Home-How » 4 Inch Recessed Lighting vs. 6 Inch: Which Is Better?

4 Inch Recessed Lighting vs. 6 Inch: Which Is Better?

Recessed lighting is an excellent choice to make your home appear minimalist, modern, and massive.

The metal fixture is installed inside the ceiling so that the bulb stays straight in line with the surface. It doesn’t take up any visual space. As a result, the room looks open and clean.

What’s more, the lighting is highly versatile. You can use it to cover the whole room or highlight the unique features only. The directed, soft glow of the recessed lighting serves both purposes well!

However, to make the most out of your recessed lighting, it’s important to choose the right size. The most preferred choices are 4 inches and 6 inches. But what’s the difference, and which one should you select?

In today’s post, we will address this question. Our 4-inch recessed lighting VS 6-inch comparison will dive into the details to help you make the right decision. Read more!

4 Inch Recessed Lighting


The 4-inch recessed lighting is small and compact. It easily blends into the room decor and doesn’t draw any attention to itself, unlike a chandelier. People would hardly look up at the ceiling!

Enlarges the Space Through Wall Washing

Wall washing is an illumination technique using a vertical light. It’s placed at a certain angle and distance from the wall so that the light falls on it smoothly. Hence, giving the effect of being washed.

This doesn’t only look great but helps hide any imperfection on the wall. It also eliminates the shadows, which makes the perceived space large.

Surprisingly, the 4-inch recessed light is capable of doing all this without being vertical. Its clever design provides a concentrated beam that makes the structure appear further away and enlarges the space.

If you’re claustrophobic or live in a small home, this feature will be quite beneficial!

Brightens Up the Corners

Although 4-inch recessed lighting doesn’t have wide coverage, the focused beam allows it to be bright and vibrant. You can use it to increase the visibility of room corners that are often left uncovered by larger lights.

But make sure to install a 4-inch recessed light with the same lumen output as others. This will keep the lighting uniform and even.

Highlights Special Spots

The 4-inch recessed lighting is great for highlighting unique spots in your home. For example, if you have artwork displayed in the hallways or family portraits in the living room, the 4-inch light’s beam can make it the center of attention.

6 Inch Recessed Lighting


The 6-inch recessed lighting is considered to be medium-sized. It is suitable for large areas like the bedroom and dining hall.

Offers Uniform, Wide Coverage

Since the 6-inch recessed lighting has a larger diameter, you should expect it to cover more area easily. One or two units will be sufficient to brighten up a small room.

So, there’s no need to spend money and time installing several fixtures. The high lumen output, coupled with a big diameter, ensures you get uniform illumination.

Comes in Multiple Trims

The 6-inch lighting fixture is unobtrusive like any other recessed light. However, it’s certainly not discrete and hidden.

It’s why these lights are available in fancy and decorative trims. You’ll find different light options in terms of colors, materials, and patterns. So, you can pick out the one that matches your room interior perfectly.

Allows Direct Control

A bigger diameter means a bigger light housing too. While this doesn’t have any impact on the illumination, it does help make the functionality more versatile.

Several manufacturers utilize this extra room in the light housing to offer built-in controls. There are sleek buttons present on the side that allow direct control over the temperature, brightness, etc.

4 Inch VS 6 Inch: The Key Differences


Now that we’ve discussed the key features of the 4-inch and 6-inch recessed lighting. Let’s go through the main differences between them!

1. Size

The size of both lights is visibly different. 6-inch recessed lighting has 2 inches bigger diameter than 4-inch, which qualifies it as a medium-sized light. Meanwhile, 4-inch is considered to be small.

Keeping this size difference in view, it won’t be wrong to state the 4-inch is ideal for tight spaces and low ceiling areas. You can place them under cabinets, on sloped ceilings, and even in closets.

However, the 6-inch would be perfect for large area coverage. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, study rooms, garages, etc.

2. Lighting Type

Both the 4-inch and 6-inch light bulbs can be used for general lighting. But, the 4-inch can also serve as an accent and task lighting.

Good to Know!

● General or ambient lighting refers to the first uniform layer of lighting. It illuminates the area in its entirety. A few examples include ceiling-mounted fixtures, chandeliers, and lamps.

● Accent lighting is a technique used to highlight specific areas in the room. For instance, if there is a painting displayed in your room, a light that focuses on it only will be a form of accent lighting.

● Task lighting helps achieve a specific task like crafting or reading. It involves the use of a bright, highly-focused beam to increase visibility. Installation of recessed lights under the kitchen cabinets will assist you in cooking, which makes it a task for lighting.

3. Design & Built

The compact size of the 4-inch recessed lights makes them appear more modern and contemporary than the 6-inch lights. They are also capable of staying well hidden.

However, it is impossible to not notice a 6-inch light. The medium-sized fixture is plain in sight, which also explains why you’ll find more trim design variety in 6-inch than 4-inch lights.

4. Function

Many people assume that a 4-inch recessed light is less powerful. That’s not true because present-day technology enables all lighting sizes to offer high-lumens output.

Does that mean both 4-inch and 6-inch functions are the same? No!

The small diameter of the 4-inch allows it to produce a more concentrated and focused light than 6-inch. As a result, the light beam is bright and sharp with little dispersion around the edges.

Comparatively, the 6-inch has a wide beam angle. It spreads over a larger area, which makes it perfect for general lighting.

5. Placement

Accurate placement of downlights is necessary to make your ambiance look pleasant and aesthetic. Generally, the 4-inch recessed light fixtures are placed 4 feet apart. Meanwhile, the 6-inch lighting is placed at a distance of 6 feet.

Other than the distance, you should also consider the decor goals. If you want to go for simple yet uniform lighting, choose either 4 inches or 6 inches for the whole room.

However, if you want to create a more premium look, mix and match the sizes. Use 6-inch lights for general lighting and illuminate the special room features with concentrated beams of the 4-inch.

6. Cost Efficiency

The 4-inch recessed lights typically cost less than the 6-inch. But, the cost advantages will only last as long as you use them wisely.

For example, using 4-inch lights as general lighting for a large space would mean more lights. This would take away the initial price benefit and might even cost more than 6-inch.

Similarly, using a 6-inch light in a small area would lead to energy wastage. Much unwanted light will be spent, reducing the product lifespan and increasing the costs.



What is the best size for recessed lighting?

Cyber Electrical suggests that the best size for recessed lighting depends on your particular needs. Generally, the 4 and 5-inch lights are ideal for task and accent lighting. You can install them over the kitchen countertops, sinks, or under cabinets.

The 6-inch lights work best for general lighting at home and offices. Meanwhile, the sizes above help cover a wider area, like halls.

How much area does the 6-inch recessed light cover?

The general rule is to space the recessed lights according to their diameter. So, a 6-inch recessed light should be placed at a distance of 6 feet. In other words, a 6-inch light would cover 6 feet of ceiling space.

Will recessed lights go out of style?

The recessed lighting is popular for its contemporary, unobtrusive design. It has been in style for decades and would likely stay around for a long time.

That said, if you ever feel like your recessed lights are out of style, you can easily replace them. Most of the lights use V-springs. So, all you must do is pull the trim, squeeze the springs, and the light will come out


Summing it up, there are six key differences between a 4-inch and 6-inch recessed light. These include:

  • Size
  • Lighting Type
  • Design & Built
  • Function
  • Placement
  • Cost Efficiency

That said, none is better than the other. Both the lights are designed to serve specific purposes, so one should consider their needs to make a better choice. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Leave a Comment