What is the best under cabinet lighting?

marileekayJanuary 18, 2008

What do you have and what do you like about it?

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LED strips - low power, low heat, and long lasting.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 2:13PM
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Do the led's throw enough light? I don't care for led flashlights because I don't think they're bright enough to see much.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 5:33PM
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I don't know what the best is but I just bought some led strips to put under my cabinets. I couldn't find much info on this board about them (shocking really since I usually find the answer to every question I have on here). I liked them because they stay cool to the touch and they didn't require transformers (which I found quite annoying in my last kitchen). I should have them installed in the next few weeks and Ill report back if you like.

They were pretty expensive but I only needed a few strips so I splurged.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 7:18PM
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Color corrected fluorescents. GE - the thinnest model. Available in many lengths. Good light, not hot, low cost to buy and run.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 7:25PM
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we have xenon boxes from Pegasus Lighting (I found them online by googling "xenon undercabinet"). The light rail under the cabinet hides them, and they give off very pretty and effective light. I don't like the color of flourescent lights, although I know they're the best in terms of not giving off heat and being efficient to run.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Xenon. Doesn't get as hot, clear bright light.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 8:18PM
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I have xenon pucks. I like them because they don't get so hot.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 7:59AM
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Another vote for xenon pucks. I have them on a dimmer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:51AM
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Xenon box style lights. Mine are inset under the cabinets--they built a false bottom on the cabinets with room for the lights to be inset. My outlets are all inset under the cabinets, too.

We looked at LED and, maybe it is just what my electrician showed me, but the light they gave off didn't do good things to the color of the cabinets and the lights just 'stopped' and didn't light up the surrounding area at all. I've seen some custom made LEDs on here that look better but the run of the mill LEDs didn't work for me.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 2:15PM
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I had xenon pucks in my old kitchen and I think they got pretty hot. Maybe not as hot as previous models but it was hot enough to melt the coffee pot I had sitting under the light for a few minutes. Not a big deal really but they do get hot enough for a burn. I chose teh LED mostly because they don't require the transformer...heat wasn't as much of an issue.

I hope they throw a good light (i got the warm light option) but Ill know soon enough. If they suck, Ill report back.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:51AM
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I was initially not happy with the small(ish) colour-corrected fluorescent tubes my GC chose to install under the cabinets (I was gone that day and came back and - TADA! - there they were). They are larger than the pucks or the usual "tuck up under the cabinet" lights, and I was more than a little shocked to come home and see these visible fixtures hanging from the cabinets when I'd thought his "undercabinet lighting" meant the smaller variety!

However, now that we're using them, I have to admit that for task light they are WONDERFUL. They don't get hot, and we can actually see. He's going to valance them so they don't really show and, while I do prefer the "invisible" look of the pucks, I do have to agree that these are extremely useful. He told me when he put them in that he chose them because he has them in his own home and just LIKES them (he's a serious cook himself) and I can't say his choice was wrong, even if they're not as sleek as some of the other choices out there.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:57AM
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I want to see some of these LED's that don't need a transformer! The only LED's I've ever seen run on 3 to 12 volts DC.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:16AM
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FWIW: I took my SIL's advice and bought halogen undercounter cabinet lights from Lowe's. They weren't expensive, but the bulbs are...and they get RIDICULOUSLY HOT. Don't buy these.

After my kitchen was done, I had to have more lighting because the can lights just did not give me the specific light I needed for my deep sink, especially at night. My dad installed a 48" flourescent over my sink and ran the line so I just flip a large, inconspicuous rocker switch that is under neath the corner of an upper cabinet by the sink. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. I can see in my deep sink. Using a daylight bulb also helps.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:41AM
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I have Sea Gull Linear lighting under my cabinets. I've been very pleased. It utilizes xenon lamps spaced along a cable that attaches to the underside of the cabinet. You can space the lamps at what ever distance you like, the cable can be cut to any length, and the lamps are dimmable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sea Gull Linear Under-cabinet Lighting

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 12:01PM
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jamesk that is what we have and we love them. I don't know how long the bulbs should last but we'v been in the kitchen over 3 years now and not one has blown out yet. We're very happy with them.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 2:26PM
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Based on recommendations from this and the lighting forums we chose Pegasus T4 fluorescent fixtures. We investigated LED but the ones we saw just were not bright enough (for us). Our initial KD was totally pro halogen (a clue she wasn't too keyed in!) so we did investigate xenon. Again, based on what we saw (and more importantly, felt) we knew xenon would not work for us.

We ordered the Pegasus fixtures sight-unseen (for our den), and honestly, I love them. They turn on right away, don't hum, don't get hot, and provide bright, even light.

Absolutely, xenon throws a prettier light, but for us, function always trumps form.

(We've since ordered the Pegasus T4 for our kitchen, too. Maybe in February they'll go up?)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:39PM
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rmkitchen, Would love to see a photo of these installed---either in den or, later, in kitchen. I checked the site and they do look like they would be a good choice. Fluorescent lights may not be my favorite option, but they certainly have their uses. And I have to admit I'm paranoid about the heat factor when it comes to putting lights under my cabinets. (My father, who is an electrical engineer, refuses to have any halogen lights in his home--may be overkill, but he's certainly put the fear in me.)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:02PM
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Absolutely! I'll take & post some (den pictures) tonight after kiddos are in bed.

