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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Under Counter Fixtures Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2019
№1 – Aquasana 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter System with Oil-Rubbed Bronze Faucet
№2 – Zanflare LED Under Cabinet Lighting, Hand Wave Activated, Touchless Dimming Control, Easy to Install, 3 Panel Kit, All Accessories Included, 12V LED Closet Light Fixtures, Under Counter Lights
№3 – Kobi Electric K9M3 750 lm 5000K LED Under cabinet Lighting Fixture, 28″, Bronze Finish
Color Temperature For Under Cabinet Lighting 101
You may ask: Why talk about color temperature? I just want to get straight to installations!
Simply because choosing a color temperature is indeed a necessary step before you buy your under-cabinet lighting. It will contribute to the overall kitchen aesthetics and improve an otherwise dull one.
Different cabinet materials will go well with different color temperature, and will significantly enhance the color of the material itself.
There are basically three kinds of color temperatures, as we can see in the picture below.
As we can see, colors are measured in Kelvin temperature. 1,000-3,000 Kelvin range is the warm tones range. You may have heard the term ‘warm white’ before, it belongs to this group, and warm white lightings are measured in 2,700-3,500 Kelvin.
If you are interested in more details about color temperatures as well as the technicals behind it, check an article by Discover Lighting here.
How to choose your color temperature? As mentioned, it will largely depend on your cabinet material, with the following rule of thumb:
Many types of lighting can be used in an under-cabinet application. However, in modern application, generally there are choices you may use:
Under-cabinet lighting won’t require that much power. However, you should be careful that it won’t overload a power source. If you are deciding in using battery-powered puck lightings, you can skip this step.
Depending on your country’s electrical code, not all power source will be available. For example, the U.S. electrical code prohibits connection to dedicated circuits. This roughly means that you can’t use your kitchen and dining appliance circuit (you can’t use the countertop power outlets), as well as your laundry room and bathroom circuit.
If such condition is applied to your location, it’s still legal to take power from a light switch box with all hot, neutral, and ground connection. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the power from other locations such as your hallway outlet.
Once you decided on which power source to use, you have to determine whether it is capable of handling your additional under-cabinet light without overloading. Here is how to do it:
Same rules apply if your lighting of choice needs a dedicated power supply, which is common in LED strips. Choose a power supply with 20%-25% spare power capacity to avoid overloading.
Think under-cabinet kitchen design should be monotonous? Think again. See the following examples that may trigger your creativity.
As mentioned, traditional kitchen with wooden feel goes better with warmer, yellowish color temperature. The lighting will emphasize the color of the wood materials.
White countertops go better with cooler color temperature. An excellent example of how to conceal your light bulbs/strips by covering it with acrylic or other transparent materials. It also helps to diffuse the lights. A gorgeous modern kitchen with cool color temperature. Notice how the overall room lighting also contributes to the overall coloring.
Bars are also a common application for under-cabinet lighting. This is also an example how you can experiment with color to change the overall feel of the design.
Under cabinet LED
Ultra slim LED undercabinet light fixture. Can be combined together with our UCP/UCT LED Series
Triangular design LED undercabinet light fixture. Can be combined together with our UCP/UC LED Series
The UCA series of LED under cabinet lights is a unique fixture because of its ultra slim profile, pivoting design and a wide range of sleek accessories that can create that perfect ambiance for your kitchen.
Fluorescent tubes under wall cabinets used to be very popular but these are a bit bulky and fragile, limiting their installation along the angles where the kitchen cabinets meet the wall. Since the lighting comes from the opposite side of the person who is working, the light would bounce or glare off the surface of the counter. Now, despite the fact that fluorescent tube lights are not necessarily the ideal lighting for your kitchen cabinets, they do help us in identifying what we do want in kitchen under-cabinet lights.
Here are things that you need to be looking for when buying kitchen under-cabinet lighting:
Slim Fluorescent Strips
Slim fluorescent strips are successors of the bulky fluorescent strips which were once very popular. The slim fluorescent fixtures are much smaller and lighter compared to their previous versions, so they can be mounted at the front of kitchen cabinets. These lights are also directional, so these can be installed to illuminate downwards and towards the wall.
LED Ropes and Tapes
LED ropes and tapes are very slim that they can appear to be invisible. You can tuck the fixture into the angle between the bottom shelf of the kitchen cabinet and the face frame. This way, you do not see the fixture, only the light it emits. Although they do not give off the same amount of lighting as other types of fixtures, LED ropes and tapes are designed in a long continuous roll, so they are able to provide sufficient illumination.
Which One is the Best Lighting for Your Kitchen Cabinets?
