Whether you’re doing a kitchen reno or just upgrading your lighting situation, under cabinet lights lend a polished look to a kitchen. They provide illumination for food preparation and reading cookbooks or just offer a nice glow at the end of the day. It’s time to find the best under cabinet lights for your kitchen.
We’ve put together a list of the best under kitchen cabinet lighting, a collection of favorites that will help get you started. Plus, we’ve answered some questions you may have about choosing the right ones and what to expect.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Best Under Cabinet Lights — Our Top List
1. Brilliant Evolution LED Puck Light 6 Pack with Remote- Best LED Puck
Our first set of under cabinet lighting provides targeted lighting with straightforward installation. They’re battery operated with up to 100 hours of usage and provide 55 lumens for a bright, yet warm light.
You have quite a few customization choices with these lights. They offer a dimmer option on both the light and the included remote, along with an auto-off function to help preserve the battery. You can choose 15, 30, 60, or 120 minutes.
LED lights are an excellent choice because you almost never need to replace the bulb. These long-lasting options install quickly with no need for hard wiring and have a low profile suitable for lower-positioned cabinets.
What We Liked
Brilliant Evolution’s lights are a wonderful addition to existing cabinetry when you aren’t ready to make massive renovations or changes. You can customize how many lights to place and where to place them because of the convenient six-pack.
It’s easy to replace the batteries. Just remove the cover and change them out. And with the remote, it’s easy to control your lights wherever you are.
What We Didn’t Like
These do require a lot of batteries — three double-A batteries each. They do offer an extended run time that you can manage to stretch even more by having them on timers.
2. Albrillo LED Under Cabinet Lighting - Best Fluorescent Strips
Albrillo’s LED lights feature long fluorescent strips that use a 12 watt, 3000k soft glow for the perfect accent lighting. They’re straightforward to install with the included hardware and require no real hardwiring.
They feature a dimmable option with a dial, allowing for full customization. A frosted cover and lightweight construction allow you to place these lights even on low-hanging cabinets as long as you have a plug-in nearby.
If you don’t want to use the hardware for installation, their weight is also suitable for double-sided tape, helping renters preserve the cabinets and preventing any cracks. The three-pack gives you enough lighting to stretch across the entire underside.
What We Liked
The LED strips are lightweight and easy to install, giving you flexibility, whether you’re a renter or homeowner. They mount securely with screws or double-sided tape and connect conveniently to the dimmer switch for flexibility.
The bulbs last a very long time and offer a pleasing glow for your kitchen. They won’t get hot to the touch and use only a low voltage, so you won’t have to worry about them.
What We Didn’t Like
The adaptor is a bit bulky, which may cause issues if you’re looking for something a little more low profile. Other than the adaptor, the lights are sufficiently low profile to look like a professional installation with hardwiring.
3. Hardwired LED Under Cabinet Task Lighting - Best Hardwired Under Cabinet Lighting
If you want a hardwired light, this fluorescent option is a great choice. It features a 36 inch LED bar with a glare-free, frosted lens. It uses just 20 watts and is compatible with most types of dimmer switches.
This bulb has 50,000 lifetime hours and comes with simple installation instructions to ensure safety. You won’t have to replace bulbs any time soon, and the low profile fits underneath many cabinet styles.
The fluorescent light illuminates truer colors than traditional fluorescents and provides a simple solution for lighting up your kitchen without the harsh tones of fluorescent bulbs of the past. They’ll keep your eyes comfortable and prevent eye strain.
What We Liked
The hardwired lights offer long life without adding in bulky adaptors or cords. Plus, the soft, natural light provides a more accurate color focus and less eye strain than some traditional fluorescent lights.
Installation is straightforward, and the kit includes necessary hardware for a secure and safe fit. The low profile fits well underneath most cabinets, and the dimmer compatibility is convenient.
What We Didn’t Like
They have non-standard connections, which could eat up some of your time with installation. The knockouts are slightly smaller than the industry standard, so you’ll need to find a connector that works if you need a second one (the kit comes with one compatible connector).
4. Lvyinyin Under Cabinet Puck Lights - 2nd Choice LED Puck
These puck style lights feature an ultra-low profile that fits well underneath most cabinets no matter the style. They aren’t battery operated, but they do offer a simple wired connection to each other without hardwiring requirements.
The kit comes with everything you need for installation and offers you the chance to both link and replace lights if they go out. They have a long life and come with a compatible dimmer function, giving you some customization options.
They’re almost invisible underneath cabinetry. You get everything you need in the kit to succeed with your installation, but you won’t be able to use any of your existing dimmer switches.
What We Liked
The profile of these puck style lights is one of the lowest we’ve seen, meaning you can illuminate even the most frustrating corners of your kitchen. They’re easy to link with simple connection switches, and you can add more as you go.
The light produced is comfortable and features a daylight tone. They’re comfortable on your eyes and comfortable to install. Plus, with the option of adding extra lights to the mix, you can customize illumination as you please.
What We Didn’t Like
The connectors are a pain to hide when you’re installing. In some cases, this may make the puck lights’ low profile more difficult to manage until you figure out how to hide the connecting wires successfully.
5.Wobane Under Cabinet Lighting Kit - 2nd Choice Fluorescent Strips
These flexible strips give you what you need to be able to work around non-standard lighting situations. They curve and bend where you need so that you can install underneath cabinets or along the wall.
They connect together using the provided connection cables and deliver 1100 lumens with a total of 12 watts of power. They won’t get hot and but still offer the type of brightness you’d expect for kitchen activities.
They install using double-sided tape, so they won’t damage the surface of your cabinets and allow enough leeway to change the installation later if your needs change. You don’t need any special tools for installation, either.
What We Liked
Easy to install strips make lighting up your kitchen so much easier. Plus, the connectors are all included, and you don’t need any special tools. The lights are low profile and suitable for a variety of kitchen cabinets without damaging the surface for installation.
The lights are bright enough to allow you to see what you’re doing, but they won’t cause fatigue. Plus, with a dimmer option included, you’ll have choices for brightness.
What We Didn’t Like
It doesn’t come with any 90-degree connectors, so you may have to get creative if you’re installing in a corner cabinet. The peel and stick method is easy, but for some under cabinet surfaces, it’s hard to get the tape secure.
6. LED Under Cabinet Lighting by NSL - 2nd Choice Fixture / Hardwired
These hardwired lights provide a customizable alternative to traditional fluorescent lights. They offer three different color temperatures and two different brightness levels, allowing you to adjust the look and feel to your comfort.
You have both hardwired and plug-in installation options, and the lights are linkable up to 400 watts on a single power supply. They cover a good amount of space and don’t experience hotspots or bleed through.
It offers around 50,000 lifetime hours and provides a simple solution for your under cabinet lighting needs. The three-year manufacturer warranty helps protect your investment, but everything is really straightforward.
What We Liked
The customization options on these lights are fun to play with but also help satisfy your lighting dreams. You can choose different temperatures based on your kitchen design, and two different dimming choices make the light comfortable for all times of day or activity.
The installation options are great, giving you the chance to hardwire if necessary or to plug in. The profile is reasonably low, so they’ll look good on a variety of cabinet styles.
What We Didn’t
They don’t have the same modern style that some of the other lights on the list have, and there are no options for wrapping around or customizing the amount of light. Some of the hardwiring installations can be challenging because of the size of the screws and the housing.
The Benefits Of Under Cabinet Lighting
Installing under cabinet lights can be really helpful for the kitchen. These lights offer flexibility for installation — in some cases, just a peel and stick light where you need it and, in others, hardwiring to match your kitchen renovations.
Cabinets can sometimes block the light from overhead fixtures, making it difficult to see what you’re doing. Since you’re working with knives and other tools, potentially irritating substances (jalapeno anyone?), and other hazards, good lighting is a must.
Under-cabinet lighting is out of the way and provides quick illumination right where you need it. It stays out of sight when off and makes an excellent accent feature for all kinds of kitchens.
If you opt for LED fixtures, these lights can actually save you money on your electric bill. Overhead lights are often big energy consumers. By using the targeted lights underneath the cabinets, you reduce your overall energy consumption.
In addition, under cabinet lights are:
- Easy to install — Many models don’t even require hard wiring or a plug nearby.
- Value-adding — Since under cabinet lighting often looks custom, you’re adding value to your kitchen design.
- Budget-worthy — Many under cabinet lights are also much more affordable than changing out your overhead fixtures.
Types Of Under Cabinet Lighting
You can opt for a few different kinds of under cabinet lighting. Here are some common options and their benefits.
Under-cabinet lights have different power sources. If you don’t have an accessible outlet nearby, a set of battery-powered lights is the right choice. The upside is that you can put them anywhere, but the downside is that most of them will need individual on/off switches and controls.
If you want to connect lights together, plugin choices provide easy installation. They’re often more powerful and allow you to control lights altogether. Plus, without batteries, you won’t worry about replacing your power source. However, you’ll have to give up a kitchen outlet or arrange your lights according to your power source.
