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Best recessed lighting

Which recessed lighting is best?

Recessed lighting is versatile and unobtrusive. Most recessed lighting fixtures are made to aim the light down, but some aim it up or to the side. When recessed lights are installed in the ceiling, nothing hangs down to intrude on the room and take up space, so rooms feel bigger.

If you are looking for recessed lighting to brighten up your home, take a look at the Lumary Smart 4-Inch LED Recessed Lights With Junction Box 4-Pack 

What to know before you buy recessed lighting

Unlike chandeliers and pendant lighting, recessed lighting draws little attention to itself.

Type of recessed lighting

  • Ceilings: Fixtures for mounting in the ceiling are the most common type of recessed lighting.
  • Walls: Fixtures mounted in the walls use flanges to direct light downward to bathe the room in reflected light and to illuminate stairs.
  • In-ground: Outdoor light fixtures mounted below ground are used to throw light upward to illuminate landscaping.


  • The housing is the protective safety covering around the bulb and wiring. It's the part that's mounted in the ceiling (or wall or ground) and where the bulbs are inserted. Often called a can, the housing contains the wiring, socket, lamp and all the hardware required for mounting.
  • The bulbs determine the brightness, color and mood of your lighting. They are sometimes covered by lenses made to diffuse the light.
  • The controls are the switches that operate your recessed lighting and are mounted elsewhere.


The trim is the only part of a recessed lighting fixture that is seen from the room. It is decorative molding that adds a subtle touch of color, texture and style to your lighting fixture.

  • Baffle trim reduces glare by absorbing light.
  • Reflector trim has a smooth, highly polished interior to maximize the amount of light.
  • Gimbal trim has a housing that swivels so you can control the direction of the light without the lamp extending below the ceiling.
  • Eyeball trim directs the light, too, but the fixture protrudes from the ceiling.

What to look for in quality recessed lighting

What effect do you want to create?

  • Room-wide ambience: Illuminating a kitchen calls for more and brighter lighting than you’d want in a den or a bedroom.
  • Accent: When you have something you want to enhance, such as a fireplace, sculpture or painting, lighting it at an angle produces the most flattering results.
  • Downwashing: Harsh spots directly beneath bright ceiling lights can be avoided by placing your recessed downlighting near a wall and directing the light onto it. The light that bounces off the wall is warmer and more soothing than direct light.
  • Task: When you want a small area to be very bright so you can read or do detailed work, place your fixture directly above your desk or countertop.

Choose a lamp type

  • Classic, or A, lamps are the most common. They are general-purpose, useful for many applications.
  • Reflector, or R, lamps are best for flood, spot and display lighting, because they have reflectors and controlled beams.
  • Parabolic aluminized reflector, or PAR, lamps are great for task lighting because they have long beams with a wide spread.
  • Multifaceted reflector, or MR16, lamps are made for accent lighting because they concentrate the beam.


Lumens are the way to measure how much brightness a bulb produces and watts are the way to measure how much energy a bulb uses. Because LEDs are so efficient, watts are no longer the best way to measure brightness. What was called 100 watts with incandescent lighting is equivalent to 1,600 lumens with LEDs. To get 60 watts of lighting, choose an LED with 820 lumens.

How much you can expect to spend on recessed lighting

What drives pricing for recessed lighting more than anything else is the number of fixtures that come with the package or the kit. You can expect to pay from $7-$12 per fixture.

Recessed lighting FAQ

What is an IC rating?

A. An IC rating means the recessed lighting housing is safe to come in contact with insulation in the ceiling.

What is the best way to aim light at my painting?

A. When spotlighting art, light angled 30 degrees downward does the best job of reducing glare. 

What’s the best recessed lighting to buy?

Top recessed lighting

Lumary Smart 4-Inch LED Recessed Lights With Junction Box 4-Pack

What you need to know: These ultra-thin 810-lumen dimmable recessed LED lights with edge-lit technology work with your remote control, Alexis or Google Assistant. 

What you’ll love: A single button turns the lights on and off, adjusts brightness and changes colors on all four of these lights.  Safe to install in direct contact with insulation, the lights attach by spring clips. Set your own schedule to turn lights on and off.

What you should consider: You may need to reset the timer occasionally.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top recessed lighting for the money

Mounight 6-Pack LED Recessed Ceiling Light With Night Light

What you need to know: These ultra-thin can-killer downlights are dimmable.

What you’ll love: The night light mode reduces output for soft illumination at night without flickering, flashing or humming. The memory function returns your lights to the last mode you had set and you can choose between five color temperatures. 

What you should consider: Some said the wire nuts were the wrong size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Halo 6-Inch LED Recessed Can Light Downlight 6-Pack

What you need to know: The connectors that join the fixture to the junction box are waterproof, an excellent choice for the high humidity in bathrooms.

What you’ll love: These lights are listed for showers and protected ceilings and can be used for outdoor walkways, covered porches and gazebos. The LED module is fully interchangeable and upgradable. 

What you should consider: Some buyers report having trouble getting the fixtures to fit flush against the ceiling.

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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