Recessed lighting provides a room with a distinct look while illuminating it. They also eliminate hanging fixtures that clutter the view. The following products might be just what you’re looking for, and the buyer’s guide can help you look for the right match.
Best Recessed Lighting of 2018
|Hyperikon LED Downlight (Editor's Choice)||Retrofit,|
|1, 4, 16||5", 6"||2700K; 3000K; 4000K; 5000K||14 watts||White|
|Sunco Lighting LED Baffle Recessed Retrofit Kit||Retrofit,|
For living room
|10||4"||2700K; 3000K; 4000K; 5000K||11 watts||White|
|Lithonia Lighting WF4 White LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Light||Dimmable,|
For low ceilings
|1||4"||2700K; 3000K; 3500K; 4000K; 5000K||10.6 watts||White|
|Parmida LED Baffle Downlight||Retrofit,|
|1, 4, 12||5", 6"||2700K; 3000K; 4000K; 5000K||12 watts||White|
|TORCHSTAR LED Gimbal Recessed Downlight||Retrofit,|
Lighting fixture for vaulted ceilings
|1, 6||4"||2700K; 5000K||10 watts||White|
|Parmida LED Disk Light||Retrofit,|
For garage and basement
|1, 4, 12||5", 6"||2700K; 3000K; 4000K; 5000K||15 watts||White|
|Lithonia Lighting WF4 Colored LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Downlight||Dimmable,|
For low ceilings
|1||4", 6"||2700K; 3000K; 4000K||9.6 watts or 13 watts||Brushed Nickel; Matte Black; Oil-Rubbed Bronze|
|Great Eagle BR40 LED Light Bulb||Dimmable,|
BR40 light bulb
|4, 6||-||2700K; 3000K; 4000K||15 watts||-|
|Bioluz GU10 LED Light Bulb||Dimmable,|
GU10 light bulb
|1, 5, 10||-||3000K||6.5 watts||-|
|TORCHSTAR MR16 GU10 LED Light Bulb||Dimmable,|
GU10 light bulb
|1, 6||-||2700K; 5000K||7.5 watts||-|
1. Hyperikon LED Downlight – Top Rated Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting for Kitchen
A white colored trim gives this lighting system a clean and standard appearance. The stand-out feature for this product is its ability to adjust from a five-inch to six-inch trim aperture. This is accomplished by altering the placement of the screws used to hold the housing to the spring mechanism. This feature may prove beneficial for either new or remodel installations.
Hyperikon provides a five-year warranty on this recessed lighting, an offer that may be important for those who desire consumer confidence.
Another interesting design element is the E26 socket adaptor, which allows the light to screw into a bulb socket for power. This product line is available in warm, soft white, daylight, and crystal white color temperature options. It works well with modern dimmer equipment and energy star certified.
The adjustable aperture and E26 adaptor make this a forgiving fixture during the installation process. These traits make it a good selection for a homeowner looking for a quick install. We would recommend this product to anyone looking to do some home improvement on their own.
- The trim size on these lights can adjust
- This product comes in a multitude of color temperatures
- The light is available in one, four, and 16-packs
- The trim surface may scuff easily
- It uses thin spring mechanisms for support
2. Sunco Lighting LED Baffle Recessed Retrofit Kit – Highly Rated LED Option for Living Room
This durable fixture should prove suitable for both commercial and residential settings. A four-inch aperture provides plenty of light emission without producing a large footprint. The manufacturer upgraded this recessed lighting kit with new design elements that are intended to generate the brightest light possible.
Those looking for a decorative fixture might be disappointed with this light’s simple design and look.
A CRI rating of 90-plus creates a natural look illuminated objects, and these lights come in four distinct color temperature ranges. An energy star rating is achieved through the use of LEDs that provide an operational life of over 35,000-hours. SUNCO’s retrofit recessed lighting is designed with a baffle to help reduce light glare while providing a limited profile that barely sits off of the ceiling’s surface.
