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carhicks

Need advice on LED under-cabinet lights. What is best to use?

carhicks
7 years ago

I would like to know what is the best type of LED lights to install under the cabinets in my kitchen. I have looked at puck lights and strip lights, but I don't know what the current trend is. Please give me any advice you can on making the right choice.

Comments (37)

  • printesa
    7 years ago

    I've seen both since we needed to pick something for some shelves. We looked at some Juno puck lights, which would have worked great for what we needed. Unfortunately, they don't do well when dimmed at 50% (we needed them for a ceiling area in the basement). So we chose to go with strip lighting, which can be dimmed. We couldn't find something that would have worked for what we needed, so we are getting a channel for strip lighting that also has a lens cover and insert the strip inside. That can be used under the cabinet as well. The strip light is from WAC

    carhicks thanked printesa
  • oracca
    7 years ago

    We used strip lighting under our cabinets and are pleased with them.

    carhicks thanked oracca
  • carhicks
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thank you, Lauren. I really appreciate your advice and I will investigate the different brands of strip lighting. Thanks again.

  • rottieluvr16
    7 years ago

    Environmentallights.com have some great under cabinet LED lights. We used them in a kitchen remodel a couple of years ago.

    carhicks thanked rottieluvr16
  • tatts
    7 years ago

    Trend, schmend. They are under-cabinet lights. They are task lighting. Forget trends.

    Here's the deal with LEDs--they are directional. The individual LEDs emit light in one direction, and puck lights will throw a defined circle of light on your countertop. That will be noticeable as you work unless they are 1.) well-designed to disperse evenly or 2.) far enough above the counter to overlap. In either case, there are still going to be pools of bright and dim.

    Strip lights give an even light with soft shadows.

    Puck lights high above the sink work fine (nice and bright), but for normal distances above a counter I much prefer strips.

    But I'm not fancy. I got mine at IKEA.

    carhicks thanked tatts
  • lefty47
    7 years ago

    HI -- We just put some in and we love them . We looked at the pucks but they do not give a smooth light , it's sort of in blotches . Ours is a tape with the little lights and it gives a very good light . Amazing really .

    carhicks thanked lefty47
  • carhicks
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hi Lefty47, What brand did you use, if you don't mind me asking? I have been looking at the tape lights, but there are so many choices. Thanks!

  • printesa
    7 years ago

    I can tell you our brand..WAC,,the lights are very strong, but the dimming works great. I can ask for the dimmer name if you need

    carhicks thanked printesa
  • lefty47
    7 years ago

    HI -- I don't know what brand , but we went to an industrial environmental lighting supplier and they just pulled the length we needed off a roll and then we bought the transformer and plug to install them .

    carhicks thanked lefty47
  • acm
    7 years ago

    Am I the only one who finds the "circus marquee" nature of tape lights off-putting? That is, the discontinuous dots of light -- are there any brands that blend better than others?

  • carhicks
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I ended up buying ribbon lighting by Armacost from Home Depot. It will be hidden underneath the front part of the bottom of the cabinets so you won't be able to see the ribbon at all--just the lights. I think the lights are supposed to look pretty seamless when turned on, but I haven't had them installed yet. I will update after the installation to let everyone know how they look and if I am happy with them.

  • carhicks
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Update: The Armacost ribbon lighting has been installed underneath my kitchen cabinets. They look amazing! I love that they can be dimmed. The lighting is seamless all the way across the cabinets and is bright and warm. I'm still waiting on my backsplash to be installed, and as soon as it is, I will post a picture.

  • sbs1717
    7 years ago

    carhicks my electrician just recomended the same lights! I would really love to see a picture if you can post one that would be great!

    carhicks thanked sbs1717
  • carhicks
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    OK. I will soon. At the moment I'm about to get flooring installed throughout my house and my kitchen is a disaster area. As soon as I get it all put back together, I'll post a picture. I love the lights and haven't had any trouble with them. They look great and give off a nice warm light. Thanks!

  • laura mallin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi, was wondering if anyone can recommend undercounter strip lighting ( for my white kitchen cabinets) that does not have that fluorescenty glow that all the led strips that I've looked at seem to have- either to white and feels like the doctors office, or to yellowy greenish like street lamp color. I'm looking for a nice warm light, carhicks wish you could post a picture! Any suggestions, please help!

  • Steph
    7 years ago
    Your issue is with the temp then, not the actual light design. 2700 k leans warm/yellow and gets cooler as you go up in number. 3000k & 3500k are more neutral, and probably what you are looking for 4000-5000k are whiter light. I have 3500k, and regret not getting 3000k.

