When it comes to lighting fixtures, people prove time and again that creativity knows no bounds. We've seen people use half globes (yes, the kind with maps on them!), bird cages, and even hats as their lighting fixtures.

But while creativity is often desired in homes and certain types of businesses, most of the commercial and industrial world is focused on practical lighting to ensure safety and effective work. To this end, commercial and industrial lighting fixtures may not inspire artistic design awards, but they help to maximize the effective use of light bulbs. Let's take a look at some of the fixtures available:

Recessed Cans or Canisters
Used in both homes and offices, recessed cans or canisters are the fixtures needed for recessed lighting. They come designed for use in new construction or for retrofit projects, as well as for insulated or non-insulated ceilings. While traditional light bulbs and CFLs can be used in them, these may not emit light in the intended way from a can -- light (lumens) are often lost in the canister and not projected downward. Generally reflector bulbs (R, BR, and PAR) are used in cans, as these reflect light down into the intended area by design.

These fixtures are used for installing linear fluorescent or LED bulbs. They are rectangular, ranging from 1x4 to 2x4 feet and fit directly into modular ceilings, usually recessed above the ceiling. Since fluorescent bulbs radiate light in all directions (including toward the troffer rather than toward the work area), the surface of the troffer behind the bulbs helps to reflect some of the light back toward the work area. The troffer typically also has some sort of acrylic or parabolic lens in front of the bulbs to help diffuse the light and minimize glare.

Canopy Fixtures
Useful both indoors and out, canopy lighting fixtures are used in enclosed entryways, covered walkways, and other areas that need general overhead lighting on ceilings just one floor in height that aren't suited to lighting troffers or recessed lights. The canopies cover the lighting boxes, which you wouldn't want to leave visible for aesthetic reasons. They are frequently used in stairwells and loading docks, though you'll also see them in places like parking garages and gas stations.

Industrial Fixtures or Strip Fixtures
Although people may refer to an industrial fixture as any fixture found in an industrial setting, the term is typically reserved for long strip fixtures used for fluorescent or LED tubes. Although similar to lighting troffers in terms of holding light bulbs and directing the light toward a work surface, strip fixtures are not set into modular ceilings, but instead hung in factory or work floor settings. They can also be much longer than standard troffers, holding light bulbs up to eight feet long.

High Bay Fixtures
Factories or warehouses often have very high ceilings that require powerful light bulbs to properly light a work area. These bulbs need special fixtures called high bay fixtures. These generally support high intensity discharge or HID bulbs and T5 fluorescent lamps, though these are now being replaced in many settings with far more efficient LED bulbs.

Other Commercial Lighting Fixtures
We've summarized many of the general lighting categories for commercial settings here, though of course there are special application fixtures, exit sign and emergency lighting fixtures, and even fixtures for the common A19 style bulb being replaced these days by LED bulbs and CFLs, which might be used in offices.

We hope this gives you a good overview of the basic categories of commercial lighting fixtures. If you have questions about your own commercial lighting needs, our friendly lighting experts are here to help when you call 877.231.2852.