Track Lighting Buyer's Guide

Track lighting allows you to direct light wherever you would like in your home, office or room.

At Lighting Direct, we want to make it easy for you to understand track lighting and how it is the most flexible lighting for your home. Browse through our Track Lighting Buyer's Guide and learn a little bit about track fixtures, accessories and different track system types to make your shopping experience easier.

If you have any questions during your shopping experience, our certified lighting experts are here and ready to help, so give us a call.

Recessed Lighting Buying Guide

The first part to understanding track lighting is knowing the track system types. Across the lighting industry, there are three standard track types. They are often called "H", "J" and "L" track systems after the original manufacturers who created the standards: Halo, Juno and Lightolier. All three systems are 120 volt single circuit systems designed for residential and commercial applications. There is also an industry standard two circuit track system that is a two circuit Juno system, or called "J2". You will also find manufacturers, like WAC Lighting and Tech Lighting, that make specialty track and rail lighting systems.

Brief Overview
Recessed Housing

H, J & L Track Systems

The single circuit track lighting systems, when installed effectively, allow you to place light wherever you want in your home.

Why install a track lighting system?
  • Fully customizable indoor lighting solutions that you can truly design with.
  • Attractive and functional lighting.
  • System can always be adjusted or added to.
What parts do I need for a complete system?
  • Track head or track pendant.
  • Live end power feed (transformer).
  • Track sections and connectors.
  • Additional track accessories like standoffs if applicable.
Recommended system: H-Track
  • H-Track is the most popular system due to the many fixtures made for H-Track in the industry.

Step One
Track Heads

Choose a Track Head

There a few things you need to think about when choosing a track head. First ask yourself, do you want a line voltage or low voltage track head?

Benefits of line voltage track heads:
  • Simple maintenance and sleek look with no transformer.
  • Many lamp options and accessories.
  • Relatively less expensive than low voltage.
Benefits of low voltage track heads:
  • Easy dimming capabilities with electronic low voltage dimmer.
  • Produces more comfortable lighting.
  • Can be installed on a line voltage system with a transformer.
Shopping tip:
  • Most manufacturers begin model numbers for track components with the system it's applicable to. For the example to the left, the model number begins with a H because it is designed for H-Track systems. Each manufacturer is different, though, so check the specficiations sheets for exact details.

Additional Steps
Track Pendant

Choose a Track Pendant

Track pendants give you the ability to add more aesthetic appealing fixtures to your track system. When combined with track heads, you get a functional system that not only provides light where you want in your home but also looks great while doing so. Ultimaley, though, you need to decide if a pendant is something you want for your track application.

Choose a Power Feed

A requirement for all track systems, power feeds for track lighting can be mounted on the surface or be installed remotely.
  • Surface mounted power feeds typically have the transformer integrated into the ceiling canopy.
  • Remote power feeds have the transformer installed away from the installation source.

Choose Track Section(s)

Now that your track system, track fixture and power source has been selected; your next decision is the length of track section you want or need.
  • Track sections typically come in 2', 4', 6' and 8' lengths.
  • Track sections can be cut in the field.
  • Rated for indoor use only.

Choose Track Connectors

The great thing about track systems is that you are able to shape the track how you want on the ceiling. Track connectors play a large role for this to happen. Below are different connectors and their use.
  • Live end connector: Use for direct wiring through the ceiling. A canopy plate is required when using with a standard junction box.
  • "I" Connector: Use to join two sections of track with electrical continuity.
  • "I" Dead End Connector: Use to join two sections of track without electrical continuity.
  • "T" Connector: Use to join three sections of track, power feedable on "H" and "J" systems only.
  • "X" Connector: Use to join four sections of track, power feedable on "H" and "J" systems only.
  • "L" Connector: Use to join two track sections to make power feedable 90 degree polarity turns.
  • "R" Connector: Use to join two track sections to make power feedable 90 degree polarity turns.
  • Live End Connector: Use for direct wiring through ceiling. A canopy plate is required when using with a standard junction box.
  • Live End BX Connector: Use with surface mounted BX or non-metallic sheathed cable. Also provides through the ceiling connection.
  • End Caps: Use to terminate system current.

Choose Track Accessories

Once you are done choosing the components required for a track system, you can begin shopping for track accessories that will make the system unique and your own.
  • Barn doors - help control the glare.
  • Color lens - change the color of light with a track head lens.
  • Suspension rods - suspend the track from the ceiling using different length suspension rods.
  • Fixture extension rods - extend the length of track head stems using different length extension rods.
  • Cross louver - sheilds lamp and controls spill light and glare.

Track Lighting Kits

Despite us giving you all of the steps and components you need to make your own track system, you could still feel like you don't want to put all of that together. Don't worry, most manufacturers also make track lighting kits that come with everything you need to install a track system.
  • Track kits are easily more user friendly than installing separate components and fixtures.
  • Most track kits cannot be adjusted or added to.
  • Can be dropped from ceiling using suspension kits or extension rods.

Track Lighting FAQs

  • What track is rated for outdoor use?
    Answer: No track lighting is designed for outdoor use.
  • Can you mix and match track components for different manufacturers?
    Answer: No. Each manufacturer designs track fixtures based on their standards.
  • What's the limit of track fixtures you can have on a system?
    Answer: Rule of thumb is one light per foot of track. However, wattage is going to be the key indicator for what is allowed on a system. Line voltage typically is a maximum of 1900 watts while low voltage has a maximum of 300 watts.

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