Best LED Recessed Lights – Reviews and In Depth Buying Guide

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Finding the perfect lighting for your home or business can be an incredibly difficult task. For many people LED recessed lights are the perfect lighting solution.

Keep reading to find out why the above statement is true, which LED recessed light products speak to this, and how to go about picking the right one for your needs. By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll have a much clearer idea as to whether recessed light is the light for you.

Why Would You Want to Get LED Recessed Lights?

There are many reasons why LED recessed lights; also referred to as LED can lights, pot lights, or LED downlights, are so popular. Let’s shine a light on the prominent benefits of using recessed LED light.

For starters LED recessed lights are known for emitting more light while producing less heat. They also have exceptional energy-efficient properties and can save you a large percentage of energy when compared to other lighting solutions such as incandescent bulbs, CFLs & fluorescent lighting.

Recessed lights are also incredibly versatile. They work well in the kitchen or the bathroom and anywhere in between. Some products can even be used outdoors! LED light is also gentle to whatever it happens to shine on, so you won’t need to worry about ultraviolet rays damaging your soft furnishings or antique items

Finally, this type of lighting has been specifically designed to last a long time. Once it’s lived its life—which is approximately 50 times longer than other lighting solutions—it can be easily disposed of since it’s free from harmful chemicals like mercury.

The real question is why WOULDN’T you want to get LED recessed lights?

The Best LED Recessed Lights you can buy in 2020:

1. Hykolity 12 Pack 6 Inch LED Recessed Lighting with Junction Box


Hykolity 12 Pack 6 Inch LED Recessed Lighting with Junction Box, Wet Rated, 12W= 100W, 5000K Daylight White, 900lm Dimmable Wafer Light, Canless Soffit Lighting for Shallow Ceiling, ETL

Best for Shallow Ceiling

Just because you have a shallow ceiling doesn’t mean you can’t have recessed LED lighting. The Hykolity 12 Pack 6 Inch LED Recessed Lighting with Junction Box is proof of that. Let’s take a look at what this product has to offer.

These bulbs have a space-saving design that requires only 2 inches of clearance, making them incredibly easy to install. They’re also modern and feature a new canless downlight design. They produce 900 lumens and require a mere 12 watts to work properly. You can take your pick from three light color options: warm white (3000K), neutral white (4000K), or daylight white (5000K).

This product is compatible with both Lutron and Leviton dimmers from 5% to 100% so they can be used anywhere in your home, office, or business. They’re wet location certified for usage in indoor and outdoor environments alike. A powder-coated finish on the die-cast AL & PC materials used in its construction make sure of this.

The Hykolity 12 Pack 6 Inch LED Recessed Lighting with Junction Box is IC rated and comes hand in hand with a 5-year warranty. Users like that it can be used in new construction or a remodeling project and that installation is as easy as can be.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor usage
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Prone to flickering
  • Complaints about the quality of the junction box

2. Bbounder (12 Pack) 5/6-inch LED Dimmable Recessed Lighting


Bbounder (12 Pack) 5/6 inch LED Dimmable Recessed Lighting, Retrofit Downlight with Smooth Trim, 5000K Daylight, 12W=100W, 1000LM, Simple Retrofit Installation, IC Rated No Flicker, Energy Star & ETL

Best Retrofit Lights

Another product that’s one of the best of the best-LED lights is the Bbounder (12 Pack) 5/6-Inch LED Dimmable Recessed Lighting kit. This lighting kit has been specifically designed with retrofit projects in mind so keep reading if you plan on undertaking such a project yourself.

Using only 12 watts of power, these bad boys produce 1000 lumens of light. They can be adjusted to fit 5 or 6-inch installations, which users appreciate immensely. The Bbounder (12 Pack) 5/6-inch LED Dimmable Recessed Lighting is available in 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K so choose the color temperature that best suits your needs.