A four-inch aperture makes this a mid-sized fixture. The simple design and lense covering create a non-intrusive and secure light. We would recommend this for a rental or small business but would suggest a less plain recessed light for a personal residence.
- The trim is baffled to help reduce light glare
- A lens cover will help to protect the light in a moist bathroom
- It is compatible with many light dimmer switches
- It will require a dimmer in ambient or secondary lighting roles
- The decorative ring does little to enhance the look of the light
3. Lithonia Lighting WF4 White LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Light – LED Lighting with Thin Profile for Low Ceilings
This lighting product is very thin, a feature that makes it a possible choice for new construction, remodels, and retrofits. The light is IC rated, which allows it to fit into tight areas with insulation. Its housing is airtight and water sealed and can be installed indoors or outdoors.
The company provides a variety of low and high lumen styles in residential and multi-purpose designs.
It requires Lutron, Leviton, or Synergy switch dimmers and can be turned down to 1-percent output. The four-inch aperture means that this recessed light will only require a 4.2-inch hole that is two inches in depth for a proper installation. Its LED driven design is CSA, energy star, and UL listed for a compliant and safe installment.
This product requires only a little clearance for installation. With an indoor/outdoor rating, we would recommend this as a good fixture for covered patios outdoors.
- The fixture is rated to be used both indoors as well as outdoors
- A thin body allows it to be installed in more areas
- This recessed light is available in three different sizes
- The compatible dimmer selection may be limited
- Using a dimmer switch with this product could produce some flickering
4. Parmida LED Baffle Downlight – Durable Recessed Fixture for Bathroom
This product is made from a durable white polycarbonate that is fire and impact-resistant. This material can be covered with paints that are designed to adhere to plastics. A baffle design directs the light and helps to ease glare from the fixture.
The light produced from these lights is highly focused downwards and may prove limited as a direct light source for whole rooms without extra fixtures.
This recessed lighting can be mounted into a five or six-inch canister, a feature that provides more options for the homeowner. The wet location listing means that this light can be installed into areas that contain a lot of moisture without concern for possible water issues.
The ability to paint over the trim is a great feature. Add to that the baffling and we feel this would be a recommended fixture in rooms with lower ceilings that are due for fresh paint. For rooms with higher ceilings, we would choose another recessed light kit.
- A ribbed interior that steps down to the light provides a decorative look
- The baffling used helps to direct the light directly down from the fixture
- This product is certified and rated in many categories
- This light may produce a light humming noise when a dimmer is used
- The springs used to secure the light into the can are flimsy
5. TORCHSTAR LED Gimbal Recessed Downlight – Adjustable Lighting Fixture for Vaulted Ceilings
This white-trimmed light fixture is offered in a size of four inches. TORCHSTAR provides this product in a daylight or warm white color temperature range. With a CFI rating of 90-plus, this light might be a selection for those looking for true colors from illuminated objects.
An E26 adaptor is included with some recessed lighting and allows a homeowner to connect the light to power without having to hardwire the fixture.
The eyeball trim design allows a homeowner to adjust the direction the light is pointing, and an optional gimbal design provides a wider surface for adjustment. These adjustments make this light a good fit for sloped or angled ceilings where a non-adjustable trim would point the light at awkward angles.
The adjustable direction of the light is a big plus. We would suggest this product for anyone looking to install recessed lights in an angled ceiling. It can also act as accent lighting for an entertainment center. For standard ceilings as a primary light source, we would recommend a different product.
- The eyeball and gimbal design allow a user to change the light’s direction
- A 90-plus CFI rating provides very natural lighting conditions
- It is equipped with a standard E26 adaptor for easy installation
- The eyeball and gimbal design with protrude out from the ceiling surface
- Its color is more of an off-white in appearance
6. Parmida LED Disk Light – Ultra-thin Flush Mounted Option for Garage or Basement
A 0.2-inch thickness will require little installation room for this recessed lighting. It is made from aluminum and polycarbonate that should provide plenty of product durability. It can be placed into a five or six-inch canister, as well as 2.75, 3.5, or 4.0-inch junction boxes.
