Disadvantages Of Canless Recessed Lighting

Have you thought of installing canless recessed lighting in your home? Do you plan to have a major house renovation? Can lighting versus canless lighting: what does each have to offer? Well, you just hit the right spot as we have researched this topic for you to know.

Canless recessed lighting offers numerous remodeling options for your house. It has a few downsides, though:

  • Canless lights will not fit into the ceiling as the fixture is too shallow.
  • Canless lights give limited styling options and you might not find exactly your preference.
  • Typically LEDs, canless lights do not add warmth to your ambiance.
  • The entire fixture must be replaced when a bulb burns out, rather than simply replacing the bulb.

This article will go in-depth about can and canless types of recessed lighting and their pros and cons. Just hang with us!

Electrician installing new light bulb in recessed ceiling light fixture - Disadvantages Of Canless Recessed Lighting

What is the difference between can and canless lighting?

Before you decide what lights to install, you have to know first the difference between can and canless lighting. In this way, you can visualize a better idea of what you want your space to look like.

Can lighting

Ceiling Can Light
  • The canister is a metal housing which holds the bulb in place. Its diameter ranges from 3 inches to 6 inches and the wires are not visible to the eye. The can-shaped box protects the bulb and the electric cables are not exposed.
  • In canisters, installing means no freedom to customize the light with trims. There is a limited selections of lights. You cannot choose what you want.
  • With can lights, you can upgrade your fixtures.

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Canless Lighting

Electrician installing new light bulb in recessed ceiling light fixture.
  • Canless lights does not have physical bulb.
  • With canless, the installation is easier. Most DIYers can do it alone.
  • Canless lights are energy-savers. They do not require a huge hole in the insulation. It saves you a lot from your electric bill.

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What are the disadvantages of canless recessed lighting?

You have learned a lot about the numerous advantages of canless lighting. Do you know that they have drawbacks too? Below are the disadvantages of choosing canless recessed lighting.

  • Canless fixtures differ in many ways. They follow no certain type of styling or installation.
  • LED lights are known to be economical and customizable. Canless lights do not add warmth. Most of the time, however, incandescent bulbs are used.
  • Can lights require you to change the bulb. With canless lights, you need to replace the entire unit.
  • The cost of a canless recessed light ranges from $20 to $50 excluding the installation.

What are can recessed lights?

First, let us define can lights. They are cylindrical in shape, made of metal, and really look like a can. You can visualize it just like a bulb installed inside an empty can. The ceiling’s open space is where you can insert the can lights.

What are the pros about can lights?

Close-up LED ceiling light. Downlight with light bulb on white ceiling background.


In the lighting industry, they say that can lights are also called the transformers. They come with two parts – the trim and the housing. The generic metal canister is called the housing. After the installation, you can put any trim you want. There are different styles of housing and trim that you can choose from.


Installed evenly, can lights do not take much of your visual space. If you need a lot of lights, this can be helpful as it would not clutter the ceiling. You can do a flush installation here which makes the light desirable for your closet, tight space, and door swings.


Can lights are primarily used for downlighting as they shine directly downward or toward one side.

By contrast, there are many standard fixtures that light upward and outward. It brightens the ceiling and creates a perfect ambiance when lighting reflects off the paint of the wall or ceiling.

What are the cons about can lights?

Energy Inefficiency

Energy inefficiency is one of the real disadvantages of can lights which might occur in your home or business. In installing can recessed fixtures, there should be a cut hole in the walls or ceilings which may become potential space for leaks.

For the hot and cold seasons, there is an increased energy consumption which could be prone to expensive energy bills.

Cave effect

With can recessed fixtures, there are a handful of bright spots inside the room and all the spaces near the walls are dark – this is called the cave effect. Some people do not like the cave effect for their interior. For them, it distracts the aesthetic ambiance of the room.

Is can lighting right for me?

LED Light on mall roof.

Weighing the pros and cons is the best way to determine whether can lighting is for you. Check all areas you want to install can lights to determine if they will fit into the space. Some recommended areas for the installation of recessed lighting are your kitchen ceiling, cabinets, art galleries, or home theaters.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the common size for recessed light?

For you to decide the size you need, consider the area that needs lighting. Check the distance from the wall to the ceiling. How much do you want to light it up? Remember that recessed lightings are not as bright as the standard does.

In an 8-foot ceiling, you can use a 4-inch light that can illuminate your kitchen top. Use a 6-inch fixture for the lower countertop.

What is the best size for can lights?

Closeup of pot light recessed lighting in ceiling tile

There are a lot of sizes available for can lights. One of the most common sizes is the BR40 LED and BR30. “BR” means the shape which stands for a bulged reflector. The number refers to the size.

Where should the recessed lighting be?

As you might have guessed, recessed lights are not as bright as traditional lights. Place your fixtures where you want them to be, and then aim toward the area you’d like lit.

Here is the formula that you might want to follow. The distance between the lights must be doubled to the end. Determine the number of lights, the room dimensions, and the layout. The recessed light for accent purposes should be lit at 30 degrees from the ceiling in this way, you can prevent glare.


To bring good aesthetics to your home or office, recessed lighting is a good choice. These lights are popular in many ways because of their unique features. Recessed lights differ in two types – can and canless lighting. Choosing between these two is challenging because you need to be familiar with their pros and cons.

Lighting design for your major house renovation should be done by professionals. You should also talk to your lighting designer as early as possible so you can plan your lighting interiors. Creating a good light ambiance creates a mood that you would perfectly love. You can find more tips and guides online.

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