Say, Yes! to LED under cabinet lights…Continue reading and you will find expert information to help you determine your best option for under cabinet lighting.
I’m going to give you 3 top choices for LED under cabinet lighting AND why they are the best choice. I had the privilege of interviewing an awesome lighting expert; Ted from my favorite lighting showroom, Accent Lighting. Please read on and learn valuable information that can save you time and money. If you are just starting your kitchen design or just getting information Ted at Accent Lighting in Lake Oswego, Oregon has the knowledge 25+ years and he delivers!
Why choose LED for your under cabinet lights?
There are no light bulbs to change ever when choosing an LED light. Changing out under cabinet lights leave you in an awkward position to get them out, not user friendly. You can install and then forget about it with LED. There is no maintenance. LED is the way of the future, they are more expensive over the long term and they have a long lifespan. Reduce power you use by 80%.
So LED breaks down into 3 types
1-Self contained under cabinet LED lights
Self contained units have a LED diode in them that you wire up to. The bulb is towards back edge of cabinet at the backsplash. Some are pretty good some are not so good. There is a very wide range of quality. Most important is color dinning. The “dinning process” of each color diode is not strict so there is a color temperature range from 2700k-2900k in each unit. The human eyes can decipherer a color difference of 50k. So there are sub standard products in self contained units and some that are very good. Pricing will tell you this. Seagull Lighting offers a great self contained LED under counter choice.
Why should you avoid the poor quality ones?
True story of a clients experience…
The electrician installed company X under cabinet lights that were on either side of the stove and had two 24” wide cabinets. The end light experience showed two completely different colors of light on either side of the stove. It was a bad situation since the client was unhappy, and could notice 2 different colors of light and they had to be taken out and new ones selected.
Led tape light is very popular with a lot of choices on the market. Most of which can be subpar. Quality in this case is key. Typically cheap LED tape light is not good quality. One product that stands out that Ted highly recommends – W.A.C. Lighting’s InvisiLED Pro. It comes in 2” lengths and 1 foot lengths you can easily accommodate custom cabinet lengths. Dimmable and has a 5 year warranty.
Look and qualify the following:
- Light output
- Color temperature
- Life and warranty
Better manufacturer’s warranty for 5 years. Electronics if defective go bad in a year or two.
3- Best option – Unilume by Tech Lighting LED under cabinet lights
Unilume uses remote phosphor technology. Each LED is blue to get the white light they put a phosphor coated lens over the blue light. Blue light comes thru the phosphor and changes it to a white light and diffuses it so you get an even light on your surface.
The problem with kitchens and under cabinet lighting is you can have little blue dots appear on the surface (depending what surface you choose). If you have a surface such as polished granite etc. those diodes can show up on the counter top surface. Ted calls this the “airport runway effect”. The individual diodes you get shadowing. If you hold your finger under the light you will see this strange shadow pattern of multiple shadows of your finger. The remote phosphor eliminates the shadows and you get even light and you have your color temperatures; warmer at 2700k or whiter neutral at 3000k.
Most expensive and extremely thin only ¾”, mounts at the ideal location for task lighting; front edge of under cabinet. Stud out wire as you normally do it. No transformers, easy installation. Connect together for longer runs. Electricians really like them, efficient and customize to fit your length of cabinet.
What does color temperature have to do with it?
To determine the color temperature you need bring your samples into the lighting showroom. Know your countertop is going to be a polished granite and it has browns and reds and creams already your looking at warm color tones and 2700k will enhance those tones. More contemporary materials such as concrete counter tops look at doing tape light (good tape light like WAC called pro24C). Reason why it is recommended is it comes in 1 foot and 2” sections. Really get it right. No cutting involved pieces together simply. Good for entertainment units as well. So do you need a “warm” or “crisps” light output?
Don’t do this…
If you want white kitchen cabinets and you put in 2700k lights your cabinets are going to look cream, a slight yellow component to them. Halogen is closer to 3000k which is crisper and will get a truer color rendering and not tint your cabinets white paint. That is another reason why you SHOULD bring in your samples to a lighting showroom.
Last little tid bit but so important to know.
If you see this on packaging – “Daylight” it is a marketing word. If you put the actual color of daylight which is 6500k into a residence, the color is too blue. We use incandescent light, the color of incandescent light to measure how color is measured the CRI (color rendering index). We as humans started with fireside light and candle light. Which is why people respond negatively to too high of temperature such as anything above 3000k for residential applications?
With the new energy regulations which will probably increase more so. LED light bulbs are also great for recessed cans. You can get more light out of an LED bulb and has the same color temperature as an incandescent bulb at 2700k.