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The 5 Best Recessed Lights (2023 Review)

Recessed lighting fixtures (also known as can lights) save space by sitting flush with your ceiling, making your home feel less cluttered. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best recessed lights on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home.

Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights and Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights against a blue graph paper backdrop Courtesy Amazon

Recessed lighting brightens your room while avoiding the cluttered feel of hanging lights and chandeliers. The This Old House Reviews Team has researched the best recessed lighting options on Amazon. Here are our top picks.

Compare Top Recessed Lights

Product Fixtures Diameter Warranty
Product Fixtures Diameter Warranty
Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights 12 6 inches 5 years
TORCHSTAR Dimmable Slim LED Lights 6 6 inches 5 years
Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights 12 6 inches 5 years
Sunco Lighting Dimmable Recessed Downlights 12 5 or 6 inches 7 years
Sunco Lighting Six-Inch Slim LED Downlights 24 6 inches 7 years

Top 5 Recessed Lights


Best Lifespan: Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

  • $125

Prices taken at time of publishing.

These thin recessed lights have three color temperatures to choose between. They’re also IC-rated for safe contact with insulation and Energy Star-certified for energy efficiency. Additionally, the lights have a long lifespan of 50,000 hours each.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has housing that’s made from lightweight and durable aluminum
✔ Available in multiple light colors and housing sizes
✔ Can be in contact with ceiling insulation

✘ Is more expensive than many other models
✘ Criticized for not being the advertised size

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon customers praised these recessed lighting fixtures for making bright accent lighting. Many noted that these were easy to install and came well-packaged. Negative reviews said that the lights flickered and weren’t the advertised six inches.


Best For Small Spaces: TORCHSTAR Dimmable Slim LED Lights

TORCHSTAR Six-Inch Dimmable Slim LED Lights
| Courtesy Amazon

TORCHSTAR Dimmable Slim LED Lights

  • $60

Prices taken at time of publishing.

These thin recessed fixtures consume less power than an incandescent bulb to produce 850 lumens of light. Each light also has a lifespan of 36,000 hours and a lighting angle of 110 degrees. The pack comes with six lights instead of 12, 24, or other quantities.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Each light has a lifespan of 36,000 hours
✔ Has corrosion- and rust-resistant aluminum housing
✔ Has an Energy Star certification for being energy-efficient

✘ Criticized by some for failing shortly after installation
✘ Some customers said that it wasn’t safe to touch insulation like the manufacturer advertised

What Customers Are Saying

Pleased customers said that these recessed ceiling lights were bright and easy to install and worked well with their dimmer. Some reviewers criticized this product for not fitting into a six-inch hole, having a small junction box, and not being safe to come into contact with insulation.


Best Power Savings: Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

Amico Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Lights

  • $160

Prices taken at time of publishing.

These thin recessed lights use minimal power to deliver a high output of 1,050 lumens. They’re also IC-rated and ETL- and Energy Star-certified. In addition to these certifications, the Amica recessed ceiling lights are thermally protected, meaning they won’t overheat and start a fire.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Works with most dimmers on the market
✔ Comes in multiple trim colors to match your room’s decor
✔ Fits into a small, 2-inch ceiling space

✘ Criticized for generating electromagnetic interference
✘ Sometimes flickered and flashed according to customers

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers noted that these recessed ceiling lights were as good as more expensive models. Many also said that the adjustable colors and brightness levels were useful features. Unhappy customers criticized these LED recessed lights for flickering and flashing and for generating electromagnetic interference that messed with their television and other electronics.


Best Baffle Trim: Sunco Lighting Dimmable Recessed Downlights

Pros and Cons

✔ Comes in other quantities
✔ Includes an E26 adapter to use with different bulbs
✔ Works in damp locations

✘ Noted by some that the parts didn’t fit together easily
✘ Criticized for having a poor instructions manual

What Customers Are Saying

Customers like the energy efficiency and color and brightness options of these lights. However, negative reviews pointed out that these lights had electromagnetic interference. They also struggled to install them because the pieces didn’t fit together properly.


Best For Large Spaces: Sunco Lighting Six-Inch Slim LED Downlights

Sunco Lighting Six-Inch Slim LED Downlights

Sunco Lighting Six-Inch Slim LED Downlights

  • $248

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Each recessed light in this 24-pack comes with a junction box, an IC rating, and an Energy Star certification. These recessed lights are also easy to install. They require only two inches of ceiling space and have spring-loaded brackets that fold in as you push them toward the ceiling.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Uses thermal protection to prevent overheating
✔ Doesn’t emit harmful UV rays
✔ Comes with a 7-year warranty

✘ Will take a while to install every fixture
✘ Fragility was noted by some customers

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers pointed out that these lights were easy to install, provided a good amount of light, and used less power than other types of lighting. Customers also said that they were clean-looking and took up little space. On the other hand, unhappy customers said that newer versions of these lights weren’t as high-quality.


Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re remodeling your home, building new construction, or just looking for a lighting upgrade, recessed lights add brightness and warmth to any space in your house. This buying guide will help you choose the best recessed lights for your kitchen, bathroom, living room, or other room.

Brightness

Recessed lights light a large portion of a room, so they’re usually bright. However, if you want the ability to dim the light for a more relaxing environment, choose a model that features a dimmer switch.

Color Temperature

The color temperature of a light bulb affects the type of light it produces. There are four standard color temperatures. Neutral light is white. Cool light is blue-white, sharp, and crisp. Warm white light is typically shaded yellow-white or orange-white, giving a homey feel. Daylight mimics the color and brightness of natural sunlight.

Choose a color temperature for your recessed lighting that best suits the room it will be in. Generally speaking, cool light, white light, and daylight are recommended for rooms where work is done, such as offices and craft rooms, while warm light is recommended for rooms centered around socializing, such as living rooms and bedrooms.

Trim

Recessed lighting can feature several styles of trim. Popular trims include:

  • Baffle: This trim features a ribbed interior to minimize glare.
  • Canless: This trim features a thin disk and integrated LEDs in a single unit that connects to your electrical wiring.
  • Eyeball: This trim allows the light bulb to pivot or rotate.
  • Gimbal: This trim uses a combination of eyeball and baffle styles.
  • Pinhole: This trim narrows the stream of light to focus on a single area.
  • Reflector: This trim features a mirrored inner surface to amplify the brightness.
  • Shower: This trim features tempered glass for moisture resistance, making it best for bathrooms.

Housing Finish

The area surrounding the bulb, called the housing, comes in different finishes. The most common finish is a neutral white because it matches the design of any room. However, you can also purchase recessed lights with matte finishes or metallic finishes, such as chrome, bronze, nickel, and silver.

Energy Efficiency

Recessed lighting originally used incandescent light bulbs. However, many recessed lights are starting to support fluorescent or LED bulbs. These bulbs are longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. They can also save you money, as you don’t have to replace the bulbs as frequently.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose recessed lighting?

Recessed lighting takes up less room than a chandelier or other hanging light. This helps your room feel bigger.

How do I clean my recessed lights?

Follow these steps:

  • Turn the light off at least one hour beforehand to allow the bulb and housing to cool.
  • Remove the bulb, and gently clean it with a damp cloth.
  • Dust the inside of the housing and the trim.
  • Screw the bulb back into the housing.

What does an IC housing rating mean?

An IC housing rating indicates that the recessed light has been proven to be cool enough to use near insulation.

Recessed lights are typically installed between existing ceiling joists, either by DIY-focused homeowners or by professional electricians. In many houses, these spaces are filled with insulation, which can be flammable or release toxic fumes when it gets too hot.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.