Considering all factors, LED strip or tape lights would be the best choice for kitchen under-cabinet task lighting if you have good general lighting in your kitchen. For lighting above a workbench, a fluorescent tube fixture can give you the level of lighting that you need.
Staff Pick for “Quick Weekend Under Cabinet Project”
AFX Pro Undercabinet. We love this fixture for its ease of use. Each one comes with a cord and plug, or you can opt to hardwire it (and use a short jumper cable to connect multiple lights together). Another thing to love: the hi-low switch and color-temperature slider. Just install and select between warm, neutral, and cooler white light to best suit your countertop.
We stock this fixture in white in 9″, 13″, 32″, and 40″ for your quick project. Or you can special order in Bronze or Brushed Aluminum.
Staff Pick for Modular “Plug and Play”
Color Kinetics eW Powercore. If you’re looking for “superior illumination quality” and “dramatic energy savings,” you can’t go wrong with this product by Philips Lighting, which offers a sleek profile and small footprint.
As the brochure states, “Powercore rapidly, efficiently, and accurately controls power output to fixtures directly from line voltage, eliminating the need for external power supplies.” Includes dimming capabilities and versatile installation options (bonus: this system is UL rated for dry and wet environments). We have this stocked in white in both showrooms.
Here are more articles on under cabinet lighting that you should check out:
The 41on Under Cabinet Lighting
Lighting a room doesn’t take much effort, but lighting it properly, well that’s a whole other thing. A center-mounted ceiling light isn’t enough anymore, not when you want lighting for tasks, ambience, security, and more. Consumer Reports asked four lighting designers from across the country for room-by-room lighting advice. Not surprisingly, they all said energy-saving LEDs are the way to go.
A lighting fixture in the center of the ceiling is visually boring and it can’t do it all. Use a variety of light sources to create layers of light, being careful to avoid glare. Whether the light color is warm or cool is a personal preference. “The further south you go people prefer cooler light because it makes you feel cooler and as you go north you find warm light is more popular,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, a lighting designer and architect in Lexington, Kentucky.
Light color is noted on the Lighting Facts label on lightbulb packages. Warm light is around 2700 K (the K is for Kelvin, a temperature scale that measures light color). Bulbs 3500-4100K cast a whiter light and those 5000-6500K give off a bluer-white light. “Don’t go above 3000K in any room,” says Rey-Barreau.
Kitchen and dining area
Task lighting. Mount dimmable, adjustable undercabinet LED fixtures near the cabinet front to direct light down and back to put light where you’ll be working, but if you have granite or another shiny countertop there can be some reflected glare—bright spots of light from the LEDs.
Need to know: Cut countertop glare by using LED fixtures with diffusers to soften the light. “And if your backsplash is white or another highly reflective surface, place the undercabinet LED fixtures upfront but aim them toward the backsplash to lessen glare and allow the light to bounce off the backsplash and illuminate the work surface, ” says Terry McGowan, a Cleveland-based lighting designer and director of engineering for the American Lighting Association.
Overhead lights. Dimmable LEDs for recessed lighting can provide directional task lighting and general lighting. “The most common mistake that I’ve seen—even builders do it—is a recessed fixture with a bulb hanging, creating a huge amount of glare,” says Robin Muto, a lighting designer in Rochester, New York.
Need to know: A true recessed light means that the lightbulb is recessed too. And the color of the can’s interior, which surrounds the bulb, affects light output and the color of the can’s interior, which surrounds the bulb, affects light output and light color. A shiny metal reflector casts the most light but increases glare. A black interior reduces glare but absorbs light so you might prefer brighter bulbs.
Bulbs to consider: Any of the recommended BR30 LEDs that you see in our ratings.
Use a ceiling fan with a light or recessed lights for general lighting, lamps at different heights and sizes to create an intimate look, track or recessed directional lighting to accent art, wall sconces for added light, and LED tape lighting on cabinet shelves to showcase books and your favorite pieces.
Need to Know: “Avoid a light above the TV as it will influence the quality of what you’re seeing,” says Rey-Barreau, adding that recessed lights should be off when you’re watching TV. Use bulbs within a 200-degree Kelvin range of other bulbs in the room to minimize noticeable differences in light color in one room.
Bulbs to consider: See the general purpose LEDs that replace 60-watt bulbs in our ratings.
Recessed lighting isn’t ideal as you don’t want to be looking up from your bed at a glaring light. A ceiling fixture lets you hit a switch for on/off light, and dimmers on your bedside lamps allow you to adjust light within a range of comfortable settings. Skip CFLs in children’s bedrooms. Horsing around may cause a lamp to crash to the floor, a concern since CFLs contain small amounts of mercury.
