Please recommend hardwired under cabinet lighting

lexmomof3June 23, 2013

I need to order ASAP since the electrician is starting sometime this week. The house is under construction and the UCL will be hardwired. I prefer LED in a soft or warm light if possible. I looked at the light bars at Environmental lights but it looks like those are plug-in. Any suggestions?


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There are lots of options for you, and almost all are dimmable.

Lowes just brought out their Utilitech dimmable direct wire in the last couple of months. May only be available online. Good price point for the light. I think they have 2700 kelvin. Profile about an inch+ (height). I would have gotten these if my light rail wasn't so low in height.

Then there is the is MaxLite II (nice, not too expensive, recent improvements in their LED by the company within the last half year). Profile is 0.88 if I recall correctly with splice box of over an inch. Considered these too.

Kichler direct wire: brown white and aluminum I think. Profile fairly low. Some love them. My sample had the power cord falling out of the bar light all the time. Upper range in price.

EPhillips PowerCore. Another gold standard for direct wire. For some reason, I could never see one in person. Pricey.

Unilume: Slim, low profile, pricey. Fits my needs except for price IF we can install them without two junction boxes which all add height and I've got 3/4". Phosphorus lens and 30 lights per bar makes few separations in the light as well as no shadow effect. Wish me luck they are suppose to go in this week.

There are others I've forgotten, but this is a pretty good sample with range of prices. A 1" or more light rail or recessed face frame cabinet can hide a lot of the hardware.

Good luck to you.


This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 22:30

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Thanks SparklingWater - Any advice on the length of the light bar? I have mostly 30" cabinets. I'm looking at the MaxLiite 12" with 33 LED lights on EnvironmentalLighting. I have (4) 30" cabinets, a corner cabinet and an 18" cabinet. Do I need 2 per 30" cabinet or would one be OK? These lights are adding up fast!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:09PM
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How about combining your lights and electricity in one? This is the Legrand Adorne system. Not cheap, but keeps your backsplash uncluttered. LED and dimmable.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:11PM
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Why does it need to be direct wire, especially if the house is still being built? Direct wire LED systems end up being more expensive overall. I just finished up our UCL install with LED tape lights. Total cost was $161. You can check out our install, if you wish, using the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our UCL Install

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:17PM
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I just put in the Maxlite from EL at 18/12 in and I love them!

You may find one 12 in bar per 30 inches leaves definite bright and dark spots, especially with the 33/12 in since it will be so bright to start.

I'm not a lighting expert, but I think you would have better coverage with 2 x 18/12 in per 30 in cabinet. If your bottoms are flat, you can run a continuous strip all the way down. It's a nice product - small, diffuser included, and nice light. Easy to hardwired too, I just used shallow metal junction boxes under the cabinet for each section (each seperate area of cabinets, not each cabinet).

If I were you, I'd call EL and speak to one of their engineers. Normally you can send your plan in through the contact feature and get a quite in a day or two, but I bet if you speak with them first you could probably get a quote that day. The advantage of having them design a system and give a quote is they will be able to set you up a shopping cart with all the parts you need already in place. You just log on and check out.

If you use EL, sign up for their newsletter first. They will send a coupon for 10% off your order.

I have nothing but good things to say about them. I called a few times with questions, and they were great. I'm very pleased with the lights.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Thanks Williamsem - I was looking at the 33 LED, not for the brightness but because it is my understanding that the more the LED lights, the less likely you are to see the individual dots reflect on the counter top and back splash. Is that not the case?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:45PM
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I think you're right, to a certain point. If the individual bulbs are too far apart you see individual circles of light. More lights = less variation, and diffusers help too. Now what the magic cut off is, I have no idea. I was thinking if you do one 33/12 bar per cabinet you would have a huge amount of light with large gaps between bars, more noticeable because of the huge difference in light.

I'm sure EL could give you better advice if you call.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:14AM
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We did CSL Dimmable LED and love it. The light is warm and bright and is very Dimmable.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:38AM
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We did GMLarc larc led bars. They dim and are on a switch. Lots of options. I would try to find something that us the entire length of the under can area to avoid shadows.

I saw some awesome tape lights on another post!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:13AM
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Williamsen, do you see the individual dots of light reflect off of your counter tops? I think you're right that I need to connect (2) light bars per 30" cabinet.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Well, I'd love to answer that question but I'm patiently waiting for the call to schedule my granite install. I was expecting to hear late last week, but since that ship has sailed I will have to scedule for next Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully I have two days next week to work with, probably the only good thing about having to work that weekend.

I will report back for anyone that is interested and has the time to wait :-)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:22AM
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I went ahead with the 18/12 like yours and did 2 per 30" cabinet. I have honed marble so I think the lights won't reflect like it would on polished granite anyway. Oh's a done deal and I'm pleased with the decision. Thanks so much to you and everyone else for the input!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:46AM
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