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LED Recessed Lighting Fixtures Review – Kichler Lighting LED Downlight from The Horizon II Collection

Ratings

Quality

Excellent. Bright. Kichler Lighting is known for quality products.



Light Output

Excellent




Cost

Higher than a traditional recessed fixture and trim, but it does also include the bulb.

Overall rating :  4.8 / 5

Summary: Kichler's LED Recessed Lighting Fixtures are a welcome change from the traditional "can" type recessed lighting fixture. These down lights are almost flush with the ceiling making them sleek and great looking. The first home I saw these installed in I had no idea that they were only 1 1/4" thick.

Pros

  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting.
  • Dimmable.
  • Use Regular Octagon Electrical Boxes for Lighting Fixture Installations.
  • No Special Requirements for Atic Insulation Over the Recessed Lighting Fixture.
  • Industry Leading, High-Quality Lighting Fixtures Manufacturer Since 1938.

Cons

  • More Expensive.
  • If the Fixture is Faulty You Must Replace the Whole Fixture.

Traditional Recessed Lighting Fixtures Installation ​Problems 

Energy Efficient Recessed Lighting

Traditional recessed lighting fixtures have been a contributor of heat loss and dollars wasted in homes. Early fixtures were non-insulation contact and stuck up into the attic above the ceiling. Code compliance sometimes required pulling the insulation away from the fixture to at least 3 inches. Leaving all this ceiling area unprotected against heat loss, along with the fact that the recessed fixture was not air tight allowing even more air loss from the home.

Newer recessed lights were all insulation-contact-rated fixtures allowing insulation to be place over them. However, not all fixtures were air tight. There were also gaps between the fixture and the drywall. Most people are not aware that Fiberglass insulation does little to stop air movement. As a result, the R-value of the insulation is greatly reduced.

Newer recessed lighting trim came with insulation rings to stop the air flow out of the house. Air tight trim inserts also became available.

Drywall Problems

The typical size of recessed light fixtures is between 4 - 7 inches. The hole in the drywall needs to be cut just the right size to reduce any air loss. This can be difficult to do without special tools. If the hole is too big, this can be difficult to patch.

Installing recessed lights after the home has been built, also called a retrofit or old work, has the same drywall issues. Additionally retrofit recessed light fixtures are designed to rest on top of the drywall, since there is usually no easy way to nail them on to floor or ceiling joists. Depending on the fixtures and the drywall installation this can sometimes cause the drywall to sag.

Poorly Designed Fixtures Do Not Always Stay in Place

Traditional recessed light fixtures come in two pieces: the housing itself which sticks up into the ceiling and the trim ring which attaches to the fixture from inside the room giving it the finished look. These decorative trim rings typically have a spring or Torsion V-Spring which allows the trim to stay in place.

Depending on the quality of the trim, the springs may or may not hold the trim tightly against the ceiling. This is not only unattractive but a source of heat loss. If you're using a trim insert, don't skimp on quality as the added weight can cause these to fall down.

This Recessed Lighting Fixture Works Great for Both New and Old Home Installations

New Construction Installation

Due to the focus on energy efficient homes in recent years, new home builders are trying to set themselves apart from other builders by building ENERGY STAR Certified homes. The simplest way to do this is to plug any holes made during the building process.

Since the newer LED recessed light fixture installs in a standard octagon lighting fixture box, installation can be blown over the box. Spray foam can plug any spaces between the box and the drywall.

LED Retrofit Recessed Light Fixtures Installation

When dong retrofit installations the LED junction-box fixture is easier to install and less weight. Not as much risk of drywall sagging under the weight. An octagon electrical box is also mush easier to install in existing drywall and easier to wire. Recessed cans generally require reaching up inside the housing to connect the wire nuts inside a metal box attached to the side of the fixture. This can be difficult to do.

A Clean and Sleek Lighting Fixture with Plenty of Light

Clean Seamless Look

The trim and the bulb come as one unit, so there are no gaps.

The fixture mounts to an included metal mounting bracket, which is first mounted to the electrical box. The light/trim combination then attaches to this mounting bracket using metal spring clips. The installation is much more tight and reliable. No sagging trim.

Energy Efficient LED and Dimmable

The included bulb is LED, no additional purchase is needed. For this Kichler fixture being reviewed, it is also dimmable. The life expected life span of their bulbs is rated at 40,000 hours. That's a long time.

Simple Installation

Installation is easy. The wires can be attached to the electrical wires in the junction box with wire nuts the same as any other light fixtures. No need reaching inside the housing and work inside a side mounted electrical box which sometimes has sharp edges.

Works Great as an LED Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

This same LED fixture can be used outside. It's not water tight rated, but can be used on porch ceilings. The also work very well in bathrooms above showers and tubs.

LED Recessed Lighting Fixtures

Our New Home Build is Loaded with these LED Fixtures

We recently built a new home using these fixtures. Our selected builder was Energy Star certified and a good quality builder in our area. This exact fixture is the one that they installed.

I'm personally not a big fan of dark rooms, or rooms which depend on floor or table lamps. So we installed these in most of the living areas along with the master bedroom. They're actually a little brighter than I expected, much to my wife's dislike so there will be dimmers installed in the very near future. My plan is to install the Lutron Caseta Wireless dimmers, but that is a separate review.

Alternative Products

#2nd Rated

HALO LED

5''/6'' SLD6 Surface LED Down Light

  • HALO is another quality light fixture manufacturer.
  • Flexible mounting with junction box bracket (included).
  • Lasts 22 years, up to $400 savings over the life of the fixture.
  • Wet location, damp location, air-tite, insulation contact rated, and can be used with fire-rated ceiling system.
#3rd Rated

New Round Flush Mount Thin Ceiling Light by Hamilton Hills

  • 3 GENERATIONS OF EXCELLENCE: Our family has been manufacturing and producing household fixtures and decorative pieces for over 3 generations. 
  • 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: Order our Hamilton Hills light and see for yourself. If you don't absolutely love our product, let us know and receive a full, no questions asked refund. We are a family owned business that stands by your happiness.
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