A Guide to the Best Downlights for Your Bathroom
Picking the right interior lighting for your bathroom is a difficult task. You need to make sure that your new bathroom lights are not only safe to use but also match your decor and can provide your bathroom with an adequate level of light.
Thus, over the last decade, downlights have become one of the most popular interior lighting options for bathrooms. They are a lot less obstructive and can achieve the same focused lighting effect. Besides that, downlights can be safely installed in a range of different zones within your bathroom, which is not an option for standard ceiling lights.
If you believe that downlights are a suitable option for your bathroom, below, you can take a look at some of our top bathroom downlight recommendations. But first, we’d like you to understand the terminology used to describe the performance of downlights. This way, you will understand everything about the products once you get to read about them.
Understanding the Terminology of Downlights
Beam angle: The beam angle of a downlight is a measurement of how the light is distributed. The lower the angle, the more centrally-focused the light will be. In such a case, if you have a larger bathroom, you will need more downlights with a 30-degree beam angle as compared to if you picked the same downlights but with a 50-degree beam angle.
Lumens/Luminescence: The lumens of a downlight measure the total quantity of visible light emitted by a downlight. As a general rule of thumb, the more lumens a light produces, the brighter your bathroom will be.
IP protection: This phrase used widely across a range of products, not just lights. There are different IP protection ratings, which ensure a different level of safety protections. What you should be looking for ideally are downlights that range from IP44 to IP65 in protection. You can read more about this in the section below our list of downlight recommendations to find out exactly what type of protection you need for your bathroom needs.
Kelvins/K: Kelvins are used to describe the light appearance provided by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees called Kelvin (K) and can range from 1,000 to 10,000. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the Kelvin produced, the colder the temperature of the light will be. To achieve a warm light, you should be looking at downlights that produce around 2500K and if you are after a crystal white glow, you can look at downlights in the area of 4,000 to 5,000K.
Watts/W: Watts refers to the amount of energy it takes to produce a certain amount of light. Generally speaking, the lower the watts of a lamp, the more energy-efficiency it is.
Voltage/V: The voltage of a particular product refers to the amount of voltage (V) it requires to safely operate. Typically speaking, the average household lights in the UK are powered by an average of 230 volts.
Cutout: The cutout is the size of a hole that you need to cut in the location where you are going to place the downlight. Smaller downlights require smaller cutouts while larger downlights require bigger cutouts.
LED Downlights: LED downlights are just normal lights, which are around 75% more energy-efficient as compared to incandescent bulbs. Besides that, they also last much longer than a regular bulb.
Fluorescent Downlights: Unlike LED downlights, the fluorescent downlights use a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light. The electric current in the gas energises the mercury vapor, which in turn begins to produce short-wave ultraviolet light, which then makes the phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow.
If you are looking for a downlight that you can directly install over your bathtub or shower, then the Tiltable and Dimmable 10W LED Downlight in matt white has all the safety requirements that you may need. The 900 lumens enabling it to emit a consistent amount of light throughout its lifetime.
It is a LED downlight with a white colour output of 4000K which is commonly called a ‘cool white’ or ‘neutral white’. It has a beam angle of 36 degrees, which is effective in your bathroom since it offers a good combination of intensity and coverage. It also has a small low-profile LED dimmable driver that you can simply connect to a suitable wiring circuit to achieve a dimming effect when you want to.
You can also connect it to a dimmer module should you want to be able to dim the lights. This downlight has an outstanding lifespan expectancy of 50,000 hours, which is approximately 50 times longer than the common incandescent and 20 times longer than the typical halogen.
This downlight has a diameter and cut out of 90mm and 83mm, respectively. Downlights with a diameter of 90 mm are known to provide higher brightness suitable in an area such as the bathroom.
The Tiltable and Dimmable 3000K 10W LED Downlight is another great lighting option for your bathroom. It has an IP rating of IP65, meaning it is water-resistant and suitable for use inside wet areas such as near a bathtub and above your shower. It is one of the best bathroom lights with an LED dimmable driver that you can easily connect to an appropriate wiring circuit.
