We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Track Lighting?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Track lighting is an alternative to traditional wired lamps and fixed recessed lighting designs. Most systems use a length of exposed electrical wiring hidden inside a plastic or aluminum track, which can be wired directly into pre-existing circuits or plugged into wall sockets for power. After the track has been mounted to the wall or ceiling, a separate lamp and socket assembly can be snapped into place anywhere along the track itself. Metal plates in the socket make contact with the charged wiring in the track, which in turn activates the lightbulb.

This type of lighting is very useful in situations where traditional lighting is problematic. It can be very effective for isolating a work of art or other prominent design element. Several pinspot lamps can be installed in a single track and pointed in any number of directions. Traditional spotlights may take up valuable space on a mantle or table, and the backlighting effect from below is often unpleasant. Track lighting allows floodlights and spotlights to be hung unobtrusively from the ceiling or upper walls.

Some home renovators also find lighting solutions for older homes to be tricky, and instead of trying to install new wiring in an old ceiling, decorators can use surface-mounted track lighting instead. Manufacturers offer a number of decorative lamps and extensions designed to work with track bases. The main trick when working with this type of system is to know which of three basic track models have been installed. This information should be listed somewhere in the instruction manual included with the lamps and track. Some systems use a two-wire connector, while others use a three-wire grounded system or a wider two-wire connection. Lamps and extenders designed for one type of track will not fit any other design.

Another important consideration is the wiring method used. Some systems use the standard line voltage of 120 volts to power high-wattage bulbs, while others have a low-voltage system that uses a transformer to reduce the current from 120 volts to around 12 volts. The two systems should never be confused — a low-voltage bulb placed in a line voltage system could cause a serious electrical fire. Most decorative lighting designs, such as pinspots, use low-voltage systems, but functional ones may use 120 volt house current and 75 watt lightbulbs. The transformer for a low-voltage track lighting system may or may not be apparent, so it's always safest for homeowners to replace blown lightbulbs with those with identical wattage and purpose.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By letshearit — On Jul 26, 2011

Has anyone ever tried to install track lighting on their own? Did you find it difficult or run into any snags doing your project?

I am considering track lighting to add a little extra something to our living room and would love to undertake the project myself. I am already able to hook up the wiring for a regular light, so hopefully installing track lighting isn't much different.

Also, when thinking about costs, do you find track lighting more expensive than putting in pot lights? Or is the cost about the same?

Right now it seems like track lighting would be less work than pot lights, but I am willing to reconsider if one is cheaper.

By wander — On Jul 25, 2011

Track lighting is a great thing to install if you want to show off some art work in your home. It can really give your place a true gallery feel.

For our home we had a professional come in to install all of our track lighting, but I imagine it could be a fairly easy do-it-yourself project if you knew a bit about wiring.

Getting track lighting can really brighten up your home, but make sure you figure out which bulbs are best for what you are showcasing. In our case we found fluorescent bulbs weren't flattering for our art pieces so we ended up switching to regular old light bulbs.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.