The Best Pendant Lights of 2022

Brighten your space and create a visual impact with one of these stylish and functional pendant lights.

By Savannah Sher | Updated Oct 29, 2021 6:01 AM

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The Best Pendant Light Options

Photo: amazon.com

Pendant lights come in many shapes and styles and add either ambient or task lighting in any room of your home. Any lighting fixture that hangs from your ceiling using a rod, chain, or cord is considered a pendant light, with the style encompassing simple dome lighting, traditional chandeliers, and modern geometric lighting installations.

Read on to learn more about these decorative—and functional—home accessories and how to choose the best pendant lights for your space.

  1. BEST OVERALL: AllModern 1-Light Single Drum Pendant
  2. BEST BUDGET: Hampton Bay 1-Light Brushed Nickel Warehouse Pendant
  3. BEST FOR KITCHEN ISLAND: Globe Electric Nate 4-Light Pendant
  4. BEST FOR ENTRYWAY: Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Carmen Chandelier
  5. BEST FOR BEDROOM: Andover Mills Paquette Shaded Drum Chandelier
  6. BEST FOR BATHROOM: LINEA-LIGHTING Primo Large Glass Globe Pendant Light
  7. BEST FOR LIVING ROOM: Mercer41 Dycus 6 Light Sputnik Modern Chandelier
  8. BEST FOR DINING ROOM: Birch Lane Snellville Kitchen Island Linear Pendant
The Best Pendant Light Options

Photo: amazon.com

Pendant lights come in a variety of styles with unique aesthetic and practical effects.

Drum Pendants

Drum pendants get their name from their drum-like shape and construction. They typically feature a fabric shade stretched over a metal frame and can have either open or closed bottoms. Drum pendants with dark shades will create a moodier ambiance while lighter shades provide more brightness. Glass and metal pendants can also be constructed in a drum shape.

Globe Pendants

Globe pendants have a spherical shape. They are often made of clear glass, providing a bright option that works well in kitchens with recessed lighting. Their orb-like design also fits well with mid-century modern decor styles. They are well-suited for bathrooms or placement above kitchen islands because they provide optimal and direct light dispersal.

Lantern Pendants

Lantern pendants are shaped like traditional street lamps, some combining metal frames with multiple panes of glass. They can also be configured without glass panes with the bulbs fully exposed. They are well suited for entryways and hallways though the design is also popular in farmhouse-style kitchens.

Shade Pendants

Shade pendant lights use lampshades of various materials for a stylistic effect. Depending on the material used, they can diffuse lighting to produce a different illumination effect. Additionally, shades that feature unique colors or textures can create a striking visual impact.

Exposed Bulb Pendants

Exposed bulb pendants have become increasingly popular in recent years. They provide plenty of light because the light bulbs are entirely exposed rather than covered by a shade. They can come in various shapes, materials, and styles. They pair well with stylized light bulbs like Edison bulbs rather than coiled LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

Linear Pendants

Linear pendants feature multiple lights hung on a single rod. They typically have metal or wooden frames and can feature a variety of shade styles. They are often used to provide light over a dining table or a kitchen island.

Multi-Light Pendants

Multi-light pendants feature an arrangement of numerous lights. They can be sold as such or created as a DIY project by combining various single fixtures into one lighting installation. Multi-light pendants work well in dining rooms, over kitchen islands, and as a visual centerpiece in living rooms.

Mini Pendants

Mini pendants are smaller versions of traditional pendant lights and can come in many shapes, materials, and colors. They can be clustered together for a multi-pendant effect or used alone to highlight a specific area like a reading nook. They are also well suited to being hung above bedside tables.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pendant Lights

Before choosing a pendant light, consider these key factors when shopping for the best pendant lights for your home.

Fixture Scale & Height

Your room’s size and decor style will dictate the best kind of pendant light for the area. More spacious rooms call for larger light fixtures while smaller fixtures are better suited to cozier spaces.

One rule of thumb that designers use when choosing the size of a pendant light is to add up the dimensions of your room and then convert them to inches to find the ideal diameter for a lighting fixture. So if, for example, your room measures 12 feet by 12 feet, your pendant light should have a diameter of 24 inches.

In terms of height, the bottom of a pendant light should hang between 60 and 66 inches from the floor or between 30 and 36 inches from a table or a countertop. If you require a longer cord, pendant light extension cords are also available for purchase.

Ambient vs. Task Lighting

When shopping for a light fixture, consider whether you’d like to have ambient lighting or task lighting.

