Can lights, recessed lights, downlights, whatever you want to call them, it doesn't change the fact that they have been helping people brighten their homes and eliminate shadows for decades.
With the best LED recessed lights, you can greatly improve the beauty and the function of any space around your house while saving costly electricity bills.
Now, with the innovation of LED technology, these lights just got even better at spreading light around the room while being energy efficient. LED lights have pretty much reinvented the recessed light category.
Because of their cost-efficiency and versatility, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the number of recessed lighting options. And that is where we come in.
- Top 8 Best LED Recessed Lights Overview
- Our Winner Best Dimmable LED Recessed Lights
- Our Winner Best Recessed Lighting
- Top 3 Best LED Can Lights | Overview (More Below)
- Top 8 Best LED Recessed Lights Reviewed
- 1. TORCHSTAR 12-Pack Essential Series Recessed Ceiling Light
- 2. Ensenior 12 Pack 6 Inch Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light
- 3. PARMIDA 5/6" Dimmable LED Recessed Ceiling Lights
- 4. Sunco Lighting 12 Pack 5/6 Inch LED Recessed Downlight
- 5. Globe Electric 4" Die-Cast Swivel Trim Recessed Lighting Kit
- 6. Lithonia Lighting WF6 LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Downlight
- 7. Bbounder Lighting 12 Pack 5/6 Inch LED Recessed Downlight
- 8. Hykolity 5/6-Inch LED Recessed Downlight
- Things To Know Before Buying The Best LED Recessed Lights
- Quantity Over Quality
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Top 8 Best LED Recessed Lights Overview
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Our Winner Best Dimmable LED Recessed Lights
Our Winner Best Recessed Lighting
Top 3 Best LED Can Lights | Overview (More Below)
Top 8 Best LED Recessed Lights Reviewed
In this section, we have picked 8 of the best recessed lighting options to help your narrow down your search.
1. TORCHSTAR 12-Pack Essential Series Recessed Ceiling Light
Starting off this list with TORCHSTAR is by far the thinnest LED recessed light in this list that requires only 2-inches of ceiling clearance space to install. It's a low-profile LED light that features 850lm of brightness and consumes only 12-watts of power. If you have a narrow ceiling and don't have space for can lights, go with this one.
You can choose from four different color temperature options and is available in 4, 6 & 12-pack set. Thanks to its smooth dimming feature, you can easily dim these LEDs from 100% to all the way down to 5% without any flickering. It's also compatible with a lot of dimmer switches on the market.
The lights have a frosted LED lens that is scratch-resistant and anti-glare. For safety features, the lights are housed in durable aluminum and come with cooling fins for superior heat dissipation. Because of their IC-rating, you can use these lights outdoors.
The brightness of these 6-inch low-profile lights is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent lamp without the added energy cost. They are also certified by Energy Star and ETL to ensure you get safe operation and high-quality standards when it comes to recessed lighting your house. You are sure to find a use for this light in hallways, basement, doorways, closets, kitchen etc.
2. Ensenior 12 Pack 6 Inch Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light
The Ensenior ultra-thin recessed lights feature a new generation of LED chips that are not only brighter but also more energy efficient. The lights only consume 12 watts of power, which means you are saving more energy and costly electricity bills. With 1050 lumens of brightness, you can brighten up your entire house.
You are saving up to 88% energy cost if you compare it to a 110W halogen lamp. The LED lens is frosted, which makes them durable and scratch resistant. They also have anti-glare properties. These can-less lights are IC-rated that come with thermally protected junction boxes.
Keep in mind that this is the best dimmable led recessed lights. These 6-inch low-profile recessed lights only require a 2-inch of ceiling space for a proper fit. Even though the light is small, it stays surprisingly cooler thanks to the cooling fins on the side. This provides superior heat dissipation and prolongs the lifespan of the LEDs.
The lights have a hassle-free, spring clip installation that can be done in minutes. In short, these are sharp and bright looking recessed lighting that are perfect for your bathroom, dining and kitchen area and meet all the criteria in terms of best overall value.
3. PARMIDA 5/6" Dimmable LED Recessed Ceiling Lights
This one is a 12-pack, ultra-thin, high-intensity LED recessed lights from Parmida LED Technologies. These are 15-watt lights with a brightness level of 1050 lumens. In short, these are very bright lights. In addition to that, you get to choose between 4 different color temperature options.
For this review, I'll be going with the 4000K/Cool-White because it's by far the most popular choice when it comes to recessed lighting. It's a flush mount retrofit designed light that is not only slim but also very easy to install. You don't need any driver module as you can wire them directly to a 120V junction box.
Although these are very bright lights, they are also compatible with most LED dimmer switches. This means, you can enjoy a true 10 – 100% dimming experience to adjust the brightness to your desired level. The color rendering index is greater than 90 which means you will get incredibly rich color tone.
