Track Lighting Versus Can Lighting

3 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog

When it comes to choosing lighting for your home, you have many options and styles to choose from. Can lights and track lights are two popular choices for a variety of uses and homes. Which one should you choose?

Can Lights

A can light is a recessed light often used to spotlight or highlight items where as a hanging fixture would not be suitable. Great rooms, living rooms, and kitchens are locations where these lights are widely used. Hot tubs and spas also benefit from this type of fixture. Your home can be redesigned with a dimmer switch for a romantic setting. The arrangements are different with some having a stationary socket and others on a swivel for adjustment points at numerous angles.

You can choose from a non-insulated or insulated ceiling fixture. The insulated fixture can be installed against the insulation. Built-in air chambers allow the heat generated a way of escape. However, the bulb isn't insulated and needs a three inch minimum around the fixture for heat escape.


Two adjustable mounting brackets slide out and attach to the ceiling joists and are fastened with screws or nails. The fixture's bottom should be even with the bottom ceiling joist, leaving the circular opening below the drywall thick so you have a flush finish. You then wire the recessed can and install the drywall. A trim ring will house the bulb, and this attaches with springs. You will achieve a secure and flush fixture when installed correctly.

Track Lighting

Decorative track lighting has many different types and consists of three main systems. The monorail is an updated version as a single steel rail. Standard/basic units mount flush with the ceiling just as the monorail type. Two steel wires (cable) is a good choice for commercial use.

No longer will you have an ugly track head with any of these choices. Available heads include low voltage Halogen, LED, incandescent, and fluorescent. Use your style and choose different colors.

The track is more adaptable and flexible when rotating lights than with recessed choices. Track is the only choice for shallow ceilings, or beam and post construction. It is also excellent for cement or concrete ceilings. You can replace existing light fixtures with tracks for a more direct lighting source where it is needed.

Each form is task lighting used to illuminate isolated, specific areas.

Benefits: Recessed Lighting

The lighting blends with the ceiling placed better and are easily installed. Simply place the lights between ceiling joists and use drywall.

Benefits: Track Lighting

Tracks are more cost-effective because they are placed directly on the ceiling surface and will not have to make structural remodeling. Some ceilings may not have the design to accommodate recessed lighting, whereas tracks can be installed anywhere.

As you can see, both track lighting and can lighting are excellent choices for a variety of applications. You just have to decide which one is right for your home and your budget. Visit Alpine Electrical Construction LLC for more information.