We can all agree without a reasonable doubt that our lighting efforts at home aren't just driven by cost-effectiveness but more importantly by the preservation of colors and liveliness. The compactness of LEDs allows residential lighting solutions to not just be in a traditional bulb shape but in all forms and sizes. Hence, providing unlimited applications to the user to add lights to their home.
The most common of all residential lighting is downlight fixtures. LED downlights can come in various shapes, forms and applications- Outdoor Downlights / Exterior Downlights, Recessed Downlights, etc. For users who aren't ready to spend on upgrading their existing lighting infrastructure, LED Downlight Retrofit fixtures are a good way to capitalize on the benefits of LEDs.
While there are a lot of parameters that can be used to choose the right kind of LED Recessed Downlight for a user, there are 5 primary things one should keep in mind when choosing an LED downlight:
1. CCT Tunability
It is always good to have a sort of versatility in the light's color controls to suit everyone's comfort at home, especially when the technology to do so exists. When choosing LED downlights for your home, you have the option to go for CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) tunable Downlight fixtures that offers both cool serene light, suitable for summer times or a much preferable warm ambient light during colder seasons. Or in some cases 'warm white' just sounds right for some members of the house while 'cool white' is the preferred option for others. Whatever your choice be, its always desirable to get a downlight with multiple CCT options.
2. Check Lumens for adequate brightness
A Lumen is the measurement unit of light and the measurement of light emitted by a source (LEDs, fluorescents, halogen or incandescents) is known as brightness or light output. A standard 100W incandescent produces around 1500-1700 lumens while a 16-18W LED can produce the same. So, it is important to understand Wattage Equivalence for light fixtures.
To determine the required lumens, you will need to multiply the square footage of the room with the foot-candle requirement of the area. For example, a 100 square foot living room, which needs 10-20 foot-candles, will need 1,000-2,000 lumens. A 100 square foot dining room, which needs 30-40 foot-candles, will need 3,000-4,000 lumens.
It is also necessary to keep in mind that the foot-candle figures on the left are for typical conditions and the calculations are for 8ft ceilings. If your room follows a dark-themed color scheme, you'll need an additional 10 lm/sqft approximately. Finally, your personal preference plays the most important role in your lighting decision. It is also ideal to get downlights with dimming options to adjust the light to desired levels.
3. 90+ CRI
A color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 representing daylight.
Without colors, everything is just boring. The vividness of colors makes our life bright and vibrant. A downlight with a CRI value of 80+ will effectively portray colors and finishes. When the most accurate color rendering is essential, 90+ CRI values are recommended in your residential downlights. With a high CRI lighting, colors pop and textures stand out.
Take, for example, the bowl of food above. Under an 80+ CRI, all the colors are visible. But with a 90+ CRI, the object has more depth and luster in its texture.
4. Long Lifespan
LED Downlights are fixtures that need to be fixed into false ceilings or ceiling cans and therefore, replacing them often is a painstaking job that you clearly would want to avoid. Given that, it is important to invest in a downlight that can last longer, preferably as long as 50,000 hours or more.
Most manufacturers get quite optimistic when it comes to mentioning the lifespan of an LED downlight fixture as 50,000 hours. But, a closer examination would reveal that guarantee only applies to the LED chip. And as we all know, a downlight is composed of not only its LED chip but also its other components. So, it is essential to check if the guarantee applies to the entire fixture and not just one of its components.
At IKIO, we make sure to combine the long-lasting LED chips with components of equivalent lifespans to ensure that the guarantee you get for your downlight fixture applies to the whole lamp and not the chip alone. Take, for example, the Taz CCT Tunable Downlight which is offered with a guarantee of 50,000 hours of lighting time.
5. Aesthetics and Performance
Aesthetics is an important aspect of your home decor and lighting is an element that acts as a catalyst that enhances it. LED downlights, also known as recessed lights or can lights are used as ceiling lights in kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and sometimes even in the outdoors. There are a few things to consider to ensure a downlight's appearance and performance:
The Trim of a downlight is one of the most important visual aspects. It is one of the only components which is visible when the fixture is installed. They come in a variety of finishes and their choice is usually just a matter of personal preference. White trims are usually preferred as they blend into ceilings effortlessly.
A downlight's beam angle lets you decide the light beam's spread. A downlight fixture used for accent lighting should have a narrow beam spread between 20°- 40° to effectively highlight specific areas or objects in a room. Whereas a wider beam spread of 100° - 120° is better suited for general-purpose lighting.
Apart from these qualities of downlights, their placement plays an important role in their optimum performance. Downlights placed too closely can result in extremely bright light at the center while dim spots around its perimeter. An evenly spaced downlights across a room makes its lighting comfortable and non-distracting.