4-inch vs 6-inch Recessed Lighting – What’s The Difference?

If you’re trying to decide whether to install 4-inch or 6-inch recessed lighting in your home, it can be hard to know the difference and which one you should go with. Both have their pros and cons, and there are specific situations where one or the other would be better suited to your needs.

To determine which will work best for you, you need to know about the similarities and differences between 4-inch and 6-inch recessed lighting and when each one should be used.

4-inch vs 6-inch Recessed Lighting

Size of the Light

The size of a recessed light refers to its physical dimension and generally means how far back into your ceiling it can project light. A 4-inch fixture projects about 24 inches, while a 6-inch fixture can project 36 inches.

This gives you more flexibility in choosing where you want to point your lights. While some may opt for bright, spread-out task lighting, others may choose fewer but brighter bulbs. Whatever your preference, both options are available when you select between 4-inch and 6-inch fixtures.

4 inch Recessed Lighting

Amount of Light

Available light The amount of light a fixture can produce depends on the wattage rating. A 4-inch recessed lighting fixture can produce about 2 watts of light, while 6-inch recessed lighting can produce about 5 watts.

This difference may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference when you’re trying to light up an entire room. The longer the bulb’s beam, the greater the distance it will travel, spreading out light more evenly across a room.

Positioning on wall

There are two different ways you can position recessed lights. The first is the surface-mount (also known as 4 inches). Surface-mounted lights will sit flush with your ceiling and come in white or various colors.

While they are generally easier to install, they don’t offer as much versatility in placement as other types of light fixtures. If you want to install a surface mount fixture, ensure that your ceiling is low enough for its width.

Overall Cost

Typically, 4-inch lights cost less than 6-inch lights. If budget is a key consideration, go with 4-inch. There is also such a thing as 3-inch recessed lights.

These are even cheaper and work in most situations requiring minimal light. However, if you want to cover more area or have higher ceilings (10 feet or more), you need to use 6-inch lights.

This may not be an option for those on a tight budget. You can always add additional fixtures later if your needs change or you can afford it down the road.

6 inch Recessed Lighting

How Do You Choose Between 4 and 6 Recessed Lights?

Here is a quick guide to help you determine whether 4-inch or 6-inch recessed lights are right for you.

4-inch recessed lights are great for small spaces or if you want a more subtle light. They can be used for task lighting or accent lighting and work well in kitchens, bathrooms, or other small spaces.

6-inch recessed lights are perfect for larger spaces or if you want a brighter light. They can also be used for task lighting or accent lighting but will provide more light than a 4-inch recessed light. These are an excellent option for living rooms, dining rooms, or any other larger space in your home.

So, which size recessed light is right for you? It depends on your personal preference and the space you’re trying to light. If you’re still unsure, ask a lighting specialist or electrician for help in choosing the right size recessed light for your home.

Difference Between 4 inch and 6 inch Recessed Lighting

Should You Have 4 or 6 Recessed Lights in The Bathroom?

One of our readers wrote in and asked a great question, which would make for a great topic to discuss in a post. He was thinking about upgrading his bathroom light fixtures from 4′′ down to 6′′.

This reader wanted to know if there was any reason he should opt for 6′′ over 4′′ or if they serve a different purpose altogether. The answer might surprise you… and it may just save you some money too! Let’s dive right into it.

Let’s talk about how much space is covered by each fixture. A typical 8′′ x 8′′ (4′′) fixture will cover approximately 24 square feet (1 square foot = 144 square inches). Conversely, an 8′′ x 10′′ (6′′) fixture will cover about 32 square feet.

That means a 4′′ light can typically light up to three times as many square feet as a 6′′ light! So why would you ever want to use a larger fixture if it only covers slightly more area?

Well, there are two main reasons:

1.) light distribution and

2.) Light quality.

We’ll break down both of these below:

First off, when talking about light distribution, we mean exactly what it sounds like—how well your lights spread out over your room or space.

A 6′′ light fixture has smaller bulbs than a 4′′ Light fixture (typically half-inch or 3⁄4′′ compared to one inch or one and 1⁄2′′), which in turn allows for better coverage of smaller areas with fewer lights.