I'm really pro-fluorescent even though the xenon is clearly a prettier light. But I just didn't want the heat issue -- I'm a nervous nellie!

The xenon pucks we do have in our house are line-voltage (120V), again because of me being nervous about the heat output. I know some (in the lighting forum) do not like these lights, but the biggest problem we've had with them is the electrician cutting too many holes in the wall to hardwire them ....

Okay, I'll have a date here late tonight to post pictures!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:21PM
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Here are the pictures:

these are the T4 fluorescent fixtures, mounted right behind the light rail / valance:

this is the wall which the fluorescent fixture illuminates, the lights are off in this photo:

this is the same wall with the lights on -- note the pink tinge the light casts on the brown wall (partly due to the pink pigments in the paint, but also because that's bright fluorescent):

these are the xenon line voltage (120v) puck lights:

Drywaller may come tomorrow ....

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 12:35AM
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rmkitchen, thank you for posting the pictures. What a good idea to put those lights in your den. I've worked out of my home for about twenty years and I've never totally solved the problem with task lighting in my home office. Very smart of you to address that issue.

When you're not taking a picture to show someone the lights, do you see them at all? It looks like they would be well concealed by the cabinet and shelf trim.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 5:37AM
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"I want to see some of these LED's that don't need a transformer! The only LED's I've ever seen run on 3 to 12 volts DC."

Me too. I'm looking for some now. Got a link?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 9:46AM
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sail-away: I have to say, so far I love having those lights in the den! I calligraph, so having that concentrated, clear light makes all the difference on my eyes and abilities. (In all fairness, right now we're "living" in the den due to the rest of the first floor being gutted, so those lights have proved helpful for other things, like reading the paper!)

We canNOT see the fluorescent lights at all (unless leaning into the space between the bottom of the uppers and the worktop), however due to our application the xenon puck lights we can. It's not that they hang lower than the light rail (they don't), but those cabinets are mounted up quite high (I think ~6') so naturally their undersides are "on display."

Let us know what you decide!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 9:54AM
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I don't have a link but they are by Philips. I think they are called ew cove? But I can't seem to find them on the web - the ones I find are all commercial application.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 12:31PM
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Since you can't seem to find a link for your LED line-voltage undercabinet lights, can you tell us where you bought them? How long before you have them installed? I'd also like to know what kind of countertop and backsplash you have.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:55AM
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I bought them at a lighting store in Brooklyn. They don't sell online so no link there either.

They should be installed in the next week or so but the countertops might take a week or more after that. (Im getting to the end of a whole house gut so more than the kitchen is being worked on).

When everything is installed, Ill post finished photos along with descriptions of everything including the lighting.

Hope I made the right choice but since it was sort of a rushed decision (this renovation is sapping my strength) :)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:23PM
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I look forward to seeing the finished photos of your kitchen, and especially the LED under cabinet lights.
How wonderful to be on the downhill side approaching the finish line. I'm sure you'll be pleased when its done.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:51PM
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Found the name - they are Philips ewCove lights. They were displayed under a cabinet in the lighting store but I suppose they are meant for cove lighting. Not sure if it matters.

My kitchen is still very much a work in progress but the LED lights got installed. When I first turned them on, I freaked b/c the light was so weak. Then I realized the dimmer knob was nearly off. I turned them up and they shine nicely.

Taken without flash at night. Yes, I know I need to replace those upper cabinet shelves with glass :)

Im pretty sure the xenons pucks I had in my old kitchen were brighter. But these are certainly bright enough for my purposes. They have a low profile, are adjustable so I can direct the light on the backsplash or on the countertops or somewhere in between. They are absolutely cool to touch, don't require transformers and are dimmable.

I have no clue how long these will last so thats the only question mark I have about them now.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:06PM
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We have just installed the xenon pucks, and though the light is nice, we are disappointed in the intensity, so I went back to the lighting store and bought more pucks and another transformer.

I think I would have preferred trying the Sea Gull linear UC lighting- (though I'm guessing it would have been way more $$$)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:55PM
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Has anybody found LED undercabinet lights that are warm colored? The ones that I saw were very blue -- too cold looking.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:18AM
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I have the Seagull linear and love them. Turned up they're bright, turned down they glow with a very pleasant warm color.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 4:06AM
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Thanks for posting pics of your LED under cab lights. Would be nice to seem them after the countertop and backsplash have been installed. What have you chosen for the countertop - something dark or light?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 8:57AM
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Napagirl - this isn't the worlds best photo (it was taken at dawn this morning so the light is wonky) but you can get a sense of how it looks with the backsplash and counter installed. I have a soapstone counter and an antique subway tile backsplash.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 8:11PM
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The link shows an example of an LED array for undercounter use that runs on 120 Vac. It is available from several sources. I believe someone on this forum has them.

I haven't ordered one yet to evaluate. I'm a tad annoyed that the manufacturer, American Fluorescent, hasn't bothered to post photometric data at their website.


Here is a link that might be useful: American Fluorescent DDU28LED Diode LED Undercounter White

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 11:38AM
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