Considering of including underneath cupboard lighting in your kitchen? Make sure you learn this submit before you purchase any of the provides!
To say that I’m an idealist relating to home tasks is a little bit of an understatement. Often one thing that I believe we will knock out in a Saturday will take us at the least week or two.
So once I began dreaming up an under-cabinet lighting plan for our kitchen, I envisioned making a fast journey to IKEA or Residence Depot, grabbing just a few mild strips, sticking them underneath the cupboards, and calling it a day.
And left to my very own units, I in all probability would have adopted by means of with that actual plan. I’d have change into annoyed when it wasn’t as straightforward as I pictured. And I’d have ended up with type of “meh” outcomes.
Fortuitously, I’m married to an avid researcher. Donnie appears at tasks from each angle and thinks them by means of all the way down to the tiniest element earlier than leaping in totally. And whereas his strategy could take a bit of longer than mine, it’s all the time value it in the long run to get a spectacular end result!
One other bonus of his in-depth analysis is that I can have him report again his findings right here on the weblog and save YOU a ton of analysis time! So Donnie is taking up immediately to speak in regards to the BEST underneath cupboard lighting choices for the kitchen. (You may see his follow-up submit about find out how to set up underneath cupboard lighting right here.) I’ll flip it over to him now!
Methods to Select the Finest Below Cupboard Lighting for the Kitchen
This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. For extra info, see my disclosures right here.
Abby and I anticipated including underneath cupboard lighting within the kitchen even earlier than we moved into our home. In preparation for this venture, we even had the builders set up shops on the within of our kitchen cupboards at both finish, wired to a swap by our sink.
However although it has been on our to-do record for some time, like most tasks round the home, as soon as I began researching completely different kitchen underneath cupboard lighting choices, I spotted it’s not so simple as it appears.
Selecting underneath cupboard lighting is tougher than the precise set up. I did a variety of analysis (perhaps an excessive amount of!) earlier than I bought our lights. And I’m sharing all the pieces I discovered on this fast information. I hope this can be useful and prevent a while by yourself underneath cupboard lighting venture!
Fluorescent vs. Halogen vs. LED Below Cupboard Lighting
Earlier than I even began researching, I had three kinds of underneath cupboard lighting that I used to be contemplating: florescent, halogen, and LED.
Fluorescent Below Cupboard Lighting
That is the previous type of lighting that was utilized in many kitchens within the 90s and early 2000s. The 2 benefits of fluorescent lighting are that it’s low cost and vitality environment friendly.
The downsides are many:
- The gasoline on the within of the bulbs is poisonous if damaged, which additionally makes it a disposal problem.
- Fluorescent bulbs final a very long time, however a lot of switching on and off considerably reduces their lifespan.
- After awhile, the bulbs take a while to “heat up” earlier than they’re totally illuminated.
- Finally the lights can develop a ballast situation and begin to emit a slight-but-annoying buzz.
- This one is subjective, however I’m not a fan of the colour rendering of any fluorescent bulbs, it doesn’t matter what shade temperature is used.
Halogen Below Cupboard Lighting
If you happen to stroll into any massive residence enchancment retailer, you’ll probably see a lot of halogen underneath cupboard lighting choices. Often these appear to be little spherical pucks which might be caught to the underside of a cupboard.
I get the sense that these are slowly being phased out as LED choices change into cheaper. However there are nonetheless a superb variety of halogen lights on the market within the US. I consider within the EU, halogen lights are not allowed to be bought.
Halogen lights was common as a result of they have been extra vitality environment friendly than the old-style incandescent bulb. However now with good LED choices, halogen lights aren’t as sensible anymore.
Downsides of halogen underneath cupboard lighting:
- As much as 90% of the entire vitality is within the type of warmth emission, which means solely about 10% of the vitality consumption is within the type of precise mild. This warmth situation is actual. I bear in mind in our faculty dorms, we weren’t allowed to make use of any halogen lamps.
- Bulb lifespan is poor in contrast with LED. There are many components at play right here, however usually, an LED mild will final 50x longer than a halogen bulb.
LED Below Cupboard Lighting
LED lighting has actually caught on this previous ten years, and for good motive.
Listed below are the largest explanation why I consider LED lighting is your best option for underneath cupboard lighting:
- LED lights are vitality environment friendly and have a ridiculously lengthy lifespan. It’s not unusual to have lifespan points with low cost LED lighting options, however high quality ones can final for 10+ years even with close to steady use.
- LED lights emit little or no warmth. That is vital not only for vitality effectivity but in addition for security.
- LED lights have a excessive CRI (shade rendering index) which describes the lights’ capacity to indicate correct shade of lighted objects. There are some low high quality LED lights on the market with a low CRI, however the top quality LED lights in the marketplace have a excessive CRI.