Need to know: Use warmer light color, around 2700K, to minimize blue light. Your eyes are especially sensitive to it, and studies have shown that exposure to any light at night is associated with an increased risk of sleep problems, according to our medical experts.
Bulbs to consider: For lamps or ceiling fixtures, most of the top scoring general purpose LEDs cast warm light. See our ratings and note whether the bulb can be used in a fully enclosed fixture.
You’ll want just enough light to get in and out in the middle of the night, yet the right light for grooming. Overhead dimmable light is useful and ideally you want light above the mirror and along both sides.
Need to know: Choose bulbs with a high color-rendering index (CRI). They more accurately show colors of skin tone—handy when applying make-up. You’ll see color accuracy scores in our lightbulb Ratings. As for light color, Muto prefers bathroom light that’s around 3000K. “It’s not cool yet but it’s more neutral,” she says, “and you perceive the light as being brighter than warm, yellow light.”
Bulbs to consider: Check the ratings for a general purpose LED that scored well in our color accuracy tests.
LEDs perform very well in cold temperatures, unlike CFLs, which take time to fully brighten. And an LED’s long life makes it ideal for hard-to-reach spots. Continue the layered-lighting look outside, using lighting for safety, security, and accenting landscaping. “Glare is always bad.” says McGowan. “When you put a floodlight over the garage door and aim it down the driveway, you’re blinded when you pull in the driveway and your neighbors passing by on the street or sidewalk won’t appreciate this glaring light either.”
Need to know: Control the light by installing fixtures with shields so the light shines down and not out, and rather than using one bulb to do all the work use several smaller floodlights with less light output. “The rule of thumb is never try to light a distance beyond 1.times the mounting height of the light,” he says. Lights mounted at 1feet can light up to 1feet out.
Bulbs to consider: See the PAR3bulbs in our ratings, and note that some of the BR30 LEDs can be used outdoors if they’re protected from water and aren’t as bright.
Full lightbulb Ratings and recommendations
Important notes before getting your project started
Step 1: Get a clear vision! Because each project is unique, there is no all-in-one solution. Different projects require different types of LED strips.
Do you want to dim your lights or control them with a remote or wall switch?
Wattage consumed per strip of LEDs
Power consumption is one of the reasons we as a society have begun switching to LEDs. Wattage tells us how much power we are consuming while these lights are on, and in turn how much we’ll have to pay at the end of each month. Once again, be sure to verify the wattage per foot, meter, or reel before you buy.
Some may read “2watts” on a reel and then get home and realize this is per meter or per foot, meaning the whole reel actually uses much more. Making matters worse, they have bought a power supply that covers 30 watts, thinking that would be enough. This often occurs when a seller doesn’t properly list important information in an easy to read format.
A plug-in fixture may be used for short runs of under-cabinet lighting, but for an entire kitchen, hardwired fixtures are the best option. For the latter, you’ll need a code-compliant source of electricity that is not already dedicated to the refrigerator or counter appliances. Avoid any circuit at risk of becoming overloaded.
The new junction box for your under-cabinet lighting can be located behind cabinetry or in a nearby wall. Cables for the fixtures will be run inside the wall; if run through your cabinets, the cables will be metal-clad.
Operating on either low voltage or 120-V, under-cabinet fixtures may be classified by form (spot, bar, strip, tape, etc.) or by light source (incandescent, fluorescent, or LED). Spot and bar fixtures may be incandescent, fluorescent, or LED; strip and tape fixtures use LEDs.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing under-cabinet lighting fixtures: • Spots, also known as puck lights, create pools of light that if spaced too far apart, may leave some areas in the dark. Bars, assuming you mount them end to end, will provide even light along the counter. • Incandescent under-cabinet lights are typically equipped with either halogen or xenon bulbs. Halogen bulbs are more expensive, emit more heat, and use more energy than other sources, but they produce a nice light and are dimmable. Xenon bulbs give off less heat and are more efficient, plus they last longer. • LED lights last the longest—to 20 years or more—although their output fades over time. And when an LED bulb goes out (or breaks), the entire fixture must be replaced.
Albrillo Remote Control LED Under Cabinet Lighting, Dimmable Warm White 3000K, 12W 900 Lumens, Pack
Outlite A100 Portable Ultra Bright Handheld LED Flashlight with Adjustable Focus and Light Modes, Outdoor Water Resistant Torch, Powered Tactical Flashlight for Camping Hiking etc
Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV018-IN Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel w/ Spring Assisted Handle
Kohree 300 Led Curtain icicle lights, Remote Curtain Lights for Christmas, Home, Balcony, Holiday, Festivals, Wedding Party Decorations, Mode Warm White, UL Certification
Pros & Cons of LED Light
LED stands for light emitting diode, which are semiconductors that produce light when charged. LED bulbs have an average lifespan of over 50,000 hours, compared to a little over 1,000 for conventional incandescent bulbs. As a LED ages, the amount of light it gives off dissipates over time.
