4' vs 6' can lighting in kitchen

andreak100June 25, 2012

Okay, so disclaimer first: I am very lighting-knowledge challenged. I'm reading and trying to learn, but I am a bit over my head on this.

To start, we are probably not putting in LED bulbs in the cans immediately due to costs - will switch those out (probably next year).

I had been reading on here that the Cree 6" are the preferred LEDs to go with. So, that's what my ultimate plans were, which means I need 6" cans to start with.

When our GC was over last evening (to sign contract), we got to talking lights - he doesn't have much experience at all with LEDs, so he's not a help in that regard and it seems he would be happier if I weren't being difficult about wanting to go that way. ;-)

Anyway, I mentioned that I was planning on ultimately using the Home Depot Eco-Smart 6" lights and he highly suggested that we go with 4" cans instead. He said that he felt the 6" cans looked "old-fashioned" and that we probably wouldn't be happy with them. I can see where they are larger (obviously) and it might be nice to have the 4" can, but there's additional cost involved for more cans, and more cost involved in purchasing more bulbs (plus the bulbs themselves appear to be $10 more for the 4" vs the 6").

We have just a hair shy of 8' ceilings in the kitchen - will the 6" look way too big? Will they look old-fashioned? Is there going to be a huge difference and I'm going to regret trying to save a few hundred dollars? I know that David here is a big proponent of the Cree 6"; are the 4" as good?

Please help! (P.S. I'll be tackling UC lighting as soon as I have sorted out the cans, so expect additional silly questions in the future...I'm really trying to learn, but with electrical stuff, I know just enough to be dangerous!)

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The ECO4-575 (CR4) has the same output rating as the ECO-575 (CR6). The perceived output is about the same.

You might end up with the same number of cans.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Thanks David.

I have to admit, smaller lights do appeal to me. If all else is equal between 4" and 6" cans, I'll go with the GC suggestion of the 4" ones.

So, as I'm looking further, it appears that I would need a trim kit if I go with standard bulbs, whereas the EcoSmart already come with that as part of the light unit, so it actually takes our costs down a bit if I'm interpreting things correctly.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Yes, the EcoSmart4-575 and EcoSmart 575 all come with the trim attached.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I'm also lighting challenged, so just recently became acquainted with all this info/lingo myself. So, FWIW, I just bought lots of eco4-575 bulbs for my kitchen. You can get the ones with the Edison base for just under $40 in my store (more $ online). The ones with the GU24 base are available only online, and are almost $50. Barring local codes, I don't know which base is preferable, but it's just something to think about if you decide to bite the bullet and go LED from the get-go.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:46PM
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The intent of the gu24 base was to make it impossible to fit an incandescent bulb in the fixture.

In practice,
1. the rule increases costs since manufacturers have to produce energy efficient lighting with either the e26 or gu24 base. Retailers have more SKUs to stock and slow moving inventory.
2. Finding the bulb with the correct base becomes more of a hassle.
3. Adapters are sometimes used (which defeats the original intent).

if you are not subject to energy efficiency mandates, get that which makes the most sense.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 10:39PM
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When one factors in the cost of trim and incandescent bulb ($20ish), it makes a lot of sense just to install the CR-4 or CR-6 LED lights to begin with. If the bulbs are at all highly used, like more than an hour or two a day, the ROI for the extra $20 is a couple of years or less in lower electricity costs.

Kitchen lights tend to be some of the more highly used lights in a house. In ours, they are probably on at least 6 hours a day. At $0.30/kwh (our tier 3 non-prime time here in California) using a 10 watt CR-6 instead of a 65 watt BR-30 would pay for that $20 difference in about 1200 hours of use. That is 200 days. About 7 months. In other areas of the country with power rates that make sense, you would still break even in under two years.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Just coming back to this thread. Thanks for everyone chiming in.

Over the weekend, my DH and I stopped at Home Depot to look at can lights. Definitely liked the 4" much better.

We don't have the energy efficiency mandates (live in PA), so we are likely to go with the Edison ones if they are less expense.

wws944 - Yeah, as we looked at the costs of getting the trim and the bulbs, going LED does add to the cost initially, but I think we would recoup the amount fairly quickly. We'll be going from a woefully underlit kitchen, so the increased lights are going to add to our electric costs anyway if we go incandescent. So, likely to get the LEDs.

Now, to actually get our contractor...the guy we were going to go with wound up having some very different opinions on how detailed we needed to be with the contract and with us already having had several areas where he "forgot" about what we discussed, we are feeling that he may not be the best fit for us.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 6:31PM
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