Track Lighting Buying Guide

- Jul 09, 2019-

Track and rail lighting are effective forms of ambient, task, and accent lighting. They allow the user to direct light in any shape or form for just about any room in a home, business, or office. With all of the options out there, shopping for track and rail lighting can sometimes feel overwhelming. By following this simple, easy-to-use guide we hope to simplify that process for you. Here are the top four pros of track lighting:

1. Energy-efficient

2. Budget-friendly

3. Highly customizable, adjustable to match changing decor

4. Easy to install with just one junction box or transformer

Determined that track lighting is right for you? Next, consider which type of lighting you need. Do you need lights to illuminate the entire room (ambient lighting) or to light a specific part of the room (task or accent lighting)? All of the above can be done with track lighting; learn how below:

Uses of Track and Rail Lighting

Ambient and General Lighting

As the main light source, track or rail lighting is best for small rooms, such as hallways or entries. This lighting can be used alongside other lighting elements in larger rooms, such as living rooms and bedrooms. They can also be used in commercial spaces as well—illuminating dining rooms in restaurants, meeting rooms in offices, and retail showrooms.
 Accent and Wall Wash Lighting

Adjustable spotlights can be used to highlight a piece of art, bookshelf, or an accent on a wall. For a broadsheet of light, wall washing is ideal. Wall washing requires fewer lights, and the lights can often be energy-efficient. The track and light fixtures should be placed far enough from the wall to avoid unwanted shadows.
Task Lighting

A configuration of lights that illuminates a small area meant for specific activities, such as cooking, reading, or crafting. Energy-efficient or low voltage lights are ideal for task lighting.

Track Lighting Fast Facts

Learn more about track lighting before deciding which system is right for you:

Traditional H, J, and L track systems are most common (above for examples), and are compatible with popular track systems offered by Halo, Juno, and Lightolier.
Track lights can be interchanged across tracks of the same kind. For example, an H track fixture will work on any H track system.
 H, J, and L track systems are 120 volts.
Track lighting can be used in residential and commercial spaces. H, J, and L track systems are single-circuit, which means all fixtures on the track are controlled by the same switch.
There are no advantages in using one system over the other. H, J, and L are similar to each other in terms of performance.
Note: Two-circuit track systems are available, such as WAC Lighting's J2 (above), which can be used to control two groups of fixtures separately on a single track. Some manufacturers, like WAC Lighting, offer options for specialty track systems including recessed tracks, 277-volt commercial, or architectural grade.

Benefits of Track Lighting Systems

Versatility. Track systems can be used in residential and commercial spaces and can be altered as necessary for each room.
Scalability. A single circuit track can support up to 1920 watts, or about 240 fixtures with 8-watt LED lamps, which are each equivalent to 60-watt incandescent lamps. A two-circuit track system can support up to about 4,000 watts.
Design Variety. Various designs and patterns can be used to build lighting layouts: squares, rectangles, grid formats, etc.
Mounting Versatility. Track systems can be suspended by rods or cables and mounted onto drop ceilings, also referred to as T-bar or grid ceilings.
Diverse Functionality. Track systems accept a variety of lights including pendants, track heads, spots, and other styles that can be added or removed.

Rail Lighting Fast Facts

Learn more about rail lighting before determining which system is right for you:

Rail lighting is bendable and designed to navigate curves on ceilings and walls.
Rail systems allow you to create innovative styles and designs while accommodating a broad range of light fixtures and light sources.
Unlike track lighting, rail lighting is unique to each manufacturer and most systems are not interchangeable.
You will want to select a manufacturer that offers a wide variety of options and fixtures to meet your lighting needs.

Benefits of Rail Lighting Systems

Malleability. Most rail systems can be bent up to 45 degrees to create unique shapes and patterns to navigate curves on ceilings and walls.
Versatility. Rail systems can be used in residential and commercial spaces and can be altered to fit each room.
Scalability. WAC Lighting's Flexrail™ (120 volts) systems can support up to 1920 watts. Solorail™ (12 volt or 24 volts) systems can support maximum loads based on the transformer used.
Mounting Versatility. Rail systems can be suspended by rods or cables and mounted onto drop ceilings, also referred to as T-bar or grid ceilings.
Diverse Functionality. Rail systems accept a variety of lights including pendants, track heads, spots, and other styles that can be added or removed.