Can Vs. Canless Recessed Lighting

BY |

The lightings in your house might be the last thing you’d think about till you need to install them. When choosing lights, recessed lighting is one of the best options that give your home a unique look. However, its two types, canned and uncanned, make choosing any a bit of a challenge.

Canned and uncanned recessed lightings have their advantages and uniqueness. While canned comes with an electrical box that looks like a can, uncanned lights don’t. Deciding on which to install in your home boils down to your preference, home style, and interior decor.

If you’re confused about these two types of recessed lightings, you should keep reading. This post explores the types of recessed lightings, listing their best and worst qualities that’ll help you settle for one.

What are Canned Lights?


Can lights, as their name implies, come with a can above them. The can helps house the bulbs and wires instead of leaving them out in the open. It also helps in installation but disappears after the lights are set up.

Canister lights are installed into your ceiling. They’re three to six inches in size and lacks volume. In other words, most of them are seamless and don’t bulge out after installment.

Can fixtures allow you to change or upgrade your bulbs without stress. Since its units are single, you can easily change the bulbs without taking out the entire unit.

Canister lights come with several customization options. Since its units are easy to change, you can easily opt for different trim options that’ll suit your home design. It also allows you to face the bulb in whatever direction you want it to.

Installing can bulbs might not be straightforward, but it’s a one-time process. In other words, once you can install one of them, you can install the rest following the same process.

Can lights demand access to your ceiling because of the canister they come with. As a result, they’re bad options for shallow ceilings.

Another downside is its complex installation. Its placement is tricky and largely depends on the trusses and joints of your home.

What Is Canless Recessed Lighting?

One of the significant differences between a canister and a canless bulb is the large can attached to a can lighting. While can lightings have fittings that you can change, canless bulbs have built-in LED lights. This implies that you must replace the entire fixture if it stops working.

Nonetheless, LED lights are beneficial and have a longer lifespan than most lights. These lights don’t burn out like standard bulbs; instead, they dim till they’re no longer usable.

An LED bulb can last for 50,000 hours, 50 times longer than regular bulbs. They are also brighter than most bulbs but still require more than one to light up a room.

Canless lights can also be installed without paying attention to trusses and joints in the house.

There isn’t a general standard for installing canless lights as each light has its installation procedure. Therefore, a person must be versatile and have better knowledge of lights before installing canless light.

Canless lights have smaller housing, so they have limited trim options. However, they’re slightly more expensive because they have fewer fixtures than can lights.

What Are the Sizes of Recessed Lights?

In most residential houses, you’ll find recessed lights of 4 to 7 inches. The most used size in this range is 6 inches.

Before determining the best size, you must consider the part of the house you want to install these lights. The height of the ceiling, the dimness or brightness are other factors you must look into.

For instance, several 4-inch lights will nicely illuminate a countertop if the ceiling is 9-10 feet high. However, if you have a shorter roof, you can use the same 4-inch light, but fewer of them. You should also decide how bright you want the room to determine the number of bulbs for that room.

What Size of Can Bulbs Can I Use?

Can lights are available in various sizes? Your fixture determines the type of can bulb you’ll use for installation. The most common bulb sizes are BR40 and BR30.

BR stands for bulb reflector, which indicates the bulb’s shape. The number indicates the bulb’s size in the standard of 1/8 inches. This means that a BR40 is 40/8, which is 5 inches.

BR30s will suffice for rooms with low ceilings. On the other hand, BR40s have larger watts, making them brighter than their counterparts. Thus, you should go for BR40 lights if you want more illumination.

Most can lights are between 3 to 6 inches, though 3 inches are not widespread. This size also determines the type of lights you’ll be installing. For instance, BR30 will be too tiny for a 6 inches can while BR40 will be too large for a 4-inch can.

Can I Use Recessed Lighting after Construction?

Several recessed fixtures are installed between the ceiling joints during new construction or renovation. Fortunately, there are now lightings you can install after construction. You can easily insert them into holes in the ceiling before installing.

However, if the ceiling is insulated, purchase lightings near insulation. If there’s no installation, use Non-IC rated fixtures.

Avoid using recessed lights in ceilings with plasterwork, delicate molding, and concrete; instead, a chandelier will be a better fit.

Recessed lighting doesn’t produce the same light as a standard light fixture. As a result, you must determine the exact location of your lights based on the object you want to illuminate. The purpose of your lighting also influences where you place your recessed fixtures.

Avoid putting several recessed lights in a row at the center of the ceiling. This installation style resembles the runway at an airport.

The space between each fixture should match the size of your bulb. For instance, 4-inch fittings should be 4 feet apart and 5-fitting, at least 5 feet apart.

If you’re installing lightings for reading, they should be placed overhead so that your head and shoulders don’t obstruct light. However, if you’re lighting a three-dimensional object like a sculpture, put the lights at two or three distinct angles.

Install wall-washing recessed lights in the corners of a small room to make it look larger. You can also direct the light to artwork or mantlepiece to draw attention.

Install recessed lights in the ceiling and under the cabinets to light up the kitchen countertop.

Can Vs. Canless Lights: Which Is Better?

It’s difficult to say that one is better than the other. Both have their unique features and downsides, and it’s left to you to choose which suits you best.

If you want something cheaper and easy to install, can lights are the best option. However, it requires a larger hole in the ceiling, leading to more problems in the long run. Canless lights, most times, come without side packs that must go in through a hole.

Can lights are also flexible and allow you to change the bulbs without taking out the whole unit easily. On the other hand, canless lights require removing the entire fixture and fitting a new one when damaged.

Once you’ve considered the highlights of each one, you can easily decide the best fit for your space.

Leave a Comment