Now, spec-wise, there is no doubt that it's a great choice for recessed lighting. However, what really matters is the quality. Even though it's an expensive lighting solution, these LEDs are made to last. These lights feature a durable metal construction as well as DOB technology for a flicker-free startup.
4. Sunco Lighting 12 Pack 5/6 Inch LED Recessed Downlight
These LED recessed downlights from Sunco Lighting are one of the highest-rated retrofits on the market. Most of the recessed lights out there will only give you up to 5000K color temperature options where these lights go up to 6000K. You also get a smooth, flicker-free dimming experience and instant startup.
As for the price, compared to big-box stores, these are very affordable lights. You won't have to break your bank to purchase 5000K lights. If you are on a budget but want decent quality recessed lights for your home, go with Sunco light. You can consider these lights as an inexpensive upgrade.
The brightness level is rated at 965lm which is equal to a 75W incandescent bulb. These are eco-friendly lights that will consume only 13W saving you a lot of electricity bill. The unique feature of these lights is that they are highly adjustable. You can connect them via an E26 adapter or a TP24 connector.
With just a screwdriver, you can convert these downlights from 5 to 6-inches thanks to the adjustable mounting bracket. These lights have a beam angle of 90-degree which is ideal for task lighting. Get more of these to brighten up your entire home. In short, it's bright, easy to install, and well put together.
5. Globe Electric 4" Die-Cast Swivel Trim Recessed Lighting Kit
Now, this one is a bit different both in terms of functionality and design. By different, I mean in a good way. These 4-inch die-cast lights feature galvanized steel construction of maximum durability and make them rust-proof. The lights come with extra-large junction box for easy access.
These are by far the easiest lights to install in this list. Because of the patented PUSH-N-CLICK system, you don't need any tools to install them. Not only that, the clips are extra wide and fully adjustable. Because of that, these lights get better grip on uneven surfaces.
Whether it's single drywall, double drywall, or soffit, the push clips are adjustable for a secure fit on all ceiling heights. You can use them in your bathroom, shower, and even outdoors because they are damp rated. Since these are IC-rated fixtures, you don't need any insulation box.
There is a wide variety of design options to choose from. Now, keep in mind that you have to buy the bulbs separately. For maximum performance, go with Globe Electric's 7W LED bulbs as those will consume 80% less energy while giving your longer LED life.
6. Lithonia Lighting WF6 LED Ultra-Thin Recessed Downlight
The Lithonia Lighting WF6 is an ultra-thin wafer downlight that can be installed almost anywhere. It comes with a driver box for quick, simple, and housing free installation. This light kit comes as a complete unit consisting of two parts – the LED module and the remote driver box.
The low-profile design makes this recessed light the ideal solution for locations with shallow plenums. Should a new hole be required in the ceiling, it comes with a hole template to make the process much easier. Since it's IC-rated, you can safely install this kit in direct contact with insulation.
While these lights look sleek and there is no issue regarding performance, you need to be choosy when selecting a compatible dimmer switch. Without one, you won't be able to completely remove buzzing when dimming the lights. If you want to eliminate all buzzing, use an ELV type dimmer.
You can use Lutron DVELV-300P or Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH-R if you want to remove flickering at all dimmer levels. Although these switches are a tad bit expensive, it is worth the extra cost if you want flicker-free lights. Check their official website for a list of compatible dimmers.
7. Bbounder Lighting 12 Pack 5/6 Inch LED Recessed Downlight
The first thing I would like to point out is how inexpensive these lights are, and that's not even the best part. What truly sets this set of lights apart is the ability to install them on cans without the existing C-clips. If you want to replace your outdated can lights and trim, these lights should be a good choice.
You can install them via the spring-loaded tension mounts that fit both 5-inch and 6-inch cans. On top of that, thanks to the flexible spring design, you don't have to worry about adjustments. In addition to tool-less installation, they also provide a better fit.
Due to the slim one-piece design, these lights look very modern & updated. These downlights are very bright available in three different color temperatures: 3000K, 4000K & 5000K. All the lights are dimmable down to 5%, but you will need a compatible dimmer switch.
Check their official website to see a full list of compatible dimmer switches. As for the specs, these are IC-rated light and UL listed for safety standards. They have an airtight structure and protected against corrosion and rust. In short, these are great inexpensive lights to replace your old can lights.
8. Hykolity 5/6-Inch LED Recessed Downlight
Last but not least, we have another LED recessed downlight, and this time, it's from Hykolity. These 5/6-inch baffle downlights are built to last, energy-efficient, and maintenance-free. The lights are housed in an aluminum body that provides excellent heat dissipation and prolongs the lifespan.
These bright LEDs have an 1100 lumen rating, which is equivalent to a 100W BR30 incandescent bulb. In addition to that, the CRI is 90+, which means you will get true color rendering, glare-free, and smooth illumination inside your home. In short, these are bright as daylight.
