Types of Track Lighting: What You Need to Know


Track lighting is worth considering if you’re in the market for a new light fixture. But with so many different types of track lighting available, it can be tricky to figure out which option is right for you. This article will explore the different types of track lighting available and help you understand which one is best for your home.

What is Track Lighting?

Track lighting kits provide power to light fixtures using a ceiling-mounted track or rail system. The fixtures, typically called heads, can be positioned anywhere along the track, allowing for more versatile placement options.

We often use track lighting in retail settings to highlight merchandise, in restaurants to accentuate certain areas or features, and in homes to provide task lighting or general illumination.

While track lighting was once only available in metal finishes, today, you can find a wide range of styles to suit any decor. Whether looking for a modern industrial look or a more traditional style, track lighting can help you achieve the perfect illumination for your entire space.

Controlled track spotlight on rail systems

Controlled track spotlight on rail systems

Types of Track Lighting

When it comes to tracking lighting, there are three main types that you’ll find on the market today: H-type, J-type, and L-type. Each has unique benefits that make it a great choice for your home or business.

H-type track lighting

H-type track lighting is popular for accent, ambient, and general lighting. The track is identified by the three wires running through its center, and many accessories are obtainable to tailor your installation. Among the styles available for purchase are conical, gimbal rings, and cylinder heads. In addition to these styles of heads, power feeds, track adapters, dead-end caps, and other attachments you will need for installation purposes.

J-type track lighting

The J-type track lighting is a great way to light up a room. The single circuit mechanism ensures that the light is evenly distributed across the entire track, and the strip of wire on every side of the track makes it easy to attach the light junction plates. The strips have to be only 1 inch or 15/16 inches apart, so it’s easy to install.

L-type track lighting

L-type track lighting consists of one circuit or monorail track. And it comes in various finishes and sizes, so you can choose what best fits your space. If the distance between each light fixture is 7/8 inch, it is most likely an L-Type track. It is made of high-quality materials and is balanced between aesthetics and efficiency.

Different types of track lighting

Different types of track lighting

Track Type

Track type is an important aspect to consider when designing your electric layout. The two most common types of track are Linear Rail and Flexible Rail. Linear track lighting is a straight track that comes in standard dimensions. This type of track is great for electric layouts that are straight or have simple curves.

Flexible Rail is a custom-formed track that can easily adjust to your desired shape. This track type is great for electric layouts with complex curves that must be customized to fit a specific space. When choosing track type, consider the shape of your electric layout and the level of customization you need. Linear track lights are great choices for simple layouts, while Flexible track lights are great for complex layouts.

 Individual spotlights on a rail

 Individual spotlights on a rail

Types of Track Head

1. Step Head: This type of head works well with any track type and is the most common type that you will find. They are available in various sizes and styles to fit any need.

2. Round Back: These have a modern style and work well with certain track types. They’re ideal for ambient or general lighting and can help to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in a room.

3. Pinhole Heads: These work well in art studios, offices, or other spaces where you need focused light without glare. The light is focused on a small beam, which can be directed at specific areas.

4. Gimbal Heads: This type of head can swivel 360 degrees, making it easy to direct the light where you need it. And it is perfect for task lighting since they operate as adjustable spotlights.

5. Drop-down pendants: The installation requirements are general or ambient lighting. Plus, they are usually suspended from the drop ceiling by a chain or rod. They come in various styles and can add a touch of elegance to any space.

Ceiling light fixture 

Ceiling light fixture 

Track Lighting Bulb Types

Incandescent bulbs are the most common type of light bulb. They’re relatively cheap and easy to find. You can use incandescent bulbs with dimmer switches to create different lighting effects. However, they’re not as energy-efficient as other types of light bulbs.

Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent lamp. They use less energy than traditional lighting and generate less heat. You can use them in standard track lighting because they provide bright, focused light. Yet, they can be pricier than other types of light bulbs.

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs, but they’re more energy-efficient. CFL bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs, typically lasting for thousands of hours. However, CFL bulbs contain mercury, which can be dangerous if the bulb is broken.

LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient type of lighting on the market today. LED bulbs also last long without generating an observable amount of heat. 

Track LED lamp

Track LED lamp

Mercury Bulb-These bulbs contain mercury and produce a high-quality bright illumination. They are more expensive than other track lighting bulbs but have a longer lifespan and brighter illumination.

Track Lighting Connector Types

Geometric Shapes

Depending on your specific needs, they can be X-shape, L-shape, or T-shape. Geometric track lighting connectors are great for connecting to other electrical components and help you create a customized layout.


It is a type of connector that you can adjust to fit the specific needs of your track lighting system. They’re very versatile, and you can use them in various applications.

Connectors That Connect Track Elements

Some connectors connect track elements. These connectors are typically used to create electrical connections between two or more track elements.


These connectors are custom-made to fit your specific needs. If you can’t find a connector that meets your requirements, then a custom connector is the way to go.

Track Lighting Power Options and Tips

High-voltage track lighting design necessities that work with a high-voltage power source, such as a line voltage track system. A straight-line voltage track system consists of a shielded conductor that carries the electrical current to the track lighting fixtures. People usually utilize them in commercial spaces.

You can operate low-voltage track lights in low-voltage configurations, such as 12-volt or 24-volt systems. Low-voltage track systems use separate transformers to convert the line voltage into the low voltage required by the track lighting fixtures.

Illuminating a white wall using a track light

Illuminating a white wall using a track light

Specialty Track Lighting Features

Many track lighting fixtures also include a built-in digital control interface, which allows you to adjust the brightness and intensity of the light. 

Some track lights even have motion sensors, which automatically turn on when someone enters the room. These features can help you create a more flexible and convenient lighting system for your home or office.

Track Lighting Common Options and Considerations

When choosing track lighting, there are a few important factors to consider. The most important consideration is the type of track system you want to use. Most track lighting systems are Global tracks, which means you can use them with various light fixtures.

Another important factor to consider is the location where you will use it. If you need bright, focused illumination for a shop window or high-end store, a sleek and more expensive Verbatim LED track light kit may be the best option. 

Conversely, a chunky and more affordable minimalist design may work better if you look for a cost-effective lighting solution for other areas of your home or business.

Regardless of your lighting needs, there is sure to be a track light option that meets your requirements. So whether you are looking for sleek and modern lighting for your home or a more affordable solution for your business, consider track lighting a viable option.

Race track starting lights 

Race track starting lights 


How Do you Tell What Type Of Track Lighting You Have?

If a track fixture has 3 contacts coming out of it, then you have an H-type track. If the contacts are 1 inch apart, you have a J-type track. And If they are 7/8 inch apart, then you have an L-type track. You can also check the label on your track fixture to see what type of track it is designed for.

Is Track Lighting Or Recessed Lighting Better?

Recessed lighting is generally better than track lighting in most instances, as it is a more subtle and hidden lighting solution. However, track lighting is easier to install and may be more cost-effective in some situations.

Recessed ceiling LED light

Recessed ceiling LED light

Are Track Lighting Fixtures Universal?

No, track lighting fixtures are not universal. Track lighting fixtures are designed with specific tracks, such as J-type, H-type, and L-type track systems.


Track lighting is a versatile and affordable option for your home or office lighting needs. Various track light fixtures are available, so you can find the perfect one to fit your specific requirements.

Additionally, track lighting is easy to install and can be customized to meet your specific needs. So if you’re looking for an affordable, customizable, and easy-to-install lighting solution, track lighting may be the right choice.  

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