- LED lights are dimmable with the usage of the suitable sort of transformer.
- LED lights activate immediately. There isn’t any “heat up” interval as with fluorescent lights.
For me, LED lights have been the clear and apparent winner for underneath cupboard lighting.
As soon as we had selected the kind of lights we needed to make use of, we nonetheless had just a few extra choices to make…
Pre-Made LED Below Cupboard Lighting vs LED Gentle Strips
In my analysis I shortly realized that LED lights have been the best way to go. After I had selected LED, there have been two sorts to think about: a “pre-made” possibility and a light-weight strip possibility.
The “Pre-Made” Possibility
There are many “pre-made” underneath cupboard LED lighting choices on the market. The sunshine is encased, often consists of some kind of diffusing protect, and has its personal plug/energy supply.
Our unique plan was to make use of the OMLOPP sequence from IKEA, which is a sort of pre-made LED lighting. OMLOPP is top of the range and low profile and might be mixed in numerous configurations from a single energy provide. In addition they have a shade temperature (extra on this later) of 3000K, which is strictly what I needed.
IKEA OMLOPP Below Cupboard Lighting
The issue with OMLOPP for me was that they solely are available in 15”, 18”, and 24” lengths. Which may be good for somebody who constructed out a whole IKEA kitchen (like we did in our final home!). However for the setup in our present home, these lengths simply weren’t going to be versatile sufficient. I wanted to mild numerous cupboard sections from 7” all the best way as much as 34.5”. OMLOPP would have left me with too many unlit sections.
GE additionally makes some pre-made underneath cupboard LED lighting choices, however they pose the identical drawback– not sufficient size choices for my wants.
The LED Gentle Strip Possibility
Earlier than I began this venture, I used to be considerably acquainted with LED mild strips. My son used a few of these lights in his sport room to mild his laptop desk with numerous colours and results. Abby had additionally despatched me just a few tutorials she discovered on-line of people that use mild strips for his or her underneath cupboard lighting of their kitchen.
I didn’t actually love the thought of sunshine strips at first. Peeling and sticking lights on the underside of our cupboards appeared a bit of low cost to me. It felt like a short lived answer. I later realized there have been different mounting choices; that made me really feel higher about this.
I additionally didn’t like how in some footage designed to indicate off the LED mild strips used as underneath cupboard lighting, you would see all these tiny little dots mirrored within the kitchen counter. It seemed like tons of of tiny little spot lights shining on the countertop as a substitute of a extra subtle and constant look. Fortuitously, I discovered an answer for this as nicely!
The primary motive we went with the LED mild strip possibility is that it’s infinitely customizable. The sunshine strips run on a low voltage system (similar to our panorama lighting).
There are many benefits to this, however an enormous one is that the sunshine strips are designed to be lower to any desired size. That’s a sport altering function and permits for a really customized set up that matches our kitchen cupboard dimensions completely.
So we might get this extra customized look, we selected to make use of LED mild strips for our underneath cupboard lighting venture.
As soon as we had settled on the LED mild strips, we then needed to resolve on…
The Finest LED Gentle Strip Shade Temperature for Below Cupboard Lighting
Although it’d look like a small element, shade temperature is an EXTREMELY vital choice that has a huge effect on the ultimate look of the underneath cupboard lighting. If you happen to’re not acquainted with shade temperature, here’s a actually fast rundown:
All mild has a shade “temperature” that’s is expressed in kelvins (“Okay” for brief).
A shade temperature within the 5000K vary could be extra of a “cool” temperature that in some settings might seem a bit of bluish.
2700-3400K could be extra of a “heat” shade. Some would perhaps name this “yellowish,” and it will be within the shade temperature vary of an previous customary incandescent mild bulb.
If you happen to like the sensation of the tremendous vibrant and “bluish” fluorescent lighting you’d discover in a giant workplace constructing, you might like a shade temperature within the 5000K to 6000K vary.
If you happen to favor extra of that softer and hotter feeling, you might like mild within the 2700K to 3400K vary.
The Shade Temperature We Selected
Fortuitously, the colour temperature choice was a straightforward one for us. A couple of years in the past we changed all of the CFL bulbs in our recessed lighting on our foremost ground with LED choices. We did a variety of analysis and selected a 3000K shade temperature.
I believe it appears it’s the right stability. Any “hotter” (decrease kelvin) and it will be too yellow or too orange. Any “cooler” (greater kelvin) and the sunshine would really feel too blue and harsh. 3000K has been our go-to shade temperature ever since.
As a result of our complete kitchen already makes use of 3000K lights, we needed to verify our underneath cupboard lighting matched. Fortuitously, there are many LED mild strip choices in 3000K.
