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8 best pendant lights

How to choose the right pendant lighting for you

Most pendant lighting hangs from overhead by a rod, wire or chain and casts light downward. Most, but not all, pendant lighting requires permanent installation just like recessed ceiling lighting and chandeliers, but is different from both. Pendants add a note of style to your room decor, while recessed lighting is mounted within the ceiling so the fixtures don’t show, and chandeliers don't aim the light downward.

What to know before you buy pendant lights

Anatomy of a pendant light

Pendant lighting has five main components:

  • Shades cover the lightbulb to direct the light downward. Styles are usually chosen to complement a room’s decor or to make a design statement.
  • Support for the lamp is provided by rigid metal tubing, a hanging chain or the wire itself if it is wrapped in insulating material. Only chain and wire supports can be adjusted to different heights once the light is installed.
  • Canopies cover the area where the downrod attaches to the ceiling and where the shade meets the support, providing a clean look. 
  • On/off switches may be mounted on the wall or the light.
  • Bulbs may be a part of the fixture or separate. LED lights are usually built into the fixture.

Fixed or adjustable

  • Fixed pendant lights should be set at the right height for the room, its surroundings and your activities. If you like to rearrange furniture and redecorate, a fixed-height pendant light may not be right for you.
  • Adjustable pendant lights are made to move up so they’re out of the way and down when you want to put more light on a subject, such as when you're playing chess, cards or board games. 

Best places for pendant lighting

  • Permanent kitchen islands are made for pendant lighting. Pendants provide illumination for tasks such as food prep and for when you’re socializing around your island.
  • Entryways and hallways are often too narrow for floor or table lamps. Pendant lights brighten these areas nicely while keeping the passage clear.
  • Home offices, especially small ones, are great places for pendant lights because they illuminate your desk without taking up valuable space you need to do your work.
  • Craft rooms and tables also benefit from overhead fixtures that can be lowered to focus more bright light on important tasks.

Places to think twice about 

  • Dining rooms usually have chandeliers mounted over the table that spread the light upward and outward rather than direct it downward, so if you use a pendant light here, make sure it has a dimmer.
  • Bathrooms need light, too, but areas of high humidity mean you need special lighting to handle the moisture.

Number of fixtures

Pendant lights traditionally had only one bulb, but more and more manufacturers are offering them in sets of two or three.

Which pendant lights are best?

Top pendant lighting for kitchens

Claxy Ecopower Industrial Barn Mini Metal Pendant Light

This black metal shade and canopy look good with classic, modern and industrial styles and decors. The cord can be lowered to 47 inches or raised to 8 inches, but cannot be adjusted afterward.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Casamotion Handblown Glass Two-Pendant Lighting for Kitchen Island

The 9-inch-wide blue seeded glass shades are complemented by the brushed nickel of the canopies. These fixtures accept LED, incandescent, compact fluorescent and vintage filament bulbs. The 60-inch cords can be shortened to any length before installation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Leadtek 3-Fixture Kitchen Island Bubble Crystal Pendant Light

This sleek polished chrome contemporary light grouping comes with three 15-watt LED bulbs, The bubbles make the lights look as if they were downward-hanging flute glasses filled with sparkling Champagne.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pendant lighting for entryways and hallways

Galtlap Crystal Round LED Dimmable Ceiling Light

This fixture mounts flush with the ceiling and is 10.6 inches wide and less than 2 inches deep. It is a great choice for remodelers who want to replace old and outdated ceiling lights.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Casamotion Hand Blown Glass Pendant Light

Made of thick recycled glass, this chain-mounted light features a clear rippled glass shade. The fixture is 13 inches wide, 20 inches tall and made to accommodate 40-watt bulbs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pendant lighting for offices and task areas

Dewenwils Plug-in Pendant Light Two-Pack

The frosted white glass shades are attached to brushed nickel fittings and 15-foot cords, with on/off switches built in near the plug. They’re compatible with LED, CFL, halogen and incandescent bulbs. All you need to do is hang them on the hooks provided for focused downlighting anywhere.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Chrasy Modern Elegance Pendant Lamp

This white lamp is simple and modern and looks a bit like white chocolate Hershey’s Kisses. The glossy white metal shade won’t rust, the fixture is compatible with most bulb types and it comes with a 39-inch cable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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