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It's time to rethink tracking lighting. It's come a long way from the clunky versions of the 1960s and 1990s. Now, done right, track lighting can be a contemporary addition to a living room, kitchen, hallway—you name it. There's a reason the style has been a mainstay: its versatility, with the ability to arrange the heads, is unlike any other lighting type. The tracks themselves are also flexible, allowing for variety in sizing, placement, and fixture styles.
Another perk of track lighting is that it allows you to anchor everything into one electrical box, adding a lot of light from a single source. (Which is especially helpful if you're in a rental, or want to avoid opening up walls or rewiring.) With those multiple light sources you can aim the heads specifically where you need, like as task lighting on a kitchen countertop or as accent lighting on artwork. Convinced to rethink track lighting yet?
Scroll on for the best track lighting that would illuminate any room in your house.
Best Overall: Globe Electric Kearney 6-Light Foldable Track Lighting
Since there are so many different options for track lighting kits, the battle for the top spot is a fierce one. The best track lighting kits are meant for medium-to-large spaces, providing many individual lights to position around different corners of the room. The top pick for this list hits all of these checkmarks while offering a great look and style that adds to the room’s overall feel.
The Globe Electric Kearney 6-Light Kit is a six light track kit that provides plenty of coverage around the entire room. Each light is individually adjustable so you can angle it for the best placement in the entire area. Better still, the fixture is "foldable," so that each three-light track bar can be rotated to any position. The oil-rubbed bronze finish also makes it fit well in a variety of interior decor styles, such as industrial, modern or traditional. The fixture is just over 46 inches long with the track bars extended in a straight line.
Best Budget: Canarm James 4 Bulb Track Light
To save some money on a new track lighting kit, you have to think small, and this three-light kit is just 26 1/2 inches long. A shorter section of track is actually the perfect fit for smaller rooms and spaces around the home. Smaller fixtures take up less space and use less energy than larger track lighting systems. They are also easier to maintain when it comes time to replace a burned-out bulb or two. Save some money upfront and in the future with the Canarm IT356A04BPT10.
Small and budget-friendly, this four-light track kit provides just enough illumination for a small bedroom or corner of a larger area. The metallic finish is made of brushed pewter and is easy to clean as dust and dirt begin to settle. When used in tandem with other track lighting, you can cover a greater area than with single larger track lighting kits.
Best Modern: Tech Lighting Tiella Kit
The look of track lighting makes it more modern than most standard light fixtures. To take this an extra step, however, the kit itself should look like it just came from the future. With a sleek nickel finish and a unique approach to track lighting design, the Tech Lighting Tiella Kit gets the job done.
This track lighting kit exudes a sense of unique style and modernism others don't. Five individually adjustable accent lights hang between two runs of a monorail cable. The fixture can extend up to 20 feet in length. You can place each light anywhere along the track to better position the bulb. This is a low-voltage fixture that includes a transformer that "steps down" the household voltage to 12 volts for the lights (the transformer is included in the kit).
Best Industrial: LNC Industrial Wood Canopy 3-Head Track Lighting
The industrial design style is one of the most unique decor options you can choose for your home. Blending the raw look of the factory with more modern conveniences around the home gives you the best of many design worlds. For a track lighting kit to enhance this kind of style, you need something that manages to blend different materials together in one package. Since industrial design is all about mixing materials, this wood-and-metal lighting kit adds just the right visual interest for an industrial scheme.
Small and simple, the LNC Wood Track Kit is just 15 inches long yet provides more illumination from its three large can lights compared to smaller track lighting bulbs. The black metallic finish contrasts nicely with more traditional and rustic accents, such as wood and stone.
Best for Small Spaces: Hampton Bay 3-Light Antique Bronze Ceiling Bar Track Lighting Kit
When space is at a premium, you need the right kind of track lighting kit so the room isn't flooded with light. Typically, such kits only come with about three lights and a relatively short section of track. In this case, the track is just over 22 inches long, giving you the right amount of adjustability to position the lighting around the smaller space.
The Hampton Bay 3-Light Antique Kit has a classic, almost vintage look at a great budget price. Compatible with standard incandescent dimmer switches, this is the perfect option to create some mood lighting in a more traditional space in the home. Each light swivels in a complete circular arc but can't be positioned across the track like other lighting kits.
Best for Large Coverage: Hampton Bay 5-Light Brushed Steel Line-Voltage Flexible Track Light Kit
Larger rooms and spaces can be challenging to light no matter what type of lighting you choose. While many people prefer a grid of can lights or a single large chandelier, track lighting gives you the benefit of uniform illumination from a single power source. Larger kits also allow you to expand outward from that power source so you can have lights spread out all across the ceiling.
For the best, most comprehensive coverage in a large living space, the Hampton Bay 10ft Flexible Track Kit provides 10 feet of track for positioning its five individual lights. The kit is also expandable, allowing you to connect up to four track segments together using a single wiring harness. This creates a uniform amount of light coverage and a good focal point for larger spaces.
What to Look for When Buying Track Lighting
A Clean Design
To avoid the clunky track lighting of decades past, look for track lighting with a slim profile. Consider matching it to your ceiling, or contrasting it—like a sharp black fixture against white walls—for a modern look. A single track with adjustable heads is particularly contemporary.
The number of watts each track is built to support will determine how many heads you can have on that track. Opt for LED fixtures, which are energy efficient and have a lower wattage. That way you could hold more heads on a track, all while being kinder to Mother Nature.
Before you purchase any light bulbs, double-check that they are compatible with the heads of your track lighting. Most types of track lighting use reflector, dichroic, or GU10 bulbs. If your track lighting includes pendant heads, you could include a more visually appealing bulb, like a carbon filament or Edison bulb.
How does track lighting work?
Track lighting, a specialized lighting fixture on a—you guessed it—track, is a system mounted to a ceiling or wall that powers individual light fixtures, or heads. The track is wired to power and holds the conductor for the heads, which can be mounted anywhere along the length of the track. For the full run-down on how track lighting works, read this explainer.
Is track lighting still in style?
While track lighting has a reputation of being dated, it can be anything but: with architectural lines, it can look very modern. Like many design trends, it’s come and gone (then come and gone again) in style, first becoming popular in the 1960s, then again in the 1990s. That puts it on, well, track to come back roaring in style any day now.
How do you install track lighting?
For the best results, hire an electrician to install your track lighting. It has to be done right, or it won’t work at all. If you’re feeling confident in your electrician skills, follow along with a trusted YouTube source.
Here are some tips on what to look for when considering installing track lighting.
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Austin Fracchia is a freelance writer specializing in home design, DIY projects, and technology. He has become an avid do-it-yourselfer, and his writing has appeared The Drive, Best Reviews, and WikiHow. Additional research was done by Megan McCarty, a writer for The Spruce and MyDomaine with over 13 years of experience in both print and digital media. She regularly contributes to design-focused outlets such as Architectural Digest, Domino, House & Home, and Hunker.