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Community and Q&A

LED recessed cans?

Jill Neubauer Architects | Posted in Green Products and Materials on


Looking for opinions on LED recessed cans vs. installing LED bulbs in a standard recessed can. It seems it costs much less to install a standard can and install LED bulbs. As well as giving you more flexibility to change/ upgrade the bulb as advances are made in the LED technology.

We have only used the LED cans a few times and they seem to work well.

FYI – these cans are going into the first floor ceiling, not a roof…

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  1. Jin Kazama | | #1

    Hi Chris, which rooms will be served by those cans ??

    Problem with 95% of led products out now is the CRI/light quality ..
    the visual quality of the lighting ( the spectrum that is emited and what you perceive ) is very poor
    and not really suited for any daily activities ( cooking in the kitchen at nighttime, lookin in the mirror in the bathroom )

    The only products i have used so far that satisfied my taste are the CR/LR range from CREE lighting.

    Have installed many LR6 first models and currently using/installing a large batch of CR6.

    The CR6 price for quality is unmatched, and i believe that HDepot in the USA has been selling those for some time now ( probably cheaper to buy at HD ) if you are in the USA.
    I had to import them here in canada ( bought a 60 unit CR6 batch because price diff in canada from distributor is just a scam )

    I have done test with multiple individuals with usually no knowledge toward lighting, and most were very comfortable under the CR6.
    I use CR6 in my personal bathroom and i love them!

    The only problem with disc illuminated LED cans is the depth, the CR6 are deep enough for 8-9ft ceiling, a bit shy of what would be needed for 10-12ft.
    The first LR6 were unsuable in 9ft+ ..very distracting glowing disc of light ...

    Anyhow, invest in quality products ... getting a 25-50$ led buld , and having it failed
    in 6 years due to bad electronics pushes the payback term to unreachable heights.
    And even though they are all rated 29845 years life, most will fail on electronics and not on the leds,
    way before their usefull 20years life comes ..

    BTW : for the CR6 u can count on it providing as much usable light as a 60-80W uncovered incan,
    a glass covered "plafonnier" 100W halogen or a ~50W halogen canned spot.
    But the diffusion is much greater than all others and this brings light quality up and hard shadows down.

    My 10watts ...

  2. David Meiland | | #2

    I've installed these a few times: They work well, they are bright, and the beam spread is wide--I like 'em.

    I recently bought some LED flood bulbs at Costco for $11 each and put them in my office ceiling (not a roof or attic, no need for air sealing). They work fine too but my feeling is that the beam spread is not as good and the light is not as diffuse.

    No science here, just impressions. There are a lot of LED products out there, more coming all the time, and I can hardly keep up with it all.

  3. Jin Kazama | | #3

    David: problem with most led products now is the same does not cover a large enough spectrum at a correct dispertion.
    That is why CREE has opted for multiple colored auto balanced arrangement
    ( the LR6 scans current ligh and auto adjust ..the CR6 does not )

    Most current products are suited for occasional ligting, landscape, exterior etc..

    But using a light once a week for 2-5 minutes doesn't justify the investment on a led buld higher than 5-10$ .. because the only payback is due to the current incandescent being soo badly manufactured that they don't last more than 5 years even if not used ...

  4. Jill Neubauer Architects | | #4

    Thanks for the comments. We used the Cree lights almost 5yrs ago and they worked well. Although, at the time they didn't look great.

    I think we are leaning towards a standard can and using LED bulbs to give a bit more flexibility for the future.

  5. Daniel Ernst | | #5

    Home Depot sells an EcoSmart LED downlight that I like. It is actually a CREE CR6, but rebranded / labeled for sale at Home Depot. 2700K, 90 CRI, 9.5 watts, 575 lumens (60 l/w). You can find it here:

    My local store is selling them for $29.97.

  6. Jin Kazama | | #6

    Daniel : those are exactly the one i am using and you should too.
    IT is probably the best recessed led downlight available now ( withing regular price range )

    Chris: of course using screw/gu bulbs will offer more flexibility in future choice,
    but as i said, measure your cost VS payback/savings ...

    all lights that will only see 1h/day usage or less will never pay itself...
    and if you change 10$ bulb 2 times in the next 10-15 years you will push the payback even more
    and current 10-15$ bulbs have a very low light quality ( i've tried enough now to regret the invested $$$ :p )

    Some good products from GE/phillips are coming in soon

    Also OLED white ligh panels from GE in the next 3-5 years will probably be available,
    and will fill a current inexisting position, super diffused ambient light similar to undirect sunlight from windows.

  7. Cindy Mccormick | | #7

    Hi. What about 5" led can lights for new construction.

    Will CREE ever get onboard with the 5"?

    What do you recommend in lieu of?

  8. Jin Kazama | | #8

    Cindy: what about 5" ?
    can' you work it out with current 6" offerings ??

  9. Marc Labrie | | #9

    Here's a good video about the CREE.

  10. David Meiland | | #10

    Those look good... 800 lumens, 12 watts.

  11. Jin Kazama | | #11

    They do look good real lighting situation!

    Were 30$ ( 10$ off ) here in Canada at HD some time ago.
    Probably the best buy ever for any lighting product.

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