    I have low profile LED bars from Maxlite.
  • Tammy Lopez
    7 years ago
    We will be putting undercabinet strip lighting in soon, can anyone post a picture of there's??
  • sbs1717
    7 years ago

    carhicks you said the light is warm...... since you have the lights can you please give me your opinion on doing them with white cabinets and a white backsplash???? will they cast to yellow? my countertop is a quartzite called fantasy brown with grey and white tones. Any advice will be great! good luck with your project!!!

    carhicks thanked sbs1717
  • longislandmomoftwo
    6 years ago

    Although the original poster is probably long done, I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in for anyone currently pondering the same question, or about to tackle under counter lighting. My electrician recommended WAC lighting strips when we first discussed our new kitchen in 2700K. We had just finished installing 65 LED down lights throughout our house that were 2700K so matching the light was important to me as I wanted to avoid warm white LED from the high hats with blue or yellow undertones from the under cabinet lighting (white kitchen with white marble). The WAC strips were an inch deep and came in white, nickel and bronze. They were good quality and nicely made. But they were almost three times the price of something that I'd found by GE called Enbrighten at Home Depot that had a switch where you could pick from warm white, day light, and cool white. Although slightly higher at 3000K, I also bought a dimmer so that I could dim it a little if necessary.

    He didn't recommend pucks as the light wasn't evenly distributed, and if I had wanted tape light, we would have needed to have put in transformers in somewhere, but I didn't want them at the time, and I didn't want to reinvent the wheel now.

    I went with the GE strip lights, 1 inch deep, and followed advice that I had read all over the internet about installing right behind the light rail as that is where task lighting is most needed . . . except I'm 5'2" and my husband is 5'6" and the strip lights weren't completely concealed behind the light rail and were burning out our corneas - everywhere we looked we could see a sliver of bright white light! The light rail is 3/4" and the light is 1". We had two choices: either try to add an additional piece of molding below the light rail to better conceal it for the hobbits living here, or try to move the location of the light further back to see if it was any better. I should have listened to my electrician: it was perfect installed in the center between the backsplash and front of the cabinet. Just as he'd suggested when he first got here . . . He is currently removing the ones that he just installed and moving them back further.

    Moral of the tale?

    1. When you're in the design process, think about the under cabinet lighting. If you want tape lights, your electrician will want to know that so he can run the correct wires and transformers. If you want strip lighting, go look at the actual lights and try to decide what you want as my wires were all sticking out of the wall in the center of the cabinet (WAC lights have a hole right in the center to run the wire in), whereas the GE brand's hole is all the way at the end. He is currently drilling his own hole in the center of my GE lights so that it all looks nice and tidy, which in the long run may not pay off as the labor cost will be higher - maybe I should have just coughed up the $$$ for the WAC lights to begin with. If I'd looked ahead of time and planned for it, he'd be done already.

    2. Be present when the first one goes up: stand back and look from different angles to make sure you can't see the actual light. Especially if you're on the shorter side. Now is the time to make adjustments before your poor electrician has to spend another hour pulling out what he just put in.

    3. Check the instruction/spec sheet that come with your lights to see if they recommend a particular dimmer. Took me 2 hours on the phone with GE and Lutron, and two trips back and forth to the electrical supply store in order to make sure I had the correct dimmer for this particular under cabinet light. After all that, it was in tiny writing at the bottom of the spec sheet (although it is worth noting that GE recommended a dimmer that is for LED's but is not a low voltage dimmer which caused lots of confusion. GE insists that this dimmer has been tested and approved for their LED low voltage light). Fingers crossed that works as that's not in yet!

    Good luck!

  • printesa
    6 years ago

    I hope your lights work with the dimmer. We installed WAC because other led lights that were tried by our electrician did not work well with the dimmers..I don't remember at what percentage some of the bulbs flickered or made noise.

  • longislandmomoftwo
    6 years ago

    The electrical supply store originally sold me a Lutron Diva DVELV-300-WH 300W 2P dimmer that they usually sell for the WAC strips and he said they work great for those. When I called GE they said it wasn't approved for theirs, so I got a different Lutron dimmer that GE recommends. I guess I'll know in about an hour or so!

  • carhicks
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hi sbs1717, I am very happy with my Armacost ribbon lighting under my cabinets. I ordered it from Home Depot. I bought the recommended dimmer and have had no problems. The light is very warm and bright. I think it would look good with any type of counter top because of the warmth of the light. I don't know how you would be able to tell how it would look for sure, though, unless you bought it and had it installed. Perhaps you could try just a regular lamp that has a warm light and see how that looks with white cabinets and back splash? I do not notice any yellow glow--the light looks bright white to me and does not have any stark glare.

