There are countless recessed downlights to choose from on the internet and in electrical stores. At Downlights.co.uk we stock the biggest and most reliable brands from the UK's lighting industry. LED lighting technology has certainly slowed down in recent years, with advances coming few and far between. The efficiency has become so good, that it doesn't really need improving upon. The majority of lighting products we offer now aren't changing as often because they don't need to. This allows us to stock a more consistent product range and produce lighting guides that don't go out of date before we've even finished them.
We want to ensure that our customers have all of the latest information and want to empower you into making an informed and inspired purchasing decision that helps you to utilize the latest lighting technology. That's why we've produced another downlight guide to help you achieve enlightenment.
A Pinnacle Point In Lighting
In recent years the biggest advances in downlighting technology has been within the wiring connections. As the quality of light output has almost reached a pinnacle point, which makes improvements difficult to achieve. Some LED downlights have a reduction in wattage (energy consumption) and a brighter light output (measured in lumens), which gives them an improved efficacy measured in lumens per watt. This is great, but if you're installing 9 downlights in a room in your home then saving just a few watts per downlight isn't going to make much of a saving and certainly isn't going to save the planet. Many consumers still think that comparing the brightness of a downlight is by its wattage means its brighter, when this isn't always the case.
To Begin Your Journey
You may want to start by considering the Building Regulations which are in place for your safety. Most NICEIC registered electrical contractors won't even install downlights if they don't comply and you may also run into difficulty selling your property at a later date if your equipment isn't up to standard. As long as you follow these 5 golden rules you'll be fine.
The 5 Golden Rules of Downlights
If in doubt, buy fire rated downlights...The majority of integrated LED downlights are fire rated as standard. Buying non fire rated is cheaper but may cost you more in the long run especially if you have to change them. Non fire rated downlights can be installed in commercial properties. For example; in false ceilings and in ceilings that haven't had their original fire integrity interfered with. We've written a dedicated article about fire rated downlights here.
Use IP rated downlights in bathrooms...Anything from IP44 to IP65, (the higher the second digit is, the more resistant it is to water) are suitable for bathroom zones 1 and 2. There are certain zones in a bathroom that don't need to be IP rated but steam can get into the fixture and damage the LEDs. It also looks much better if all of your downlights match within the same ceiling space. Most integrated LED downlights are IP65 as standard, even some adjustable versions are available in IP65 as well.
Just because some downlights are fire rated it doesn't mean they're insulation coverable. If you plan to cover your downlights with thermal insulation, which is now a recommended best practice, then buy insulation coverable downlights from the beginning as they only cost a little bit more. Some downlights are insulation coverable as standard and some require accessories such as Spot Clips or Loft Lids.
Choose brighter downlights with wider beam angles for larger rooms...This will allow you to space them further apart, which means fewer downlights, fewer holes to cut and a reduction in the materials & installation costs. A brighter downlight would be something over 600 lumens and with a 60 degree beam angle. We can provide you with a lighting design that compares downlights with different beam angles to take away the guess work and give you a defined plan for your installation.
Buy downlights with proper wiring connectors!Electrical contractors buy the same downlights regularly because they're easy to wire and more reliable. You'll notice that some of our downlights have over 100 reviews which is because customers love them and electricians keep coming back for more. Many of the bigger lighting brands have standardised on push-fit, loop-in, loop-out wiring connectors that can be wired into the lighting circuit during the first fix. Then during the second fix, the downlights can be plugged straight in. We've highlighted this in our lighting guide below.
Our latest Downlight Guide 360 can be viewed or downloaded below. It's been designed to help you choose the best downlights for your project: