Best under-cabinet lighting

Lighting

If you want to create moods and illuminate, choose an under-cabinet light that allows you to adjust the intensity.

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Which under-cabinet lighting is best?

The most poorly lit spaces in most homes are underneath the cabinets in kitchens, laundry rooms and garages. Whether you want bright or gentle light, a lot of light or a little light, a great choice is under-cabinet lighting.

If you are looking for a battery-operated set of six under-cabinet lights, try the Brilliant Evolution LED Puck 6 Pack Light Set. It comes with a remote for controlling the brightness and timer.

What to know before you buy under-cabinet lighting

Power source

Battery: The most straightforward under-cabinet lights are battery operated because they are for places with no electrical outlet nearby. Unless you buy rechargeable under-cabinet lights, you will be replacing batteries as quickly as you use them.

Plug-in: This simple system allows you to put your lighting anywhere there is an outlet. Plug-in under-cabinet lights require no ongoing maintenance, but you will probably have to find a way to hide the electrical cord up under the cabinet. 

Hard wired: The other two power sources allow you to move the light around. Hardwiring is for under-cabinet lights that are permanently mounted. Most people need an electrician for this, but you get a finished, built-in look once the installation is complete.

How will you mount it?

Adhesives: Some lightweight battery-powered under-cabinet lights come with peel and stick adhesive backs. These are the easiest to install, but like all adhesives, they lose their stickiness over time.

Magnets: This is an effortless way to attach an under-cabinet light if the place you want to put it has a metal surface. This is also the easiest type to move. Some under-cabinet lights with magnets allow you to remove the light from its mounting and use it as a hand-held light.

Screws: Heavier battery-operated under-cabinet lights and wired under-cabinet lights that plug into the wall usually mount to the underside of cabinets with wood screws. Make sure you get the special clips that allow you to tuck the wire up out of the way.

What to look for in quality under-cabinet lighting

Which shape best fits your situation?

Bar lights: Bar lights have a long and narrow shape. They can use batteries for power or cords that plug into outlets. Choose the lengths that fit the areas you want to light. 

Puck lights: The round lights are about the size and shape of a hockey puck, about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. These are battery-operated and usually attached by adhesives. 

Flexible strips: These lights usually come coiled in rolls that you unwind to attach to any surface, usually with adhesives. You can’t cut all to custom lengths, so be careful to check first. 

Switches 

Touch switches: Puck lights have touch switches that you tap to turn on and tap again to turn off. The advantage of having several puck lights is that you can place them where you most need them and turn on only the ones you want to use. The disadvantage is that you have to turn each on and off individually. 

In-line switches: Some bar and strip lights have cords that plug into countertop electrical outlets. Many of these have switches built into the cord between the plug and the light.

Wall switches: If you have a dedicated outlet, you can control your plug-in under-cabinet light with a wall-mounted switch, so you don’t have to bend over or fish around underneath the cabinets feeling for switches.

Dimmer switches: These switches come built into some remote controls. You can utilize them with various under-cabinet lights that plug into the wall and are standard equipment with smart lighting devices in smart houses.

How much you can expect to spend on under-cabinet lighting

Basic under-cabinet lights cost less than $20. You will find all kinds of under-cabinet lighting choices from $20-$60. Above that, you are entering the territory of smart homes with smart appliances.

Under-cabinet lighting FAQ

Can I connect several lights together?

A. It depends on the lighting type. Also, keep in mind that if you want different lighting levels in different areas, you are better off using different lights with their own controls.

Can I put under-cabinet lights over my stove?

A. Only if they are rated to withstand heat and moisture. Look for a measurement that says rated IP65.

What are the best under-cabinet lighting to buy?

Top under-cabinet lighting  

GE Enbrighten 24 Inch LED Under Cabinet Light

GE Enbrighten 24 Inch LED Under Cabinet Light

What you need to know: This is a long, bright light made by one of the pioneers in electric lighting.

What you’ll love: This steel-housed under-cabinet light only uses 8 watts to put out 991 lumens of light and comes in 12, 24, 36 and 48-inch lengths. It works great under kitchen counters and as a shop light. The switch on this UL-listed unit is built into the light housing.

What you should consider: This light requires direct wiring and switch installation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top under-cabinet lighting for the money

Brilliant Evolution LED Puck 6 Pack Light Set

Brilliant Evolution LED Puck 6 Pack Light Set

What you need to know: This battery-operated under-cabinet light set comes with a remote control with dim, brightness and timer options.

What you’ll love: The lights attach by adhesive or screws. Each LED light puts out 55 lumens of warm white light and turns on and off with a simple tap anywhere on the unit. With six separate lights, you can arrange them to meet your lighting needs best.

What you should consider: This under-cabinet light set comes with 18 AA batteries.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Stick-On Wireless LED Under Cabinet Lights

Stick-On Wireless LED Under Cabinet Lights

What you need to know: Easy to install and easy to use, this light attaches itself to any metal surface.

What you’ll love: This aluminum and plastic under-cabinet light attaches magnetically to any metal surface and comes with a USB cord for recharging. The motion sensor turns on automatically when someone gets near it and turns off after 20 seconds without any motion. 

What you should consider: At only seven inches long, you might want to buy several of these.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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