Downlights: your guide to making the right choice

We live in the UK where, apart from a few summer months of extended light and (if we’re lucky) sunshine, it’s predominantly dark. LED downlights are fundamental to enhancing lighting in a home and are popular in kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms. If you are looking for optimum output, you would think that the more lights you fit the brighter a room would be? Well, you don’t necessarily require a greater QUANTITY of fittings, you just require a greater QUALITY of fittings. In fact, a single downlight can easily brighten up a dark corner, you just need to make sure you’re getting the best value for money. And to make this easier we have put together a handy guide on what to look for when buying your downlights.

Downlights in a kitchenDownlight in a bathroom

LUMENS
One of the first things to look for is how much light the downlight is going to produce. Gone are the days when we measured this in watts, because of how efficient LEDs are compared to their predecessors, we now look at this in terms of lumens. The lower the lumens, the more downlights you are going to need, so it is wise to go for fewer quality downlights with higher lumen outputs than opting for the expense of a larger number of inferior fittings. Both our Pro800 range and Eco800 ranges boast a market-leading 800 lumen output making them an excellent choice for lumens.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Now although we do not look at light produced in terms of watts anymore, that is not to say that considering the wattage of fittings is no longer needed. Once you have selected a downlight that has a good quality lumen output, check the watts that the fitting uses to produce this light output. Going by this you will be able to gauge its energy efficiency. The lower the watts needed to produce the lumens you are looking for, the more efficient the downlight is. Here both the Pro800 and Eco800 ranges are also outstanding, with them using just 8 watts to produce 800 lumens, which is just one watt per 100 lumens.

COLOUR TEMPERATURE
Also, consider the colour temperature of the downlight, this is measured in kelvins and usually ranges from a warm light at 3000k, that increases towards a cooler bluer light at 4000k then all the way up 6000k commonly found in daylight lamps. When considering this aspect of your lighting it is worth thinking about the purpose of the rooms, with a warmer 3000k being for general settings throughout the house, while the cooler lights better suited for lighting required for focusing on tasks.

IP RATING
You should also check the IP (Ingress Protection) rating of downlights. A downlight’s IP rating measures the level of protection it offers against things getting into it. This is a particularly important factor when using downlights in bathrooms or kitchens where they could be subjected to water. The Eco800 and Pro800 have IP ratings of 65, meaning they can go directly over a shower or kitchen sink and offer full protection against water.

FIRE RATING
The fire rating is how long a downlight can remain fire-resistant if the unthinkable were to happen. New builds are now required by building regulations to only use appropriately fire rated downlights. For most domestic settings a 30-minute fire rating is required. All of Green Lighting downlights are fully fire rated meaning you can have peace of mind. You can view our fire reports here.

OTHER SIGNS OF QUALITY
Look for the lamp lifespan of your downlights, this determines how long the LED will produce at least 70% of its original lumens. If you want to be able to change the mood of the ambient lighting, check to see if the downlights are dimmable. And finally, how easy it is to fit, after all time is money. Our downlights tick all three of these boxes with a lamp life of 50,000 hours, dimmable options and fast-fit installation.

If you have any queries or would like more information on any of our downlights, please contact [email protected]