I'm remodeling my first floor and we will install recessed lighting in the existing ceiling. Right now is a tense time to make lighting choices as there are so many new technologies out there. My goal is to make sure that whichever technology I end up using will be directly compatible with LED lamps, once they become affordable. Based on my research this is the array of choices I'm facing:

  • Can size: I would like 4'' if possible.

  • Voltage: it appears that going low-voltage will allow the use of LED bulbs without added circuitry in the bulb?

  • AC or DC transformer?

  • Type of bulb mount?

  • Any additional elements to consider?

  • 3
    I think it's a safe bet to use conventional wiring & sockets, as LED lamps will be built for them for a long time.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Oct 5, 2011 at 5:52
  • @JayBazuzi: what do you mean by conventional wiring & sockets? I went to look for conventional and I found literally dozens of socket types, all considered conventional.
    – md1337
    Oct 5, 2011 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


Get something that works with a standard medium-base floodlight bulb.

But when it comes to safety of heat dissipation and the load on the circuit and switch, don't assume the can will always have an efficient, low-heat LED or CFL. Build so the lighting is still safe to operate with nasty old EZ-Bake Edison bulbs.

IMHO, LEDs and CFLs are both already affordable, since they will pay off relatively quickly in energy savings. I haven't bought an incandescent bulb in years and I'll never go back to them.

One other thing to keep in mind: both LED and CFL bulbs are harder to come by in "dimmable" form, and having non-dimmable bulbs on a dimmer switch, even at full-blast, can result in annoying blinking and buzzing, and the dimmer switches made for LED and CFLs are pretty pricey for now. I recommend just putting in a normal light switch (again, watch that load!) and worry about any dimming features later.


You should be fine installing cans that can handle whatever wattage of incandescent you want. These, in turn, should work fine with CFL and LED bulbs coming onto the market. People aren't going to be rewiring every light socket in their house, so bulbs will remain in their standard form factor for quite some time.

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