Can Lights vs. LED Lights: Which One is Best?

Can Lights vs LED Lights

Lighting can transform a room, set the mood, and elevate a photograph from mundane to breathtaking. But with so many lighting options available, selecting the perfect solution is like finding a needle in a haystack. Among the many queries floating around, a timeless debate reigns supreme: Can lights vs. LED lights.

The main difference between Can lights vs. LED lights is that a can light is a lighting fixture itself, while an LED light is the specific type of light bulb installed in that fixture to produce light. Together, Can lights, also known as recessed lights, and LED lights make up the perfect lighting combination for your home.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the differences between Can lights and LED lights so you can pick the best lighting solution for your space. Let’s dig in!

How Do Can lights vs. LED Lights Differ?

Learning the differences between Can lights and LED lights helps you choose the right lighting solution for your space. You can make an informed decision considering your unique lighting needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

Here’s a closer look at the key difference between Can light vs. LED light:

Can lights and LED lights are not mutually exclusive terms, as “Can lights” refers to the housing or fixture holding a light source. Conversely, LED lights” refers to the type of light bulb used in the fixture.

Traditionally, Can lights, also known as recessed lights, have used incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent bulbs, while LED lights use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the light source.

However, that’s not all! Let’s learn about both lighting solutions in detail.

What is a Can Light?

Can Lights or recessed lights

Can lights are also known as recessed lights or downlights. These are not lights but a kind of light fixture that we install into the ceilings for a more streamlined and modern look. 

Can lights are called “Can lights” because the fixture inserted into the ceiling is often can-shaped and inserted into a hole in the ceiling. 

Can lights typically have three main components, as explained below:

  1. The Housing – This is part of the fixture installed into the ceiling and houses the light bulb and the electrical connections.
  2. The Trim – This is the visible part of the Can light that surrounds the ceiling opening and comes in various styles.
  3. The Light Bulb – This is the source of light for the fixture and can be either incandescent, fluorescent, or preferably an LED.

Applications of a Can Light

Can lights are perfect for those who are not a fan of traditional hanging fixtures. These lights do not take up visual spaces and blend seamlessly as a part of the ceiling. This efficiency makes Can lights perfect for closets, pantries, wardrobes, bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, hallways, and other tight places. 

Moreover, Can lights are also handy where there is a need for lots of lighting, and hanging fixtures would clutter up the ceiling. 

What to Expect With Can lights?

Can lights are a popular choice for both commercial and residential lighting purposes. These lights offer a clean and unobstructed look that blends into the ceiling while adding versatility, functionality, and style to your space. Because of their ability to fit seamlessly into the ceiling, Can lights are used in contemporary spaces. 

Not only that but Can lights also unlock the option of having any illumination source per your preference. Whether you need LED, fluorescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, or incandescent lights, Can lights have the option to get them all fitted.

Another benefit of these recessed Can lights is their easy installation. You can hire an electrician or enjoy a DIY job if you’re skilled enough. 

How to Install Can lighting?

Installing a Can light involves several steps, and it’s essential to understand the basic electrical wiring and safety procedures. Below is a general overview of the process of installing Can lights:

Step 1: Choose where to install the light and ensure enough room and clearance in the ceiling to accommodate the fixture. 

Step 2: Cut a hole in the ceiling using a hole saw. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the hole size. 

Step 3: Now, following the instructions in the manual, connect the Can light to the wiring in the ceiling.

Step 4: After the electrical connections have been made, insert the housing in the hole and ensure it’s secure and flush with the ceiling. 

Step 5: Insert the trim piece and secure it with the fixture housing using the manual’s instructions. 

Step 6: Install the light bulb of your choice and check if it’s working properly. 

The steps mentioned above are general guidelines, and the specific installation process may vary depending on the type of Can light you’re installing and the specific manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re uncomfortable with electrical work, it’s best to hire a skilled electrician to install the Can light.

What is an LED Light?

Can Lights vs LED Lights

LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” a lighting technology that’s been making serious waves lately. Unlike traditional incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs, which use filaments or gas to produce light, LED lights use a semiconductor to emit light.

LED lights have several benefits and features over traditional lights, making them a smart choice for homes and businesses.

Applications of an LED Light

LED lights have quickly become the go-to choice for residential and commercial lighting applications. From residential and outdoor lighting to signage and interior lighting, LEDs bring consistent and bright illumination for all your needs.

LED lights are also used for automotive headlights, brake lights, and turn signals, providing clearer lighting while saving energy costs. They are versatile and available in various colors and styles, making them suitable for any application. Whether you want to add the vibrant TikTok vibe to your room with bedroom lights or a subtle dreamy glow with rope lights, LEDs are on the shelf for every need.

What to Expect with LED Lights?

LEDs are durable, energy-efficient lighting solutions that produce high-quality, uniform light. These lighting solutions help improve your space’s look and functionality while reducing the environmental impact.

LEDs use up to 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and can last 25 times longer. This efficiency translates to benefits like low heat output, less waste and carbon footprint, infrequent replacements, and minimal UV rays emission. Another thing you can expect from your LED lights is silence. Typically, they do not flicker or make the annoying humming sound that conventional bulbs produce.

Other than general illumination, LED lights also offer a range of colors, including soft white and daylight, and styles such as strip and string lights. They can be controlled by a remote to adjust their color and brightness to create the desired ambiance in your space. 

How to Install LED Lighting?

LEDs come in various shapes and sizes, like strips, decoratives, reflectors, wafers, and more — the sky is the limit!

