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2019 Cost of Installing Downlights

Last updated: 25th Sep 2019

A licensed electrician in Australia will generally charge between $50 – $70 per light for new downlight installation, in addition to any call out fees to attend to your job. The most expensive downlight installation job on ServiceSeeking in 2019 was $110 per downlight. Electricians typically charge $80-$110/hr and usually layer on a charge out fee which can be as much as $150. 

Downlights are quickly becoming one of the most popular lighting choices in the home, providing a sleek, minimalist alternative to traditional hanging fixtures. There’s plenty of advantages to switching to downlights, but it’s important to know the various options and costs involved.

How they work

Unlike a normal light globe fixture that suspends from the ceiling, a downlight is recessed into the ceiling to fit flush against the surface. The installation process requires a hollow opening and attaching a suitable plug to a flexible power cable in the ceiling. When turned on, a downlight casts a narrow beam that looks as though it is shining out of the ceiling.

Types of light bulbs

Often, the question isn’t whether to install downlights, but what type to install. You have a choice of several types of light bulbs – but don’t assume that low voltage equals energy efficiency when making your decision. Low voltage downlights require a transformer to reduce 240 volt electricity to a safe 12 volts. We recommend GU-10 bulbs, as they are a low voltage option that can be used without a transformer and therefore less energy.


  • Most energy efficient (80% more efficient than halogen)
  • Longest lifetime (25 000 hours)
  • Mix of dimmable and non-dimmable options

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

  • Energy saving (75% more efficient than halogen)
  • Long lifetime (8-15 000 hours)
  • Non-dimmable
  • Variety of colours (warm white to cool white)


  • Less energy efficient than CFL & LED
  • Crisp, clear light
  • Short lifetime (2000 hours)


  • Old globe technology
  • Least efficient globe on the market
  • Short lifetime (750-1000 hours)


Pros & Cons of Downlights

Pros Cons
  • Can cover up imperfections in the ceilings
  • Easy to install
  • Good for area were directional light is required – kitchen counters or shower stall.
  • Flush, minimalist look with no fixtures visible
  • Perfect lighting choice for low ceilings, create more space in the room and reduce changes of tall people hitting their head
  • Can partly light a room
  • Sealed units are waterproof
  • Cast light in a small area
  • Multiple lights required to cover a room
  • If not correctly installed or maintained, the they can set fire to insulation, wiring, leaf litter or timber which can burn undetected in the roof space above smoke alarms

Cost of Downlight Installation

Install down light (swap from existing down light) $35-$50 per downlight 5-20 mins per light
Install new down lights $50-$70 per downlight 2-3 hours per room of down lights

From a Real Customer

Pete from NSW paid $450 for an electrician to wire up 10 Clipsal TPDL downlights. The downlights were already installed in the ceiling. The job also included installation of 2 ceiling fans (and tea + coffee!).

Safety Measures

The Department of Fire and Emergency services recommends the following safety measures to ensure your downlights are installed and maintained properly.

  • Hire a licensed electrical contractor and ask to see their Electrical Safety Certificate
  • Ask a licensed electrical contractor to inspect all downlights and transformers
  • Ensure a non-combustible or mechanical barrier is installed to prevent insulation or other combustible material covering downlights
  • Always use fittings and guards that meet Australian Standards
  • Following any work in your roof space, request your licensed electrical contractor or insulation installer to inspect all downlights and transformers to ensure they are clear of insulation or other combustible material
  • Consider replacing 240 volt incandescent globes with compact fluorescent globes that produce less heat
  • Consider replacing 12 volt halogen (dichroic) globes with Light Emitting Diodes (LED) that produce considerably less heat

Get a free, no-obligation quote from downlight installation experts in your local area by posting your job on Take a few minutes to tell us what you need, and we’ll connect you to the right professionals (reviewed by other customers just like you).

Pricing information correct as at 25 September 2019.

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