Overhead lighting grids are becoming an increasingly popular choice for both homes and commercial spaces. Unlike traditional pendant lights or chandeliers that provide focused lighting to smaller areas, overhead grids give you the ability to evenly illuminate an entire room. But with so many grid options on the market, how do you determine which one is right for your needs? This detailed guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find the ideal overhead lighting grid system.
Why Choose an Overhead Lighting Grid?
There are many benefits that make overhead lighting grids a fantastic choice:
- Even, consistent lighting – Grid systems provide uniform light across an entire space, eliminating uneven bright and dark spots. This makes them perfect for open concept rooms and workspace areas where you want consistent ambiance.
- Flexible placement – Many overhead grids are designed in modular sections or tracks that can be easily configured or expanded to accommodate the exact size and layout of your space. They can be surface mounted or suspended to work in nearly any room.
- Sleek, modern aesthetic – The streamlined look of lighting grids adds an airy, uncluttered contemporary style to your decor. Their geometric lines and minimalist fixtures make a striking design statement.
- Energy efficient – Grids utilizing LED technology are extremely energy efficient and long lasting. They use a fraction of the power of traditional lighting.
- Customizable lighting zones – With dimmers, switches, or smart technology, overhead grids can have adjustable zones or scenes to tailor the lighting to your needs.
- Ideal for open spaces – From kitchens to workshops to retail stores, the broad lighting distribution of grids are perfect for illuminating open floor plans with high ceilings.
Clearly, overhead lighting grids have advantages that make them a fantastic choice for many spaces. But deciding which grid is right for you depends on assessing a few key factors covered in the following sections.
The Main Types of Overhead Lighting Grids
There are a few main features that distinguish the varieties of overhead grid lighting available:
LED vs Fluorescent
This consideration is about the type of fixtures used in the grid. LED lighting has become the most popular choice. LEDs consume very little energy, last for years without needing replacement, and come in a range of color temperatures. Fluorescent grids are now less common but are more affordable. They have a lower light output than LED and need bulb replacement every 1-2 years.
Hardwired vs Plug-In
Hardwired grids are installed directly into your ceiling or wall electrical system by an electrician. This provides a clean look with no visible cords. Plug-in grid systems use detachable power cables and are much easier to install on your own. But they do require nearby electrical outlets.
Fixed vs Modular/Movable
Some overhead grids are fixed permanently to the architecture of a space. But many are designed with modular or movable sections that can be adjusted to change the grid configuration or size as needed.
Size of Fixtures and Grid Pattern
Grids come designed with lighting fixtures of varying dimensions, from narrow strips to large panels. Smaller fixtures allow for tighter grid patterns and more lights. Larger panels result in bolder lines and wider gaps. Density and layout are both aesthetic and functional choices.
The lens over each light can be frosted, textured, or clear and will determine the diffusion and direction of illumination. Some grids allow mixing different lenses.
The color temperature of white LEDs is measured in Kelvins and varies from warm (2700-3000K) to bright cool white (4000-5000K). Choose based on room use, personal preference, and design style.
Many modern overhead grids have integrated smart technology for controlling lights. Look for features like dimmable zones, scheduling, color changing RGB, and app/voice controls.
As you can see, today’s overhead lighting grid options allow for extensive customization to the lighting design. Keep these factors in mind as we examine some of the best grid systems available in the following section.
Top Overhead Lighting Grid Recommendations
After extensive research on the numerous overhead lighting grids on the market, these five models stand out as top recommendations based on quality, features, value, and customer satisfaction:
1. Lumio Modular LED Grid System
The Lumio Modular system is a superb choice for a customizable overhead grid. The LED lights come in both 1×1 foot and 2×2 foot sizes so you can determine the density and coverage. Each fixture uses energy efficient LEDs rated to last over 50,000 hours. The modular design allows creating just about any configuration to fit your space. Individual lights can also be angled or rotated. While on the higher end of cost, the Lumio system delivers gorgeous, adaptable lighting.
2. Effica Pro Hardwired Fluorescent Grid
For large commercial spaces needing broad, powerful overhead lighting, the Effica Pro is a top fluorescent grid system. It comes in 2×2 or 2×4 foot panels housing multiple high-output T5 or T8 fluorescent bulbs that provide up to 550 lumens per square foot. The Effica Pro is hardwired and installs permanently into a drop ceiling or drywall. It’s an affordable option for factories, warehouses, retail stores, and offices with high ceilings. While LEDs are more popular, this fluorescent system is extremely durable, efficient, and bright.
