What are Downlights and How to Choose One?

Don't Know How to Choose Downlights? In This Complete Guide, We will Tell You How to Choose LED Downlights for Your Home Step By Step. Let’s Get Started!

Table of Contents

Changing lights frequently can be a little annoying. Also, people hit their heads on hanging lights more often than you think. In addition, traditional lightings do not suffice for most interiors and can often make rooms look dull.

However, downlights allow users to counter these problems. For instance, these lights do not take much space, so you will not bump into them. That is not the only benefit of these lights. Let’s take a closer look at what these downlights are.

What are Downlights?

A downlight (often called a canister light) is a light fixture fitted in the ceiling of a room. These lights fit in a way that causes light to spread. People use these downlights for a wide variety of reasons, mostly because they provide flexible lighting options. They are an ideal option for people who want to adopt a modern lighting approach to their home’s interiors.

ceiling downlights
ceiling downlights

Why Do You Need Downlights?

Downlights do not take too much space in the room and can easily fit inside ceilings during construction. Therefore, you can install these downlights in any room, including the bedroom and living area. In addition, these light fixtures can also equalize the lighting in a room and make it look bigger since they do not take any space.

Most modern architectures also integrate downlights as they make the rooms look more sophisticated and provide efficient energy consumption options. It is because these lights use LED lights and do not need frequent maintenance as compared to traditional lights. This makes these downlights high in demand despite their high prices.

The best thing about these downlights is the variety that they offer to customers. You can buy the downlights in different designs depending on your needs. So, let us have a look at some of the most common kinds of downlights that users can choose from.

led commercial downlights
led commercial downlights

Types of Downlights

Following are the most common downlights that you can find around you.

Fixed Downlights

The fixed downlights are arguably the most common option that you will come across. These lights fit directly into the ceiling, and their intensity depends on the angle of the light inside the globe. Professionals install these lights at a 40o angle in most cases because it helps illuminate the room effectively.

Adjustable Downlights

Adjustable downlights can move in various directions, which makes them visually appealing and functional. This can help owners focus the light on a specific spot/area. People think that installing an adjustable light is more of a luxury, but it serves an important purpose. For instance, if you are doing paperwork, the adjustable downlights can help focus on a particular area.

adjustable led downlights
adjustable led downlights

Surface Mounted Downlights

One of the few drawbacks of downlights is that most of them require drilling holes into the walls and roof. Not everyone is okay with that approach, but surface-mounted downlights provide an easy alternative to that. In addition, owners with concrete walls cannot use traditional downlights.

You can also use the surface-mounted downlights as a feature light as they fit a little lower than the roof. Moreover, the surface-mounted downlights can also help cut down on heat costs. They do not require any holes for fitting, ensuring there you don’t have to worry about drilling your ceiling.

surface mounted downlights
surface mounted downlights

Dimmable Downlights

LED dimmable downlights are more and more popular now. They can be tailored to meet the lighting needs of a specific space. As a result, you are able to accomplish work tasks in a comfortable ambiance. It will facilitate greater productivity and worker satisfaction as eye strain is reduced and lighting conditions are improved.

Dimmable LED lights can reduce power consumption by as much as 70%. In comparison with incandescent bulbs, they are much more efficient. The resulting light consumes less energy.

Now that you know the basics of these downlights and the types available in the market, you may be looking to buy one. The big question is how to choose the right downlight? Well, there is no need to worry because we have got you covered.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Downlight

We are going to explain the most important factors to consider when buying a downlight. To make things easier for you, we will also do a comparative analysis between fixed lights and gimble lights, as they are the most popular downlight options. Let us begin.

led downlights 画板 1

Ceiling Height

The height of your ceiling has the most impact on the downlight and its functionality. The basic rule to know is, the higher the ceiling, the farther the light source. Therefore, buyers should only invest in downlights with the right angle. You wouldn’t want to install a light that doesn’t serve its purpose. We understand these downlights have various angles inside their globes, and we can still help you make the right decision.

