Everything You Need to Know About Under-Cabinet Light Fixtures

September 3, 20153 comments

Kitchen with White Inset Door Shaker Cabinets, Large Island and Custom Build Range Hood

In the built-in buffet pictured above, under-cabinet LED tape provides a soft, uniform wash of light across the counter. The fixtures are gracefully concealed by a trim light rail.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting under-cabinet task lighting and cabinet interior accent lighting. Features to consider include energy efficiency, color and strength of the light, and cost of the installation.

3 Types of Light Sources

The types of light sources typically used in cabinet and under-cabinet installations are light-emitting diodes (LEDs), halogen lights and fluorescent lights). Each comes in a range of cool and warm colors, and all more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs.

If you will be in your home for a while, LEDs are hands-down winners. Initial cost will be highest, but the long bulb life (20 years!) and high energy efficiency will pay it back in two or three years. LEDs are dimmable (with LED-compatible dimmer switches), and come in bars, strips and spots.

Less expensive fluorescents are only dimmable with special ballasts, use more energy than LEDs to product the same light, and may take a few minutes to reach full brightness when turned on.

Halogen bulbs, the least efficient of the three, are often used for high-intensity spotlights, burn hot, are fully dimmable and have no warm-up delay.

kitchen with glass door cabinets on either side of professional stainless range hood with under-cabinet lights, white shaker cabinets and black granite countertops

In the kitchen pictured above, LED spots light circular work zones, leaving perimeter countertop surfaces in shadow.

Task Lighting

For task lighting across your countertop, bars or strips are best. In a new wiring installation, your labor costs may be lower with LED strips. However, if you are replacing existing fixtures, you may find bars to be a more cost-effective solution. Install the light fixtures near the front edge of the wall cabinets to minimize glare. Pucks work well as accent lights. Get tips on using light rail trim in your kitchen design.

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Showing 3 comments

  1. kimmy kervel Reply

    Thanks for sharing this amazing content this is really helpful for my project as well so i hope you to add some information like this in future also so thank you once again for sharing this beautiful content with us,

  2. ProLampSales Reply

    I think this is a good article. A lot of LED under-cabinet lights now come with their own drivers and controls, so can be dimmed, although they don’t use a traditional light switch in all cases. But at least it’s allowing for more consumers to easily install dimmable LED under-cabinet fixtures. Another good option for under-cabinet lights are LED strips/tape lights. It seems like fluorescent and halogens are being phased out entirely, but it’s not like homeowners can’t find some way to make it work with non-LED light sources.

  3. Mallorie Reply

    Hi There. At present standard PL lamps use the CFL technology which is inherently not dimmable. There are some lamps which are dimmable for example the 25w spiral dimmable we have on the website but these need special dimmable drivers built in to make them work. Also this makes them more expensive. I have not seen these as PL lamps as yet. The other option is the LED PL lamp but the surface mount SMD LED's are also not dimmable. Hopefully in time the manufacturers will bring out a dimmable version!!

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