Below is a general guideline that can help you install LED lighting by yourself and give the adrenaline rush to your inner DIYist:

Step 1: Determine where you want to install the LED lighting and ensure you have enough room for light and access to electrical wiring and switches. 

Step 2: Depending on the type of LED light you’re installing, you may need to mount a fixture or strip to the ceiling or surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the fixture or strip is secure. 

Step 3: Connect the wires from the LED fixture or strip to the power source. Take proper safety precautions and follow local building codes.

Step 4: Now turn on the power and test the LED light to ensure it works properly. Enjoy the dreamy glow of your newly-installed LEDs.

These are general guidelines, and the installation process may vary with different LED lights. If you’re not confident with electrical work, hiring a professional electrician to install the LED lighting is best.

Can Lights vs. LED Lights: Who Wins The Battle?

Recessed Can lights vs. LED lights are not two mutually exclusive categories. As we already learned above, Can lights are a type of fixture that can be fitted with any light bulb, including LED bulbs.

LED lights, on the other hand, are a type of light that use LEDs or light-emitting diodes to produce light. These lights offer several benefits over traditional light bulbs, like energy efficiency, longevity, heat output, uniform light, and more. 

To answer who wins the battle, the simple answer is: Can lights fitted with LED lights rather than conventional bulbs are the best choice for homes and businesses alike. So, the combination of “LED Can lights” is the winner!

Why Should You Be Using LEDs in Your Can lights?

LED lights are energy-efficient, eco-friendly, and last longer than traditional sources. LED lights are a better option for Can lights than traditional light bulbs for several reasons:

  1. Longer Lifespan: Although more costly than incandescent bulbs, LED lights are still pocket-friendly in the long run. They have a longer lifespan of 25,000 hours compared to 1200 hours of incandescent bulbs. 
  2. Low Heat Emission: LED lights emit 8 to 12 watts of energy compared to 60 watts of incandescent light. When you use traditional lights in your home’s interior, the bulb generates a substantial amount of heat that escapes into the attic and warms it up. The warm attic space causes snow to melt on your roof. This refreezes at the edge creating ice dams, eventually causing more damage to the construction and costing you much more than simply swapping your light bulbs.
  3. Less Carbon Footprint: If you’ve been thinking about installing CFL vs. LED lights in your Can light fixtures, know this: CFLs may be energy-saving, but LED lights still take the forefront because of CFLs’ mercury content which is not the case with LEDs. 

How To Replace Bulbs and Light Fixtures In Recessed Lights?

To replace bulbs and lights in recessed lights or Can lights, there are a few methods you need to consider before:

Swap The Old Can lights With LEDs

This method may seem easy but may not always work best. Simply, swap the old traditional bulbs with new LED ones. Your old construction may not complement LEDs and reduce the bulb’s lifespan. Additionally, you may be unable to dim the lights, but this is the most straightforward and pocket-friendly option. To avoid your hands from burning, make sure the bulbs are cool or wear protective gloves while swapping the old bulbs.

Use an LED Retrofit

This is another pocket-friendly method where you replace the trims and bulbs. However, this option also comes with shortcomings — you may end up with sizing or dimming issues. Hence, always get your measurements correct to circumvent any problems. 

Replace The Entire Lighting System

This method will cost you an arm and a leg, but it is most functional and aesthetically pleasing. Replace the entire incandescent housing system and trim it with LED lighting. It guarantees the perfect fit and comes pre-sealed to prevent heat and humidity leakage. 

Before deciding on a light fixture replacement option, it’s important to consider your budget, the level of difficulty you are willing to undertake, and what features you value most in your lighting system.-

FAQs: Can Lights vs. LED Lights

Can LED bulbs be used in Can lights?

Yes, you can use LED bulbs in Can lights and create the perfect lighting solution for your ceilings. 

What is the difference between a Can light and a recessed light?

A Can light and a recessed light is both types of light fixtures installed into a ceiling or wall. But the main difference between them is in their design. A Can light is a cylindrical fixture set into a hole in the ceiling. In contrast, a recessed light generally refers to any light fixture mounted inside a ceiling or wall and designed to be flush with the surface it is installed. Hence, while all Can lights are recessed lights, not all recessed lights are Can lights.

Do I need cans for LED recessed lighting?

Yes, you typically need cans for LED recessed lighting. The cans serve as the LED lights’ housing and help direct and control the light output. However, some newer LED recessed lighting options are designed to be installed without cans, so it’s worth checking the specific product specifications to confirm whether or not cans are needed.

Are Can lights outdated?

Can lights, also known as recessed lights, have been a popular choice for homeowners and designers for decades due to their sleek and minimalistic appearance. However, with the emergence of new lighting technologies and design trends, some people may consider Can lights outdated.

Do Can lights use a lot of electricity?

Can lights use varying amounts of electricity depending on their wattage and the number of lights installed. Higher-wattage bulbs and more lights will typically consume more electricity.

Wrap up

To summarize how Can lights and LED lights differ, the answer is, they don’t. 

Can lights and LED lights are not just two different types of lights — Can lights are a type of light fixture that can use with different types of light bulbs. This may include LED bulbs, a specific type of energy-efficient light bulb that offers several advantages over traditional bulbs. 

For maximum functionality and style, it is best to opt for Can lights fitted with LED lights.

Got more questions related to Can lights and LED lights? Leave them in the comment section below, and we’ll get back to you quickly!

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