Under Cabinet Lighting: Benefits and Options
What is Under Cabinet Lighting?
Just like the name suggests, under cabinet lighting is lighting that is placed underneath your cabinets like in your kitchen to give you task lighting above your counter tops. I definitely recommend getting this type of lighting hardwired by a licensed electrician, as hardwired lights give a clean, aesthetic look throughout your kitchen, and they free up your kitchen outlets.
Benefits of Under Cabinet Lighting
There are numerous benefits of under cabinet lighting for your kitchen:
- Energy Efficient (for task lighting, they eliminate the need for lighting up the entire room)
- Eliminates Shadows produced by cabinets and ceiling lights for safer food preparations
- Aesthetic Appeal (makes your counter tops vibrant and shiny!)
- Different types of bulbs can be used for under cabinet lighting
What types of Under Cabinet Lighting are there?
There are many different types of under cabinet lighting by the type of light fixture, and by the type of light bulb. To start, low-voltage under cabinet lighting is less expensive for the customer, and it’s safer than your 120V because less electricity is passing through the wire (low-voltage lighting usually uses only 12-24V of electricity). Before I jump in to the different low-voltage lighting options for underneath your cabinets, it’s important to mention that there is no right or wrong answer as to which you should choose; it’s all about preference, how much you want to spend per light bulb, and how you want your kitchen to look. Let’s explore lighting fixtures and light bulb options for low-voltage under cabinet lights:
LED light bulbs tend to last the longest among the other lighting source options (up to 20 years longer). LED lights do not give off a lot of heat, and they are more energy efficient than your other lighting source alternatives. While LED lights are the most expensive option upfront, their claim of lasting the longest would suggest that they are more cost-effective in the longterm. One thing to note: make sure you choose the right light color temperature for your LED lights! This will hugely impact the look and feel of your kitchen.
LED light fixtures for under cabinet lighting can come in the forms of strip, tape, or spot fixtures. Spot lighting (also known as puck lighting) may leave dark spaces on your counters if these fixtures are spaced too far apart, whereas the strip and tape fixtures create the most evenly spaced lighting.
Although fluorescent lighting isn’t low-voltage, it’s worth mentioning as an under cabinet options. Fluorescent lights do not give off a lot of heat, and they are an energy efficient option as well. In the past, fluorescent lighting was not a great option for kitchen lighting because it distorted colors, which gave your countertops and backsplash a “washed-out” look. Because recent technology has improved the coloring of the lighting, fluorescent under cabinet lighting today is a better option in the kitchen than it was in the past. One thing to note about fluorescent lighting: the light bulbs for under counter lighting are non-dimmable. Fluorescent lights come in bar or spot fixture options for under cabinet lighting.
Halogen light bulbs are a cheaper, dimmable option of under cabinet lighting. Halogen lighting does make your counter tops shine, especially the granite kind because of the accuracy in color rendering. Halogen lights come in the form of strip and spot fixtures. Halogen lighting tends to produce more heat than your LED and fluorescent lighting, and they are a less energy efficient option.
Xenon lights are similar to halogen light bulbs, but they do not give off so much heat and are more energy efficient. Also, xenon lights can be brighter than halogen bulbs, depending on the bulb. Xenon lights are also dimmable, and can come in the form of strip and spot fixtures. Just like halogen lighting, xenon lights give an aesthetic appeal throughout the kitchen, highlighting the colors of your countertops and backsplash.
Still don’t know which under cabinet lighting options to choose? Call KB Electric LLC today, and one of our licensed electricians can help you decide. Like mentioned before, it’s all about preference. For low-voltage under cabinet lighting, if you want color accuracy in your kitchen and cheaper upfront costs, go with halogen or xenon lighting. If you want less heat while your cooking and better energy efficiency with longterm cost-effectiveness, go with the LED lighting.