3. Halo Smart LED Grid
integrates flexible LED lighting with intelligent wireless controls. The Halo Smart grid comes in easy-to-install 2×2 foot sections. Using the Halo app, each panel can be dimmed, scheduled, zoned into groups, or voice controlled independently. You can also set dynamic scenes like “dinner party” or “movie night” for one-touch control. Choose from five color temperatures ranging from warm to daylight. Foradvanced smart home integration, the Halo Smart Grid is a great LED lighting option.
4. IllumiTrack Modular Lighting Tracks
For a movable grid system, IllumiTrack sets up easily in any open space. The modular tracks can be mounted to ceilings or suspended. Adjustable LED light heads then attach anywhere along the track and can be moved or angled as needed. IllumiTrack offers a lot of custom layout flexibility while still giving broad, even overhead lighting. The tracks link together for expansion and come in lengths up to 12 feet. This repositionable grid is ideal for versatile workspace lighting or highlighting retail displays.
5. Litetronics Pro Fixed LED Grid
On a budget? The Litetronics Pro Fixed LED Grid provides an affordable commercial-grade option. The slim LED panels are available in 2×2, 2×4, or 1×4 foot sizes to build a permanent grid. Choose cool or warm white color temperatures. While lacking some of the features of smart grids, the Litetronics Pro still delivers attractive overhead lighting at a reasonable cost. It’s a great basic LED grid for workshops, laundry rooms, basements, or other areas.
This covers five of the best overhead lighting grids spanning a range of styles and prices. Read on for more advice on selecting the perfect system for your particular space and needs.
Tips for Choosing the Right Grid
With the wide selection of overhead lighting grid styles available, keep these tips in mind to make sure you pick the ideal system for your space:
- Carefully assess your lighting needs – Do you need broad ambient light or more focused task lighting? Get enough lumens for room size and purpose.
- Measure room dimensions and layout – This helps determine proper grid sizing and configuration for full coverage.
- Factor in ceiling height – Light output diminishes farther from the source. Brighter grids may be needed for high or vaulted ceilings.
- Decide on fixed permanent or modular adjustable – Fixed is simpler but modular allows repositioning and future changes.
- Calculate required lumens based on room size – A lighting specialist can help determine the right light output you need.
- Consider any smart features you may want – Dimming, color changing, automatic controls? Decide what’s useful.
- Choose within your budget constraints – Grid costs vary widely. But there are quality affordable options available.
- Carefully read reviews and ask experts for recommendations – This helps narrow possibilities to proven models.
- Don’t overlook aesthetics along with function – The look of the grid should complement your design style.
Taking this criteria into account will help guide you to picking the overhead lighting grid that meets both the illumination needs and design aesthetic you want.
Installing and Using Your New Grid
Once you’ve selected the perfect overhead lighting grid for your space, it’s time to tackle the installation. Here are some tips:
- For hardwired systems, always hire a licensed electrician to handle the installation safety. This is not a DIY job.
- For plug-in grids, take time to map out available electrical outlets or extension cords needed to power the system.
- Follow all safety precautions and manufacturer instructions during any grid installation.
- Carefully check ceiling structural supports and reinforce if needed to bear the grid weight.
- With modular or movable grids, experiment with light positions to get your desired coverage.
- Make any necessary ceiling repairs or touch ups around the installed grid.
- Adjust zones, dimmers, or smart controls to set up your preferred lighting presets.
- Clean grid fixtures per manufacturer recommendations but avoid harsh chemicals.
Following the installation guidelines will get your overhead lighting grid up and running smoothly. Then it’s time to enjoy the stylish, flexible illumination it adds to your space for years to come.
The Bottom Line
Overhead lighting grids are an excellent choice for delivering broad, even light to open and large spaces. With so many grid options now available spanning different fixtures, features, and price points, you can find a system ideally suited to your space and decor. By carefully assessing your lighting needs, room specifics, and design tastes, you can confidently pick an overhead grid that checks all the boxes. Installation is relatively straightforward when safety precautions are followed. The result will be a beautiful, functional grid that bathes your space in quality illumination. With smart controls, you can customize the lighting further to create perfect ambiance for any activity or occasion. Your overhead lighting grid will provide the wow factor to any home or commercial space.