You can also control the ambiance of your space thanks to the smooth dimming capacity of these lights. The LEDs are noise and flicker-free and can be controlled with most modern LED dimmers. They also have baffle trim design to reduce glaring.
As for the installation, the lights come with a TP24 connector and an E26 base adapter for fast and easy installation. This makes them compatible with most 5 or 6-inch LED housing cans. You can also use them in kitchens and shower rooms because they are damp location rated.
Things To Know Before Buying The Best LED Recessed Lights
Here are some of the things to keep in mind when you are planning on installing LED can lights. Without further ado, let's get to it.
Color temperature matters and this is the first thing you should keep in mind when you are choosing the best led bulb for recessed lighting. Since the beginning, recessed lights used soft yellowish light also known as incandescent bulbs. There are some whiter tones available, but most of them are yellowish.
However, thanks to LED technology, modern bulbs can produce color temperature in a much wider range. Look at the package before you buy a recessed light. It will specify where the color temperature falls on a kelvin scale.
Most of the LED recessed lights will start from 2700K and go all the way up to 5000K. The higher the kelvin, the cooler the color tone will be. Go lower if you want a warm glow. A 3000K light will give a yellowish light.
LEDs that are in the higher kelvin range are better at bringing things into sharper focus. This will allow you to concentrate and focus more on what you are doing or seeing. In short, they are suited for task lighting.
- A 3000K bulb is ideal for rooms that you want to relax like bedrooms and living rooms.
- An LED that is between 4000 to 5000 kelvin range are perfect for kitchen, work areas and bathroom because they produce a whiter light.
Just keep in mind that light in the high blueish or low yellowish range can interact adversely with the color of your walls.
Use Dimmer Switch
Recessed lights work better with dimmer switches. Even taking the kelvin range into consideration, you might sometimes get the feeling that your LED lights are just too bright.
With a dimmer switch, you can easily fix that. The reason why they feel too bright is because of how the lights are produced. That's why you should always use dimmer switches when you install recessed lights.
This allows you to set the light intensity that suits you. However, on typical dimmer switches, LED doesn't function well because they draw such a lower wattage compared to incandescent bulbs.
A C.L dimmer is designed specifically to work with LEDs. And that's probably what you should be getting. To be on the safe side, the manufacturer's guideline to see what switches are compatible with your bulb.
Quantity Over Quality
Planning before your purchase is crucial because when it comes to can lights, spacing is very important. A single recessed light will rarely have the power to illuminate a whole room.
You need to blanket your room with multiple lights by allowing them to work together. So, if you want to create a recessed lighting array, don't keep them more than four feet away from each other on a linear path.
Even with larger six-inch lights, the overlapping cones of illumination might not be enough or may fail to reach effectively beyond this distance. Keep a minimum of two feet of space between your walls and lights for better wall washing and effective light coverage on the wall.
Go in closer, and it will result in wall grazing, which means the sharp light will pick out defects and contours.
LED recessed lights are way more mobile than they used to be. There was a time when these lights would require a sizeable amount of housing because you need to fit them between joists and overhead framing lumber.
This makes the layout very frustrating and tricky in some home. Thanks to newer LED technology, ultra-thin recessed lights can now go virtually anywhere. They will only be as thick as the drywall you will mount them into.
This means you can position them directly between framing obstructions. They also hold themselves in place by spring-loaded clips because they are so lightweight.
These models used to be very expensive, but now, because of their popularity, more and more companies and engineered their own models and getting widespread distribution. Because of that, ultra-thin LED recessed lights are more affordable than ever.
Since we are on the topic of lights, let's talk about something interesting. Recessed lights are now starting to incorporate a lot of gadgets. Some LED can lights now feature Bluetooth speakers. If you like listening to music while taking shower, these are the models for you.
You can also link multiple units together to make lighting and music simultaneously available in areas where you might want both. While they aren't cheap, they are fairly convenient and simple, so retrofits are straightforward. That's it. These are the things you need to know about LED recessed lights.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why choose LEDs over incandescent?
At this point, there is no point going with incandescent lights over LED recessed lights. You will only save some money in the short term. On the other hand, LED lights are better at stopping heat loss, run cooler, look better, and give off a nicer light.
2. Can you install recessed lights under a joist?
The ultra-thin LED lights can easily be installed under a joist, thanks to their small form-factor and quick mounting mechanism. They are also cheaper to install compared to traditional canned lights.
3. Canned lights or wafer lights? Which one is better?
In terms of installation, wafer lights are a better choice than cans because LED technology has made can lights obsolete. All you need to do is drill a hole and pop them in.
4. Should I buy more lights than necessary?
Yes, always buy some extras just in case.
There is no doubt that recessed lights are one of the most popular and versatile lighting solutions out there. They are great for providing accent lighting to highlight walls, furniture, artwork as well as providing ambient lighting in a variety of commercial and residential areas.
With that being said, these won't be possible unless you get the best LED recessed lights. With proper planning and knowing what to look for, you can easily get the right lights for your needs.
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