With a staggering amount of different brand types of downlights in today’s market, it can be quite daunting choosing the correct L.E.D downlight for your home. There’s a great deal to consider when deciding on buying downlights compared to your incandescent or halogen globe. From choosing the right location, to how much wattage will be needed, will they be dimmable or non-dimmable, what shade of colour, a narrow or wide beam angle and of course what do you want your downlights to do.
Location – A practice I like to consider is locating L.E.D downlights 1.3square meters apart which will provide high levels of lighting dependant on your ceiling height. Downlights can be positioned to provide light on a specific spot within a room or a number of downlights can be integrated to light up an entire area. Also worth noting, installing downlights to close to a wall will create shadows that can end up making a room look smaller than it already is.
Colour Temperature – Selecting the right colour temperature is a personal choice as will help set the ambience of the room. Colour temperature is how the light looks coming from the downlight and is measured in degrees, kelvin. Most L.E.D downlights come in tri-colour and have 3 selector switches to choose from to see what colour suits your needs, warm white, cool white and natural white.
• Warm white – 3000k
• Cool white – 4000k
• Natural white – 5000k
Lumen & Wattage – The higher the lumens the brighter the light while your wattage only measures the amount of energy used to produce the light. A standard 9 watt down-light will produce 7 – 9 hundred lumens depending on the light colour. When replacing halogen or incandescent bulbs to L.E.D always compare the lumens and not the wattage. If replacing a 50 watt halogen globe, an L.E.D downlight of 9 – 12 watts that produces about 800 lumens will be a sufficient amount of illumination to replace that halogen globe.
Beam Angle – A beam angle measures on how your light is distributed and the wider the angle the more spread out the light will be. Incandescent bulbs would usually have a beam angle of 360 degrees with your standard downlight having a narrow beam of near the 40 degree range. Choosing the right beam angle for your room can make a big difference in light distribution but unfortunately this option is often limited to just a few L.E.D downlight brands.
IC & IP Rating – IC and IP rating are two completely different used terms, IP means the protection against solids and liquids and IC meaning insulation contact and whether downlights can come into contact with flammable materials or not. So when a downlight is tagged with an IC rated sticker, yes you can safely allow insulation to come into contact with your downlight. Most downlights have an IP ratting of 44, commonly used in wet areas such as bathrooms and underneath.