What Are The Best LED Bulbs For Recessed Lighting?

led recessed lighting

The type of light bulbs that you decide to use for the recessed lighting in your home will go a long way in whether or not you get the results you desire. The following information will explain the way light bulbs are categorized as well as the differences between LED bulbs.

You can also consider some of the recommendations as well as a comparison so you can make an informed decision.

Types Of Light Bulbs

Best LED Bulbs For Recessed Lighting

There are four different types of light bulbs that can be used in residential recessed lighting. These four types are:

CFL (Compact Fluorescent)
LED (Light Emitting Diode)

Halogen light bulbs are really a type of incandescent bulb. However, there is a difference. This difference is the filament that is enclosed inside of the light bulb is enclosed in a small capsule made of quartz. Inside of this capsule is hydrogen gas.

This is why halogen light bulbs shine brighter and last longer than regular incandescent light bulbs.

Incandescent light bulbs are the traditional bulbs that are found in the majority of homes. They remain popular even though they are the oldest bulbs and have the most inefficient technology.

The electrical current in an incandescent bulb passes through the filament and this causes the bulb to glow and get hot. Only around 10% to 15% of the energy that is consumed by the bulb actually converts into light. The remaining energy converts into heat.

CFL light bulbs are a very energy-efficient alternative to traditional (incandescent bulbs). These bulbs use tubes filled with gas and electricity flows through the gas in the tube.

The coating on the inside of the tube begins to emit light. It is also important to note that these bulbs also contain a small amount of mercury.

LED bulbs are the newest technology in the industry, and these bulbs are quickly replacing fluorescent lights as the most efficient bulbs on the market. These bulbs are semiconductors that emit light when electricity passes through them.

As a result, they have a very long lifespan, are mercury free and are energy-efficient.

The Shape Of The Light Bulb

led recessed lighting

Not only is the type of light bulb you use for your recessed lighting, but the shape of the bulb also matters. It is the bulb’s shape that determines which direction the light is emitted from. The United States uses a code that is placed on each bulb produced to categorize its shape.

Reflector ® bulbs are the shape that is the most commonly shaped bulbs. They are also the bulbs that are the most frequently used in recessed lighting.

These bulbs have an interior reflective surface that directs all of the light downward. By pointing downward, the bulbs do not waste light that would be shining up in a recessed fixture.

The Parabolic Aluminized Reflector (PAR) uses a reflective parabolic shaped surface that produces a bean that is more concentrated than the beams in regular reflective bulbs. These bulbs are commonly used in theaters but are also used in recessed lighting.

Bulged Reflector (BR) light bulbs are an improved version of reflector light bulbs. The only major difference is the addition of a ‘bulge’ that is located at the light bulb’s base. As a result, more light is focused on the bulb’s beam, and it is directed out of the fixtures in recessed lighting.

Arbitrary (A) light bulbs are the ones that are the most commonly found in homes. These light bulbs are omnidirectional.

The Size Of The Light Bulb

led recessed light bulbs

Another factor to consider is the size of the light bulb you want to use in your recessed lighting fixture. In the United States, the diameter(size) of the bulb is generally expressed by a numerical code.

Each code represents an eighth of the bulb. For example, if a bulb has a code of MR16 lamp, this means that the light bulb is 16 (1/8ths) across or 2 inches in size.


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The Base Of The Light Bulb

best led recessed lights

There are several different types of light bulbs that are used in recessed lighting. They are:

GU10 Twist-and-lock
Medium screw-base
GU5-3 plug
2-pin CFL plug
GU24 Twist-and-lock
4-pin CFL plug

The fluorescent light bulbs that are on the market must have a ballast in order to regulate any current that is flowing within them. In the past, this meant that you would only be able to use a fluorescent light bulb in a fluorescent fixture.

This meant that it was not possible to use a fluorescent light bulb that was energy-efficient in a standard light fixture.

Manufacturers sought to solve this problem by providing CFL light bulbs that contain small ballasts along with standard screw bases that could be used in any type of fixture.

Just like fluorescent light bulbs, LED light bulbs to need to have a driver that is built-in and also designed to be used in standard recessed lighting fixtures. LED bulbs that are plug and pin-based can only be used in dedicated LED fixtures that contain a driver.

The Performance Of The Light Bulb

You can now know the performance specifications of any light bulb you purchase because they are now labeled on all light bulb packaging.

Keep in mind that the actual information on the packaging may vary depending on the type of bulb you purchase. However, some of the most common information is:

Energy used (Watts)
Annual energy cost

You may also want to consider if the light bulb is dimmable or not. Although this information may not be found on the label, it should be contained on the packaging.

What Is The Best Light Bulb To Use In A Recessed Lighting Fixture?

When considering general lighting, choose a BR30 or BR40 bulb. The general lighting layer will provide the illumination for the room. It is important for the light to be bright and also have a wide range of coverage.

It is also important to consider the color of the light as well. A bulb color temperature that is above 3200K can make a room feel sterile and dark (similar to a doctor’s office).

These are some of the aspects to consider when choosing the best LED bulb for your recessed fixture. LEDs are quickly replacing other bulbs and can provide the energy-efficient illumination you are looking for.


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