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Buying Guide: How to Choose Cabinet Lighting

How to Choose the Cabinet Lighting you need Cabinetry can interfere with your kitchen's overhead lighting, casting shadows over countertops where you need the brightest surface. By supplementing existing lighting, an under cabinet installation will illuminate your task area and backsplash, while the cabinet's valence easily conceals wires and prevents glare. Lower light levels or dimmable options also serve as great night lights. Cabinet lighting can completely transform your kitchen, though it may be difficult to decide where to begin! There are three types of bulbs, also called lamps, to consider: halogen (incandescent bulbs), fluorescent and LED. The type of lamp influences the fixture's color, bulb life, amount of light and energy usage and often determines the style of the fixture.
Types of Cabinet Lighting
Halogen: Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent light, the most common source found in homes. Available in different wattages, halogens have a cooler appearance (less yellow) than most incandescents. Inexpensive and readily available, halogens typically have the shortest lifespan and use more energy than its peers. According to the Lighting Research Center, incandescents last two years on average, at three hours of use per day. Halogens also emit more heat, but produce an appealing, strong light and are dimmable.
Fluorescent: Cool to the touch, fluorescent lamps are an efficient option. Today's models don't hum or flicker and are available in warmer shades than its predecessors. Fluorescent lights use very little electricity and are easy to replace when they burn out, however many are not compatible with a dimmer switch.
LED: LEDs are an extremely popular choice for task lighting due to their low energy usage and ultra-long lifespan. LEDs last 10-20 years, however when the light does go out (it fades over time), the entire fixture must be replaced. Known for their cooler, blue-toned color, newer models offer warm options to mimic the feel of incandescents. Now available in dimming options, LEDs are a great option but typically come with a higher price tag. (Keep in mind you will save on energy and replacement costs!)

LED Technical Q & A
LED Light Effect Technology Info
LED Technical Terms
Money Talk
When considering your cost, remember to factor in the initial cost of the bulb, power needed for cabinet, complexity of installation, annual replacement cost and annual energy cost. This table, produced by the Lighting Research Center, breaks down what you might expect to pay for each option:
Things to Consider
Dark colored countertops absorb more light while lighter surfaces are naturally brighter. For this reason, opt for stronger lights on darker countertops. Glossy surfaces are more reflective, but can often be uneven, so choose a lens-covered source (like a puck or strip) over a bare bulb to reduce this effect. Also, keep color in mind. For wood tones, warm tiles or copper backsplashes, a warm white lamp is favorable (2700-3500 Kelvin). For glass, cool tiles, stainless steel or other silver metals, opt for a cool white lamp (2500-5000 Kelvin). Last, consider dimming capability. This enhances your cabinet lighting experience, allowing you to slightly illuminate your kitchen at night or offer bright light when preparing food. Remember that dimming is easily added to Incandescent or LEDs but may be a costlier effect for fluorescents. For more help on choosing or installing cabinet lighting, Contact Us to speak with an expert customer service associate. Logo
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