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How To Choose Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet LightingUnder cabinet lighting is a really good way to enhance the look and feel of your kitchen, not to mention easy as well.

This kind of lighting serves two main purposes. The first is obviously to provide bright task lighting for your kitchen worktops – essential for food preparation and cooking. The second is that it illuminates the backsplash on your wall to create beautiful accent lighting.

The difficult part is choosing from the myriad of options available to you. The type of lighting you decide to go for will depend on a number of factors.

What we’ll be looking at in this guide are the differences between all those options to help you decide what kind of under cabinet lighting you want for your kitchen.

Halogen, Fluorescent Or LED?

The first thing you’ll want to consider is the light source. Here, you have three options: halogen, fluorescent and LED.

Halogen lighting is what has long been the industry standard for domestic lighting. Whilst they’re very cheap to buy, they are perhaps the dearest to maintain of the three, due to their high energy consumption and short lifespan.

This is compounded by their fragility too – it only takes a minor knock to break the filament.

They also get very hot during use which poses its own fire risks, but is definitely not what you want for under cabinet lighting, especially if you’re storing things in the cabinets.

Fluorescent lighting – more commonly known as ‘energy saving bulbs’ are cheaper to run, but tend to be quite bulky. They also flicker, take time to hit full brightness and contain an average of 3-5mg of mercury per bulb – mercury is a substance is difficult to dispose of properly.

LEDs provide the best performance for even less energy – resulting in the best option as far as the three choices are concerned.

LEDs use around 10% of the energy of halogen bulbs, and about 40% of the energy typically consumed by a fluorescent light. This is because they manage to convert 90% of their energy to heat, with the remaining 10% lost to heat.

Compared to this, halogen lights lose up to 80% of their energy to heat, making them far less efficient.

As a result, there is less heat that passes through the internal components, and therefore less stress on the entire unit. This means they last up to 50,000 hours – that’s 2 times longer than fluorescent lights and 20 times longer than halogens.

When you consider the long term savings on both your electricity bills and on maintenance costs, you’ll soon realise that LED lights make sense for your under cabinet lighting.

LEDs are also really versatile, as you have a choice of cuttable, flexible LED strip lights, or LED puck lights depending on your taste.

Puck Or Linear?

The style of the fixture is important, as it will determine what your under cabinet lighting actually looks like in terms of the effect it produces.

Our flexible LED strip lights distribute their light more evenly, resulting in a more uniform appearance. Some people prefer the puck option though, which works by creating individual spots of light.

In truth, both work equally well, and whichever you choose will come down to personal preference. Just make sure that you go for the LED option.

Recessed Or Surface Mounted?

Many people assume that surface mounted under cabinet lighting will result in fixtures that stick out unpleasantly from underneath the cabinet. This simply isn’t the case.

Most lighting fixtures nowadays, especially LEDs, are incredibly thin, requiring you to stick your head right underneath the cabinet to see them.

What this means for you is that you can’t really go wrong with either, as both work just as well as the other. Recessing does require a bit more work, but the end result looks more professional.

Hardwire Or Plug In?

Hardwired light fixtures connect directly to your mains 240V AC supply, and can be operated from a light switch or dimmer. You’ll also need to make sure that you purchase a suitable LED driver, remembering to buy a dimmable driver if you want to be able to dim your lights.

The other option available to you is to simply plug your lights into a wall socket, in which case you’ll need a plug-and-play power adapter. This takes a lot less effort, but you won’t be able to operate the lights from your light switch.

If you have any further questions, give our team a call on 0116 321 4120, or send us an email to cs@wled.co.uk.

If you’ve used LEDs for your under cabinet lighting, send us a picture on our Facebook page, or tweet us @WLEDLightsUK using the hashtag #WLEDAware.

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