Which LED under-cabinet lights?
May 20, 2015 8:00 AM   Subscribe

What kitchen (or elsewhere) LED under-cabinet lights have you used? Were they good or bad? Do you wish you'd done it differently?

Our kitchen it being redone right now, and the electrician -- who I like and trust, don't get me wrong -- has shown us some under-cabinet LEDs. We are curious what else is out there, aside from the lighting aisle at Lowe's Home Depot.

He is showing us low-profile cases with one emitter in a 12" enclosure or two in a 24" enclosure. Will these be bright enough? (They are listed as Cree emitters, but no indication of brightness.)

I am not really interested in rope lights, but you can try to convince me. :7) We are removing existing lights with small fluorescent bulbs, hard-wired to a wall switch.

Thanks in advance!
posted by wenestvedt to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
We just did this and got the standard 12"/24" bars from Home Depot. They're fine.

If I were doing it again, I would get some of the LED Tape light (see, e.g., here) since it seems to me that there is the ultimate flexibility there; you can make it as long or as short as you need it to be.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2015

We're really happy with the GE plug-in LED lights that we got from... some big box store, I don't remember which. I'm afraid I also don't remember the specific model number, but they look more or less like these, about two feet long with four lights each. They cost about $25.

The LEDs are very bright without being harsh and they have a really nice warm color temperature, not the stark blue-white quality that you might expect. The only caveat/tradeoff is that they do need an outlet to plug into, which depending on the configuration of your kitchen could be a pain.
posted by usonian at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2015

We got the basic ones from Ikea that sort of stick out slightly from under the cupboard (these I think) and they're great except one of them has worked slightly loose and I can't figure out how to get it to lie flush except with superglue. If they broke, I'd replace them with thinner higher quality ones because they are really great to have for working in the kitchen late in the evening. Mine turn on with a switch at the side of the usual outlets, no additional plug needed after the electrician installed them.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2015

I bought these LE LED bars through Amazon.

- Very happy with the quality of the light; bright, and white without being cool.
- Uses up a kitchen outlet, like usonian's lights.
- The lights are switched and dimmed by a remote. You have to use the remote. The included batteries for the remote were dead, which was a bummer.
- The lights can be dimmed, which I like because I get great task lighting and a nice kitchen nightlight.
- There is a definite spotlight effect on the walls with a wide beam of about 100°. If you look at the bookshelf photos on the Amazon page, you can see the edge of the spotlight effect right above the books.
- There is no diffuser, so there are obvious rows of bright dots reflected in stainless steel or chrome objects below the lights.
posted by Wilbefort at 8:39 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I used LightKiwi undercabinet lights an am very happy with them. They come in 12" sections and you can join as many together as you want. They are very thin. They were easy to install. You can get a warm slightly yellow color or a cool slightly blue. They are dimmable.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 9:52 AM on May 20, 2015

I have the halogen-bulb hockey pucks from Ikea under the cabinets and in the glass-fronted ones. Would vastly prefer LED, probably warm-ish ones. In any case, I really like the under-cabinet lights.
posted by theora55 at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2015

Best answer: Here's what I discovered after much faffing around. Go with a lighting SPECIALIST like the ones below and talk to them.

We really liked these: neither too cool (5k) nor too warm (2.8k). Dimmable. On really low dimming settiing ( less than 20%) they strobe, but that's true of most LEDs AFAIK.


with the following dimmer that they’ve tested, and 3 wires to fit in their adaptor



Notes from the MFR

• They are "self-driven," which means you can connect them directly to 120 Volts AC. They do not require discrete drivers, which step down and rectify 120 Volts AC to a lower DC voltage, required by LEDs. Therefore, installation is simpler.
• They are dimmable, using specific dimmers we recommend as companion parts. DO NOT USE use CL, incandescent or magnetic low voltage dimmers.

" The fact is, you don't have any great dimmer options if your switch box DOES NOT contain a neutral wire.
Most switch boxes DO have a neutral wire, but some older buildings or non-code construction may not.
In that case, you may have to pull a neutral wire or select another of our wonderful dimming bars. Call for assistance.”
posted by lalochezia at 4:47 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (For the sake of comparison, the lights we were shown are the Task Star by Magic Lite: hard-wired, so no driver, and with 175 Lumens per LED.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:04 AM on May 21, 2015

Response by poster: The Task-Star strips were installed last week, and they are pretty awesome.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2015

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