This LED light can produce a warm white colour output of 3000 Kelvin. Throughout its 50,000 year lifespan, it can output a high LED downlight due to its 900 lumens.
It also looks attractive and can fit within most bathroom decors, thanks to its Satin Nickel finishing. It has a 90 mm diameter and an 83 mm cutout that is easily replaceable. Besides that, the 36-degree beam angle of the LED bulb makes this downlight a great option for small, medium, and large bathrooms.
The Commercial Adjustable Twin Recessed Downlight is a twin recessed energy-saving downlight with two integrated LED bulbs. Each bulb consumes a low power of 20W to produce a total of 4000 Kelvin throughout its 50,000 hours lifespan. It is rectangular-shaped and comes with an attractive and high-quality white or matt white finish.
It has an IP44 rating which means that the best place for this light is in the middle of your bathroom’s ceiling. This commercial adjustable twin recessed downlight is bright with a super high luminescence of 3400. It is not dimmable, which makes it suitable for large and steamy bathrooms.
This Fixed 10W Dimmable 4000K LED Downlight can easily be fitted in medium to large bathrooms due to its relatively high output of 705 lumens. It also has a beam angle of 40 degrees, which enables it to direct light to a large area.
Furthermore, this downlight can be dimmed using the small low profile dimmable driver that can be connected to the wiring circuit. It has an 80 mm diameter and a 74 mm cutout. Fixed downlights are among the cheapest downlight options that you can opt for.
This downlight contains one LED bulb with a low power consumption of 10W, which is a great option, especially if your bathroom gets very steamy. The LED bulb outputs a warm white colour of 4000 Kelvin. Its light output blends in well with the matt white finish, making this downlight a great choice for predominantly white-themed bathrooms.
This Dimmable 10W IP65 & Fire-Rated LED Downlight features a unique magnetic glass. The IP65 and fire-rated protection make this downlight a suitable option for your bathroom since it can withstand moisture and even direct contact with water. It has an amazing lifespan of 50,000 hours.
This light features a single integrated LED bulb that consumes 10W and produces a high luminescence of 750 at a 40-degree beam angle. The bulb outputs a 3000 Kelvin warm white colour that is ideal for just about any bathroom. Should you want to dim the lights, with this product, you can do that via the easy-to-install driver. For the best lighting results, this product makes use of a single COB LED chip.
If you are looking for a downlight with a black or matt black finish to blend in with your dark-coloured ceiling or bathtub, this low-profile matt black downlight is the best choice for you. It is dimmable with a small low profile LED dimmable driver that is easy to connect to the circuit or a suitable leading. It has a 90 mm diameter and requires an 83 mm cut-out during installation.
This downlight has one LED bulb that consumes 10W to output a warm white colour at 3000K. It has a beam angle of 36 degrees which is suitable for small and medium-sized bathrooms. Its 900 lumens output ensures continuous brightness over its 50,000-hour lifespan. This downlight is IP65 and fire-rated which makes it one of the best water-resistant bathroom downlights.
This 8W matt white LED downlight is one of the best lighting options for energy-saving thanks to its single LED bulb that can manage an output of 3000K of warm white light. It only consumes 8W power to produce 780 Lumens.
Furthermore, this downlight has a standard white Bezel which can be changed to Polished Chrome, Satin Chrome, Black or Satin Nickel, to suit the design and style of your bathroom. All the colours are available separately.
During installation, it requires a cutout diameter of 73mm. It has a diameter of 85mm and a beam angle of 36 degrees. It is IP65 and fire-rated making it one of your top choices of bathroom downlights. Another impressive feature is its lifespan, which is approximately 50,000 hours.
Are you looking for one of the best energy-saving bathroom downlights? Check out the 8W dimmable IP65 and fire-rated downlight with flat white bezel CCT. It has one LED bulb that produces a warm white colour temperature switchable between 3000K, 4000K, and 6000K.
