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How To Choose The Right Downlight?

How to choose the right downlight

Not all downlights are equal. But there is a reason why people are choosing to have the humble downlight as a main source of light throughout their homes...

Their discreet aesthetic, everyday functionality and ability to brighten a room while also blending with more decorative lights such as hanging lights and wall lights - is exactly why they have become a staple in many homes lighting choices.  

Downlights are mostly used to provide general room lighting. But you can find downlighting solutions for more niche uses - such as tilted or skillion ceilings - or those that provide low glare lighting. So selecting the right downlight is crucial to creating a well lit, welcoming environment and functional space for you to enjoy. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the Key Factors to consider when deciding what downlight to select for your space...  

Choosing LED Downlights


Lux / Lumens

Essentially Lux and Lumens refer to the downlights brightness 

and density in a space. How bright or intense your light needs to be

is dependent on the room - and your use of the space.  For example,

kitchens and bathrooms (where finer tasks take place) will need more

light than say a dining room or hallway. You can find out more about

Lumens here.




Colour temperature has a big impact on the ambiance and

atmosphere created in a space. It is measured

in Kelvins. The higher the number on the Kelvin scale, the cooler the

light is. The lower the number, the warmer the light appears. Warmer

Whites are great for creating relaxing and cosy atmospheres.

Cooler whites are great for practical tasks. We have more information on 

Colour Temperature in our Info Centre article here.


 IP Rating


The IP rating becomes very important when looking to place downlights 

in bathrooms or wet areas. Spaces that are out of the 'splash zone'

from sinks, baths, showers etc most IP ratings will suffice.

Where higher ratings of IP55 or IP65 may be required where water

will be sprayed directly over the fitting. You Electrician can guide you as

to what level of IP rated fitting is required based on it's location.




Installing downlights towards the centre of a room tends to leave darker

walls and corners. To get the best out of downlights for general room lighting,

place them closer to the walls. The light is then reflected and diffused off

the wall, removing the 'gloomy' effect centralising downlights

can often have. Downlights placed close to walls can also create attractive

patterns of light, known as scallops. Installing over artworks can also make

great accent or display lighting.   




Fixed downlights are the most common form of downlights found in homes

and offices. If you are looking for simple all purpose lighting,

standard fixed downlights are a good choice. 


Tilt or Gimble



Tilt or Gimble framed downlights allow you to adjust the direction of light.

This can be useful in places such as kitchens, bathrooms or home

offices where task lighting may be required. Tilt and Gimble downlights

aren't essential. We recommend using these type of downlights when

more control over light direction will make your space more functional.


Surface Mount


Surface mount downlights provide great general room lighting and are often

easier to install than recessed lights (no need for large hole

cuts into the plaster board above). Ideal for where there is no void above the

ceiling to install a recessed fitting. And are a great alternative for Fire Rated

Buildings. Check out our Mahina Surface Mount Downlight shown here.



Dimmable options are a great solution for spaces such as living rooms and

bedrooms. It allows you to adjust the light intensity, helping to create

a relaxing and cosy ambiance in the evenings, while maintaining

a well lit and functional space in the day time. 

Low Glare UGR19


UGR stands for Unified Glare Rating and is a way of measuring the level of

glare from a light fitting. UGR19 means a Unified Glare Rating of 19 or

less. The lower the UGR number, the less glare. Low glare lighting helps

to minimise harsh light and can help to reduce discomfort and eye strain. 

Take a look at one of our UGR19 downlights here.


Beam Angle

The smaller the beam angle, the narrower the spread of light will

be - creating more of a spotlighting effect. Beam angles of 90° or higher

create a more even spread of light and a great option for living

rooms, media rooms, office etc. It's also good to be aware of the wording

used when comparing beam angles  between manufactures. As some

state full beam angle, while others use half beam. Here at Superlux we state the

'half light' beam angle. We take the cut off at where Lux has reduced to 50%.  


Cut Out

If you're looking to update and replace current downlights,

remember to check the hole cut dimensions before you purchase

your replacement. You can check out the dimensions column

on our website for 'Hole Cut' sizing for our products. 

Go to our Advanced Search page, and use the 'Hole Cut mm' filter to find

available fittings in your 'hole cut' size. 


Meets AS/NZS

Standards - SDoc


You should only ever use light fittings that meet the AS/NZS standards.

Trying to save money buying lost cost models from overseas could cost

you more in the long run if downlights don't meet the local quality and

safety standards.

SDOC's (Supplier Declaration of Conformity) are available to download on each

product page on our website. 


Insulation Contact

Rating NZ /AUS

Not all downlights are safe to be covered by insulation. While LED

downlights don't become as hot as other more traditional light

sources, it's still important to be safe. Look out for the IC

and IC-F rated symbols, this means they are safe to be covered by

insulation that can be exposed to temperatures up to 90°C. 

Find out more about downlight classifications in our info centre here


Fire Rated


Often terrace style or multi level apartments require downlights which are fire

rated. They are designed, along with the rest of the building to stop a fire from

spreading for 30 or 60 minutes depending on the requirements. Check out

our Fire Rated Downlights here: LDLB90-FIRE, SD125-FIRE60 or SD12L-FIRE60





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If you have a question, or are looking for some advice on your next lighting project, let us know below and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible 😊