Brighten Your Kitchen With Under Cabinet Lighting

If your kitchen feels dark and dreary even with the main overhead lights on, it may be time to consider adding task-specific lighting. Under cabinet lighting can make all the difference in brightening up your kitchen’s workspace and making meal prep safer and more enjoyable. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right lighting for your needs? Keep reading as we explore why LED lights are the best way to illuminate under your cabinets.

When renovating or simply sprucing up our home’s most-used room, we often focus more on the big ticket items like cabinets, countertops, and appliances. But small upgrades like under cabinet lighting can have a hugely positive impact. Positioned close to the main food prep areas, quality task lighting reduces shadows while improving visibility. This allows you to chop, cook, and complete other kitchen jobs with ease and accuracy.

best lights under kitchen cabinets

Problems With Traditional Kitchen Lighting

Fluorescent Lighting Drawbacks

Fluorescent tubes were once the standard for under cabinet installations due to their high efficiency. However, the humming and flickering of these lights is an annoyance to many. Fluorescent lighting also does not accurately render colors, making food appear unappetizing under its harsh white glow. There are even toxicity concerns around safely disposing of lights containing mercury.

Halogen Lighting Issues

Like incandescent bulbs, halogen lights produce bright, warm light from a tungsten filament. However, the high heat output that allows them to shine so intensely also makes them a fire hazard if placed too close to surfaces. Halogens also fade and burn out quickly, requiring frequent bulb changes. They ultimately use more energy than efficient LED options.

Benefits of Using LED Lights Under Cabinets

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

By using light emitting diodes instead of traditional filaments, LEDs convert over 80% of energy input directly into light. This allows them to consume up to 80% less power than halogen to produce the same brightness. Efficiency paired with impressive 10+ year lifespans means that replacing existing lights with LEDs provides rapid return on investment.

LED manufacturers have innovated exponentially since the technology emerged in the 1960s. Early adopters paid a premium but today, prices have dropped dramatically even as performance continues to climb.

Positive Light Quality

The latest LED advancements allow for exceptional light quality that suits the visual tasks performed in kitchens. Their clear white light illuminates work areas evenly without hot spots or glare. Full spectrum options with high CRI (color rendering index) scores accurately display food colors compared to fluorescents. LED under cabinet lighting fixtures now come in a variety of color temperatures to set just the right mood.

Flexible Options for Any Kitchen

One major benefit of LED lighting is the diversity of form factors now available to accommodate any kitchen layout. Choosing between sleek hardwired light bars or versatile battery-powered puck lights comes down to personal preference. Both provide focused task lighting that can even be dimmed for later night snacking expeditions. For large kitchens, flexible LED light strips offer a quick DIY solution for illuminating even the deepest corner cabinets.

Choosing Your Under Cabinet LED Lights

Hardwired vs Wireless Lighting Systems

Hardwired LED under cabinet lighting requires tapping into existing electrical lines and embedding fixtures directly into cabinet frames. This provides seamless even illumination but means hiring an electrician for complicated installation. Wireless battery-powered systems use adhesive to mount practically anywhere without wires for easier DIY. Their removable nature also appeals to renters. One popular hybrid option pairs hardwired lights with small onboard batteries to remain functional during power failures.

LED Light Bars vs LED Puck Lights

Both LED light bars and puck lights work well under cabinets, so choose based on your space constraints and preferences. Sleek rectangular light bars provide continuous overhead lighting across the full cabinet span. Battery-operated puck lights offer concentrated beams of task lighting. Those with cabinets too shallow to accommodate light bars should consider using several puck lights for ample coverage. For large kitchens, combine centralized light bars over the main prep zone with puck lighting over peripheral cabinets.

Other Considerations and Features

Beyond choosing hardwired versus wireless and light bar versus puck lights, several other factors impact your under cabinet lighting selection. First decide which color temperature looks best to you. Cool white LEDs around 5000K mimic natural daylight while options closer to 2700K provide a cozier, incandescent-like warmth. Next, map out the ideal placement based on where you prep, cook, and wash dishes. Finally, set a budget and identify any special features like dimming, motion sensors, or Wi-Fi connectivity you may desire.

Best LED Under Cabinet Light Recommendations

Ready to finally acquire the perfect under cabinet lighting solution? Here are our top LED light picks to illuminate food prep zones, create ambiance, or add a stylish finishing touch to your kitchen. We chose options suited for all budgets and installation scenarios.

Best Hardwired: Xenon Slim LED Under Cabinet Lighting

For those preferring a professional hardwired installation, Xenon offers superior even lighting across spaces of any size. These connectable LED light bars allow builders to link units seamlessly covering large spans. Xenon stands out with exceptional 3000K color accuracy highlighting food textures beautifully. Touch controls on each sleek aluminum fixture make it easy to dim brightness in small 10% intervals.

Best Wireless: WFIO UL Listed Under Cabinet Lights

Our wireless pick goes to WFIO’s ultra-slim LED puck lights requiring absolutely no wiring or tools for hassle-free stick-on installation. These lights charge via USB and provide over 4 hours of warm 3000K illumination per full battery. Adjust each lamp’s 120-degree swivel head to redirect light exactly where needed most. For full coverage, we recommend grouping 3 lights per 25-inch cabinet.

Best Puck Lights: OxyLED Battery Puck Lights

OxyLED dominates the battery-powered puck light category thanks to affordable packs of 6 tapping lights with impressive 350-lumen brightness. Their automated on/off sensor activates illumination when waved underneath for hands-free convenience. Pucks charge via USB and the included AC adapter. With double-sided adhesive, these ultra-thin lights can install in even the tightest under cabinet placement.

Transforming Your Kitchen With Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting serves both functional and aesthetic purposes that combine to dramatically elevate your cooking space. Properly positioned LED task lighting eliminates frustrating shadows that previously obscured cutting boards and cooking pans. Prepping ingredients becomes safer and more precise while doing dishes no longer strains eyes. Always opt for dimmable LED models to provide the right amount of light for any activity.

And there is no denying the wow factor added by installing LED strips or bars underneath drab old cabinets. Their subtle glow draws attention to often overlooked storage nooks filled with pretty dishes or ornate cooking tools. The soft ambient lighting makes the entire kitchen feel more inviting after dark. Consider using color-changing lights to match any holiday or dinner party themes. Even basic white LEDs showcase your gorgeous new granite or hardwood in the best possible light!

Under cabinet lighting presents a relatively simple but highly valuable upgrade for dated, dim kitchens. Drab overhead boxes disappoint while LED task lighting perfectly illuminates where you need it most. Today’s LED options like hardwired light bars or wireless puck lights overcome past fluorescent and halogen pitfalls with long lifespans, quality illumination, and energy savings. Just follow our guide to choose the perfect solution meeting both functional needs and style preferences. Soon you will create mouthwatering masterpieces bathed in beautiful light.

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