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Recessed Lighting Guide



The housing is the portion of the fixture installed above the ceiling. It contains all of the electrical parts, including the bulb socket.

Remodel Housings vs. New Construction

Remodel New Construction

Remodel Housings are designed to work with your existing ceiling and therefore do not require a mounting frame. Select a Remodel Housing if you are replacing an existing fixture or adding one to a ceiling that is already in place.

New Construction Housings include a mounting frame, which is required for applications where the ceiling is exposed or yet to be installed. Installing a New Construction Housing requires full access to the space where the light will be placed.


The trim is the visible part of a recessed fixture. Trims are required (and sold separately) for all of our recessed housings. When choosing a housing, be sure to note the compatible trim identified in the specifications and accessory options.

Trim Lens Options:

  • Lensed – Preferred if you do not want the inside of the housing to be visible.

  • No Lens – Preferred for a "quiet" ceiling. This option blends into the ceiling better than a Lensed trim, which can produce a slight glare.

  • Shower – Required for wet location often including but not limited to showers or outdoor installation. Includes a gasket.

  • Wall Wash – Designed specifically for wall wash housings.


Flanged vs. Flangeless

Flanged Round Flanged Square
Flangeless Round Flangeless Square

A Flanged housing + trim is designed to overlay the surface of the ceiling.

A Flangeless housing + trim is designed to sit flush with the surface of the ceiling. Note: Flangeless requires professional installation.

When choosing a trim, it is important to note the size of your housing and whether it is designed for Flanged or Flangeless application. For example, a 3" Round Flanged Housing requires a 3" Round Flanged Trim. View the product specifications to find the compatible pairings for housings and trims.

Color Temperature

Our LED recessed housings come in a wide range of color temperatures. The most popular are White (3000K), Warm White (2700K) and Warm-Dim (3000K-1800K). Cool light appears more white and is ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or anywhere high visibility is needed. Warm light is best for living rooms, bedrooms, or anywhere you'd prefer to have a cozier feel. Warm-Dim LED's begin White (3000K) and gradually become warmer as they are dimmed.

Kelvin Scale

Beam Spread

Beam Spread refers to the approximate area covered by light based on the aperture of a fixture and distance between the installation and desired surface. Wider beam spreads (30-60°) are best for general, ambient lighting because they cover the most surface area. Narrow beam spreads (15-25°) are best for task lighting purposes, or when you want to draw attention to a specific surface.




2" 20 Degree Beam Spread



2" 30 Degree Beam Spread


Narrow Flood

2" 40 Degree Beam Spread



2" 60 Degree Beam Spread


Wide Flood




3" 15 Degree Beam Spread


Narrow Spot

3" 25 Degree Beam Spread


Narrow Flood

3" 40 Degree Beam Spread



3" 60 Degree Beam Spread


Wide Flood




4" 18 Degree Beam Spread



4" 25 Degree Beam Spread


Narrow Flood

4" 40 Degree Beam Spread



4" 60 Degree Beam Spread


Wide Flood


CRI stands for Color Rendering Index, which is a scale from 0 to 100 measuring how accurately a light source renders color. The higher the CRI, the more accurate the colors will appear.

    • 80+ CRI – Accurate color rendering. Sufficient for most general lighting applications.

    • 90+ CRI – Superior color accuracy for more demanding applications.


Have more questions? We're here to help. Call customer service at 877.762.2323 or email customerservice@circalighting.com.