixtures that are installed into a hollow in the ceiling. Recessed lights have three main parts; housing, trim and the bulb. The housing is the part of the fixture that goes into the ceiling while the trim is the reflector or visible part of the fixture. The bulb is what produces the light.
What is the difference between can lights and recessed lights?
Can lights are a type of recessed lighting that are cylindrical and look much like a can (hence the name). They are often used in kitchens or in a place where there’s no space for low hanging lights. Some of the benefits of can lights are that they are sleek, versatile and can be downcast.
Can you convert recessed light fixture?
Yes. Using a recessed light converter, you can change recessed lights into pendant lights. The converter can adjust to a height of between 4 inches and 6 inches. You need to twist out the recessed light bulb but leave the socket in. Then install the converter.
Can I install recessed lighting myself?
If you have dropped ceilings, then it’s something you can install yourself. However, you will need cut-in cans to help with the fixing. They are readily available from manufacturers. If you opt to install the light yourself, you have to ensure that you buy an insulation-contact (IC) fixture. Otherwise, you may need to engage the services of a certified electrician.