Hardwired lights are a good choice if you’re doing some kitchen renovations anyway and want to add more permanent fixtures. These options hardwire directly to an existing switch so you can control them much the way you would any other fixtures in your house.
There are three basic types of under cabinet lights:
- Puck style — These round lights resemble a hockey puck and most commonly come in battery format. They’re easy to arrange across non-standard cabinet designs and give you a lot of flexibility, even in corner areas.
- Bar style — These lights use long bars to provide complete illumination, but they can be frustrating if your cabinets aren’t standard. They’re easily installed through hardwiring or plugging in, however.
- Tape lights — These simple lights provide a less than permanent solution to your lighting needs. They peel and stick to where you need them and are often a flexible solution for unique cabinet situations.
Puck style lights may not offer as much light as you need, but they are easier to arrange. Bar lights will light up anywhere, but you may need certain cabinet formations to make good use of them.
The easiest and most cost-efficient option for light bulb types is going to be Light Emitting Diodes. LED lights offer low wattage but provide a nice bright light designed for kitchens and workspaces.
Halogen lights are ultra-bright and work well if you have little to no illumination in the space where you’re installing them. However, they can be way too much if you don’t have dimmer options or customization.
Incandescent bulbs are highly inefficient and can be too hot to go underneath cabinets. They may look nice and warm, but they aren’t the best choice for this type of lighting.
A Checklist For Choosing The Right Lights
When you’re deciding on your lights, here’s what you need to consider to ensure you get the right kind.
What Is The Purpose?
If you need light over your work station for food prep, installing bright lights towards the front of your cabinets is the way to go. Bar lights and puck style lights can illuminate the space without interfering with your sightlines.
If your primary purpose is to illuminate your backsplash, installing towards the back of the cabinets is the right choice. Simple tape lights can suffice, or hardwiring a bar light with a dimmer switch can help you set the ambiance you need.
What Are Your Power Needs?
If you only have one outlet in your kitchen (hello, older kitchens!), choosing a plug-in option may be too much of a hassle. Alternately, if you’ve got ten feet of under cabinet space you’re trying to light up, individual battery-powered lights would be annoying to turn on one by one.
The type of light that you choose should match your kitchen. If you’re already doing some work or are familiar with electrical wiring, selecting a hardwired option provides long-lasting light solutions. If you need some light in that one dim corner, a quick battery puck light will suffice.
Take a look at your lighting needs, the design of your kitchen, and your willingness to renovate. These three elements will help you determine which type of power source will be best for your cabinet lighting.
How Long Should Lighting Be?
In general, under cabinet lighting should span the length of your cabinets. This keeps the area uniformly lit and prevents further dark spots that can interfere with your work. If you’re hardwiring lights, especially, it’s best to extend them the length of your cabinets.
If you’re highlighting certain spots such as an accent tile, puck style lighting may be sufficient only in certain spots. You won’t have the uniform lighting, but you should still consider evenly spacing out your puck lights the length of your cabinets.
Do You Need Special Features?
For basic lighting tasks, a straightforward light is best. However, dimmer options allow you to customize the look and feel of your lights best. In some cases, lights will come with dimmer options, but others are compatible with standard dimmer switches through hardwiring.
You may also want the option of changing the tone of the light to suit you. Some under-cabinet lighting offer tone adjustments from warm to cool. Combined with dimming choices, you should have enough customization to get exactly the look and feel you want.
You may also want to consider the number of lumens you need to illuminate your space. More lumens will require more power but will provide a brighter space. Fewer lumens help with atmosphere, but may not provide the light you want for complex tasks.
Another great option is a timer, which can help save you money on energy costs and remove the frustration of having the lights on all the time for no reason. If you’ve got a series of battery operated lights, a timer can cut out the hassle of having to turn them all off one by one.
What Are the Accessories I need?
You shouldn’t need any accessories with our top six lighting kits. They include everything you need for installation, connection, and power. Some people may add motion detectors or timers if that isn’t already in the kit.
Accessories can make operating the lights more convenient. Other accessories may help you install the lights in a non-standard position or change the tone of the lights themselves.
Making The Most of Under Cabinet Lighting
Our top choices for best under cabinet lights provide a way for you to improve conditions and ensure that the mood of your kitchen is the way you want. They ensure that you’re able to complete tasks and give your kitchen a nice ambiance.
Whether you go with puck lights or bars, hardwiring, or batteries, your kitchen could probably use some extra lighting. Make good use of the options here, and you’ll add a wonderful element to the overall design of your kitchen.