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LED Strips vs LED Tape Under Cabinet Lighting (Reviews / Ratings / Prices)

October 6th, 2016 | 2 min. read

By Dagmar Hemp

Under cabinet lighting is important to consider in your home renovation or construction because it provides terrific task light. It also highlights decor, and provides safe night lights.

We will be looking at the latest LED strips (some very different ones) as well as LED tape. First a bit about LED.

led kitchen lighting


LED Lighting

Light emitting diodes (LED) is the most energy efficient type of lighting. A typical LED bulb lasts 30,000-50,000 hours. Running two hours a day will yield a life of 15-25 years. Kitchen lights are on many hours a day, but LED will last 20 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

LED is also way more efficient with a 5 watt LED roughly equivalent to a 35 watt bi-pin halogen bulb.

So between not buying expensive bulbs and cost savings, LED is by far you best choice.

LED Under Cabinet Strips

LED strips will have the transformer built in, with a solid casing housing the LED’s often covered with a lens. It’s simple to change from an existing fluorescent or halogen, as the wiring is the same.

Our newest and most favorite to date is the American Lighting LED-3 Complete. The strip has a toggle switch allowing you to change the color temperature from a warm white to a cool white.

led lighting

Here’s the same space with a classic white subway tile

led lighting

led lighting

(See more about LED Strips in our free buying guide)

Pretty cool, right? The warm tone compliments natural or earth tones, while the cooler is perfect for the popular gray and white kitchens. You can choose the Kelvin temperature yourself.

Pricing on these is just a bit more expensive than a regular LED strip, and 8” is $63.00, and the longest at 32” is $127.00.

With this system, you can never be disappointed with the color of the light.

LED Tape

led lighting in kitchen

This product is very cool. At only 1/8” high, a trim or light rail on the bottom of the cabinet isn’t needed. It’s perfect for a contemporary kitchen or for lighting the interior of glass front cabinets.

(See more about LED Tape in our free buying guide)

led tape lighting

The product runs on a transformer, which can be hidden in a cabinet, closet or in a basement below. It can be cut to length, so it is made to fit in every cabinet. There are channels available as well to place the tape into.

led tape lighting

This will help achieve a clean unbroken line of light.

LED tape is also available in colors. A controller can be set to change slowly from red to blue to green, or all one color as shown in this kitchen.


As you can see, this product has a lot of possibilities, and cost is not terrible. A 16 foot roll is $350.00, or a 3 foot section is $80.00. Transformers run around $170.00.

Tape is an easy, inexpensive solution. Buy it in high output for better illumination. It is possible for the diodes, the bulbs themselves, to reflect on more honed marble, so be aware.

Which Should You Buy?

Overall, if you are changing existing lights, the strips are easiest to change and electrician cost will be much lower. If it’s a new kitchen, the tape is slimmer, less noticeable and completely customizable. 

Of these two, the Kelvin switch is an interesting option especially for darker or more unique surfaces. Strips are better on more honed surfaces as well, because they are non-reflective.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide covering all aspects of home improvement from appliances to recessed lighting with insider buying tips, specs and features. Over 180,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide

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Image Credit: Instructables

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Dagmar Hemp

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.