Vol.2, No.6

How to choose the best track lighting kit

Since not all track lighting kits are created for the same lighting purpose, follow these guidelines to choose the best kit for your lighting needs.

Track lighting in a space
Photo Credit: Bernd Klumpp
Track lighting can showcase your artwork, collectables and other design elements with its focused light. Manufactures have come out with several track lighting designs so that even the tracks or lighting heads can be a decorative feature in your room. From metallic to cable tracks, black or colored glass lighting heads, it can be difficult to choose the best track lighting kit for your home. However, by following these guidelines, you can choose a lighting kit that will provide both function and beauty to your home.

1. A better option than recessed lighting. - Track lighting is basically recessed lighting installed on the outside of the ceiling. The best track lighting systems snap lighting heads into place, so adding or rearranging lights and connectors is quick and easy. Track lighting is ideal for a simple lighting remodel project.

2. Determine your lighting and design needs. - Not all track lighting kits are designed for the same purpose, so you need to determine your lighting needs before you invest in a lighting system. Begin by deciding what you want the light to do. Do you want general light or accent light? How many pieces of artwork or design elements do you want to light to showcase?

Also, consider how much attention you want your track lighting to draw to itself. Track lighting can disappear into the background by matching the color of the ceiling or be a design element with metallic tracks and colored lighting heads.

3. Match purpose to form. - With your lighting needs in mind, look for a track lighting form that will match your purpose. The light bulbs used with a track lighting system have the greatest impact on the type of light provided. For example, incandescent lights spread light in all directions, so they are a good choice for general light, such as in a dining room. Fluorescent lights provide intense light, ideal for work areas. Halogen is also a popular choice because it casts a focused light beam, which can be directed toward artwork and collectibles.

The track designed for you lighting system is also important. For small spaces, curving tracks allow for the greatest amount of flexibility. Straight tracks that can be connected with T-bars or corner pieces can cover large areas.

4. Adjust your lighting heads. - Unlike ceiling fixtures or lamps that can just be turned on to work, track lighting needs to be adjusted to achieve an optimal effect. Make sure that once the lighting heads are snapped into place, the lighting heads can be easily tilted to focus the light to the desired location.

5. Deciding on quality and price. - Track lighting kits are less expensive than buying pieces separately. Most track lighting kits consist of a 4 foot section of track and three lighting heads. Inexpensive track lighting kits can be found at most home improvement stores, but they usually cannot be expanded with additional tracks and lighting heads.

If you are planning an extensive track lighting system or to change your lighting over time, then it is wise to invest in a lighting kit that has the option to purchase additional connectors and lighting heads.

Track lighting is an investment in your home, so choose a system that you can enjoy for years to come.