The lights are dimmable from 10% to 100% so you can adjust the brightness provided by the bulbs as you desire. They’re compatible with the following dimmers: Lutron, Leviton, Cooper, GE, and Philips. Using high-quality metal and plastic, this lighting fixture is built to last.

These lights are Energy Star certified and ETL listed as well as damp location rated. You can purchase the Bbounder (12 Pack) 5/6-inch LED Dimmable Recessed Lighting knowing that they’ll last for 50,000 hours and are covered by a 7-year warranty. Users of this product compliment the company on the stellar construction of the product as well as the impeccable 24/7 after-sale service.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Excellent customer care and support

Cons

  • Con
  • Issues with damage during delivery aren’t uncommon

3. TORCHSTAR 12-Pack Essential Series 12W 6 Inch Low Profile Ultra-Thin Recessed Ceiling Light with Junction Box


The next product up on our list is the TORCHSTAR 12-Pack Essential Series 12W 6 Inch Low Profile Ultra-Thin Recessed Ceiling Light with Junction Box. It’s also been awarded the title of “best overall” for several reasons which we’ll be shining a light on right now.

These IC rated round lights have a 110-degree beam angle and require only 2 inches of clearance to install which is great for smaller spaces that lack the clearance to install a housing can. It provides 850 lumens and requires only 12 watts to operate. You’re provided with four different color temperature options from soft white (2700K) to cool white (4000K).

The TORCHSTAR 12-Pack Essential Series 12W 6 Inch Low Profile Ultra-Thin Recessed Ceiling Light with Junction Box is dimmable from 5% to 100% so it can be used anywhere in your home—from your kitchen to your basement. There’s also a damp location option available so you can utilize it in your bathroom.

The frosted LED lens features anti-glare properties as well as scratch resistance properties. This pack of 12 lights has a 36,000-hour lifespan and boasts an Energy Star certification as well as being ETL-listed. Its users praise it for its stellar aluminum and PC construction & overall longevity. Sealing the deal on this product is an impressive 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Code-compliant
  • Modern and stylish

Cons

  • Shoddy customer service
  • No push in cable connectors included

4. Sunco Lighting 6 Pack 6 Inch Remodel Housing, Air Tight IC Rated Aluminum Can


Sunco Lighting 6 Pack 6 Inch Remodel Housing, Air Tight IC Rated Aluminum Can, 120-277V, TP24 Connector Included for Easy Install - UL & Title 24 Compliant

Best IC Rated Aluminum Can Lights

Now moving on to the Sunco Lighting 6 Pack 6 Inch Remodel Housing, Air Tight IC Rated Aluminum Can. It doesn’t come with custom bulbs, but this lighting fixture can comfortably house most types of LED light bulbs from major brands.

While the quality of lighting you’ll get depends on the bulbs you opt to use, this lighting fixture ensures that they’ll last longer and do the job they’re designed to do. It comes with a TP24 connector for ease of installation and requires 120V – 277V to successfully operate.

These airtight lighting fixtures feature a modern dome shape and are constructed with high-quality metal. They are compatible with most dimmer switches and have been designed with downlight lighting in mind.

The Sunco Lighting 6 Pack 6 Inch Remodel Housing, Air Tight IC Rated Aluminum Can LED lights are IC rated, boast a Title 24 energy efficiency rating, have a UL certificate as well as an astounding 10-year warranty. Users of this LED lighting fixture are quick to point out that although the installation is difficult, the results are worth it.

Pros

  • Modern design
  • Compatible with most bulbs and dimmers
  • Incredible decade-long warranty

Cons

  • Difficult to install
  • Bulbs sold separately
  • Overall longevity is questionable

5. MustWin Smart Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting 6 inch LED Downlights, Bluetooth Mesh LED Can Lights Color Changing


MustWin Smart Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting 6 inch LED Downlights, Bluetooth Mesh LED Can Lights Color Changing, Voice Control via Alexa, Dimmable RGBCW 15W 4-Pack (Hub Included)

Best Color Changing

If you’re looking for a lighting solution that will transform your space, look no further than the MustWin Smart Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting 6 Inch LED Downlights, Bluetooth Mesh LED Can Lights Color Changing.