Caution must be used during installation in order to avoid damage to the wires on this fixture.
These recessed lights work with many LED compatible dimmers, and with Caseta wireless dimmers. It is energy star and damp location rated, which provides more versatility with fixture locations in the home.
The thin design and shallow clearance requirements are great for tight spaces. We would recommend this for a home improvement project where clearance is minimal. If there is room, however, a cheaper lighting kit can offer you the same results.
- An extremely thin profile can fit almost anywhere
- It can be installed in a can or junction box
- Made from a durable body and polycarbonate cover
- The thin design will cost a bit more per fixture
- Assembly screws can damage wires if caution is not used
7. Lithonia Lighting WF4 Colored LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Downlight – Great Lighting for Artwork
An IC rating allows this recessed light to be installed near insulation without concerns for possible fire or heat damage. The trim on these lights is painted black, bronze, and rust colors that provide a distinguished look.
The Lithonia company has been producing commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential lights for over 60-years.
This product is compatible with Lutron, Levitron, and Synergy brand dimmer switches. The output of light can be brought down to 10-percent on these fixtures. The four-inch lights require only two-inches of depth for a proper installation.
The colors are the make or break for this recessed light. If you need a non-white color for the room, we would suggest a closer look. If the colors won’t match, skip this lighting.
- It is available in three non-white trims that offer a more unique look
- This product is rated to be used in outdoor or wet locations
- A powder coated paint helps to prevent rust
- The colored trims offered may limit this recessed light’s use in some rooms
- An 80 CRI rating does not produce a natural color
8. Great Eagle BR40 LED Light Bulb – Great LED Light Bulbs for Recessed Lighting
Great Eagle offers these bulbs in four or six-packs. They are UL listed and are rated at 15-watts. They may be an option for homeowners seeking to replace 90, 100, or 120-watt light bulbs. They will require larger recessed housing that can hold bulbs over six-inches in height.
These bulbs are available in bright, cool, and warm temperature ranges.
It employs a standard E26 adaptor for attachment to the lighting. These large bulbs can also be used effectively in track lighting kits also.
A strong warranty and crisp lighting make these bulbs we would suggest to use. The only drawback would be their size.
- They are designed for a multitude of commercial and residential settings
- It uses only 15-watts of power with a 120-watt capacity
- These lights come with a five-year warranty from the manufacturer
- They are designed to be used on deeper recessed fixtures only
- It may flicker when used with some dimmer switches
9. Bioluz GU10 LED Light Bulb – Providing a 40-degree Angled Beam
This compact halogen replacement measures less than two inches wide and just over 2.1-inches in length. They have a rated lifespan of over 25,000 hours. This will provide over 20-years of use at an average rate of three hours each day.
A good halogen replacement that will not cause heating issues while in use.
The manufacturer states that these LED bulbs can be used indoors and outside as well. As an LED, these bulbs are mercury free and are covered by a five-year warranty from the manufacturer.
These bulbs will make great replacements for existing recessed lighting that uses halogen bulbs. If you plan to get a new recessed lighting kit, skip these and go with bulbs with another type of adaptor.
- A 3000-degree Kelvin temperature range properly matches the halogen bulb colors
- It does not need time to run at full illumination like other bulbs would
- These bulbs are only a bit over two-inches in height
- These halogen replacements will cost a bit more than other bulbs
- Will struggle to properly illuminate objects outside of the 40-degree angle
10. TORCHSTAR MR16 GU10 LED Light Bulb – LED Bulb for Recessed or Tracked Lighting
This 7.5-watt bulb is rated to last 25,000 hours and has a CRI rating of less than 80. That will provide illumination that falls just short of a true color performance. It comes with a standard GU10 base adaptor and measures 2.0-inches wide by 2.1 inches in height.
TORCHSTAR offers these bulbs as singles or in a six-pack buying option.
It is capable of working with most LED dimmer switches and should operate without a humming noise or flickering during use. It is UL listed and is rated for damp locations. This makes it a possible choice for bathroom locations.
These are pricey for their size and we suggest finding something cheaper.
