LED downlights: why you should make the switch

LED Downlights: Why You Should Make the Switch

LED downlights

LED lighting technology has developed at a staggering pace over the last several years. Products that were deemed cutting-edge a few years ago have been superseded by others that are superior in every way. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of LED downlights.

These lights offer a stylish, unobtrusive alternative to traditional halogen spotlights, and they can be used for a wide range of domestic and commercial applications.

If you've not considered switching to LED downlights before, read on to find out why you should.

What are LED downlights?

LED downlights are essentially spotlights that are recessed into a ceiling, offering a bright directional light. As the fitting is set back into the surface of the ceiling, it is much more unobtrusive than traditional spotlights, and can finish any room stylishly.

Once installed, all you would see of the downlight is the lens of the light bulb and the circular bezel that rings it. Many downlights offer you a choice of bezel, from brushed aluminium and brass, to black or white ceramic, so it is easy to match the light with a room's decor.

LED downlights offer all the benefits of LED lighting, including longer lifespans, superior energy efficiency and, in some cases, the ability to tune the colour or colour temperature of the light.

How many downlights do I need?

When using LED downlights for general lighting purposes, it's important to make sure that you install enough of the lights to adequately illuminate a room. Once you have that covered, deciding on the exact number of downlights to install comes down to personal preference.

One rule of thumb is to install one LED downlight per square metre, leaving a space of one metre between each light and half a metre between the lights and each wall. This would mean that in a room measuring 3m x 3m, nine downlights would be ideal for a bright, even light distribution.

The lumens output and beam angle of LED downlights does provide some flexibility with this, however. Downlights with larger beam angles offer a wider spread of light, so potentially, you could get away with installing fewer lights. The image below shows how much different beam angles change a downlight's spread.

led downlights beam angles

Similarly, those with higher lumens outputs are brighter, so will do a better job of lighting a room. Dimmable LED downlights give you even more flexibility, as they can give you a nice, bright light, but can be dimmed to offer a softer light when needed.

See our guides to beam angles and lumens for more details.

Four of the best downlights

Now that we've explained what LED downlights are all about, it's time to pick our favourites. These are among the highest quality, most energy efficient, and best value downlights available today.

Phoebe LED Spectrum Smart Downlight

The Phoebe LED Spectrum is at the cutting-edge of today's smart technology, allowing you to adjust a whole host of settings directly from your smartphone. Unlike other smart lights, which require you to connect a central bridge to your home Wi-Fi, the Spectrum connects directly to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

The fitting itself is super-stylish. The main spotlight is surrounded by a stunning, colour-changing halo light ring, which can also be tuned directly from your phone.

Phoebe LED Hera Dual LED Integrated Downlight

This downlight has an innovative dual LED design, with a central LED spotlight and separate outer ring light. Both lights can be used together, or they can be used independently for different variations of mood lighting.

This dual function means you could switch between a warm white light for more relaxing moods, or a cool white light for busier or more active times. Few downlights outside of smart lighting setups provide this functionality.

Megaman LED VersoFit Tiltable LED Downlight

One of the limitations of many LED downlights is that once they're installed, they can't really be moved, as you've cut a hole in your ceiling. To help with that, Megaman created this adjustable LED downlight that allows you to tilt its centre spotlight to different angles.

The light's 36° beam angle offers a focussed warm white light ideal for spotlighting in kitchens and bathrooms. The tiltable module means that the beam can be cast exactly where you need it, such as on kitchen counters and work surfaces.

Phoebe LED Firesafe Dimmable Tricolour Downlight

This LED downlight from Phoebe LED is an excellent all-rounder. It offers 570 lumens, with a switch that allows you to choose from three different colour temperatures, and three interchangeable bezels, so it fits in with any decor. It is dimmable and IP65 rated, so is suitable for use in all areas of the bathroom. Finally, it is 30, 60, and 90 minute fire rated, making it one of the safest downlights available.

For versatility and range of functions, this LED downlight beats all the rest.