Let’s start off with this lighting kit’s impressive connectivity. It operates via Bluetooth Mesh technology and is classed as a smart system. You can switch your lights on and off as well as change their color & brightness by speaking voice commands to either Alexa or Google Assistant. You can even program your lights to switch on at a certain time using the Smart Life smartphone app.

They produce a staggering 1150 lumens and consume only 15 watts to do so. You can switch between color temperatures of 2700K all the way up to 6500K and pick from 8 modes of lighting—dimming as you go. Once you’ve found your perfect color and brightness you can save those settings & apply them whenever you’d like.

Users of this light system adore it for its versatility. Are you spending hours studying? Planning a party? Watching TV? Setting the mood for an intimate night in the bedroom? No matter what your needs are the MustWin Smart Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting 6 Inch LED Downlights, Bluetooth Mesh LED Can Lights Color Changing can meet them. These lights are said to last 50,000 hours and a 2-year warranty guarantees this.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • 50,000-hour lifespan
  • Versatile
  • Sleek, stylish and sophisticated

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Connectivity issues may occur
  • Not compatible with 5G Wi-Fi
  • Poor customer service

6. PARMIDA 12-Pack 5/6 Inch Dimmable LED Recessed Lighting, Retrofit Downlight, Baffle Trim


PARMIDA 12-Pack 5/6 inch Dimmable LED Recessed Lighting, Retrofit Downlight, Baffle Trim, 12W (100W Replacement), Ceiling Can Lights, 1000lm, ENERGY STAR & ETL-Listed, 5 Year Warranty, 3000k

Best Baffle Trim Lights

Next up on our list we have the PARMIDA 12-Pack 5/6 Inch Dimmable LED Recessed Lighting, Retrofit Downlight, Baffle Trim. These babies have earned the title of “best baffle trim lights” and you’re about to find out why. 

These baffle trim lights have a 120-degree beam angle and deliver 1000 lumens while consuming only 12 watts. Easy installation is all but guaranteed thanks to the included E26 adapter for traditional cans and an easy connector for Title 24 cans. Pick between warm white (2700K), soft white (3000K), cool white (4000K), or daylight white (5000K) temperature options.

The PARMIDA 12-Pack 5/6 Inch Dimmable LED Recessed Lighting, Retrofit Downlight, Baffle Trim is dimmable from 0% to 100% and is compatible with most major dimmer brands. Its baffle trim design minimizes the likelihood of glare occurring, which makes this product ideal for usage in the living room or home office especially.

These lights tick all the necessary compliance boxes: Energy Star, ETL, FCC, wet location rated, JA8, and Title 24. The PARMIDA Promise guarantees that you’ll get 50,000-hours of usage out of these downlights and the 5-year warranty backs this fact up. Users love the easy installation of this product and the bright light it delivers.

Pros

  • 50,000-hour lifespan
  • Code-compliant
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Terrible customer service

7. TORCHSTAR 13.5W 6 Inch Gimbal LED Recessed Light with Junction Box


TORCHSTAR 13.5W 6 Inch Gimbal LED Recessed Light with Junction Box Air Tight, CRI90+ 3000K, Dimmable Directional Ceiling Light, 800lm, ETL, Energy Star, JA8 & T24 Listed, 5-Year Warranty, Pack of 4

Best Directional

Another TORCHSTAR product has worked its way onto our list. This time it’s the TORCHSTAR 13.5W 6 Inch Gimbal LED Recessed Light with Junction Box. This recessed lighting system can be easily adjusted to point in different directions.

These lights are available in a warm white (3000K) or a cool white (4000K) so simply pick the option you’d prefer. They have a 100-degree beam angle and deliver 800 lumens of light while consuming 13.5 watts.