  • Ambient lighting (or general lighting) refers to lights that brighten an entire room. It should provide even illumination to your space and is typically provided by a ceiling-mounted light. Fixtures with translucent shades provide better ambient lighting.
  • Task lighting illuminates a specific area of a room to provide light for a particular task. Task lighting can be installed over workspaces like kitchen islands and desks as well as in reading nooks and over bedside tables. Fixtures with darker or opaque shades that project light downwards are typically used for task lighting.

Bulb Type & Brightness

Most lighting fixtures on the market are compatible with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescents (CFLs), saving energy and requiring you to replace your bulbs less frequently than when using standard incandescent bulbs.

LED and CFL bulbs use lower wattages to produce the same level of brightness. So while a light fixture may have a maximum wattage per bulb of 60 watts, using an LED or CFL bulb will allow for a brighter effect while still meeting the manufacturer’s requirements.

Because the bulbs of pendant lights are often exposed, specific lamp types are sometimes required that may be more difficult to find. When considering a hanging fixture that requires large clear bulbs or candle-style lamps, ensure these bulbs are readily available.

Style and Finish

The way a given material is finished and details included in the light, like hanging ornaments, contribute to the fixture’s decor style. Vintage or rustic lights may be painted to look tarnished with age, while contemporary and mid-century modern pendants often have a clean matte painted or glossy metal finish. Glass pendant lights suit many different decor styles and provide lots of light. They are versatile and you can use them in most spaces.

You may want to opt for a decor type in keeping with the room style for consistency, or choose a contrasting piece to make a statement. If you prefer to match the lights with surrounding decor, consider the room’s color theme and the space’s focal points, furniture, and accent pieces you’ll want to complement.

Additional Features

Some pendant lights come equipped with extra features.

  • Fixtures that are compatible with dimmer switches allow you to control the lighting in your room.
  • Fixtures that come equipped with lightbulbs save you from having to purchase them separately.
  • Pendants with adjustable heights allow you to install the light to your ideal specifications.

Installation

Most pendant lights on the market require electrical installation. Though you can install them without a professional’s help, those who are inexperienced with electrical work may prefer to hire an electrician.

Plug-in pendant lights, however, don’t require electrical installation and can simply be plugged into an outlet and hung from a hook in the ceiling. They are ideal for renters and those who don’t want to attempt electrical work.

There are plenty of DIY tutorials available to help you get creative when hanging your pendant light.

Best Pendant Lights

Photo: amazon.com

Our Top Picks

Armed with this information about pendant lights, it’s time to start shopping. Our top picks consider all of the features above, including size, style, finish, and brightness. This list offers a variety of top-notch pendant lights to suit every space of a home.

Best Overall

The Best Pendant Light Option: AllModern 1-Light Single Drum Pendant
Photo: wayfair.com

This clear glass drum pendant is a versatile pick that would complement most spaces in any home. It would work well as a single fixture in a bathroom, an entryway, or a hallway, though you could also install them in a group of three or more to display over dining tables or kitchen islands. The base has a brass finish, while the translucent glass shade provides optimum light distribution.

It has an adjustable height, with a minimum total height of 12 inches and a maximum total height of 108 inches. This single pendant light has a diameter of 10 inches. An LED Edison-style bulb is included with the light, and it’s compatible with standard E-26 bulbs of up to 60 watts. Finally, this fixture is dimmable so you can set the mood for different occasions.

Product Specs

  • Type: Drum/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: Single E-26 light bulb up to 60 watts
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable between 12 inches and 108 inches

Pros

  • Compatible with slanted ceilings
  • Dimmable
  • LED light bulb included
  • Multiple finishes available

Cons

  • Requires assembly

Best Budget

The Best Pendant Light Option: Hampton Bay 1-Light Brushed Nickel Warehouse Pendant
Photo: homedepot.com

This affordable warehouse-style pendant light from Hampton Bay has a brushed nickel finish, lending to a vintage or industrial look. Because of the dark, opaque canopy, it’s better suited for spaces that don’t require bright light output like dining rooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. The shade’s interior is painted white for improved light distribution.

It has an adjustable hanging length of up to 78 inches, meaning it can be adjusted to an appropriate height for almost any space. The canopy has a width of 16 inches. It uses a 100-watt E-26 light bulb, which is not included, but you can also use an LED or CFL equivalent bulb. Hardware is included to aid in an easy installation.

