Recessed Downlight Standard

Posted by Benjamin

Recessed Downlights Insitu

Downlight classifications are tricky and we want you to be able to understand how to pick the right downlights for your home.

By the end of this article you will learn about the NZ standards and which type of LED downlight you will want for your build.

Downlight with Insulation

The current standard (AS/NZS 60598.2.2) takes both the downlight and the insulation into account and gives 5 classifications that must be printed on downlights. These are IC, IC-F, CA80, CA135 and Non-IC.

Since the standard was introduced the market has changed a lot, and customers have embraced the need to have good coverage of insulation across their home, to do this you will need IC and IC-F downlights across your whole home.

Coverable Downlights

IC Symbol

Recessed Luminaires that have the IC-F rating can have insulation abutted to and/or covering them. These downlights are also sealed so insulation cannot get into the fitting.

Zela Deep Tilt Cevon Dark Art E-light Wide Beam

IC Symbol

Recessed Luminaires that have the IC rating can have insulation up to the sides and covering them. Many Downlights comply with this classification and it is a good standard to use for your build.

Luna Round Tilt Luna Square Tilt Solaris Twin Downlight

Non-Coverable Downlights

CA80 Symbol CA135 Symbol

Fittings with a CA80 or CA135 rating may have insulation abutted to the sides of the fixture, but may not have insulation covering the downlight. It has become uncommon to use CA80 or CA135 downlights as they can allow heat to escape through gaps left in the insulation above them.

Recessed Downlights High-Lighting Wall behind a Reception with a pendant hanging over the left of the counter

Commercial Use Only Dowlights

non-IC Symbol

Downlights that have the Non-IC rating cannot be installed near insulation so they cannot be used in residential applications. Any luminaire that is unmarked is also considered to be Non-IC.


It is important to note that some Drivers and Transformers must be mounted on top of the insulation. If you are intending to cover the drivers that come with your downlights then you can always ask for installation instructions on these downlights, this may save a lot of headaches.

Downlight manufacturers are now requiring that the insulation that can abut to or cover their lights comply to a zero ignitability standard. Before using recessed lights please ensure your builder and/or insulater are aware that this is a requirement.

Ready to Shop?

Now you have all the right information, you might want to look at some of our ranges - you can see all of our recessed downlights here. You might even want to take the time to browse through our range of Deisgner downlights that include modern designer finishes, slim trimlines and high end specifications.

If you need our help selecting the right downlight we have a great display of our products with working samples so you can see the differences in our showroom, feel free to give us a call or come in to see the ranges. - Contact The Lighting Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is an IC-F Rated fitting also Fire-Rated?

A. No, IC-F is not to be confused with a Fire-Rating, this also fits into a different standard. We do have fire-rated downlights on our website here - Fire Rated Downlights

Q. Can I mount a coverable (IC or IC-F) Downlight directly up to timber?

A. It is a common misconception that IC and IC-F ratings mean that a downlight can abut timber. Whilst many can, some still have minimum clearances to timber or other building elements. Check the each products specifications for details of the clearance you need between a fixture and combustible elements.

Q. If I select an IC or IC-F downlight can I install the driver under the insulation?

A. Many Drivers are now able to be installed under the insulation, but this is specific to the product and nothing to do with the rating on the fitting. Its always important to double-check this before selecting your downlights.