If you want to adjust the intensity of the lights to match the room they’re placed in, you can easily do so thanks to its 10% to 100% dimmability. This lighting kit is waterproof rated for usage in damp locations so you can even install it in your bathroom or basement.

Airtight and IC rated, this lighting solution is listed and certified with ETL, JA8, Energy Star and well as title 24. The TORCHSTAR 13.5W 6 Inch Gimbal LED Recessed Light with Junction Box has a 5-year warranty and has a 40,000-hour lifespan. It's iron and aluminum build cements this product as a long-lasting one which users will attest to.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Higher wattage requirements than other LED recessed lighting systems
  • Isolated reports that one or two dud lights are in circulation

8. TORCHSTAR 3 Inch Gimbal Dimmable Recessed Light with J-Box


TORCHSTAR 3 Inch Gimbal LED Dimmable Recessed Light with J-Box, 7W (50W Eqv.) 500lm, Airtight, ETL/Energy Star, CRI 90+, 3000K Warm White, 5 Years Warranty, White, Pack of 6

Best Gimbal Lights

If you needed any further convincing that TORCHSTAR is an industry leader in the LED recessed lighting industry, here it is. The TORCHSTAR 3 Inch Gimbal Dimmable Recessed Light with J-Box is yet another example of a top-quality product built to last in your new construction or retrofit projects alike.

It produces 500 lumens, has a 30-degree beam angle, and offers users 355-degree horizontal rotation. Take your pick from the available color temperature options: soft white (2700K), warm white (3000K), cool white (4000K), or daylight white (5000K). The style-conscious will appreciate that you can also pick between white, rubbed oil bronze, and satin nickel finishes.

Compatible with almost all models from both Lutron and also Leviton & dimmable from 10% to 100%, these lights can be used anywhere within your home. They also feature a 3-in-1 design of lamp, trim, and can—all wrapped up in a neat waterproof connector for your convenience.

These IC rated lights can also be used in damp locations without fear and are ETL as well as Energy Star certified. A 5-year warranty protects your purchase. Users love the easy installation requirements, and many say that they make for perfect general as well as accent lighting.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Rotatable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • You can’t just replace the bulbs but must replace the whole unit
  • Inferior quality spring clips included

9. Cloudy Bay 4inch LED Recessed Light with Junction Box


Cloudy Bay 4inch LED Recessed Light with Junction Box, IC Rated, Air Tight, Gimbal Retrofit Downlight Dimmable,9W CRI90 Warm White 3000K, Beam Angel 50°,IC Rated,Damp Location-4 Pack

Best 4” Recessed Light

We’re almost at the very end of our list and we’d be remiss not to mention the Cloudy Bay 4inch LED Recessed Light with Junction Box. If you’re working with a smaller space and want an energy-efficient product, you may have just found it.

This lighting system will provide 650 lumens while only using 9 watts—they’re incredibly energy efficient. It has a beam angle of 50-degrees. It's available in one color temperature: a 3000K warm white color. Installing the Cloudy Bay 4inch LED Recessed Light with Junction Box is easy and it’s suitable for new construction installation as well as retrofit & remodeling applications.

The Cloudy Bay 4inch LED Recessed Light with Junction Box is compatible with most dimmers and has a dimming range of 10% to 100% so you can adjust it as you want. It has been designed as a downlight so keep this in mind when deciding where to place it.

These lights are IC rated and ETL certified. It has a 25,000-hour lifespan and is recommended for the usage of between 3 to 5 hours per day. Protecting your purchase is a 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Incredibly energy efficient
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Short 25,000-hour lifespan
  • Issues with delivery damage aren’t uncommon

10. TORCHSTAR Premium 10.5W 4-Inch Ultra-Thin Recessed Light with J-Box


TORCHSTAR Premium 10.5W 4-Inch Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Light with J-Box, 5000K Daylight, Dimmable Slim Panel Downlight, 750lm, ETL & Energy Star, 5 Years Warranty, Satin Nickel, Pack of 6

Premium Designer Option

What better way to end off our list than with a fourth and final TORCHSTAR product? We’ve saved the premium designer option for last, which is the TORCHSTAR Premium 10.5W 4-Inch Ultra-Thin Recessed Light with J-Box.

