Under cabinet lighting is one of the most popular categories in the lighting industry. It's the most versatile and can be used for task, decorative or accent lighting applications. Under cabinet has changed so much recently.
In this article, we'll look at LED lighting, the new GM Lighting's LARC6 and its benefits so you can decide if this new under cabinet lighting should be considered for your project.
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History of Under Cabinet Lighting
Years ago, your parents probably used fluorescent under cabinet lighting, which was wrong in many ways.
Fluorescent is high on the Kelvin scale, so it washes out woods and other popular kitchen colors. The fixture protruded past the 1" reveal, so you may have seen the white steel frame as well.
Fluorescent under cabinet lighting
If you renovated 4-20 years ago, you may have specified halogen or xenon low voltage. These lights offered great color and were under 1" tall, but were energy inefficient and bulb replacement was costly.
Now with LED, it has better color and efficiency and is the under cabinet fixture of choice.
LED lighting has really changed the industry of under cabinet lighting. LED (Light Emitting Diodes) is the most efficient lighting available using a fraction of the power of incandescent or even fluorescent light.
The lamp life excels at 50,000 hours versus 800 hours for incandescent, but perhaps the best part of LED is its outstanding color characteristics.
LED under cabinet lighting
It will accentuate your granite or marble counters instead of washing them out. You do have to be careful, because many LED under cabinet lights still render blue.
Whereas fluorescent is 5,000 degrees Kelvin, LED has similar color as halogen and low voltage at 2,700-3,200 degrees.
New GM Lighting LARC6
The LARC6 under cabinet lighting system from GM Lighting is really one of the best options available. The LARC6 is a small, modular low voltage system for under cabinet lighting or anywhere you would like to add task or accent lighting.
It is a dimmable system so you can adjust your brightness level with any LED approved dimmer.
3W / bar
6.5W / bar
10W / bar
13W / bar
There are 4 sizes at 8”, 16”, 24” and 32” lengths, which can be easily joined together to cover almost any size cabinet adequately. It is very shallow with only a 3/8 inch thickness allowing it to mounted almost anywhere without being noticed. In other words, you will see only the light not the fixture itself.
They have many sizes of connecting cords from 3” to 60” to link the lengths around corners and between sections of cabinetry or can be joined directly to one another.
They can be hard wired and controlled from wall switch or dimmer. There is also a plug in version and dimmer/switch controls that can be added to the product directly.
The LARC6 only uses two small screws to install the strips and is equipped with adjustable angle/hinged mounting clips adjustable from 0 – 90 degrees. You can install this light almost anywhere.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the LARC6 is a great light source. It delivers 300 lumens per foot and is great for both task and accent lighting, yet only consumes 5 watts per foot versus 70 watts for an incandescent light.
LARC6 LED under cabinet lighting
There is no noticeable heat output so your peanut butter, jellies and fluff will not melt in the cabinet unlike the 350 degree incandescent under cabinet bulbs.
The LARC6 is a 24 volt, rather than the normal 12 volt system. 24 volt is better because it allows you to place the transformer (power source) further away than a 12 volt system without affecting the light.
24 volt can also illuminate brighter bulbs and can be used in a longer run without voltage drop at the end of the run.
LED lighting is ever evolving, so there will always be a new product to consider.
However, at present, the LARC6 seems to be the best choice for efficiency and color rendering.
Have questions about under cabinet lighting? Get the Yale Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide with a comparison of different bulb types, features and specs. Well over 135,000 people have read a Yale Guide.