A globe light with approximately 40o is the best option, in most cases. The light hits the floor at a greater intensity at this angle, illuminating your room better. It is why people use gimble lights and move them to a 40o angle instead of the standard fixed lights. These fixed lights have an angle of 120o, which is why most of the light spreads into the air, making the room still look dark.

Dimmable LED Downlights
Dimmable LED Downlights

Determining the Number of Lights Needed

The easiest way of picking the right number of lights is to visualize your room. You can do this by finding the area of the room by multiplying its dimensions. You can multiply this answer by 1.5x to find the average wattage required to illuminate the room.

You can use this total wattage number as a guide and determine the total number of lights required by dividing the wattage by your bulb’s total wattage. For example, if you are using a bulb with 120 watts in a total area of 1200 square feet, you should divide the two. This will help you get the right number of lights.

Downlighting Gap

Downlights need to have gaps between them. This gap usually ranges between 1.5 to 2 feet. The goal is not to let the lights form a shadow. Therefore, the lights need to be at an equal distance. Shadowy downlights would be counterproductive, so it would be best to avoid them at all costs. The easiest way to pick the right lighting gap is to divide your ceiling gap in half and make this space follows every downlight.

Wattage Choices

The ideal choice for downlight wattage is to choose lights that have low energy consumption but provide high-intensity lighting. It is probably why LED downlights have been exceptionally popular lately. These LED lights consume half the energy of standard light and offer more output.

An average 10 W LED light produces nearly double the light of halogen lighting. In addition, the halogen lights usually take 55 W that you save when you use LED downlights. The lower energy consumption option is ideal for people looking to save their energy costs.

Color Temperature Options

You can find downlights in various color temperatures, depending on your room. For example, a kitchen, laundry room, or any room that gets hot quickly should have a cool downlighting installed, better with 3000K OR 4000K. However, the cooler areas of your house, including your bedroom, lounge, etc., need to have a warmer downlight, usually choose 2200K to 3000K.

You can choose LED downlights in various color temperatures, but we suggest that a natural white light serves as a great all-rounder.

Some people also believe that the natural white option looks somewhat like a skylight, beaming through a window or opening.

color temperature scale
color temperature scale

Color Rendering Index Options

Color rendering index refers to the range of light and can reveal the true colors of the object in the room compared to natural light. The range of the index lasts between 1 and 100, where 100 means that the objects appear exactly as they would under sunlight.

On the other hand, the 0 rating indicates that objects will look nothing like they would under sunlight. On average, a range between 80 and 90 gives ideal results for color rendering. It would be best to go for 90+ rendering index lights if you want more vibrant colors in your rooms.

Prioritize LED Downlights

Downlight replacement can be a bit of a problem as they fit into the ceilings directly (apart from the DMS ones). The halogen downlights last for an average of 2000 to 2500 hours. Therefore, people may need to change these halogen lights in 12-20 months.

LED downlights, on the other hand, offer over 5,000 hours of usage, averaging 27 years (when used 5 hours a day). Therefore, LED downlights would probably last longer and require low maintenance.

IP Rating

If you are looking for downlights that will be used outdoors or in a humid room such as a bathroom, you’d better buy a waterproof lighting fixture with a waterproof rating of at least IP65, which will keep out moisture and rain. So that it will safe and long-lasting.

Bottom Line

Buyers need to consider the following factors before choosing a downlight:

  • The color and design of their walls because downlights reflect better with lighter colored walls as compared to light-absorbing surfaces. This can help users choose the right downlight angle.
  • Ensure adding dimmers to your downlights to regulate better lighting in the room. Consider using a push-button dimmer
  • Keep the brightness, color rendering index, and gap of the downlights in your mind.
  • Choose a warm light LED to match a halogen downlight while replacing it.
  • Carefully pull the downlight out of the roof, or you could break the gyprock or hit your fingers directly into the springs.

If you need help with choosing a downlight for your home or any room, we have you covered. RC Lighting offers the best LED lights in a wide variety of designs and sizes. You can check our collection of light fixtures, including downlights, spotlights, and tracking lights. Or contact us if you have more queries about downlights and how to choose one.          

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