Ceiling Can lights recommendation, please

Hello, I am having 6 can ceiling lights installed in the family room. What would be a good way to have them individually controllable? Ideally, they would also have controllable color temperature dimmer.

Also, what would be a good easy to use button controller to control them?


I presume you meant that they are installing recessed cans. If so, just put whatever smart bulb you'd like into the cans. I'm a fan of the Hue downlights, but they are pricey. LIFX has some that are also a bit pricey but they're lineup general have good reviews.

Aside from that, there's a litany of Zigbee downlight options to choose from.

That really depends on you (and others in the home) and your use-cases. Do you want something wall mounted or a portable button controller? Do you want to control them individually from the button controller or are thinking of using it more to trigger automations/scenes?

Hue is fine, just wanted to know what the community preferred.

As for the controller, I was thinking of a portable one, that provided "scene" type functions in a single press.

I just got one room set up with LIFX bulbs and I do like them so far. They are wifi, but the integration for Hubitat seems to work OK.

I have been surprised that I have also enjoyed the various color-changing features that require the LIFX app. For example, I have the room set to a routine that takes the light from brighter and cooler to dimmer and warmer as it gets dark outside. I had been doing this manually, but being able to set it up to run automatically is nice... And the lights also smoothly change colors over hours, which you can't do in Hubitat at all AFAIK.

For a remote I recently discovered this one and I like it a lot. It's small, affordable, long battery life, has 4 buttons, and the buttons understand multi-taps.

(The remote doesn't know "scenes," you create the scenes in Hubitat and use the Button Controllers app to call them.)


1 Like

This isn't completely true if someone was to use [RELEASE] Day Lights - an iteration of Circadian Daylight. While LIFX's app tends to do a very good job (as is true with Philips Hue, Wiz, and other apps of similar quality), Hubitat can do it; though, it might take a community app to help.

1 Like

Thanks for the replies, @Horseflesh @JB10 @FriedCheese2006

As I have been looking around, I am settling on a "Canless" design. This gives me the flexibility of installing the lights where I want them, not where the joists are.

Philips has this: Hue Slim Downlight 5/6 inch White and Colour Ambiance | Philips Hue US. I suppose this would be the "safest" choice in terms of quality and Hubitat support?

Amazon has some cheaper ones, such as this: Amazon.com. Would this be an OK way to go, or am I asking for headaches?

Any other recommendations in "canless" versions?

I've been looking around for the past year or so; I want to replace the ugly fluorescent lights in my garage with downlights. I would like to be able to set color temp, but I don't care about RGB.

The Juno canless would be nice if they actually worked, but there's too many horror stories about them. This pretty much leaves Hue as the only game in town if you want zigbee canless fixtures. They're not cheap, but I've had very good experience with Hue bulbs and retrofit downlights. They just work, and I'd expect the same from the canless variety. I'll probably order a bunch of them in the not-too-distant future.

There are old work cans that can be installed without being toenailed to a joist. They have locking tabs that pinch the drywall with the face side of the can.

I also have the Hue canless lights and they're just as good as a canned type. This hole saw is a perfect fit for the 6" variety:

One thing to be mindful of is that I'd wager the vast majority of folks using Hue are using the Hue hub (I know I am) instead of directly connecting them to the regular Zigbee network.

Great tip, That's certainly worth $16 if you have to install a bunch of them (which I will).

That app is news to me, thanks!

No way to know until you try it; might be a great value. But I don't see any talk on the forum about that brand, so it may not be possible to get it working with Hubitat.

OK, thanks to everyone that participated in this thread. I think I am going to go with the Hue canless fixtures. Given the expense of those, a Hue Bridge (I think this is what people refer to as Hue hub here?) is not a bad addition to make it compatible with Hue remotes etc.

Correct. Just be sure to deconflict your Zigbee channels before adding any lights to the hub. I don't recall what the default channel for the bridge is.

You can pair Hue lights directly to HE without a Hue bridge. I have 23 Hue downlight retrofits and a dozen or so Hue bulbs, along with 3 Hue button controllers paired directly to HE.

I really don't know what benefits a Hue hub would add. Having a second zigbee network for just the Hue bulbs may or may not be a good thing, I don't know.

In my case it's a hard requirement that any permanently installed lighting must work with the switch that controls that lighting without being dependent on HE (or any other hub). All of my Hue downlight retrofits are controlled by Inovelli 2-in-1 switches, which are bound directly to the downlights (or to a zigbee group containing multiple downlights).

This way, if something happens to me (or the hub) the lights in my house still work, at least as long as nobody does a factory reset on the switches or downlights and removes the zigbee bindings between them.

Thanks, this is helpful. Why did you choose a third party switch instead of the Hue switch?

I have a few self-imposed requirements when it comes to home automation, and one of them is that any permanently installed switches that control permanently installed lights must always work. Making a house "smart" must not take away any "dumb" functionality. Even the most tech-challenged person knows how to operate a wall switch or dimmer. Basic infrastructure cannot be dependent upon some tiny little black box somewhere that normal people don't know how to operate or configure, even if they could find it and identify what it does.

It's unreasonable to expect any hub to have 100% uptime and always function perfectly. Anything that depends on Wi-Fi is even worse (Wi-Fi is not a permanent part of a house's infrastructure), and things that depend on a working internet connection and external cloud services are particularly egregious.

My "prime directive" in a sense can be satisfied with any number of "smart" switches and dimmers that allow basic on/off and dimmer functionality even if their respective hub or controller goes offline.

Where it becomes a problem is when you want to use "smart" bulbs in permanently installed fixtures. This is where Zigbee binding and z-wave direct association can save the day. Once configured you don't need the hub to be working and things work as closely as possible to direct-wired dumb bulbs (long as nobody factory-resets the switches or bulbs and deletes the binding/association, of course). This small risk is acceptable to me.

In my case, in our new house there are 23 can lights which I wanted to replace with Hue downlight retrofits. It wasn't necessary, just something I wanted to do. The only viable option here was Hue lights and Zigbee switches capable of direct binding. The Inovelli switches were the obvious choice, and Hue for their reliability. There are virtually no choices when it comes to z-wave smart bulbs, and no viable alternative to Hue downlight retrofits.

Sorry for the long-winded answer, but that's why I wouldn't consider using Hue switches, or any other device that requires a hub to work. I do however have three Hue button dimmer controls for various lamps. Lamps are different, in that they are not permanent infrastructure of the house, and anyone can unscrew a smart bulb and replace it with a dumb bulb and get the lamp working again.

Thanks for the detailed answer. I agree that no hub has 100% uptime. I have had to power cycle the Hubitat once in a while to get it functioning again. However, I have “solved” that issue by having a weekly prophylactic restart with a smart plug. That seems to be pretty darn close to 100% for me, but you may still consider it unacceptable.

It's not so much hub uptime, although that's a consideration. It's the very existence of the hub that concerns me. It's a hobbyist/tinkerer thing, well outside the mainstream for the foreseeable future (in my opinion).

I'll bet 99 out of 100 electricians don't have a clue what a "Hubitat Hub" is and wouldn't have the faintest idea of where to start if I met an early demise and something went wrong in my house. Even if I put the effort into fully documenting everything, who would read (and take the time to understand) it?