Under cabinet lighting is not only a beautiful way to accent cabinets, but provides a lighting source to a room. This lighting can put a spotlight on figurines below or a workspace, or even serve as low-level night lights. The different types of lights used to mount beneath the cabinets serve different purposes, depending on what effect you want.

What are the types of under cabinet mount lights are there? Which ones seem to be the best for your cabinet? Moreover, should you install them?

Why Install Under Cabinet Lighting

If you have a small kitchen, under cabinet lighting can brighten the whole room. Dark color cabinets like black or grey can make your kitchen appear smaller. Therefore, cabinet lightning can mitigate this. Above all, under cabinet lighting creates more ambiance for space. Let’s take a look at the different types of lighting you can install.

Puck Lighting

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photo: superiorcabinets

Puck lights are circular individual lights that create a spotlight. Sometimes the clean looking design of these pucks makes people want to feature these light fixtures.

A string of puck lights can be plugged and mounted next to the lights or secreted individually in the cabinet. Puck lights mounted individually have their own battery. This method eliminates worries of hiding the wiring. Almost all available puck lights use LED lights because they are too small to contain a filament or gas tubing.

Bar Lighting

Bar lights are rectangular cuboid of solid light, making them very solid light sources for your cabinet. These lights are ideal if you have a cabinet above a desk and you need additional dedicated light. This bar light provides a wide distribution of illumination for an entire surface below.

These lights are meant to display an entire area, in contrast to the spotlight of puck lights. They typically have a cord or wire that needs to be plugged to a power outlet or adapter. Unless it is built into the structure, the cabinet needs to be close to a power outlet to activate.

Strip Lighting

Strip lights are LED lights that are provided in a reel and unrolled to the desired length. This has more versatility of length than a bar light but it appears to prove less illumination on your cabinet. Strip lights are plugged into a power source which is placed next to the lights or hidden in the cabinet.

These lights are more used as accent lighting and remote controls allow changing colors or even make the lights pulse. People treat strip lights as using spots of light as décor. While they can be bright, they are not typically strong enough to be a lighting source to light a room.

Which Light Bulb should you get?

Incandescent, Fluorescent, and LED Lights

When it comes to light, regardless of what fixture types you use, color temperature is important in your lighting considerations. This is as important of a consideration as the types of lights you use when mounting these below cabinets. The three types of lights available in lighting are incandescent, fluorescent and LED lights.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent lights are more traditional of the light bulbs. These lights tend to be warmer with yellow or amber hues. Incandescent lights tend to easily get hot. The result is that it has a shorter lifespan, based on how often the filament burns, and warms the area.

These days there are not as many incandescent light bulbs used beneath wall cabinets.  However, they are a staple in classic fortune telling cabinets in amusement parks in the past.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs: These lights run electricity through mercury vapor in the bulbs and the light tends to be cooler with bluish hues. A ballast (a device that regulates the current) is why fluorescent lights tend to cost more, but they producer brighter light. This cost more than incandescent in the past but the prices have come down to make it competitive. They are very bright light sources, perfect for illuminating the tops of the entire cabinet in displays.

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lights

LED lights came into prominence in the last few years. Constant use of LED lights does not wear out the light diodes and they do not get hot like incandescents. LED lights can replicate lighting by incandescence, fluorescence, or “daylight” which is similar to the illumination of sunlight.

Most under cabinet lighting sources these days are heavily LED based. All strip lights are LED, so are most puck lights and the majority of bar lights.

Finally, there are a couple of considerations outside of the lighting that will affect the lighting you choose. The first is if the surface below is a light or dark surface as well as matte or glossy. Lighter and glossy surfaces will reflect light and will affect your cabinet displays. You may want to use softer light if you want the surface below to bounce back less.

Next is to consider if there is anything beneath the cabinet that might need electric power. Things like phone chargers, radios or even speakers can occupy one of the power outlets. However, you need to decide if under cabinet lighting is more of a priority than those devices.

Final Thoughts on Under Cabinet Lighting

Overall, under cabinet lighting helps brighten up your kitchen. With certain kitchens that have dark colored cabinets, these lights help minimize the contrast some cabinets have. If you have a small kitchen and want to brighten up your work area, add under cabinet lighting to enhance your workspace. Whether you have white cabinets, dark cabinets, or stained cabinets, under cabinet lights will add a bright charm to all kitchens.

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