Product Specs

  • Type: Shade pendant
  • Bulbs: Single 100-watt E-26 light bulb
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable up to 78 inches

Pros

  • Suitable for ambient lighting
  • Compatible with LED and CFL bulbs
  • Comes in multiple finishes
  • Includes hardware for installation

Cons

  • Not a good choice for brightness
  • Bulb not included

Best for Kitchen Island

The Best Pendant Light Option: Globe Electric 65382 Nate 4-Light Pendant
Photo: amazon.com

While many people opt to hang multiple individual pendant lights over their kitchen islands, this linear light by Globe Electric achieves a similar effect in a single fixture. It features four lights with glass shades and an oil-rubbed bronze frame and canopy. The look is inspired by turn-of-the-century factory lighting, which gives this pendant a vintage aesthetic.

Since the shades are made from translucent glass, and the bulbs are exposed, this fixture provides ideal task lighting to aid in kitchen tasks while creating an ambient effect. It has an adjustable height with a minimum hanging height of 25 inches and a maximum hanging height of 45 inches.

The total width of the fixture is 43.25 inches. It requires four E-26 60-watt bulbs, is fully dimmable with a compatible dimmer switch, and can be installed on sloped or vaulted ceilings. For an easy installation, mounting hardware is included.

Product Specs

  • Type: Linear/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: 4 E-26 60-watt bulbs
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable between 25 inches and 45 inches

Pros

  • Suitable for task lighting
  • Dimmable
  • Includes mounting hardware
  • Compatible with slanted ceilings
  • Available in multiple finishes

Cons

  • Only compatible with E-26 60-watt bulbs

Best for Entryway

The Best Pendant Light Option: Carmen 8 Light Lantern Geometric Chandelier
Photo: wayfair.com

An entryway provides a great opportunity to greet guests with a statement-making fixture, setting the tone for the decor to be found in the rest of a home. Chandeliers have traditionally been popular in foyers, and this geometric-shaped lantern-style pendant serves as a modern iteration of that trend. It comes in five different finishes: black, polished chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, and antique silver leaf, offering a style to suit every home.

The fixture features eight lights and is compatible with 60-watt E-12 candelabra bulbs. It features an adjustable chain, providing a minimum height of 29.5 inches and a maximum height of 122 inches, making it suitable for even two-story entryways. The fixture itself has a height of 29.5 inches, a width of 19 inches and a depth of 19 inches.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lantern/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: 8 60-watt E-12 candelabra bulbs
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable between 29.5 inches and 122 inches

Pros

  • Unique geometric design
  • Provides ample light
  • Dimmable
  • Multiple finishes available

Cons

  • Bulbs not included

Best for Bedroom

Best Pendant Lights Option: Andover Mills Paquette Shaded Drum Chandelier
Photo: wayfair.com

Bedrooms are one space in a home where dimmer lighting is often desirable. This drum shade pendant light from Andover Mills has a light shade that directs the light downward, making it a perfect choice for suspending over a bedside table for ambient evening lighting. It would also work well over a dining table or in a den.

This pendant has a minimum height of 17 inches and a maximum hanging height of 53 inches. It takes standard E-26 bulbs with a wattage of 60. Plus, it comes with a downrod.

Product Specs

  • Type: Drum/shade pendant
  • Bulbs: 4 60-watt E-26 bulbs
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable between 17 inches and 53 inches

Pros

  • Shaded lamp ideal for ambient lighting
  • Dimmable
  • Sloped ceiling compatible
  • Two finish options

Cons

  • Only works with 60-watt E-26 bulbs
  • No bulbs included

Best for Bathroom

The Best Pendant Light Option: Primo Large Glass Globe Pendant Light
Photo: amazon.com

Clear, bright light is typically sought after for bathrooms and powder rooms, making this glass globe pendant from Linea Lighting a perfect pick. It comes with either brushed nickel, polished chrome, or antique brass hardware so you can coordinate with your existing bathroom fixtures. The glass shade comes in either a clear translucent finish or a frosted white finish. Depending on the finish chosen, it can suit either a traditional or a more contemporary decor.

It has a minimum height of 14 inches, a maximum hanging height of 100 inches, and a diameter of 8 inches. It’s compatible with 60-watt E-26 bulbs. This pendant is fully dimmable.

