The Ultimate Buying Guide for Recessed LED Pot Lights
A well-managed and immaculate house not only provides comfort, but works as a stress reducer after an exhausting day at work. In addition to aesthetics, proper lighting also has a serious role to play in terms of effect on the atmosphere, and your psychological well being. The natural light we have during the day may do wonders if our doors & windows are positioned correctly. However, we need artificial light at night to illuminate our home, but sometimes we choose artificial lighting products without an adequate knowledge. With some knowledge and changes to your lighting fixtures, you can improve ambiance, color, space and evoke positive feelings and make your sweet home more inviting.
The market offers many artificial lighting products that can be used as ceiling lighting fixtures in your house like LED Bulbs, lighting bars, strip lights, motion sensor lights, and recessed LED ceiling fixtures. Among all types of lighting fixtures, recessed lighting continues to be an effective, popular, and fashionable way to enhance the visibility of an ambience.
What are Recessed LED Pot lights?
A recessed LED light, commonly known as LED pot light is an integrated LED lighting panel connected to a driver or junction box through an electrical wire that can be mounted directly to the surface of a ceiling with the help of snap springs. The junction box & fixture are located at the rear and hidden behind the ceiling or surface. The beam spread out horizontally and illuminate the area beneath.
What makes Recessed LED Lights superior to other lighting fixtures?
One of the reasons why recessed pot lights are popular is because the complete fixture of these lights gets encased in the ceiling, providing a very neat finish at the surface compared to Flush mounts, LED Light bars, and bulb fixtures. Recessed lights are versatile & can be used in living room, hallway, dining space, washroom, on high ceilings, low ceilings, drop ceilings, inside the cabinets & counters etc. They come in different styles, sizes and colors & trim colors & an inexpensive option.
Installing LED recessed lighting is one of the best ways to replace traditional lighting & brighten your home. But before investing in any recessed LED fixture, one should keep the following things in mind.
- Type of Recessed Light
- Trim Finish (Color)
- Beam Angle & Spacing
- Wattage, Lumens & Voltage
- Kelvin`s Color Temperature & CRI Index
- Dimmability Function
- Certifications & Approvals
Type of Recessed Lights
Though there are various type of recessed lights available in the market but the following two types are most popular & being widely used in North America.
Recessed LED Slim Panel Pot Lightt
LED Recessed Slim Panel Pot Lights or soffit pot lights come in different shapes & sizes(Circular, Square & Rectangular), however, the most in demand are the circular 4 Inch, 6 Inch and 8 inches. These lights have a beam angle of 180 degrees & have a wattage of up to 10W which is equivalent to traditional 75W & 750 Lumens.
Recessed LED Pot Lights also have different sub types available in the market & here are some of them.
- Single Color LED Pot Lights for Dry & Damp Location – Among the following *Kelvin color temperatures, you can select any single color, and these lighting fixtures are are suitable for damp and dry locations.
- Single Color LED Pot Lights for Wet Location – The same principle as above applies to this model; however, they are also water resistant and have been designed to work outdoors or wet environments such as basements, flooded garages, etc.
- CCT LED Pot Lights for Dry & Damp Location – With the new Color Changing Technology (CCT) users can select or choose any color from 2700K to 6500K with a flick of wall switch. Additionally, Qplus also offers this model with a water-resistance feature led pot lights that is ideal for outdoors use during rainy weather.
- Smart Recessed Pot Lights: These recessed lighting kits can be controlled via WIFI App & other intelligent home devices such as Google Home & Alexa. You can choose any color from 16M colors on it & schedule the light to turn on/off.
The Qplus 4-inch Recessed pot light kits come with a standard white finish. However, you can add a fine finish 4 Inch trim to the lights to make it look unique. Currently there are three below trim options that can only be used with Qplus 4 Inch LED pot lights.
Black Trim Brushed Nickel Trim Bronze Trim
Recessed LED Rotatable Gimbal Lights
4 inch Rotatable Gimbal Light 6 Inch Rotatable Gimbal Light
Recessed LED Rotatable Gimbal Pot Lights are circular and only come in 4 and 6 inches in diameter. Adjustable gimbals are usually something similar to a spotlight and can be used for illuminating certain objects or areas within a room. This LED lighting fixture is able to be rotated up to 40 degrees from the center and has a beam angle of 40 degrees. Like Recessed Pot Lights, Gimbal Lights are also available in two sub types. Slim Gimbal & Airtight Gimbal.
Slim Gimbals provide an ideal solution for a limited clearance installation, but may not be suitable for installation on roofs or in contact with loose insulation.
Airtight gimbals can be installed directly on the roof or in loose insulation, but please check the height clearance before installing it
Difference Between Slim & Airtight Gimbal
Beam Angle & Spacing
What is a beam angle?
The angle of light emitted downward from a lighting fixture is called beam angle. The beam angle of recessed LED pot lights is 180 degrees, whereas the beam angle of Gimbal Pot lights is 40 degrees.
How many lights you need to install in a certain area & How to find out the distance or space between each light?
You have to consider how many lights are needed to fully enlighten up the room without having any dark spots. Generally, there are 3 most popular sizes of recessed pot lights i.e., 4”, 6” and 8” used in North America. Usually, the number of recessed lights required depends on the size of the room and the distance between each light. A common formula while determining the quantity required is to measure the total length between point A & Point B. Once you have found the length, find out the height from floor to ceiling and divide it by two & the answer of that equation should be considered in feet's as the ideal space between two pot lights. Suppose the distance between ceiling and floor is 8 feet, after dividing it by 2, the answer came as 4 & that is distance in Feet`s is an ideal space between two pot lights. Now you can easily calculate the total number of lights needed from point A to point. Remember that ideal light placement may differ from room to room. Proper placement of pot lights in the kitchen may differ since much of the light needed there is task-oriented. However, when the lights are installed this way, they will efficiently cover the entire space, and they will ensure the same dispersal of light throughout the room.
