4" / 6" recessed cans?

seosmpApril 26, 2013


I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but I was hoping to get some more feedback based on newly done kitchens.

I noticed a2gemini had mentioned in her reveal thread about wishing she went with 6" cans. My current plan is to go with 4" LED cans. This is based on the look as I like that look better than 6" cans (seem too big).

What are some more recent opinions about this? Anyone with 4" cans love it, regret it? What about those with 6" cans? 5"?


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My kitchen isn't done yet, but I went with 6" cans. I have dark cabinets and wanted to be sure my kitchen wasn't too dark, so instead of lots of 4" cans I used 6". Right now only 2 of them have lightbulbs in them(hanging down on a cord temp.) and it seems fine.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:07AM
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I've been researching the same topic. There's a lot of good information on the lighting forum. We just put in 4" cans spaced 4-5 ft apart, and used the (relatively) new Home Depot Cree lights (2700 lumens) in a second home. We have plenty of light! Actually will put a dimmer in so we can adjust them. (That kitchen has an 8ft ceiling).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Thanks! That helps! I'm actually looking at the Cree 4" 2700 lumens as well (we have 9' ceilings) -- definitely on dimmers.

Does anyone know -- for LED recessed lights, I know there is talk of 2700 vs 3000 vs xxx lumens.... Is this just related to the bulb that gets used? Or does the housing I pick now for installation dictate the lumens of the bulbs that I'm allowed to use?


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:48PM
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If you are looking at the Cree bulbs, the trim is included. The can that is installed at rough in doesn't have anything to do with what you end up putting in it down the line... It is just size specific, like 4 or 6". I just picked up a ton of the 6" Home Depot ecosmart 2700k LEDs. I will let you know in a few weeks when the power is turned on if they are working out well. We did try a could out at my husbands office to make sure we liked the color. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:20PM
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One thing I considered is the bigger cans will extend the life of the bulb (more air space to circulate and reduce heat). If you're buying expensive (LED) bulbs, this might be a factor.

The size also determines the size of bulb you can fit... the 4" I think can only use PAR 20s while the 6" can use up to PAR 40s. Someone in the lighting forum would know better.

My electrician said 5" or 4" were seen as more modern... I still went with 6" and am doing the same in a family room retrofit. My 6" in my kitchen look great with the Phillips 65W dimmable LED (2700K) from HD. In Ontario there's an eco coupon for them for $5 off until this Sunday.

This post was edited by Co-Co on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 14:40

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:39PM
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I retrofitted the 6" HD CREE LED's and the opening is at least an inch smaller than the original 6" cans so it has an appearanceof a smaller can. The light is beautiful and much brighter, definitely glad I put in a dimmer. My husband likes the lights way up but I usually have them about half way.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 3:10PM
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I have 10 of the Ecosmart 4 inch sitting right in front of me for install next week. My kitchen is small with 8 ft ceiling. A grid pattern didnt work well for me, and the spacing on the 6 in didnt work well with my layout, so I went with 4 inch lights. They will be on a dimmer.

A2 I think has 5 inch lights, which are not nearly as common as 6 in or 4in.

The 4 inch are considered more modern looking, not sure why, it's just a circle in the ceiling. The 6 inch are less expensive, today my local HD has the 6 in for about $27 each vs $42 for single 4 in (online at HD they are $159/4 which is the best price I could find).

I picked solely on what works better in terms of better spacing. I felt one 6 inch on either side of the sink would be a bit sparse, yet two on each side would be about 30 inches apart, which I felt might be a bit much. So I picked 4 inch.

Pics will be posted when they are in for those deciding! Probably not before Wednesday, but hopefully by the end of the week.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:00PM
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I had 4" cans before so I just used the same size ecosmart LEDs. I looked at the 6" and they looked huge for my particular space. I think it depends on your space. I have a galley kitchen with a now 8ft ceiling and the 4" size looks right.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Just don't put 5 inch cans into the ceiling - I did and it has limited my choices - but I am happy with the outcome...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:34PM
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I think people upthread are confusing lumens (a measure of the light output) with the color temperature (a measure of the, well, color, of the light). For the color (i.e., the spectrum), 2700 K is a little more yellow, and 3000 K is a little more towards white. (You have to go to a much higher number before I would call the spectrum "harsh white.") The "K" here is "degrees Kelvin," i.e., the temperature of an incandescent bulb that has the same color light.

The Ecosmart lamps referenced above put out something like 650 lumens, regardless of the color temperature chosen.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Thanks for all the replies! You've all been extremely helpful!

Williamsem - I am looking forward to seeing the pictures!

I think I will stick with the 4". All I have now are 3 island pendants and a single can above the sink, so whatever I go with will be a ton better than I have now! I've also heard the comment on HGTV's Bang for your Buck where a designer said something to the effect "I wish they would've used the 4" cans...." and the homeowners were like "we didn't even know we had an option".... that is what got me thinking about the 4" in the first place! I just want to make sure I can see!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Hahaha, I said the same thing about my lighting! All I have now is the fan light and sink light. Hood light is broken. So 4 inch plus UC lights plus fan plus sink plus hood will be eleventy billion times more light! Hence all the dimmer, just in case :-)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:00PM
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