Undercounter LED tape lights

auroraborelisJune 18, 2013

I'm curious what brand of LED undercounter tape lights you used, and what the cost was.

Even better - did you buy it online and can you point me in the right direction?

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Laura, you will find a lot more discussion in the Lighting forum.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:34PM
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We went with Armacost brand from Home Depot. I don't have them installed just yet, but they seem plenty bright when I hook up the tape to the power supply. It has lots of positive reviews and the price was right, so we thought that we'd give them a try.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armacost LED Lights

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:27PM
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Ditto what gpraceman said. Ordered the Armacost lights online from Home Depot. They weren't available in stores locally. We don't have ours installed yet either. Sooooon......

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:56PM
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I also used the armacost tape. So far I love it. And I am so glad it was budget friendly. I posted a few pics when I installed it here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link here

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 6:16AM
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gpraceman and jalsy - did either of you use a dimmer for the Armacost?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 7:23AM
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I didn't get a dimmer. I like bright light, so I likely would not use a dimmer. They do have one available, if you want one. It goes on the low voltage side (between the power supply and the lights).

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:14AM
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I used the Hafele in our new showroom. It's about $200 per reel that will do a half to 3/4 of a regular sized kitchen. Then you need the drivers and switches. Add another $200 for the parts and pieces. So, you can do a whole kitchen for around $500-$600, depending on layout and how many drivers that you need. I'd say I averaged lower than that price for each of the vignettes, because when you're doing multiple spaces, you can link the "shorties" that are left over from a run together and stretch the material further than you would in a home kitchen. So, if you have any other spaces that might benefit from lighting, think about that. We did over the cabinet lighting and in cabinet lighting in several of the vignettes, using the same tape. And we also did down lighting under a console vanity with a glass top.

I'd be interested in the long term performance of the HD lights. The reason we chose to use Hafele in our showroom was their stellar reputation and product support. They have a lighting designer on staff, and if you purchase through an authorized retailer, you can just email them a plan of your kitchen and they will work out a lighting plan for you with all of the materials on a list to purchase. It makes it super easy for both the homeowner and contractor who may not have done this before. And although I'm well familiar with creating a lighting plan, it's always helpful to have the second set of eyes that is more familiar with those parts and pieces. You should have seen my desk when I was in the middle of lighting all of the vignettes! There were parts and pieces everywhere!

One tip that I would give you is to test each strip and connection lead before you install it. It's much more difficult to "reverse" the connector in the field if you've attached it to the wrong end and have already stuck the lights in place. If you figure out the "daisy chain" polarity before putting it in place, you are far more likely to get it right from the beginning without having to worry if the adhesive will re-stick after you've reversed the orientation of the tape. And some of the connectors are darn finicky. I had to use a razor to remove the thinnest section of plastic from the tape at some of the connection points, as it was just a hair wide to let the connection snap shut on the tape properly. Also, to drill the cabinets, I ended up using a 3/4 hole saw in the end rather than a drill bit of that size. It worked much easier on the muscles. Don't forget that you will need to touch up the cabinets after doing that, and that you will have to have a plan for managing the cords and their routes. I used various methods for that, but the most effective was the plain PVC cable hider "raceways" sold at any box store. I used the white with the white cabinets and used a spray paint designed to paint plastic to paint a couple of the strips "wood color" or black for the wood cabinets. With a light rail, or with the cords in an interior corner for vertical runs, it all disappeared just fine. It was psychically painful for me to be cutting holes in my pretty brand new cabinets though!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:36AM
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@live_wire_oak - Thanks for the tip on checking polarity! I need to go back and check the chain that I put together last night. Fortunately, I have not hung any of the strips yet.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:14PM
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It might be less of an issue for those with younger eyes! LOL!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:19PM
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I also use the Hafele.
Have found that a little wiggling solves the occasional connection issue Just make sure it "snaps" so no razors for me.

