Choosing Downlights, Slims, and Recessed Cans


Do you need clarification on which LED recessed lighting is right for your unique situation or do the downlight names sound confusing? You came to the right place.

Sunco offers a variety of recessed cans and downlight styles to provide you with a broad selection of recessed lighting choices. Below, we provide a chart with downlight types and helpful lighting application answers to suit your unique lighting needs.



I want to keep my existing recessed cans, but also want a more efficient LED to replace my outdated bulb. What type of LED downlight do I need?

Insert one of these downlights to keep your existing can:


I don’t have a lot of time and want to quickly install a ceiling downlight. What do you offer?

Both the Slims and the Slims with Integrated J-Box downlights are all in one style products where you receive everything in one package. Due to the ease of connecting wiring on these and the quick install process, these would be appropriate for a fast install of ceiling downlights.

All of our Slims come with a J-Box. The integrated style means that the J-Box is not a separate unit; the J-Box is attached directly to the LED unit.


What does Baffle and Smooth mean in your product titles?

Baffle and smooth refer to the trim style for our Slims and Retrofit downlights. Smooth trim is suitable for a streamlined, modern look. Baffle trim features uniformed grooves close to the light source to minimize glare and create a soft light. Softer light tends to be less straining on your eyes.


Are Slims better than recessed cans?

It depends on your lighting application. Slim Integrated Downlights only require a 2” minimum clearance in your ceiling, while a recessed can will take up a lot of real estate in your ceiling or crawl space. In addition, Sunco Slims and Slims with Integrated J-Box include a soft rubber gasket to form a tight seal and prevent heat or A/C leakage. All of our Slim downlights are IC rated so you can safely install them in your ceiling surrounded by insulation.

Our New Construction and Remodel Cans are all IC rated and airtight.

NOTE: We do not recommend using polystyrene foam since it is flammable at 165 degrees. UL and ETL standards require the running temperature to be under 266° F. Most other common ceiling insulation materials fall within UL/ETL standards.


I have a new building and want to install LED recessed lighting. What do you recommend?

Recessed Cans for New Construction are ideal for this scenario. You can choose from 4” Recessed Cans or 6” Recessed Cans. These cans secure to the joist via included bar hangars. A TP24 connector is included to connect whichever LED downlight you choose to pair with this can. A J-Box is included.

If you just took over a new office building or home and want to add new cans into a finished ceiling, you will want our Remodel Cans instead. These secure via mounting clips to your ceiling, once inserted into the hole you will cut to size. A J-Box is included.


What size LED bulb fits in recessed cans?

Here is a handy chart to show which PAR or BR bulb type you can pair with each size of recessed can. Unsure which you want, because you don’t know what kind of light PAR LED Bulbs or BR LED Bulbs produce? We have a blog to help you: What is the Difference Between PAR and BR Bulbs.


Cans include a TP24 connector, but not an E26 adapter to accept E26 base bulbs.


I want to add Slim Downlights to my entryway, kitchen, and walkway. What size hole do I cut?

It is necessary to cut a hole in the ceiling to insert the J-Box and the Slim into place.

  • 4” Slim (with Integrated J-Box or standard Slim with included J-Box) = 4.33” hole
  • 6” Slim (with Integrated J-Box or standard Slim with included J-Box) = 6.3” hole


Do you sell integrated LED downlights?

Yes, our Slim Integrated LED line includes a J-Box attached to the back of the Slim downlight for a fast install. They take up very little room and are ideal for tight spaces with minimum clearance inside your ceiling. These downlights only need a 2” minimum clearance. That’s a huge variance from the traditional recessed can units that can be over 6” tall.

By comparison, our standard Slims include the J-Box as a separate unit from the Slim LED, which works well for placing them around joists. They also can fit inside a 2” minimum clearance.


The joists in my ceiling space are too close to where I want a downlight. A recessed can won’t fit next to the joists. What should I use instead?

Our Disk and Slim downlights fit well in small ceiling spaces and around joists.

With the Sunco Slim Downlight pictured below, you can easily secure the downlight on either side of a joist while the J-Box sits nearby.



As you can see, our Slims connect to the included J-Box with an included wire and a secure connection. This distance from the J-Box to the Slim allows you to position the spring brackets of the LED around a joist.

By comparison with a recessed can, you might experience the inability to secure the can in place, since the joist is in the way of the mounting brackets.


How do I secure an LED retrofit downlight to an existing can?

Our Recessed Lighting products include manuals you can download to assist you with the process of installing the downlights by using an easy guide. The manuals are bundled into product type, for your convenience.

In general, retrofit LED downlights secure:

  • To a Can via:
    • Spring Connectors that clip into existing holes in the can
  • To a J-Box via
    • Direct Mount with screws to the J-Box


How about connecting the wires on an LED recessed downlight?

Regarding the wiring, it is highly recommended a licensed electrician install your fixture to meet electrical codes. As you’ll see in the chart, some fixtures include a TP24 connector, some offer direct wire connection to your J-Box, and others include an E26 adapter so you can screw in the retrofit downlight into an existing can that accepts an E26 base. Several provide multiple connection types so you can power based on what is available in your particular scenario.



We hope the details above and the helpful recessed lighting comparison chart help you create the downlight lighting that you need in your home, office, commercial or industrial space. We would enjoy seeing what you created. Be sure to tag @suncolighting or #suncolighting when you share your completed installation on social media.

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