Under Cabinet Lighting: LED vs Xenon, Which is Better?

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undercounter lighting displayBe prepared to re-learn everything about lighting you know...seriously.

Following is a new undercabinet lighting display at Yale showing the following lamp types from top to bottom:

  1. Juno UPL30 Pro LED: 9.5 watts 52 lumens 3000 Kelvin
  2. CSL Mach 120 LED: 10 watts 340 lumens 2900 Kelvin
  3. CSL Mach 120 Xenon Halogen: 120 Volt 140 watts 270 lumens 2900 Kelvin
  4. Juno Pro Xenon Low Voltage: 12 volt 80 watts 800 lumens 3000 Kelvin

Before we answer some pretty interesting questions, following are some lighting definitions.

Kelvin Temperature: Kelvin is a color rendering or quality of light scale. 2500 degrees Kelvin is incandescent. An incandescent renders a warm, yellowish light. Older fluorescent lighting renders at 5000 degrees Kelvin and renders a harsh white light like the sun.

Halogen and low voltage are considered "white" lights at 2900-3100 degrees Kelvin, but only white compared to incandescent.  Our showroom is all "white" LEDs on the appliance side as the light really emphasizes the stainless steel

Short on time? Get our free Under Cabinet Lighting Buying GuideLearn More

Confused? Let's talk about lumens....(there is a video at the end, don't worry)

Lumens (according to Wikipedia): The lumen can be thought of casually as a measure of the total "amount" of visible light in some defined beam or angle, or emitted from some source. My definition would have been measurable light to the floor or counter.

The problem with comparing Xenon with LED for lumens and Kelvins is it varies among manufacturers, and like the mattress police there are no enforceable standards. You almost have to see the light itself.

LED is whiter at the same Kelvin teperature as halogen or low voltage.

Let's compare from a specification point of view

Life expectancy:

  • LED 50,000 hours
  • Low Voltage 10,000 hours
  • Halogen 2,000 hours

Heat: (heat is significant, because a hot lamp will melt your food in a cabinet)

  • LED:  Minimal
  • Halogen and Low voltage: 300 degrees

Watts: (energy consumed)

  • Juno LED 9.5 watts
  • CSL LED 10 watts
  • Halogen 140 watts
  • Low voltage 80 watts

Additional Resources

Take a look at this video to see the comparison: 

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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