Under Cabinet Lighting

dakota01October 3, 2010

Just wondering what brands others have used. I have 5 separate areas that will need under cab lighting. I had a store price me the Kichler LED's and it was over 1K !! OUCH. But, I do believe they priced them incorrectly, the salesman said I need a transformer for each of them, I have wires coming out of the walls, so I would think mine would be direct wired - which would elimate the need for a transformer? Yes, NO???

Just wondering how you saved some $$ on this type of lighting.

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Jeannie - I am getting ready to do UCL also and posted a question on the lighting forum. You might want to do that - there are some very knowledgeable people over there. There are some fairly reasonably priced LED lights at environmental lights.com which was recommended on the lighting forum.

I am interested in what type and brand others have used as well and hope some will post pics of their lights :)

I do think LED is the way to go tho, as they won't need replaced for 15-20 years and use very little electric.

I think for now tho, we are going to wire the switch, but go ahead with the back splash and do the lighting later. Due to lack of $$ right now haha! But I realize it would make tiling a lot easier with the lighting up :(

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 4:26PM
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When you opt for low voltage lighting, like the LED's, you need a "transformer" to convert the line voltage, which is the wiring you mentioned in your walls, down to low voltage. So, the salesperson was correct in that if you are opting for LED undercabinet lighting, you will need transformers. I don't know that you'd need the 5 you mentioned--will each of the 5 areas have its own switch? If so, then you would need 5 transformers. That will be a PITA to install, plus you will need to find a space for each of the 5 transformers. I think you need to investigate further why you would need 5 transformers, or whether 2-3 would work.

We loved the LED undercabinet lighting - how small they are, how energy-efficient. We would have needed 2 transformers for our setup. But we couldn't get past the price. We were initially inspired by Scottdim's kitchen and his use of LED undercabinet light bars from Environmental Lights - the bars are so tiny! (see my links below).

But we had a problem with the LED price, and we didn't want to deal with separate transformers. We switched gears and bought Juno low-voltage xenon undercabinet lights, with the transformer built in. They are certainly bulkier than the LED's, but we didn't care--they're under the upper cabinets, so what else would we have there anyway? The xenon light is white, dimmable, and not hot. We chose the Juno "Pro Series xenon UPX" line; we liked that the strip's enclosure is glass not plastic, and Juno has a reputation for quality. The UPX's were still not cheap, but much less than LED's, and much easier to install, since there is no separate transformer. We found the best prices online at electricsuppliesonline.com. They didn't have everything immediately in stock, but we had everything within a couple of weeks so we were pleased.

Thread about LED Undercab Lights with Scottdim posting

Environmental Lights LED Light Bars

Juno Undercabinet Pro Series Xenon UPX at electricsuppliesonline

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 5:17PM
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I posted DIY instructions in the lighting forum. I did all my cabs for under $500 and we love it.

Here is a link that might be useful: led ucl diy

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 7:26PM
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I did not want to deal with transformers either, so I chose xenon UCL's and am happy with them. They are hard-wired so required no plugs, and they're hidden under the cabinets so I can't see them.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Lighting xenon UCL's

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Could someone give me a brief summary of the plusses and minuses of each system other than price?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:22PM
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I recently posted this in response to someone's recent question.

We recently had undercabinet LEDs from Lowe's put in by our electrician. (They actually can plug in, but we were having other work done). The brand name on the box was Utilitech but the distributor was Kichler - look at the back of the LED light box. Not all of the Utilitech line was out of Kichler, though, so be aware. They were well priced, much better than Kichler branded lights, and they're beautiful.

They come in 18" and 27" lengths as stock, and apparently they have a 10" available for special order. Unlike xenon, they don't get hot.

I am very impressed with the lighting now that I've had them in for almost 2 months. The light, the price, the form factor are all I need


    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:28PM
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We have the mini fluorescents from Lowes and they are really good and really cheap. Can't see them at all when sitting down and we only have quarter round on the bottom of our cabs. They cost about 20 bucks a pop.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 7:13AM
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gbsim -

Halogen and xenon lights are hotter, LED is cool. I've heard rumors that halogen and xenon can even melt chocolate/soften butter under them, but don't know that to be fact. The 2 reasons we are going with LED is because of the low energy (a 1-ft strip is only like 3 watts?) and they won't burn out for 15-20 years (when using them 8-10 hours/day). The strips are linkable, and if one does burn out, easy to snap it out of the bracket and stick another one up. Of course, who knows what they'll have out there 15 years from now!

We are anxious to get the back splash tiled, so we're wiring for the (hopefully dimmable) switch now, and then get the lights at a later date.

There's a link at environmnentallights.com that shows you everything you need for a system - dimmable or not. Its 25 pages so scroll all the way down for directions

Here is a link that might be useful: pdf link for LED undercab lighting specs

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 7:56AM
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Kichler does sell a direct wire LED - I just had them installed. The direct wire versions cannot be dimmed - but I don't find that to be a problem, although that's a deal breaker for some people. They are an inch thick - not quite as low profile as the transformer versions, but will be fine when my light rails are installed.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 8:42AM
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Mountaineergirl - halogen undercabinet lighting is indeed hot. Xenons are not. What you mentioned about melting chocolate in the cabinets above them is true (not a rumor as you said), but ONLY about halogens. I have had xenon undercabinet lighting for several years, and they are not hot at all. Some people on this forum have reported their xenons can be a bit warm if left on for a long time, but that seems to vary depending on the brand, as many with xenon undercabinet lighting are like me, and have no problem. My undercabinet lighting is from Juno. My electrician insisted on Juno for both undercabinet and ceiling recessed lighting. Also, Juno's customer service phone line is excellent if you have questions.

The OP though is talking about LED's. I think those little light bars from Environmental Lights are awesome. I had thought they were really expensive, but I was impressed with Jem199's post above. I am curious about the undercabinet LED light quality. One of the reasons I wanted xenons (over the ultra-slim fluorescents which are also low-profile, and don't require a transformer) is the light quality, which is clear and white and very bright. My dimmers are a necessity, since my xenons are so bright. I do appreciate the brightness when I am doing tasks, so I was wondering if the LED's are bright also.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Yes I know the OP was asking about LED, I was trying to answer gbsim's question above :)

I have no experience with any under cabinet lighting yet, so I don't know about the brightness of LED in comparison to xenon. I DO know tho, that when purchasing them you have to pay attention to the lumen number. There's some good info about that on the lighting forum as well. Apparantly some LED lights don't produce a very bright light, and maybe that's difference between prices? just guessing

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:08PM
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we went with xenon strips from pegasus lighting. I had heard that company recommended on here, and I had no problems. My dh is in the process of installing ours, and they are wonderful!

I thought about led, but they seemed so much more, esp if you got them dimmable. I really wanted to have the dimming feature. They do get a little warm, but I don't think they'd melt anything.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:57PM
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