- The compact bulb is still capable of producing a 40-degree beam pattern
- This 7.5-watt bulb is equivalent to a 75-watt bulb
- The manufacturer covers this product with a three-year warranty
- The posts can work loose on some bulbs
- This products’ soft white temperature color appears a bit yellow
When contemplating recessed lighting, there are a few things to consider before buying a recessed lighting kit. The following information should help you to select a product that will provide the features that you need and want for a particular room or location.
What Do The Recessed Lights Need To Provide?
One of the first things to consider is the amount of light the recessed lighting needs to produce. Will it need to be used as a primary source or as secondary lighting? Another consideration will be the use of lamps in the room. Planning ahead of time will help to narrow the types of lights to be considered.
How Far Apart Should They Be?
It is important to consider spacing when considering recessed lighting. Generally, higher ceilings can space the lights farther apart, while lower ceilings should be closer together. Also, lighting particular areas in a room will have lights placed close together, while complete room lighting will require a wider spread.
Keep Insulation And Moisture In Mind
If the lights will be placed near insulation, they should be rated “IC.” Attention and care should be applied when installing lights not rated as “IC” in close proximity of insulation in order to prevent potential fire hazards. Care should also be used when installing this type of lighting in bathrooms or outdoors. Many recessed lighting is specially designed to handle outdoor or high moisture rooms.
What Type Of Bulbs Do Recessed Lights Use?
Most recessed lighting will use fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs, or LEDs to generate light. Your selection will be based on personal preferences but keep in mind that LED lighting products are becoming more prevalent each year. LED lights are usually more expensive up front, but will save you money over time as they use far less energy and last longer.
Bulb size is another consideration. Most recessed lighting will use standard sized bulbs, but there are products that use over-sized or smaller bulbs. Some bulb sizes will be more difficult to find, so keep this in mind when selecting the light kit. Voltage rating may be a consideration as well, as some lighting kits use a voltage level lower than standard “household” voltage.
Brightness, Color, And Bulb Life
Many homeowners will use a dimmer with recessed lighting so that they can adjust the light’s brightness. Adjustable lighting can save energy when a dimmer is used, so it is something to think about. Bulbs are rated for how many hours they will last on average, and this rating may become a factor depending upon where the recessed lighting is installed and how easy it will be to access for bulb replacement.
Bulbs are also available in a variety of color temperatures. This rating is measured in Kelvin (K) under the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) listing. Higher temperatures equate to whiter lights. The three common ratings are:
- Soft White (2700K – 3000K)
- Bright White or Cool White (3500K – 4100K)
- Daylight (5000K – 6500K)
Considerations When Using Recessed Lighting To Highlight Objects
Recessed lights are often used to highlight artwork, food and furniture pieces throughout the home. When the lights will be used for this task, keep in mind the Color Rendering Index (CRI). Higher CRI ratings provide more natural and realistic colors on these objects. Fluorescent lights rate poorly, while incandescent and LED lights can provide great CRI.
Recessed Lighting Trim
Recessed lights are available with or without a flange. Flangeless trims give the appearance that the lights are part of the ceiling because they are flush with the surface. A product with a flange separates the light from the ceiling by producing a look that appears to sit on the surface. Beveled trims provide greater visual depth, while flat trims are often described as “minimalistic” in appearance.
Shapes And Sizes
Recessed lights come in circular and square shapes. They range in sizes from three to six inches. Larger lights are often used to provide a more traditional look while a smaller aperture can be employed to give a modern appearance.
Other Trim Considerations
Trims are available in a multitude of colors, including wood grains. Some products include baffling to limit direct light and glare. Eyeball trim refers to recessed lights that can adjust the direction the light points, while pinhole trims cover most of the light except for the very center. Finally, a reflective trim will increase the illumination a recessed light can produce.
Improvements to LED and SMD technology will continue to decrease the size of recessed lighting. Currently, some fixtures are only a couple of inches across. As you search for the right product, keep in mind location and lighting needs. Proper spacing and lighting will provide beauty as well as illumination all night long!