  • icenet333
    6 years ago

    Longisland, What WAC under-cabinet lighting model were you considering? I'm looking at the Line 2.0 and the AC-LED. My cabinets have flush bottoms so I'm concern with how best to hide them. The Line 2.0 is 1/2" in profile which in small but also $117 for a 6" strip. Thanks.

  • longislandmomoftwo
    6 years ago

    I don't remember which WAC we were looking at, but it wasn't the same line as yours as it was 1" deep. Did you look at the line of under cabinet lighting by Halo at Lowes? That was about $65 for a 9" and seemed well rated on their site. Lowes was further away from me and I'm sorry I didn't just make the 90 minute trip there and back to get them as they're linkable which would have been faster for my electrician to install too (so that install bill would have been less $$$!).

    Just make sure when that first light goes in that you're happy that you can't see it. Although I couldn't see them standing up once they were moved further back, I now realize that when I sit at our counter it's still like staring at the sun. Sucks to be short. Going to have our contractor add 1/4"- 1/2" of matching cabinet trim below the light rail which should be just enough to block it. And the dimmer we got works great, so if I can't deal with the glare, I'll just turn it down for now. Good luck on your installation whatever you go with!

  • printesa
    6 years ago

    Have you looked at aluminum channels for strip leds? We have to use that because we couldn't find anything shallow enough for the ceiling panels. Klus has some (they also have stainable/paintable ones. Here is a link to the channels (the paintable ones are the mdf) https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-tape-light-profiles/

  • icenet333
    6 years ago

    I'm using the WAC under-cabinet lights because I've decided to use the WAC Summit recessed LED for the kitchen ceiling. They are priced at $125-$135 per housing. I'm picky about lights and their 3000k LEDs are the most natural LEDs I've seen. I want the under cabinet lights to match the ceiling lights in color. I'm leaning towards the WAC Line 2.0 as they are only 1/2" profile. Our cabinets have no trim so placing them towards the back makes sense.

  • icenet333
    6 years ago

    The one thing I still don't know is how to determine how many under-cabinet lights are needed based on the dimensions of your cabinets. Is it equal? I would think less but how do you know?

  • longislandmomoftwo
    6 years ago

    @icenet333

    My electrician advised one full length bar as big as I could get below each cabinet for even light distribution. So for example: left and right window cabinets were 27" each so we put a standard 24" bar under each one. Then we added up the cabinets on one of the other sides which came to 60", so we did a 36" and a 24" on that side, etc. etc. My cabinets are completely flush underneath when mounted next to each other, and since they were flat underneath all the way from left to right, we were able to buy the longer lights and just mount them all the way across.

    In my old kitchen, we had cabinets that underneath were framed individually. In the photo below (not my kitchen - just one I googled), it shows how each cabinet has it's own "frame." If this is how yours are, you'd need a light in each bay under the cabinet. Hope that helps!


  • icenet333
    6 years ago

    Looks like a spam link. It should be ignored and removed unless revised.

  • HU-417461122
    5 years ago

    Has anyone used LED tape? Which brand would you recommend?

  • printesa
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    we used WAC tape. If you want the exact model, let me know. I can look it up

    edit: here is the model LED-T24W-5-WY

  • HU-417461122
    5 years ago

    Thank you printesa. I am planning to do both under cabinet and above the cabinet. My requirement is over 60 linear feet.

  • printesa
    5 years ago

    You have to calculate your wattage. We used the 100 Watt transformer (EN-24100-RB2-T).

    I'm not sure if 60' is your total run or if you have 60' of LED plus other connector cables in between. There is a limit to the total cable length that transformer can power, regardless of how many LEDs you have on it. I can't remember that limit (the electrician knew, but you can call the maker), but 60' might exceed that limit. You might have to break this up into two circuits and use two transformers.

    Both the transformer and the LEDs that I mentioned are dimmable without flickering or humming and they work well together.

  • HU-417461122
    5 years ago

    60 feet is the actual LED tape length. But I will be using 2 separate power supplies, one for the under cabinet lighting and the other for the above the cabinet lighting.

  • printesa
    5 years ago

    ok then in that case you shouldn't have any problems. If you use rails, I can tell you what we used. We used black anodized micro-ALU made by Klus, model B1888K7L. For the diffuser, we used Klus 17031L. Do not get the 1547L because it is an extremely tight fit

    We used these for the basement for recessed lighting in some ceiling wood panels. I'll look for a photo so you can see

  • printesa
    5 years ago

    I took two photos for you. The light is a bit blurry since it's bright (we are still under construction)