Pros & Cons of CFL Light
CFL stands for compact fluorescent lighting, which is simply a smaller version of a fluorescent tube. CFL bulbs contain a mercury vapor that lights when it is energized. Because CFLs contain mercury, they must be disposed of carefully, at designated drop-off site (Home Depot, Lowes, recycling centers, etc). An average CFL bulb should last 7,000 hours.
Pros & Cons of Incandescent Light
Incandescent light is an electric process that produces light with a wire filament that is heated to a high temperature by an electric current which runs through it. This is the type of lighting which was the standard in homes up until the 1990’s. Due to its poor energy efficiency, it is being replaced with the newer technology of LED and CFL bulbs. Incandescent bulbs last roughly 1,000 hours.
Pros & Cons of Halogen Light
Similar to incandescent light bulbs, halogen bulbs use a similar electric-filament technology with one important difference; with incandescents the filament degrades via evaporation over time whereas, with halogens, filament evaporation is prevented by a chemical process that redeposits metal vapor onto the filament, thereby extending its life. Halogen bulbs have a lifespan of roughly 3,000 hours.
Color Temperature & Lighting Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light. The temperature of light refers to its warmness or coolness, or hue. This temperature is measured using the Kelvin scale, which for most use ranges from 2,700°-7,500°K. Incandescent and halogen lighting are the most limited in the temperature range at 2,700°-3,000°K. LED and CFL have each expanded their color range to now offering warmer options. Most task lighting, however, benefits from cooler lighting options which include LED, full spectrum, and CFL.
Understanding Lumens & Brightness is a measurement of light output from a lamp, often called a tube or a bulb. All lamps are rated in lumens. For example, a 100-watt incandescent lamp produces about 1,600 lumens.
The distribution of light on a flat surface is called its illumination and is measured in footcandles. A footcandle of illumination is a lumen of light spread over a one square foot area.
The illumination needed varies according to the difficulty of a visual task. Ideal illumination is the minimum footcandles necessary to allow you to perform a task comfortably and efficiently without eyestrain or fatigue. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society, illumination of 30 to 50 footcandles is needed for most home and office work. Intricate and lengthy visual tasks — like sewing — require 200 to 500 footcandles.
1,000-1,400 Lumens is a commonly accepted range for most applications of task lighting. An average of 50 Lumens per square foot is a common measure. efficacy. Efficacy is the ratio of light output from a lamp to the electric power it uses and is measured in lumens per watt.
Demystifying LED Light
When comparing the raw lumen output of traditional lamps with the lumen output of many LED lamps, it may seem that LEDs deliver less light than the conventional counterparts. These comparisons, however, are inaccurate and misleading, since they fail to account for the amount of wasted light in conventional lighting.
Therefore, lumen output is a poor measure of the suitability of a lamp for a given task. The better measure is delivered light — how much light a fixture delivers to a surface, as measured in lux (lx) or footcandles (fc). You can make comparisons between conventional and LED lighting fixtures on the basis of delivered light, as it measures how much of a light source’s raw lumen output reaches a surface or area you are lighting.
Determining the amount of a conventional lamp’s raw lumen output reaches as area, you must discount any light lost in the fixture housing (at times over 30%), as well as the light lost as a result of shading, lensing, and filtering. Since incandescent and fluorescent lamps often emit light in many directions, you must also discount any light cast away from the target area.
Reading area or den
The reading area should have a bright task lamp. A bright desk lamp can prevent eye strain which is helpful in preventing eye damage in the long run. With bright task lamps in the reading area, you can keep headaches away. Thus, you will surely enjoy reading as well as other activities like writing letters or completing puzzles.
Your kitchen is another part of the home that requires task lighting. The dangerous nature of the activities you do in your kitchen is reason enough to get additional task lighting. More importantly, you need enough light to read recipes and to see the ingredients as they cook as well as other practical things. For kitchens, common task lighting fixtures are under cabinet lights that provide extra illumination to supplement the ambient light.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Under Counter Fixtures wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Under-Counter Fixtures
- №1 — Aquasana 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter System with Oil-Rubbed Bronze Faucet
- №2 — Zanflare LED Under Cabinet Lighting, Hand Wave Activated, Touchless Dimming Control, Easy to Install, 3 Panel Kit, All Accessories Included, 12V LED Closet Light Fixtures, Under Counter Lights
- №3 — Kobi Electric K9M3 750 lm 5000K LED Under cabinet Lighting Fixture, 28″, Bronze Finish