This product has a 100-degree beam angle, produces 750 lumens and consumes only 10.5 watts. The kit is housed in a stylish satin nickel finished aluminum and iron body. You can choose between four color options being soft white (2700K), warm white (3000K), cool white (4000K), and also daylight white (5000K).

You can dim the TORCHSTAR Premium 10.5W 4-Inch Ultra-Thin Recessed Light with J-Box from 10% to 100%. These will look stylish in any living room, bedroom, or kitchen. Because it is certified for usage in wet locations you can use this light outside, near the pool, or in the bathroom.

It is IC rated and also ETL & Energy Star certified. It is covered by a 5-year warranty and can be expected to last 40,000 hours. Users praise this product for its stylishness, impeccable build, and also how easy to install it is.

Pros

  • Easy to Install
  • Stylish and complementary to any modern interior

Cons

  • Expensive

What You Need to Know Before Buying LED Recessed Lights

Now that you know all about the best products the LED lighting market has to offer, we bet you can’t wait to take your pick from the 10 options we highlighted above. But before you do so there are a couple of things to keep in mind before clicking that tempting “add to cart” button.

Types

There are a few different types of LED recessed lights available to you. Specific models for new construction are available while other models focus on being used in home remodels. The trims used are the main differentiators. They are:

  • Baffle trims: Baffle trims are the most common type of trim because of its glare-reducing properties. It minimizes glare thanks to its ribbed interior. This trim is especially great for usage in home offices and the kitchen & also other rooms where task lighting is required. 
  • Gimbal trims: Gimbal trims are ideal for focusing light in certain areas. This trim is ideal for usage in the kitchen and living room but also art galleries & other commercial settings. 
  • Reflector trims: As the name implies, reflector trims make use of a mirrored surface to reflect the light—essentially doubling the light production. This trim is perfect to use in homes or rooms that don’t get much natural light.

IC rating

For those who aren’t aware IC stands for Insulation Contact. It’s incredibly important to opt for a lighting fixture that’s IC rated as this means the lights can be used in a ceiling with insulation without the risk of the lights overheating and causing a fire. The best-LED lights are IC rated.

UL & TITLE 24

Much like an IC rating, a UL listing and Title 24 certificate are very important for a recessed lighting system to possess. Title 24 is a broad set of lighting requirements found in the California Building Standards Code while being listed with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) means that the product meets international safety and testing requirements.

Sizes

As you can see from the products we mentioned earlier in this article, LED recessed lighting fixtures are available in different shapes and sizes. The most commonly found sizes are 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch lighting fixtures. While it’s entirely up to you, 6-inch fixtures work well in large rooms or those with vaulted ceilings whereas 4-inch fixtures work wonderfully as accent lighting in smaller rooms.

Types of bulbs

There are many different types of LED light bulbs available to fit into a lighting fixture. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are the most common types of LED light bulbs.

  • E27 (also known as Edison Screw or ES bulbs) 
  • E14
  • B22 (also known as Bayonet light bulbs)
  • B15
  • R50 (also known as reflector bulbs)
  • R63
  • PAR38

Beam angle

The beam angle of an LED recessed lighting system is of the utmost importance. In a nutshell, the beam angle indicates how the light is distributed. For example, beam angles of 25-degrees or less are referred to as spot angles as they only provide one small area with a focused beam of light. On the other hand, beam angles higher than 60° are referred to as flood beams as they’re capable of lighting up an entire room on their own.

