LED Downlights - Buying Guide
LED Recessed Downlights
Downlight luminaires have been around for a long time, and it is an indispensable piece of lighting luminaire for a wide array of developments. From retail store to office, commercial buildings to private houses, and they serve as the foundation of a good lighting plan.
A downlight’s primary purpose is to provide functional ambient lighting, that will improve the user’s perception of the depth of a room or space and without causing any harsh glare from the light source.
Downlight’s discreet appearance, practicality and its amazing ability to blend in with other lights such as spotlights, surface downlights and pendants lights, makes them a truly essential piece of luminaire that should not be missed out on.
Therefore, it is vital to select the correct downlight as there are so many different types of downlights on the market. Furthermore, it is important to determine the specific lighting requirements for each project.
Through this article, we hope to give readers a better understanding and insight on what to look out for, and how to arrive at a decision when selecting the correct downlight.
Important aspects of LED downlights you need to know
1) Level of brightness
The level of brightness should be the first thing that individuals need to consider on, before selecting the light that is needed to illuminate the area. First and foremost, we have to debunk the common misconception that individuals have on the brightness of a bulb.
Individuals tend to have the idea that the higher wattage of a bulb is, the brighter the light emitted will be. While lumens and wattage are correlated in many ways, but they are not measuring the same thing.
Light emitted from a source is measured in lumens, as such the higher the rated lumens, the brighter the light emitted will be. Whereas, wattage measures the amount of energy required to produce a set amount of light (lumens).
Most often, individuals may think that choosing the highest lumens available possible would be would be the best, but that is not necessarily the case. The appropriate level of brightness should be decided based on the specifications of each room, such as the area and height of each space.
Let’s refer to the chart below to see how LED has evolved to be more energy efficient by using less energy, yet emitting the same lumens as compared to incandescent and fluorescent light.
*Chart is for illustration purpose, figures are based on industry average, as such wattage and lumens may vary from manufacturers.
2) Beam Angle
Beam angle is also another critical factor when it comes to choosing downlight. Beam angle measures how widely light is being projected out from the luminaire.
Downlight with a wide beam angle, creates broad and soft lighting, which are suitable for general ambient lighting. Likewise, downlight with a narrower beam angle, creates sharp and concentrated lighting which are used to intensity the amount of light projected onto an area, that are used for spotlighting.
In general, a downlight with a beam angle of 60° or more would be more appropriate for ambient lighting.
3) Color Temperature
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), refers to the color characteristics of light, and it is measured in kelvin (K).
Warm White: 3000K
Cool White: 4200K
Cool Daylight: 6500K
Recent research has shown that the light color has a correlation on our sleeping pattern and how it affects our state of mind. From the research, it has shown that warmer colors tend to promote relaxation, whereas cooler colors promote alertness and productivity.
As a general rule of thumb, cooler colors are typically installed in offices, retails store and commercial buildings, while warmer colors are commonly found in residential spaces.
Types of LED Downlights
A. Fixed or Gimble downlight?
Downlights in general are categorized into two categories. Fixed or Gimble downlights.
Fixed downlights have a fixed direction for output of light and generally used for ambient lighting. It is also generally cheaper to acquire as it has less moving parts.
The advantage of installing a gimbal downlight, is that users are able to adjust the direction of the light. A significant advantage when users shift their focus towards an art piece or an area of interest.
It is an essential piece of luminaire for retailers, when they would like to focus on different products being place closely. It offers users the ability to adjust each light individually, offering great usability.
B. Downlight categorized based on their lighting objectives
General Lighting (Ambient)
An image of evenly spaced out fixed downlights that are used to illuminate a living room. Creating a glow that is neither too dark nor bright.
An image of evenly spaced gimbal downlights that are used to illuminate a bookstore. It allows users to adjust the direction of light accordingly to users’ requirements. An essential and versatile downlight for retailers.
An image of multi downlights that is installed in an apparel boutique. It highlights and creates a more dramatic effect on the products on display. It is generally brighter than the surrounding ambient light.
C. Dimming Function
Most downlights in the market offers dimming capability. Dimmers switches are added to dimmable downlight, to control the level of light output. Dimming offers users the flexibility to turn the downlight up to its maximum capacity when they need to see clearly, and turn it down when we need to unwind and relax.
D. Ingress Protection – IP Rating
Lastly, to determine if it is necessary to acquire a higher IP rated downlight. IP rating as most will know, it is a classification that denotes the degree of protection against solids and liquids. For most indoors installation, an IP 20 rated downlight would be sufficient. Whereas for installation where solids and liquids intrusion rate are high, an IP 65 rated would be recommended. Examples of such areas are, bathroom or other outdoor areas. You may read up more about IP Rating here.
Type of installations
Typically installed on false ceilings. Cut out on the ceiling should be of the correct diameter, as a cut out that is too huge or small will affect the installation process. Downlights are kept secured in place with spring clips, gripping onto the false ceiling.
It creates a clutter free ceiling and evokes a spacious feeling.
Designed for concrete ceiling, and typically fixed together with a mounting bracket. Surface mounted downlights are typically installed for low ceiling and residential space.
Designed for concrete ceiling, and typically fixed together with a mounting bracket. Pendant downlights provide soft and non-glaring task lighting, and are sometimes used in high ceiling areas.
Pendant downlights are a great addition to any space, as it adds a modern look and feel to the space.
For more information and assistance on your next lighting upgrade, contact us today and one of our lighting experts will be able to provide more advice and insight.
Our lighting designer will be able to draft up a proposed plan based on the floor plan of your space and this service is completely free of charge.
Hesitate no more and contact us today, to change the way you live with LED lighting.
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