5 EASY steps to help select what LED recessed can lights are best for your project
Helpful tips on picking out the right recessed can to match
The first step is to pick out a LED recessed CAN LIGHT, also known as LED DOWN LIGHT for your project from our wide selection of major brands at Polar-Ray.com. Click here to view the selection. THEN select the RECESSED CAN that works with your light.
Let’s go through 5 basic questions that will help you make a smarter choice when picking out your LED recessed light.
WHAT DIAMETER SIZE RECESSED LED LIGHTS ARE YOU CONSIDERING?
WHAT IS THE CORRECT BRIGHTNESS FOR YOUR APPLICATION?
HOW TALL ARE YOUR CEILINGS?
IS A WHITE TRIM RING ACCEPTABLE OR WOULD YOU PREFER SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHITE?
DO YOU PREFER WARM OR COOL WHITE LIGHT?
WHAT SIZE RECESSED LED LIGHTS ARE YOU CONSIDERING? The 6” recessed light has been the most popular over the years but lately the 4” recessed light has been gaining in popularity and even considered more stylish by some. The 4” and even smaller lights tend to have some practical limitations on how bright they can be, so if you like look of the smaller size you might need to design more fixtures into the same ceiling space.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT BRIGHTNESS FOR YOUR APPLICATION? You can always dim a LED recessed can light if it’s too bright but you can’t make them brighter without replacing the entire fixture so try to error on the brighter side if possible. Certain rooms benefit from greater brightness. Kitchens function both as a work space and a popular gathering spot. Cooking and cleaning demand bright high quality light. Use a dimmer on the ceiling circuit to damp down the brightness when the kitchen becomes a gathering spot. This logic can be used for each room that you intend to install your new LED recessed lights. Consider what activities each room will accommodate and how much ceiling light is needed. If you plan on adding lots of task lights or lamps in a room, then your ceiling light may not be as critical. One other consideration, often overlooked, is the fact that our eyes do not get better with age so in general the older we get the more light our eyes need. Your new LED’s will last for up to 20 years so a little more brightness now might be appreciated later or even today by your older guests.
HOW TALL ARE YOUR CEILINGS? The taller the ceiling the more brightness (lumens) are required to get the light down where you need it. If you have a sloped ceiling, then you have other considerations to resolve how to get the light pointed down instead of across the room. “Gimbal” or “Eyeball” LED downlights are one popular solution for the angled ceiling problem since they can be swiveled around and pointed in a variety of directions. Some brands of LED can light (like the Halo brand) offer the option of a narrow beam “Gimbal” as an option to the wide angle beam. The narrower beam is useful with higher ceiling heights to get the light down where you need it or to help focus the light on a special area like a fireplace, piano or art niche.
IS A WHITE TRIM RING ACCEPTABLE OR DO YOU WANT SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHITE? Unlike traditional incandescent or halogen recessed lights, LED recessed lights generally have the trim ring built into the LED fixture. The standard LED recessed light built in trim ring is always white but some brands like HALO allow you to attach designer color trims over the built in white ring. HALO even has a trim ring you can custom paint and attach over the white.
DO YOU PREFER WARM OR COOL WHITE LIGHT? This subject is a personal preference. You should learn what the Kelvin scale since that is the most accurate way to tell how much yellow or blue is in the white light. This measure of warm to cool light is relevant to all lighting and light bulb technologies.
Hint: Most folks in the USA prefer 2700K or 3000K in their homes and 3500K or 4000K in their work spaces. Exceptions to this generalization abound!
PICKING OUT THE CORRECT RECESSED CAN FOR YOUR PROJECT
LED recessed lights are commonly called LED CAN lights because the LED light or light fixture is housed or fitted into a metal can, or “housing” that is recessed into your ceiling. Recessed cans come in a variety of shapes, sizes. The recessed LED can that you select may need to have special electrical or mechanical features, especially if you live in California. Your local code may call for a can with a special LED connector instead of a traditional Edison socket, or an airtight can or for a can that is designed so that you can put insulation over it. To simplify the choice in recessed can features you should select your LED recessed downlight and then choose a compatible recessed can that fits your needs and local codes.
New construction can Retrofit can Short/Shallow can
MATCH THE DIAMETER OF RECESSED CAN TO YOUR LED RECESSED CAN LIGHT
SELECT A “NEW BUILD” RECESSED CAN DESIGN IF YOU CAN GET TO YOUR CEILING RAFTER BEAMS
SELECT A “RETROFIT” RECESSED CAN DESIGN IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE CEILING RAFTERS
SELECT WHAT KIND OF SOCKET OR CONNECTOR YOU NEED TO MATCH YOUR LED LIGHT CHOICE
IF YOU PLAN ON PUTTING INSULATION OVER THE RECESSED CAN CHOOSE A “IC RATED” CAN
MATCH THE DIAMETER OF THE RECESSED CAN TO YOUR LIGHT LED recessed cans come in sizes ranging from 3” on up. MOST residential homes use either 4” or 6” diameters which is why those are the only sizes Polar-Ray.com holds in stock. Some 6” LED recessed lights will fit into a 5” can and therefore are referred to as 5”-6” LED lights.
SELECT A “NEW BUILD” RECESSED CAN DESIGN IF YOU CAN GET TO YOUR CEILING RAFTER BEAMS. If you have access to the rafters above your ceiling through a demo or through the attic when remodeling or when framing is exposed during a newly built home then select a “new build” recessed can design that will attach between the beams.
SELECT A “RETROFIT” RECESSED CAN DESIGN IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE CEILING RAFTERS. Sometimes it’s not possible to access the ceiling beams during a remodel. In this case you need to use a “retrofit” recessed can which can be installed from the room side of the project.
SELECT WHAT KIND OF SOCKET OR CONNECTOR YOU NEED TO MATCH YOUR LED LIGHT CHOICE. Most States in the USA allow recessed cans with an old school Edison screw in socket. Permitted projects in some States like California no longer allow a screw in Edison socket. If you are not under any restrictions, you can use the Edison socket style recessed can. Check to make sure the LED you selected has an Edison style adaptor, most sold on Polar-Ray come standard with this option. If you selected an LED recessed light with a non-Edison socket (like a Molex connector or a GU connector) then you must pick a recessed can with a like kind connector.
Sylvania LED Downlight with both Molex connector and Edison adaptor
IF YOU PLAN ON PUTTING INSULATION OVER THE RECESSED CAN CHOOSE A “IC RATED” CAN. Many LED recessed cans end up between rafters in attics where it is common for insulation to be used. Some LED recessed cans are specially rated to be able to function beneath insulation which blocks heat dissipation. Those recessed cans are called “IC RATED”. (Insolation Contact) If you are going to put insulation over the can then select this rating. If not, you will find “NON IC RATED” recessed cans to choose from.
When shopping on the Polar-Ray.com website you will find matching recessed can suggestions on the same page as the recessed LED light you have selected.
When in doubt just call us… we are happy to discuss your project and help you make the correct choices. 888-494-5773