Furthermore, it hosts a white or matt white finish with a beam angle of 60 degrees, which makes it generate a substantial amount of light to a large area. You do not have to install many of these downlights in your bathroom to get enough lighting. It is suitable for the bathroom ceilings and near bathtubs since it is IP65 rated.
It has a diameter of 80mm and requires a 70mm cut out during installation. It comes with a built-in driver and a click connector which makes it easier to use and operate since it is also dimmable. This downlight has 100,000 switch cycles meaning you have to consider the number of people accessing the bathroom if you want it to last for its full 50,000-hour lifespan.
And finally, we have the small round fixed 6W dimmable LED downlight. It has an antique brass finish and is deemed one of the best energy-saving mini-round downlights. This is thanks to the single COB LED bulb, which only consumes a power of 6W throughout its 50,000-hour lifespan. This bulb outputs a relatively warm white colour at 3000 Kelvin. Moreover, it hosts a beam angle of 35 degrees, which means that the light produced is more intense and concentrated.
It has a 180mA constant current driver type that is connected to the appropriate circuit to help control dimming. It is small with a diameter of 59mm and only requires a 50mm cut-out during installation.
Despite being small, this downlight manages a 600 lumens output finished in quality antique brass. It also has a rating of IP65, making it suitable for use in high-moisturised areas such as the bathroom. This small downlight is mainly suitable for small bathrooms that do not require much lighting.
How to Pick the Right Bathroom Downlights
As mentioned earlier, downlights are currently among the most popular lighting options for bathrooms all across the UK. Bathrooms are typically constantly moist and wet and for that reason, they need special consideration compared to other rooms in the house when choosing the most suitable downlights. Bathroom lights need to be highly tolerant to water since mixing water with electricity is never a good idea.
Therefore, when choosing a bathroom light, you have to check its IP rating. IP, or Ingress Protection ratings are used to define the sealing effectiveness levels of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign substances such as dust and moisture. Bathrooms’ IP ratings are generally split into four zones depending on where you intend to place the light. They include:
Zone 0 - it is a light that is deeply submerged in water, for example in a bathtub, wet floor, or the shower itself. Any lighting used in this zone needs to have a maximum of 12 voltage and a minimum rating of IP67.
Zone 1 - the area above the shower or bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. This zone requires a fitting with a minimum rating of IP67, but it is generally accepted that IP65 is to be used. Most lights used in the bathroom are rated at IP65 anyway.
Zone 2 - it is the area that stretches 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. This zone requires a fitting with a minimum rating of IP44. The area around a washbasin within a 60cm radius of any tap should also be considered as zone 2.
Zone 3 - it is any area outside zones 0, 1, and 2 and where no water jet is likely to be used. This area has no special requirements. However, it is advisable to consider a light with a minimum rating of IP20.
If you have a large bathroom that is prone to becoming steamy, your options will depend on your taste, style preferences, and the minimum IP rating for the area your light will be fitted in. If you have a large, steamy bathroom, you can consider installing a few downlights with a greater beam angle such as 60 degrees to ensure you have sufficient light illuminating the entire room.
Steamy bathrooms require adequate lighting to reduce dark spots and increase visibility when it is steamy. It is also important to note that the best lights in the bathroom are either fluorescent or LED. Other hot lights will cause water condensation and turn it into steam, making the bathroom more steamy than average. When a bathroom with ventilation issues becomes too steamy, you will require an extractor fan to suck the excess steam out.
If you have a small bathroom, you can consider a smaller-sized downlight to give you a finer feeling of the open space. You can also combine a few tiltable lights and install them in corners and mirrors for some extraordinary illumination.
Which light you choose to install in your bathroom zone should first adhere to the IP rating for that area. Your choice of design and colour may depend on your bathroom wall, ceiling, or bathtub colour. You can also consider the amount of power the light will consume to help you reduce the overall cost of electricity. There are various tiltable, low-power consumption downlights that produce a significant amount of light for both small and large bathrooms.