Wattage, Lumens & Voltage for Pot Lights
A light's wattage is the amount of electricity that passes through a light fixture. Until recently, people were more concerned about the wattage of the lights. More wattage equals more brightness. However, people nowadays prefer lumens more than wattage since lumens refer to the brightness of the lighting fixtures or bulbs where wattage refers to their energy consumption. After the intervention of LED lights things have changed drastically. Now A LED lighting fixture may consume 10 watts of power however, might produce 750 lumens of light – i.e. the same output of a 70-75 watt incandescent. Now you have an idea, what you have to check in lighting fixture when it comes to wattage & Lumens.
Recessed Lighting Kits come in a wide range of voltage compatibilities. However, the most common voltage of lighting fixtures or bulbs in north American household or residential property is 120v.
How much energy does it consume?
Energy efficiency is also an important factor in lighting fixtures. Recessed LED lights consume very little electricity & are highly energy efficient. Nevertheless, not all the fixtures in the market save energy, so make sure to check the Energy star logo before buying any electronic device, especially lighting fixtures.
Kelvin`s Color Temperature & CRI Index
Color temperature is basically referred to the appearance of the light. Technically, color temperature is a system of measuring light on warm-to-cool spectrum. Color temperature is measured on Kelvin`s scale (K) between 2000K to 6500K. Bluer moods are correlated with higher Kelvin numbers and yellower moods with lower Kelvin numbers. So, 2700K is yellowish and 6500K is the whitest one. Please consider the color temperature of any LED bulbs or lighting fixtures according to the ambience, color, your preference, and the size of a room before purchasing them.
What is Color Rendering Index (CRI) & Why its important?
A color rendering index is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. (Wikipedia). Color temperature & CRI index go hand in hand.
We can give you an example to explain it better: You went to a branded clothing store & liked this shirt because of its color. But once you got it home, you noticed the colors looked different. It was due to two different color rendering indexes. The CRI is an approach used to evaluate visual output of lighting products & usually measures in a range of 0 to 100, with higher CRI values resulting in more natural and truer colors.
Are they Dimmable or non-dimmable?
Lighting fixtures come in different designs with dimmable and non-dimmable features. However, nearly all pot lights in the market today have this dimmable feature. Dimming each light tends to offer different types of lighting effects. A living space's mood and visual appearance can easily be altered by dimming LED lights and introducing different colors to achieve the desired ambiance. Dimmed lights also reduce energy consumption. The quality of the dimmed light depends on a switch driver's ability to operate correctly and whether or not this inner chip is compatible with the dimming circuit.
How does the Dimmer switch work?
A Dimmer Switch is necessary for enabling dimming capabilities in an LED lighting fixture. Usually, dimmers have linear side control holders for easy operation. It is designed to control regular bulbs and dimmable LED/CFL bulbs. The QPLUS 3 Way Dimmable Switch features contemporary styling with superior functionality to effectively dim today's bulbs and even next-generation lighting sources without sacrificing performance. It has an integrated linear slide control for easy, precise operation.
Always check the compatibility of Dimmer Switch with your LED lighting fixtures before purchasing.
Certifications & Approvals
Before purchasing any electric product in North America, you should always check that it has the correct certifications. If you are purchasing lighting fixtures, kindly check whether they have the correct certifications. Here are some important certifications you need to always check before buying any LED Lighting products.
- UL & CUL- UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, a third-party certification company that’s been around for over a century. UL was founded in 1894 in Chicago. They certify products with the aim to make the world a safer place for both workers and consumers. UL certified illustrates a businesses' dedication to consumer safety, as well as the quality of their products. CUL is for Canada.
- cETL : ETL stands for certified from Electrical Testing Laboratories. ETL tests parts and components of a wide range of products to make sure that they are in line with established standards.
- CSA: The CSA mark on your product means it has been tested against applicable North American standards requirements. CSA marks are found on a wide variety of North American products
- ENERGY STAR: ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
- IC rated – Insulation Contact (IC) rated recessed lights are the one, which can be used in a ceiling that is insulated without running the risk of overheating. Usually, IC rated recessed lights are rated for 75 watts.
- FCC Certification- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division Certification. It certifies that devices do not cause harmful interference to radiocommunications services.
LED Recessed lights are designed to last for years but sometimes electrical products fail early than expected and stop working altogether. Thus, it's best to purchase lighting fixtures that carry some decent warranty even after the return period expires. Typically, all recessed lighting fixtures carry a warranty of up to five years, but make sure you check with the manufacturer before buying any type of recessed lighting fixture in North America. (QPlus offers 5 years replacement warranty on all lighting fixtures). It is advisable to consider the following points, while checking a warranty on recessed lights.
- How much years of warranty you are getting?
- What is covered under warranty?
- What type of warranty it is? Limited or Full?
- What is the procedure to claim a warranty?
- Please check the credibility of a source from you are buying?
- Check online consumer Reviews about the products
- Try to buy local if possible
LED recessed lighting is available in a wide range of functions, colors, and sizes. The prices vary, and are generally determined by the price per pack, with bigger packs being cheaper in price. You need to be aware of some cheap quality pot lights available in the market that might not work after a year or might fall apart after a few days or months. The average cost of a good quality certified single color slim panel recessed pot light is not more than $10 per unit (based on 20 pack size). Gimbal recessed lights might be price higher compared to normal pot light Always purchase from a manufacturer like Qplus or direct suppliers for the best deal & reliability.