Ratings

Quality

Excellent. Bright. Kichler Lighting is known for its 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 downlights 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.

Kichler Lighting 43870WHLED30 LED Downlight Back Side

Pros

  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting.
  • Dimmable.
  • Use Regular Octagon Electrical Boxes for Lighting Fixture Installations.
  • No Special Requirements for Attic 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 to 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 installation to at least 3 inches. Leaving all this ceiling area unprotected against heat loss, along with the fact that the recessed fixture was not airtight, allowing even more air loss from home.

Newer recessed lights were all insulation-contact-rated fixtures allowing insulation to cover them. However, not all the lights were airtight. There were also gaps between the installation 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 reduced from its rated value.

Newer recessed lighting trim came with insulation rings to stop the airflow out of the house. Airtight 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, and 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 new home building, 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 light installation 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.

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, insulation is blown directly over the lighting installation. Spray foam can plug any spaces between the electrical 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. There is not as much risk of the drywall sagging under the pressure of an "old-work" down-light fixture. An octagon electrical box is also much easier to install in existing drywall and more comfortable to connect the wires. 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, which can be very 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.

Kichler Lighting 43870WHLED30 LED Downlight

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

Kichler Lighting 43870WHLED30 LED Downlight Wiring

Energy Efficient LED and Dimmable

The LED bulb is part of the lighting fixture. No additional purchase is needed. This Kichler fixture being reviewed is also dimmable. The expected life span rating of their bulbs is 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. There is no extra work required to reach inside the housing and connect wires inside a side-mounted electrical box which sometimes has sharp edges.

Kichler Lighting 43870WHLED30 LED Downlight Wiring Box

Works Great as an LED Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

This same LED fixture can be be installed outside. It's not watertight rated, but can be used on porch ceilings. They 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.

Kichler Lighting 43870WHLED30 LED Downlight Group

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 a little brighter than I expected, much to my wife's dislike so there will be dimmers installed very soon. I plan to install the Lutron Caseta Wireless dimmers, but that is a separate review.

Alternative Products

  1. HALO SLD6 Integrated LED Recessed Trim Downlight 90 CRI 3000K CCT, White, 6 in.

  2. HALO SLD6 Integrated LED Recessed Trim Downlight 90 CRI 3000K CCT, White, 6 in.
    $69.99
    • Low-profile surface trim with the look of a traditional downlight
    • LED life of 50,000 hours or 45 years (based on 3 hours per day)
    • Flexible mounting with junction box bracket (included)


    Learn More

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/05/2023 04:28 am GMT
  3. Hamilton Hills Thin Round 8 inch Brushed Nickel Disc LED Ceiling Light Fixture | 3000K Bright White Thinnest Dimmable Flush Mount Ceiling Light | Overhead Direct Wire Lights for Kitchen & Bedroom

  4. Hamilton Hills Thin Round 8 inch Brushed Nickel Disc LED Ceiling Light Fixture | 3000K Bright White Thinnest Dimmable Flush Mount Ceiling Light | Overhead Direct Wire Lights for Kitchen & Bedroom
    $36.74
    • SOPHISTICATED DESIGN: Clean, Modern, slim, low-profile LED disc lights for ceilings with beautiful lines and impressive light output. One of the thinnest on the market, with no exterior drivers or recessing necessary. Flush mount to the top. A contemporary bronze-colored base is covered with a frosted lens for even light distribution with exceptional color accuracy. 3000K LED lights offer a warm feel, unlike the harsh fluorescent white-light alternatives.


    Learn More

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/05/2023 04:39 am GMT
    Lasso Brag

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  1. Hi,
    This is great article with some good information. My builder is providing me with a 43870whled30 kichler lights which is yellow in color. I am someone who prefers white light. Do you know if I could replace this model with a white light? Also, can I still install dimmers to these led lights? Your response would be very helpful for me in deciding what to pick in my design options.

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