LED Downlights

LED Downlight Globes

There are several different types of LED downlight globes. If your existing light fitting has one of these, you can 'drop in' one of our LED replacements.

MR16 LED - MR16 or GU5.3 bulbs are by far the most common. These are the ubiquitous low voltage downlights (12V) found in almost every household. Historically these fittings used halogen bulbs that consumed 35W or 50W of power. These fittings use a transformer.

GU10 LED - GU10 globes connect to mains voltage (240V AC). As such, they do not need a transformer. You install these bulbs with a 'push and twist' action. You can find them in some track lighting systems, range hoods, spotlights, or recessed fittings.

MR11 LED - MR11 or G4 lamps are a smaller version of the MR16. They too are low voltage bi-pin downlights. They're often found in cabinetry or above kitchen benchtops. The old halogen versions of these would draw 20W.

G4, & G9 Globes - G9 globes require mains voltage (240V). All three of these bulbs come in a compact 'capsule' form factor which can be found in some downlight fittings.

AR111 LED - AR111 or G53 lights are a large diameter 12V spotlight. They're often found in retail shopfronts, hotels, and some homes. Be aware that some AR111's have a GU10 connector. So, as with any LED downlight globes, be sure to check the socket before you buy a replacement.

E27 Bulbs - Some downlight fittings contain a reflector globe with a standard Edison Screw base. These downlight fittings often use an 'R80' (or similar) bulb. Head over to our light bulbs page for options.

PL Lamps - Large diameter downlights found in commercial buildings employ yet another type of downlight globe. Initially developed by Philips Lighting (PL) these lamps use small fluorescent tubes. They come in a variety of bases with either a '2 Pin' or '4 Pin' connector. See our LED lamps page for some options.

LED Downlight Fittings

The myriad of globes listed above are less relevant if you're after a downlight fitting. One reason for this is that most LED downlights no longer have a user-changeable light bulb. LED downlight kits are now integrated into a complete mains voltage light fitting.

As such, when buying an entire fitting, its overall size (and features) become more important. As you'll find in our jargon-busting list below, there are many features to consider. The most obvious is the ceiling cut-out that they are recessed into. For example:

There are many other cut-out sizes in use as well. There is some flexibility or tolerance within each category. If replacing an entire fitting, be sure to check the cut-out size or outer diameter.

Dimmable LED Downlights

Another useful classification is whether or not a downlight is dimmable. We specify on each of our product pages if the down light can be dimmed. 

In most cases, you should be able to dim our LED downlights with an existing dimmer switch. In some cases, you may need to upgrade to an LED optimised dimmer to get the best results. Some old dimmers can let you down if only a small number of bulbs are connected to them, or if you want to dim down to a faint light level.

LED Downlight Glossary

IC Rating - The Insulation Contact rating indicates a level of protection against insulation cover. Old halogen downlights had no IC rating - in fact, you had to clear a space around them to prevents fires. New LED downlights are often IC-4 rated, which means they can be abutted and covered with ceiling insulation.

IP Rating - The Ingress Protection rating indicates the level of protection against physical and water penetration. For example, an IP44 rated LED downlight is needed for installation in bathrooms or under the eaves.

CRI - The Colour Rendering Index refers to how well a light shows true colours. This is a crucial specification in museums and galleries. Higher numbers indicate better colour rendition on a scale of 0 to 100.

Beam Angle - The angle of light emitted by the light bulb or light fitting. Narrow beam angles create a spotlight effect. Wider beam angles allow for more diffuse lighting, and for lights to be spaced further apart.

GUXX, GXX or GYXX - The 'XX' in these codes refers to the spacing between a downlight bulb's connector pins in millimetres. For example, a GU5.3 down light bulb has pins that are 5.3mm apart. A GU10's connectors are 10mm apart. Etc.

MRXX, ARXX or RX - Metal Reflector, Aluminium Reflector or Reflector lights also have a number in their name. This number refers to the diameter of the front face of the globe. These are sometimes specified in inches and sometimes in millimetres. For example, an MR16 is 16/8th's of an inch (ie. 2 inches) wide. On the other hand, an AR111 is 111mm across.

Bi-Pin or Bipin - This means 'two pins', which is not very informative. As you can see above, many different types of LED downlight globes can be called a bi-pin.

Colour Temperature or CCT - This refers to the type of light given off by a light bulb or fitting. Our LED downlights range in colour temperature from a cosy warm white (2700K) through to a cool daylight white (6500K).

Tri-Colour or 3CCT - Some newer LED downlights have three colour temperature options within the one fitting. With these, you can select the colour temperature using a small switch on the light fitting.

Gimbal or Gimble - A gimbal is a device which allows you to pivot or change the angle (in this case) of an LED downlight. These are used for accent lighting to highlight a feature or artwork, for example.

Recessed Downlight - Any downlight recessed into the ceiling, which is most of them! Also known as pot lights or canister lights.

Track Light - A light mounted on a track or rail. These can use a proprietary connection or one of the downlight bases mentioned above. 

Common Questions About LED Downlights

Why do some LED downlights flicker?

Many low-quality downlights flicker due to poor design.

For this reason, we only stock LED downlights from trusted brands with a proven track record. Our downlights have the broadest possible compatibility with existing dimmers and transformers.

But even these lights are not 100% immune to flicker in some cases. In rare cases, they may flicker due to an under-loaded dimmer or transformer. This is normally solved by upgrading to an LED dimmer or LED transformer.

Should I buy a downlight globe or complete fitting?

We recommend both, depending on your situation. The main appeal of LED downlight globes is their ease of install. The main benefit of complete LED downlight fittings is that they are fully sealed. As such, they can look better, and allow for more thorough draught-proofing and insulation.

Will I need a new LED transformer?

If you buy our Philips MR16 LED, then no, you typically do not need to change the transformer.

Do I need an electrician to change my downlights?

If you are only changing bulbs, then no. If you are changing fittings and you already have a power-point in your ceiling, then the answer is also no (you can change yourself).

If any mains voltage wiring needs to be done, you must engage an electrician.

What are the best brands of LED downlight?

We have sold LED downlights since 2011. By far our two favourite brands for quality and longevity are Philips Lighting and Osram / Ledvance.

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