August 9, 2021

Field-Selectable Lighting Fixtures Demystified

Image of field selectable lighting fixtures on Bay Lighting's Maryland commercial lighting website

What are Field-Selectable Fixtures?

Field-selectable or field-adjustable fixtures are lighting products that use LED technology to allow users to customize color temperature and lumen output. Lights can range from warm to natural to cool according to preference or to enhance a commercial environment. Different correlated color temperatures (CCTs) are more suitable for different spaces. CCT is measured in Kelvin (K). Temperatures on the Kelvin scale represent various colors of light. LED technology offers near-limitless options when it comes to choosing a CCT, making field-selectable fixtures an ideal choice in those situations when color temperature is uncertain or could change. Spending a little bit more will eliminate “getting stuck” with the wrong color temperature.

Why Should You Use Them?

All commercial spaces are affected by lighting. Some require clear, natural light for safety and optimal visibility. Others benefit from warmer lighting that influences ambience. When you select your fixtures, your lighting specialist can help you choose a certain CCT but there are instances where having flexibility is best. Here are a few scenarios:

  • Contractors – With field selectable fixtures contractors are able to turn around product quickly for their customer by having materials on hand that can be applicable to many situations with no compromise to the customer.
  • Property Managers – Tenant A might require 3500K for their profession and when their lease is up and tenant B moves in, they might require 5000K to perform their job. With field-selectable lighting, no new products are needed and the setting simply needs to be changed accordingly.
  • Business Owners – Some people are impacted by lights differently than others. Certain lighting can cause headaches or work interruptions. As a business owner or manager, you want to be attentive to employee needs and being able to easily change the lighting for the affected person to enhance performance is a win.

With adjustable fixtures, before installation the switch will be set to the desired CCT. It can be adjusted later should your lighting needs change. The following are some benefits associated with choosing field-selectable fixtures for your commercial space.

Benefits of Field-Selectable Fixtures

1. Flexibility

Lumen output and color temperature in commercial downlights can be changed with the flick of a switch. This allows for flexibility when it comes to customizing multiple areas with one fixture. You may change your mind about the type of lighting you’d like in your commercial space after installation. With field-selectable fixtures, that isn’t a problem. For example, RAB’s recessed fixtures offer customizable lumen output and color temperature and are available in multiple sizes. They also offer 90+ color rendering index (CRI) and can be dimmed down to 5%, making them highly flexible. These fixtures are becoming more popular and promoting products with flexibility is important to adapting to the situation at hand. A qualified professional can help you choose the right fixtures for your space.

2. Energy- and Cost-Efficiency

Field-selectable fixtures offer a range of options regarding wattage and lumen output. This means that the brightness can be determined at the time of installation by changing the lumens. RAB’s Swish FA Center Basket fixtures, for instance, offer up to 62% energy savings combined with reduced maintenance costs and have 50,00-hour lifespan. They are also made with die-formed, 20-guage, cold-rolled steel with 91% reflectance and a powder-coated white finish, meaning they are durable and less likely to crack. This is key for any business that wants to stick to a budget.

3. Customizability

Studies show that light can have a visceral effect on people’s moods, perception, and ability to focus. The various CCTs of light can encourage certain positive feelings and make customers and employees feel more at ease. For example, you might want to choose a warmer color temperature (1800-2700K) if you operate a sit-down restaurant and want to create a welcoming atmosphere. A retail environment might benefit more from a cooler CCT between 2700-4000K so that customers can see products and other objects clearly. Selectable lighting fixtures allow for flexibility should you want to adjust your CCT in the future. They also ensure that employees who are negatively affected by lighting can be accommodated easily. Fixtures can be adjusted after installation with the assistance of a professional.

For example, RAB’s EZPAN Recessed Downlights are ideal for commercial properties like offices and classrooms where lighting needs often vary from room to room. EZPAN downlights offer a frosted polystyrene lens that distributes glare-free diffuse ambient light. Lights must be adjusted with the assistance of a lighting professional, which ensures individual users cannot change light levels to the point of causing issues.

4. Ease of Installation

For contractors that buy in bulk, field-selectable features are a cost-efficient option. Fixtures do not require a lot of storage space and can easily be adjusted based on varying lumen output and color temperature preferences. Customers do not need to know the color temperature or wattage they want in advance, making for a more streamlined installation process with a better result. On-site CCT adjustability enables contractors to make the most efficient use of time that might otherwise be spent trying to manipulate lighting to reach the desired level.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Them?

In most cases, flexibility is a good thing. It enables property owners to adjust based on potential changes to their lighting needs. However, some people know exactly what CCT and lumen output they want in their space and there’s no risk of changes in the near future. In this case, field-adjustable light fixtures probably aren’t necessary.

Bay Lighting’s 3 Pillars

At Bay Lighting, our priority is providing clients with flexible options and achieving their unique lighting goals. Field-adjustable fixtures enable our technicians to pinpoint the specific lumen output and CCT that each customer needs to enhance their commercial property which is our top priority. If lights appear to cool or warm, too natural or bright, they can easily be adjusted. As with all of our installation projects, we apply the principles of our 3 Pillars to our field-adjustable lighting projects.

Pillar 1 – Optimal Lighting

We choose and install light fixtures that will provide ideal, quality lighting for all of our commercial clients. Our technicians conduct on-site assessments to determine the best options for the space regarding safety as well as atmosphere. 

Pillar 2 – Energy Efficiency

At Bay Lighting, we offer a collaborative lighting installation process in which our clients’ ideas and goals are prioritized. For many commercial property owners, improving energy efficiency is important. After optimal lighting needs are identified, we can help choose fixtures with top energy savings. Adjustable wattage can help decrease energy use overall. 

Pillar 3 – Reduced Maintenance

Field-adjustable fixtures do not have to be removed and reinstalled in order to make changes to CCT and lumen output. This is a major benefit for commercial property owners and contractors. We provide flexible fixture options that make adjusting for changing lighting needs easy.


In general, field-adjustable lighting fixtures tend to cost a bit more. However, costs associated with choosing the wrong product and having it installed only to find that the brightness or output is wrong can be much greater. With lighting, it is critical that you choose the very best products to create a safe, productive atmosphere. In many scenarios, field-adjustable lighting is well worth the investment for the many benefits it offers.

Contact Us

If you are interested in partnering with a commercial lighting service, contact Bay Lighting. As a commercial lighting distributor, we offer quality products and reliable services, including product selection of field-selectable fixtures at your property in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Call 301-858-9494 to get started.

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