I avoid using a 3/4" hole- feeding the end that plugs into the driver through instead of the end that snaps on to the tape allows for a smaller hole (5/16")
I pick up small wire connectors at Radio Shack-just in case we made a mistake in planning- then snip off the flap that attaches to the tape and reattach by crimping connectors after feeding. I've done enough of them now that it doesn't happen much.
I have them leave enough slack in the wire to allow rotating the tab so polarity is not an issue (have a hunch my eyes are older than yours LWO :) The extra slack is a good idea for the future just in case a run of tape needs to be replaced. I've seen a lot of installation where they wires are all pulled tight- don't.
Only oddity I've found- I use the touch switches most often- dimmer or on/off- there are some ribs in the barrel of the switch and matching ribs in the switch holder. If those are rotated in relation to each it squeezes the switch just enough so it doesn't work-easy fix, just loosen and rotate. Took me a while to find that one.

The key to any of these systems is careful planning- Hafele offers a free planning service. One nice thing is that different lights of the same voltage can be mixed- pucks, strips, etc.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:26PM
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I got my UCLs installed today, if anyone wants to check them out use the link below. Total cost was $161 for a 13 ft x 19 ft L shaped kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: My UCL install

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 11:56

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 10:19PM
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I got my tape lights from inspiredled.com. Since I have a galley kitchen, I got a separate tape with dimmers for each side. The length of the two tapes combined was 15 feet and the whole setup, including the transformers, was $300. My electrician was impressed by the amount of light they gave off (I got the ultrabright model). I will post a pic tonight when it's dark and the lights are on!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:52AM
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I too used inspiredLED.com, but used a mix of tape (for lining glass cabinets) and their Designer Series light bars. The light bars are custom sized and are very low profile (5/8") and include a diffuser, which can help reduce (but not eliminate) the impact of the "pin point' reflection effect of exposed LED tape. You just send them your cabinet plan and they sent you back a design and a list of materials required, including all clips, transformers, etc.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Forgot to take pics last night. Here are my lights in action! They are set to mid-level brightness. The brightest setting is too bright.

This post was edited by judibean on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 20:43

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Wow! Thanks for all the help everyone, all of your undercounter lights look fantastic!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:46PM
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I'm still struggling with my kitchen lighting!
The contractor accidentally installed 3 different temperatures of hafele loox high intensity tape, one too yellow for my colors, the other alien operating room blue, and the third a perfectly pleasing daylight 4000k. Now the contractor wants to take all of it out, and replace it with something he said is 6000k but he claims will not look blue.
Based on my limited experimentation with led bulbs, I think something in the 3000-4000k temperature is what I need. If the experts here like the hafele product, I'm inclined to wait until that is in stock. Live_wire, are you still pleased with the showroom lights? Do you know the specific product you used? I think what I like is the 833.73.401

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Like live_wire_oak and jakuvall our electrician used Hafele LED tape lights for the interiors of the upper glass front cabinets. They have a transformer in one of the cabinets that power all the LED upper cabinet lights in the kitchen. They are glued to the inside of the cabinets facing toward the back wall. The light is pleasing, a little whiter than regular warm light bulbs. They said that if they burn out, they will come back to replace the tape as needed

For the under cabinet lighting they used "Counter Attack" Creative Lighting Solutions Xenon lights. They are all hardwired together. These light do get hot, and warm the cabinet above them. Things on the bottom cabinet shelf are warm to the touch. The electrician told us that Xenon lights a cooler than regular halogen lights. I use them on the half power mode which is adequate for counter lighting. The bright is just too bright for me. They are 35watt bulbs. Most of the time I just have the counter that I am working on lit, I just turn off the ones I don't need.

The total cost of rewiring our entire gutted kitchen, which included: can lights, all outlets and plugs, central ceiling light, sink pendant light, range plug, range vent wiring, under counter lights, LED lights, dishwasher, garbage disposal and dimmers came to $2,150.00. If I remember correctly the electrician spent about 1.5 days rewiring the kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hafele lighting

This post was edited by NWRain-Gal on Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 17:01

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:54PM
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How many lumens of LED strip lighting would be needed per linear foot to provide good task lighting (not just ambient lighting)?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 5:10PM
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Saw this in a showroom today (both under & in-cabinet), was so impressed!

Better & way less expensive than Hafele.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED lighting

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 3:07AM
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