Product Specs

  • Type: Globe/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: Single 60-watt E-26 light bulb
  • Hanging Height: Adjusts between 14 inches and 100 inches

Pros

  • Affordable fixture
  • Provides ample light for bathrooms and powder rooms
  • Dimmable
  • Compatible with LED, CFL, and Halogen bulbs
  • Multiple finishes available

Cons

  • Requires hardwiring
  • No bulbs included

Best for Living Room

The Best Pendant Light Option: Dycus 6 Light Sputnik Modern Linear Chandelier
Photo: wayfair.com

An injection of personality and style can be added to a living room with this striking pendant light from Mercer41. This unique linear chandelier is dimmable and acts as a statement piece in any room with its modern lines and angular construction. Its dramatic, glamorous style and antique brass finish would also be well-suited to a dining room or an entryway.

The pendant has an adjustable hanging length with a minimum height of 27.8 inches and a maximum height of 47.8 inches. It takes 60-watt E-26 bulbs and is meant to be paired with clear, oversized bulbs to achieve the intended effect.

Product Specs

  • Type: Linear/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: 6 60-watt E-26 bulbs
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable between 27.8 inches and 47.8 inches

Pros

  • Unique angular design
  • Works as a modern statement piece
  • Sloped ceiling compatible
  • Dimmable

Cons

  • Only works with 60-watt E-26 bulbs
  • Bulbs not included
  • Requires hardwiring

Best for Dining Room

Best Pendant Lights Option: Birch Lane Snellville Kitchen Island Linear Pendant
Photo: wayfair.com

This structural linear pendant light from Birch Lane features five candle-style lights for a contemporary chandelier-like aesthetic. The vintage gold-tone finish can give either a traditional or modern appearance, depending on the rest of the room’s decor. While this light makes for a great addition to a dining room, it would also work well over a kitchen island.

It has a maximum hanging height of 92 inches, a height of 20 inches, a width of 40 inches, and a depth of 12 inches. It is dimmable and uses five 60-watt E-12 candelabra light bulbs.

Product Specs

  • Type: Linear/exposed bulb pendant
  • Bulbs: 5 60-watt E-12 candelabra light bulbs
  • Hanging Height: Adjustable up to 92 inches

Pros

  • Works with a variety of decor styles
  • Compatible with sloped ceilings
  • Dimmable
  • Comes in multiple finishes

Cons

  • Requires hardwiring
  • Not meant for small living spaces

Our Verdict

Selected for its versatile drum pendant design, dimmable feature, and adjustable height, the AllModern pendant light is our first pick. With a clear glass drum style, this pick provides ample light coverage and can be installed on a sloped ceiling.

If you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, the Hampton Bay pendant light is a worthy alternative. This versatile fixture provides nice ambient lighting, with a nickel finish and profile that matches a variety of decor styles.

How We Chose the Best Pendant Lights 

The right pendant fixture can add a touch of class to your space and provides a unique ambiance during dinner parties, late nights, or working days. Selections for the best pendant lighting depended upon ease of installation, adjustability, and number of bulb sockets.

Each of the above lighting fixtures comes with easy to moderate installation with some picks requiring hardwiring. In these cases, professional help may be necessary during installation. Adjustability is also prioritized in these picks as many are compatible with sloped ceilings, dimmable, height adjustable, and some are also compatible with multiple types of light bulbs.

Though some of these pendant lights come with only one bulb socket, others are made with up to 8 for ample light coverage. With that in mind, these light fixtures come with unique design styles and/or multiple colorways to match your home’s current fixtures.

FAQs 

If you still have questions about pendant lights, the following commonly asked questions may help.

Q: Do pendant lights provide enough light?

Depending on the style of pendant light you choose, it can provide enough light for use in a living room or dining room. In spaces that need lots of bright light, like a kitchen, you may need to consider additional lighting.

Q: How many pendant lights do I need for a kitchen island?

The size of your island and the diameter of each fixture dictates how many lights you should hang. The general rule is to have at least 2 feet (24 inches) of distance between each fixture. Many designers favor three pendants over two or four to achieve a balanced look.

Q: How high off the counter should pendant lights hang? 

Pendant lights should be hung so that the bottom of the light fixture is between 30 and 36 inches above your kitchen island.

Q: How do you hang pendant lights? 

It’s important to turn off your electricity and follow best practices for safety when hanging any light fixture. Make sure you turn off the electricity first. Then install the mounting hardware that came with your purchase. Adjust the cord’s length to the desired height and then attach the electrical wires to the wires of the corresponding color in the electrical box. Finally, attach the cover and shade.