Brightness

Two factors affect how well a room will be lit and those factors are brightness & color. Brightness speaks to how bright a bulb will shine. Nobody wants dim, dull, and dreary lighting—especially not in certain areas of their home. Bulb brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the lumen count, the brighter the light emitted will be.

Light color

You have many different light color options available to you. Here’s a brief breakdown of how to pick the right one to meet your needs.

  • Soft to warm white: 2700K to 3000K lights help the human body in its production of melatonin and helps people feel relaxed, calm & peaceful. This color temperature is ideal for usage in the bedroom, living room, and dining room. This is the standard color of the incandescent bulb so it’s also a good choice for those who are new to the world of LED lighting. 
  • Neutral whites: 3500K to 4100K lights are a nice option for those who find soft to warm lights to gentle and cool to daylight lights too harsh. They are ideal for usage in the kitchen but can be used anywhere else in your home. 
  • Cool to daylight white: 5000K to 6500K lights omit a stark white, almost blue, light. Lights in this temperature range help people feel focused, alert, and awake as they trigger the production of serotonin. This color temperature is a great choice for bathrooms where task lighting is required, in offices where a strong degree of focus is needed and similar areas.

Dimmable option

Not all recessed LED lights are dimmable, so bear this in mind while shopping for your perfect product. We recommend dimmable LED recessed lighting so that you can control how much, or how little, light is in an area at your discretion. For example, you don’t want to be limited in terms of which rooms you can enter when you have a headache and you don’t want to be restricted to certain rooms for reading or studying either.

Placement

Where you place your LED recessed lighting determines how effective the system will be. The beauty of such a lighting system is that it can typically be used anywhere within your home from your living room to your bedroom and from your home office to your kitchen. But how you intend to use the lights should determine their placement. Here’s a general guideline:

  • General lighting: Place fixtures in or near the room’s center 
  • Task lighting: Place fixtures directly above the area in which a task usually takes place—this is usually in the kitchen or office
  • Accent lighting: If you want to draw attention to something like a piece of art or furniture place the fixtures right above the object in question

How to Install

Installing LED recessed lighting yourself is something that should only be done if you have done similar tasks before and are comfortable with drilling, sawing, and wirework. If you doubt your DIY abilities, or just want to make sure the job is done perfectly, call in a professional electrician.

Here’s the basic step by step installation process using the Sunco Lighting 6 Pack 6 Inch Remodel Housing, Air Tight IC Rated Aluminum Can LED lights as our example:

  • Step 1: Cut a 6 ½” hole in the desired spot of ceiling 
  • Step 2: Pull wiring through-hole and begin making electrical connections
  • Step 3: Junction box first, insert the light into the hole 
  • Step 4: Hold the can firmly against the ceiling and push the clip through the housing slot before pushing the side of the can until it audibly locks into place

Bear in mind that the above is just a general guideline and you must follow the installation instructions of your specific product.

FAQ

Before we wrap up this article, here are the answers to those burning questions you may have. If your question hasn’t been answered in the content above or below, you’re encouraged to ask it in the comments section.

What is the brightest LED recessed lighting?

There are many LED recessed lighting products that are incredibly bright. The MustWin Smart Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting 6 Inch LED Downlights, Bluetooth Mesh LED Can Lights Color Changing is the brightest of the bunch with a staggering 1150 lumens produced.

Are LED recessed lights worth it?

Absolutely! LED recessed lights are worth every penny. Even though they cost more to purchase than a standard lighting system initially the savings—in both energy and money—ensure that this investment into your residential or commercial property pays for itself in no time.

Final Words

And there you have it: everything you need to know about LED recessed lights. We’ve introduced you to 10 of the best LED recessed light products on the market and have taught you what to keep in mind to pick the right one for your needs.

From Bluetooth-activated color changing lights to satin nickel finished lights that look like a piece of art and everything in between—you sure have been spoilt for choice. The only question left is from us to you: which one will you be picking to transform your home?

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