Common Types and Benefits of LED Downlights

LED downlights are a popular choice for a number of residential and commercial lighting applications. When installed properly and in the right numbers, the energy-saving lights provides an even, shadow free and gentle light. These types of lights are suitable for general, accent, and task lighting.

The LED downlights have stylish designs that make them  suitable for several indoor environments and exterior applications. These are available in several deigns and configurations to cater for both the commercial and residential lighting needs. And this allows consumers to use the LED downlights to upgrade or carry out new installations in the office, home, factory, shopping malls, and more.

The common types are the recessed and the surface mounted LED downlights.  Both of these can further vary in design and the way they illuminate the target area.

The recessed ceiling lights usually cast their light downwards at an adjustable angle. These will usually fit up inside a custom opening made in the ceiling. Mounting the LED down lights in these openings, makes them appear flush with the ceiling. In addition, the LED downlights have an unobtrusive, sleek and stylish design that makes them blend well and appear as if they are part of the ceiling.

Surface mounted LED downlight

Classification of LED downlights

There are different types, styles, and finishes. Some are suitable for general use in the home, office and commercial spaces, while others have additional protection and suitable for harsh conditions. For example, there is fire rated LED downlights, waterproof LED downlights, others such as those for the kitchen and bathroom are IP 44 or IP65 rated, and more.

There are many different designs to comply with specific safety and environmental requirements for normal and demanding applications. Also, the down lights are available for use on either the mains power or a low voltage.

The high voltage LED downlights takes power directly from the mains while the low voltage models require a transformer and a control circuit to reduce and condition the mains voltage. Despite the low voltage, these tend to have more power losses compared to the high voltage models. This is mainly due to the power losses in the transformers and other components associated with the conversion process.

Types of LED downlights based on application

There different kinds of LED downlights based on the construction, installation and the application. Below are some of the common types according to their use, however, there many more designs and functionalities.

  • Kitchen LED downlights
  • Bathroom LED downlights
  • Outdoor LED downlights
  • Living room LED downlights
  • Bathroom LED downlights (Waterproof)
  • Fire-rated LED downlights
  • Outdoor LED recessed downlights
  • Fluorescent LED downlights


The LED downlights continue to become popular especially in the bathrooms and kitchens. But they are also ideal for any other space as long as the choice matches the application.

Outdoor LED recessed downlights

The exterior or outdoor LED recessed downlights are suitable for open spaces such as the façade of the house, garage area, canopy, entrance porch and more. The adjustable lights have wider beam angles compared to the halogen equivalents and are great in enhancing the home by adding light to the outdoor spaces.

The outdoor LED downlights have typical IP ratings of IP44 and are usually water and dust proof to withstand external conditions. They are usually installed in the ceiling void and may have added functions such as motion detection for security purposes. Just like the indoor units, these are available for use with either high 240V or 120V mains supply or with low voltage.

Recessed LED downlight

There are also recessed compact fluorescent LED downlights for use in the entrance porches or under the canopies. The advantage of this type is the ability to illuminate a larger area with a wide and brighter beam of light. They also create an appealing wall wash effect on stonework walls and other similar surfaces.

Classification according to construction

The LED downlights are also identified by the construction, installation, finish, function or by other factors. The different types of common fixtures include;

Fixed downlight

These are usually decorative downlight fixtures with a fixed center. It uses a twist lock or spring clip mechanism to hold the lamp in place.

Gimbal downlight

This is similar to all the other downlights in terms of construction, the type of lamp retainer and how it is secured in the ceiling. However, this has an adjustable center for tilting the light beam to point at a particular area such as a kitchen worktop, breakfast bar, or a similar space.

Eyeball LED downlight

This is almost similar to the gimbal, but has a protruding eyeball that holds the lamp. This provides a more adjustment range compared to the gimbal.

Wall washers LED downlights

The wall washers model is also mounted in the ceiling just like the other down lights. However, they operate differently and are used for different applications. The lamp in the wall washer LED downlight is usually held in a hinge housing which can rotate for up to 90 degrees. The lamp does not illuminate the space straight down from the downlighter, instead, it will only shine their light on to walls

Benefits of LED downlights

The LEDs are an ideal choice for the downlights and have several benefits compared to other bulbs. LEDs have superior performance and energy efficiency compared to the halogen or incandescent lamps. Besides saving on the energy costs, the LED downlights comes with so many other benefits.

Unlike the traditional bulbs, the environmentally friendly lights do not require warm-up time and will reach their full brightness in an instant. In addition, they are long lasting, easy to maintain, weather resistant, have good colors and adjustable light output for different occasions.

Other benefits include;

Reduced fire hazards

The LED downlights have less heat dissipation hence fewer fire risks. On the other hand, the traditional bulbs release a significant amount of heat which can be uncomfortable and at times pose a fire risk. Due to the high heat dissipation by for example the halogen and conventional lamps, the consumer will use additional energy to cool the spaces, hence additional energy bills.

One challenge, which can also be a fire hazard, is the amount of heat that a halogen downlights emit. This can go up to 200 degrees Celsius, which is enough to ignite combustible materials in the vicinity. The LEDs based lights are much cooler since they operate at about 40 degrees.

Slim LED downlight

The right amount of light for any situation

The LED downlights provide a flexible solution for lighting almost any space. They can work in any room and adjusted to provide the desired amount of light. The fixtures can hold bulbs with different ratings, so a consumer can just install the ones that match the lighting requirements. Also, the models with dimming options allow the users to adjust the level of light depending on the occasion.

Environmentally friendly

The LED downlights are environmentally friendly since they do not emit toxic gases or harmful radiations. In addition, they do not contain toxic materials hence no issues with disposal.

Does not fade fabrics and artwork

These lights produce a relatively cool light that cannot damage sensitive surfaces and objects such as fabrics and artwork. This makes them suitable for a wide range of home and commercial environments.

Reduced electricty costs

The cost of running these lights is much lower than the other types of lamps. Since they dissipate less heat, they use less energy and eliminate the need to use additional energy to cool the space.