This is ideal for saving money on energy costs and labor by using fewer fixtures. For example, let’s say you have a 10′ x 12′ bathroom that requires eight fixtures total (four 4′′ fixtures and four 6′′ fixtures).

If you were to use all 4′′ fixtures, you would need four more of them compared to if you used all 6′′ fixtures; therefore costing an additional $40-$80 depending on whether they are new or used!

The same concept applies to other rooms as well. For instance, if you had a 20′ x 30′ living room that required 15 recessed lights (7 4′′ and 8 6′′), then using all 4′′ fixtures would require five more of them than if you used all 6′’ fixtures; again costing an additional $40-$80 depending on whether they are new or used!

Benefits of 4 inch Recessed Lights

Benefits of 4 inch Recessed Lights

4-inch recessed lights provide more output per foot of fluorescent tube, meaning you can illuminate more space in less time. A 12-foot section of 4-inch T8 fluorescents will run you about $80, while a 12-foot section of 6-inch lights will cost over $120 (for just the tubes).

If you’re on a budget, 4 inches is a better option. If not, check out 6 inches. The other advantage of 4-inch lights is that they can be installed at closer distances to one another—6 inches should be kept at least 24 inches apart, but 4-inch fixtures can be installed 18-24 inches apart.

Benefits of 6 inch Recessed Lights

If you have a larger room to light, using a higher wattage bulb or placing more fixtures can increase your light output without sacrificing energy efficiency. They also make it easier to direct light where you want it and reduce the number of bulbs necessary.

Benefits of 6 inch Recessed Lights

What is an adjustable color LED recessed lighting?

LED Recessed Lighting enables you to adjust its color to suit your mood. It’s one of a kind and is controlled with a remote control that allows you to change Light intensity and color easily. Standard LED bulbs do not allow you to change their light color.

Not all recessed lights are created equal. Some of them come with a special color adjustment system that you can use to get just about any hue you want. If you don’t like how your kitchen looks in blue, you can choose red. Want your den to glow orange?

You got it! These adjustable LED bulbs (see also ‘How To Dispose Of LED Light Bulbs‘) are perfect for renters who may not be able to permanently install new fixtures or paint their walls a different color but still want some light to brighten up their space. For the colorful lighting, you have to choose smart recessed lighting.

Are 6-inch recessed lights too big?

No, 6-inch recessed lights are not too big. They are a perfect size for most rooms. They provide plenty of light without being too harsh. They are also ideal for rooms with high ceilings. Overall, 6-inch recessed lights are an excellent choice for most homes. 

Is 4-inch recessed lights enough?

4-inch recessed lights are often used in kitchens and bathrooms. They provide good task lighting and can help to create a bright and airy space.

However, they may not be enough to light a large room or provide ambient lighting. In these cases, you may need to use recessed and other types of lighting, such as pendant lights or floor lamps.

How far apart should 4-inch recessed lights be?

The spacing for 4-inch recessed lights should be 48 inches apart.

How far apart should 6-inch recessed lights be?

The spacing for 4-inch recessed lights should be 60 inches apart.

How many 6-inch recessed lights do I need?

This is a difficult question to answer without more information. How big is the room? What is the ceiling height? Is there any other lighting in the room?

How much area does a 6-inch recessed light cover?

A 6-inch recessed light fits into a rectangular space 15 inches wide by 18 inches high. This means that it will cover an area of about 104 square inches or 10.4 square feet.

However, it does not necessarily provide even lighting over that area; without any diffusion, a 6-inch light may leave portions of your room darker than others.

If you want to fill out a larger space while maintaining adequate brightness, consider using two or more 4-inch lights instead of one large one.

Final Words

There are several factors to consider when making your decision, and while there is no one right answer, be sure you take all of your options into account.

Of course, deciding on which to install depends on what you are going for. If you want a modern, contemporary feel in your space, go with a 4-inch recessed light. However, if you desire a more classic feel, opt for six inches instead.