Best LED Under-Cabinet Lighting For 2019 (Reviews / Ratings)

Dagmar Hemp  |  October 23, 2019  |  8 Min. Read

LED Lighting  |  Lighting  |  Under Cabinet Lighting

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Under-cabinet lighting, along with recessed lighting, is essential in your house. It provides functional task lighting for chopping vegetables, frosting cookies, or other kitchen activities, for instance.

You can also leave under-cabinet lighting on by itself for safety lighting. However, what type of under-cabinet lighting is the best? You now have options like lighting tape, pucks, and light bars.

In this article, you will learn about the importance of choosing the right quality of lighting and how to buy under-cabinet lighting for your kitchen. There are tons of good options, but you should know the basics of lighting first.

We will start there and then look at the most popular under-cabinet lighting.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Under-cabinet lighting is a staple in most kitchens because it provides many different sources of light. It is task lighting for activities on the counter.

Your backsplashes are highlighted better with under-cabinet lights.

The two most important factors of under-cabinet lighting are understanding Kelvin temperature and LED lighting. 

What is Kelvin Temperature?

kelvin-temperature-scale-under-cabinet-lighting

Early under-cabinet products had a high Kelvin of 5,000, so they produced a fluorescent-like blue light and washed out the colors of your countertop.

The Kelvin scale was designed to describe the different color tones seen from various light sources.

Five thousand degrees is sunlight at noon - you may think sunlight is good, but it's too bright and blue for most. Ironically, you might use it in closets because you will be able to distinguish navy blue and black colors better.

At the other end of the spectrum, is candlelight at 2200 Kelvin. Candles and fire emit a yellow or gold glow. This lighting is softer, which is more flattering. Incandescent lighting runs at 2700 and is preferred by most because of it's warm and familiar tone.

Now lighting is produced from 2200 to 6000 Kelvin so that it will accentuate any tone and color of your granite counters or backsplash.

Typically you would want a 2700-3200 temperature under-cabinet lighting with earth tones. However, many people may wish to have a warmer whiter temperature in modern white and grey kitchens.

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What Is LED Lighting?

Under-cabinet lighting at yale appliance

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting is a solid-state lamp using diodes as the source of light. The technology has been around since the 1980's and is 90% efficient. It compares favorably to incandescent lighting, which was invented in the 1880's but is only 10% efficient.

It's safe to say you should be using LED today. LED is more efficient, uses less electricity, and emits far less heat.

LED's are also cooler to the touch, so it will not melt the peanut butter in your cabinets like an incandescent bulb.

A good quality LED light bulb can also last for up to 50,000 hours versus 850 hours for an incandescent bulb. At four hours of use per day, you can expect over 23 years without replacing a bulb.

Let's look at the best LED under-cabinet systems to consider.

Best LED Under-Cabinet Lighting For 2019

Legrand Under-Cabinet Lighting System

Legrand Under-Cabinet Lighting System  - Best LED Under-Cabinet Lighting

Legrand is a modular system, almost like the track. It allows you to move lights, sockets, Bluetooth speakers, and charging stations around.

The huge benefit is flexibility with outlets as part of the under-cabinet system, but you do not have to cut your backsplash for electrical outlets.

Look at how clean the backsplashes are in the pictures. You can always charge your tablet or phone and play music as well with Legrand's lighting system.

American Lighting 3-Complete

under-cabinet-kitchen-lighting

Another 120V option you can look at is one of my favorite options.

You have three color temperatures in one fixture!

This is a great option, because you may like a whiter temperature in a more modern kitchen. Most people automatically think lower Kelvin is better, but with American lighting, you can match the light to your own particular likes and wants.

Finish options come in white and bronze; you don't have to worry about seeing the dots from the LED on your polished countertop because there's a full length extruded acrylic lens.

Pretty cool to have three different color options, 2700, 3000, and 4000 Kelvin temperature, on one!

American Lighting 3-Complete

They are available in strips:

  • 8" $67
  • 16" $91
  • 24" $114
  • 32" $137

American Lighting Trulux LED Linear Ribbon 

led-tape-under-cabinet-display-yale-1

  • Available in 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, and 4200K
  • Flexible LED ribbon comes in 39" strips as well as a cut-able 16ft run for any custom installation
  • Rated for 50,000 hours of LED life
  • Only 1/8" thick
  • Available in standard and high output
  • Requires a plugin or hardwire transformer/driver
  • Dimmable with a dimmable power supply and low voltage magnetic on/off wall dimmer
  • 3M double stick mounting tape for easy installation
  • Also available for outdoor/wet location area
  • 39" Standard output $56, high output $86
  • 16ft Standard output $200, high output $350
  • Transformer/Driver can range from $51-$200

Tape lighting is so tiny and versatile, it's terrific when there isn't a light rail on the bottom of the cabinet to hide the lights, and it's perfect for the open shelving which we're seeing everywhere now.

The tape by itself can stick to the bottom of a cabinet or shelf, or a contractor can rout out a channel and install it within a channel, so it's flush with the surface.

American Lighting Trulux LED Flexible Linear Ribbon Tape

What could be easier than LED ribbon? You measure it. Cut it. Then attach it to the LED driver (also known as a transformer).

The ribbon is thin and unobtrusive for any cabinet, so all you see is light.

Buy it with the appropriate Kelvin rating (many will still render blue) and with high output for proper illumination at a workspace, and lower output for cabinet interiors or nightlight applications.

Once again (it is worth mentioning again), there is one minor downside.

The ribbon is basically LED diodes strung together. You can see those diodes on granite and marble surfaces at certain angles. They look like dots unless they are installed in a channel.

WAC LED Button Lights

WAC puck lights for best under-cabinet lighting

Another under-cabinet lighting option you should consider is the WAC LED button lights. You would call them puck lights.

WAC LED Button Lights-1

Over the last couple of years, I have had clients who like the pucks still. You can recess or mount a puck flush, unlike strips or tape.

These button lights are low voltage and will require a transformer.

Which LED Lighting Should You Buy?

These are great options for under-cabinet lights and are great for task lighting. You would need to choose the appropriate one, depending on what is right for your home. A couple of considerations:

  • If you are replacing - if you are old lights that are installed has a 120V direct wire, it may be best to go with the American Lighting 3-Complete. Since the cables are already there, it would be much easier to replace the fixture with one that is direct wire.
  • If it's new construction or a remodel - The tape installed in a channel is beautiful, and since it's field-cuttable, it can span the entire cabinet, edge to edge for an authentic look.

Aesthetically, the Legrand is the best option because you do not have to cut outlets on your backsplash.

Additional Resources

Get our free Under-Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide with tips, trends, and reviews on all the best brands. Over 570,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.

Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide

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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Dagmar Hemp

Dagmar Hemp is a ALA Certified Lighting Specialist for Yale Appliance + Lighting. She has many years of lighting design experience including attending Sylvania school as a lightbulb geek. Her trademark line is “I’ll remember the part number of every light in your house, but not always your name.” We can absolutely vouch that this is accurate and only emphasizes that she is, in fact, a total lightbulb geek. In her spare time, she loves decorating (especially adding pink sparkly things to our holiday tree) and enjoys cooking with her new stove. If she could, she would live at the beach or someplace very warm

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A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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