There’s, in fact, the choice to purchase the loopy color-changing RGB LED mild strips that may be set to limitless shade choices. It’s attainable to combine purple, inexperienced, and blue LEDs in such a approach that it creates a 3000K mild, however from what I’ve learn, the outcomes are lower than good. Since we doubtless wouldn’t use any of the opposite colours anyway, we determined to keep away from the color-changing choices.
In case you are not sure what white mild “shade temperature” to decide on, there are some dynamic tunable white LED choices. Many of those mean you can “tune” the colour temperature from 2700K to 6200K and all over the place in between. The draw back is that these tunable lights are costlier than static shade temperature lights of the identical high quality.
As a result of Abby and I already knew what shade temperature we would have liked, we bought static temperature 3000K strips.
Different Below Cupboard LED Gentle Strip Issues
Most LED mild strips specific brightness in lumens per liner foot. There are many suggestions on the market, however the consensus appears to be that your required lighting brightness will depend upon the way you wish to use the sunshine.
If you happen to intend to make use of the sunshine as your foremost lighting within the room (no different overhead lighting), you’ll wish to select tremendous vibrant LEDs that present mild within the vary of 500 to 1,000 lumens per foot.
If you happen to intend to make use of the underneath cupboard lighting as process or accent lighting, you’ll wish to discover lighting within the 200 to 500 lumens per foot vary.
For very refined accent lighting, 100 to 200 lumens per foot can be a good selection.
Abby and I selected lights that present 266 lumens per foot. We have already got a number of can lights in our kitchen, in addition to three pendant lights over the island, so we didn’t want our underneath cupboard lighting to be tremendous vibrant. 266 lumens per foot offers us with a brightness proper on the backside finish of “process” lighting.
When selecting LED mild strips and provides, it’s vital to know if you would like your lights to be dimmable or not.
I selected a brightness that I believe can be good in our kitchen, so I didn’t really feel the necessity to purchase provides for a dimmable setup.
Our LEDs are able to dimming, so if I do resolve to make the lights dimmable sooner or later, I can simply purchase a brand new transformer and in addition exchange our present mild swap with a dimmer.
Lastly, we determined to purchase some aluminum mounting channels for our LED lights. These might be lower to any size and hooked up to the underside of our cupboards.
These look good and supply a stable base for the LED strip, however in addition they give the choice of including a plastic cowl. There are clear choices and in addition frosted choices. I selected frosted covers to supply a bit of sunshine diffusion and assist stop all of the tiny little LEDs lights from reflecting off of our countertop.
With the entire main choices made, we have been in a position to compile our last record of underneath cupboard lighting provides!
Below Cupboard Lighting Provides
We bought our provides from Flex Hearth LEDs. I had just a few questions on compatibility between mild strips, connectors, and mounting channels and so they helped me discover the suitable product with their reside chat function. Listed below are the provides we ended up utilizing:
- Accent Collection LED Strip Gentle (3000K shade temperature, 24 volt enter, 16 foot size)
- 2x LED Plug-in Energy Provide Adapter (Added on the coaxial connector with screw terminal, 24 volt system; Word: We selected 24 watt measurement based mostly on the size of our setup. This text may also help you identify what number of watts are wanted in your particular venture.)
- Single Shade Solderless Grip Connectors
Word: We bought C1 connectors with naked wire to attach the sunshine strips to the facility provide. In our scenario, we had two shops with two separate energy provides, so we would have liked two connectors with naked wire. It’s higher to get those with 36” of wire as a result of the size provides you extra flexibility, and so they can all the time be lower down.
The opposite connectors you want rely in your scenario. We’ve picket sections that divide the underside of our cupboards from each other, so I wanted to bridge this hole with wire. The the pre-made jumper connectors with wire in between are 6” lengthy which is a bit longer than I wanted. As an alternative, I made jumper connectors out of C1 connectors with no wire and the additional wire from unused connectors and further wire.
Typically it’s laborious to examine precisely what connectors you will want. I believed I had a good suggestion in my thoughts, however as soon as the venture began I made some changes. Fortuitously, connectors are very low cost, so it is sensible to by a range and greater than you want.
- Gemini Mounting Channel Package (mounting channel and frosted cowl with accent package; Word: These mounting channels work nicely with the particular LED strips and connectors we selected. The frosted cowl doesn’t change the colour temperature of the lights, but it surely provides them a subtle look.)
This was positively a kind of tasks the place the “analysis” portion took longer than the precise set up! However placing within the legwork up entrance is certainly value it to get a good looking finish end result.
And talking of set up– we’re not leaving you hanging! You may catch the step-by-step tutorial for putting in underneath cupboard lighting right here.
Have you ever put in underneath cupboard lighting in your kitchen? We’d love to listen to your finest suggestions within the feedback beneath!
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Thanks a lot for following alongside! Have a beautiful day!
This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. For extra info, see my disclosures right here.