How to Light a Kitchen: Track vs Recessed Lighting (Reviews / Ratings)

Roger Pontes  |  June 12, 2013  |  3 Min. Read

Lighting  |  Recessed Lighting  |  Track Lighting

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Invariably, the decision will be track vs recessed lighting when lighting a kitchen. Track and Recessed lighting are two of the most common types of task lighting used for lighting up a space. In every application, task lighting is necessary if you want to achieve proper lighting. It's like the skeleton of the body, whereas the other elements of lighting design: decorative, accent and ambient provide the affects or personality of the room.

The two are so different, with track being pronounced and recessed being invisible, and as you can imagine, there are huge differences.

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Track Lighting

When people hear the word “Track Lighting” they instantly think of big, bulky, ugly track heads. Those days are gone. There are 100’s of decorative track heads available for different types of tracks. There are 3 systems of  track lighting.

You have your basic standard track which mounts flush against your ceiling. Monorail or a single steel rail is the more updated and decorative version. Cable, or two steel wires is cool, but more popular in commercial settings.

All of these can have decorative heads instead of your ordinary “big ugly” track heads. Track heads are available in LED, Incandescent, low voltage Halogen, and even Fluorescent. Below are examples of track lighting, but you can really personalize track with any color and style.

Yale's Showroom is all LED track, because we are always moving products and displays. Track is flexible, adaptable and easier to install than recessed. Also, for post and beam construction or shallow ceilings, track is your only choice.

standard track lighting display cable light track lighting  monorail track lighting
Standard Track Elements
Cable Track System
Monorail Track System

Other advantages of track lighting:

  • Great for high ceilings, concrete or cement ceilings, and post and beam ceilings
  • Can be dropped lower with a stem and power extender
  • You can hang pendants from tracks with the appropriate adapter
  • Gives you more flexibility on rotating the lights
  • Create a cool and decorative lighting system

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting can be used in many different applications and works similar to track lighting. It can be used for task lighting in commercial or residential spaces. It provides a clean look on your ceiling and good task lighting when installed properly. It works great for lower ceilings or if you don’t want anything hanging from your ceiling.

Unlike track lighting, where you can rotate the heads 360 degrees, recessed lighting is fixed to the ceiling. However, you can buy adjustable trims that will allow you to pivot or rotate the trim, but not as much as track heads. There are many decorative trim options available instead of your normal basic white trim. Recessed is a clean, homogenous look. It really is the standard for kitchen lighting.

recessed display yale lighting

Other Advantages

  • Clean look
  • Better on sloped, short or peaked ceilings
  • Pendants stand out better with recessed than track

Examples of Track and Recessed in Kitchens

kitchen example track recessed 3

kitchen example track recessed 4

kitchen example track recessed 5

kitchen example track recessed 6

kitchen example track recessed 1

kitchen example track recessed 2

Track vs Recessed is simply a matter of application, but more importantly a reflection of your personal style.

One last note: Track and recessed manufacturers are typically not interchangeable with other brands. If you are moving into a new space and want to change a track head or recessed trim, you are limited to that manufacturer.

Roger Pontes

Roger Pontes has been with Yale Appliance + Lighting for over 9 years. He truly enjoys helping people and spending time playing basketball and riding motorcycles.

Read more about Roger here.


A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Roger Pontes

Roger Pontes has been with Yale Appliance + Lighting for over 10 years. He’s worked in both the lighting and appliance department over the years. Roger truly enjoys helping people. He’s a married father of 2 kids, a boy and a girl. On his spare time Roger enjoys spending time with his family and playing sports.

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A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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