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How Much Does It Cost To Install Recessed Lighting?

Typical Range: $240 - $480

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Recessed Lighting Cost

Expect to pay between $240 to $480 per fixture, or $360 on average, when having recessed lighting installed by a pro. At the average price, the project runs about $2,160 for six fixtures. The total varies depending on the type of housing, trim, and bulbs you select. These are also called can lights, pot lights, and high hats.

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Cost to Install Recessed Lighting Per Light

Average Cost$360
High Cost$480
Low Cost$240

Recessed Lighting Installation Costs

the average cost to install recessed lights is $240 to $480 per fixture

The basic installation of recessed can lights runs from $200 to $250 per fixture for labor alone. For each fixture, the process takes about 2 1/2 hours at a $85 to $105 per hour labor rate. Both new construction and remodel projects take this long to install each one. Extra costs can arise if the electrician you hired has to run more wiring or move obstacles.

Some costs involved with the installation of pot lights are:

  • Installing the lights: $200 to $250 by an electrician
  • Wiring the lights into the ceiling - $70 to $140 per light
  • Moving around any obstacles (heating ducts, joists, other wires): $200 or more per light

Electricians can provide a quote on the full lighting installation cost, barring unexpected issues. By reviewing the quotes, you can verify your budget will cover all necessary expenses.

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Cost to Install Recessed Lighting in Existing Ceiling

Without open access to the attic, you must have remodel housings placed for the average price of $360 each. Most installs need six fixtures, putting the total at $2,160 on average. After choosing the right electrician, they can place these fixtures by simply cutting a hole in the existing ceiling. They may also need to cut an additional hole for routing wires, depending on the placement.

Recessed Lighting Cost New Construction

The cost in new construction runs from $1,440 to $2,880, or $2,160 on average. This price reflects the average per can price of $360, though they can cost anywhere from $240 to $480. Since they bolt to the joists, new construction housings are only installed in open ceilings. Otherwise, you have to remove the drywall to install.

Cost of Can Lights

The cost of materials for pot light installs runs from $30 to $230. Housings range from $9 to $160, depending on their type. Trim and bulbs cost $15 to $60. Wire and other materials are about $8 per fixture, though it can go higher if issues arise. If the project requires a dimmer, expect to pay another $125 for its install.

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Types of Recessed Lights

Can lights come in a variety of styles and sizes, including four, five, and six inch diameters. Each style works best in a particular installation area. You can find them for sloped surfaces, shallow ceilings and even outdoor areas.

High hat fixtures also come in insulation contact (IC) and non-insulation contact (non-IC) designs to maximize safety. IC models can directly touch insulation without creating a fire hazard. Non-IC fixtures only work where there is no insulation since they do not reduce heat transfer.

Recessed LED Lights

Available for $95 to $125 per can installed, or an average of $110 each, LED kits easily retrofit existing housings. Expect to pay about $660 on average, or $570 to $750, to have six fixtures retrofitted with these kits. To complete the install, pros remove the old bulb and trim from each housing. Then, they clip the all-in-one bulb and trim in place to finish the retrofit.

Cost to Install Recessed Lighting in Kitchen

Putting basic pot lights in the kitchen will cost you $1,440 to $2,880 for every six installed. Plan to place them every four to six feet to create adequate task lighting. The overall size of the kitchen will determine just how many fixtures you need. If the kitchen acts as the dining room as well, then plan to put in a dimmer if you want to set the mood.

DIY Recessed Lights vs. Hire a Pro

If you have the skills and safety knowledge, you can do the new or remodel install as a DIY project for between $30 and $230. Retrofit LED kits are cheaper at $8 to $20 total and much easier to install. The other housing types are much more involved since they involve wiring.

As they are part of the electrical system, recessed lights must abide by local code. Hiring an electrician ensures all the work meets those requirements. With that move, you can avoid fines and other penalties from inspectors. Pro installers can also quickly complete the work without damaging nearby materials.


What are recessed lights?

Recessed lights are fixtures that mount in the ceiling to sit flush with their surface. They illuminate the area directly below them without spreading outward much. For that reason, these fixtures work best in low ceilings or rooms with minimalist designs. High hats are most effective when arranged every four to six feet across the room. They are compatible with dimmer switch installs to create mood lighting where you need it.

What is the difference between can lights and recessed lights?

There is no difference between recessed lights and can lights. Those are just two names for the same type of fixture. Other names used for this style of lighting include high hats and pot lights.

How much recessed lighting do you need per square foot?

For best results, install at least six pot lights for every 250 square feet. Install each can every four to six feet at the max, though one every two feet is better. When designing your interior lighting, make sure the housings sit about two feet from the perimeter walls as well.

Can I install recessed lighting myself?

You can install recessed lighting yourself if you have the right tools and materials. You will also need to use proven installation techniques and abide by all building codes. Otherwise, the lights could pose a hazard or result in penalties from inspectors.

Does recessed lighting add value to your home?

Although pot lights do not have a huge return on investment, they are still a valuable addition. Their ability to improve the lighting in every room without impacting the ceiling design is almost priceless. If they use LED bulbs, they can also provide a return by decreasing energy usage. In addition, the LEDs last much longer, reducing the need for replacement bulbs.

Still Have Questions About Recessed Lights?
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