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LED Under Cabinet Lighting: Cost & Installation

If you are interested in LED under cabinet lighting, we rounded up all the costs and installation tips related to under cabinet lights.

Cabinets play a significant role in the kitchen and other rooms in our homes. They provide ample storage area for non-perishable food and other items. The kitchen cabinets occupy considerable space in the kitchen, and they tend to be one of the first features you see when you walk in. They define your kitchen design and reflect well on the overall look of the entire house.

The kitchen is evidently one of the busiest rooms in our homes. Meals preparation, cooking, storage, and cleaning are among the many tasks that take place in the kitchen. Therefore, the lighting aspect is essential in the kitchen, especially during meals preparation.

When doing a kitchen renovation project, it’s critical to pay attention to under cabinet lighting. A well organized multi-layered lighting style is essential in providing an ambient decorative environment. Not only does under cabinet lighting provide sufficient light for you to carry out tasks like chopping veggies and being able to see what you are cooking, but it also adds unique beauty and style in your kitchen style.

What Does Under Cabinet Lighting Mean?

Under cabinet lighting is a series of lights fixtures that are installed under the cabinets to light up your workspace and also improve the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen, bathroom or any other rooms that have cabinets.

In most homes, the overhead lighting is the primary concern; however, under cabinet lighting should also be an essential aspect when renovating or installing cabinets. They bring a unique dimension to your kitchen, and you will not have to worry about lighting in your working space.

Advantages Of Under Cabinet Lighting

There are several essential reasons why you should install under cabinet lighting.

Unique Distinction

The idea of under cabinet lighting might seem simple, but the results are something else. The light adds a unique sense of style and illuminates your countertops creating a great interior appearance. If you can manage to match up with the overall theme of your home, you will achieve an intense feel combined with a warm glow for your kitchen.

Reduces Shadows

With overhead lighting, you are more likely to experience shadows that sometimes block your view. You can eliminate the appearance of unnecessary shadows by installing the under cabinet lighting. You will be able to work on your countertops with a clear space and ample lighting.

Energy Efficient

With under cabinet lighting, you do not necessarily have to light other lights in the room to see. You can get enough lighting to perform your tasks from the under cabinet lights, and this saves you big on the utility bill. Besides if you are using LED lights, the bulbs use little energy and power and still provide enough light for a specific area.

Variety of Bulbs

Under cabinet lighting gives you an opportunity to use a variety of bulbs which enables you to make a selection that fits your taste. With LED bulbs and strips, you can create a soft and dimmer environment for your kitchen.

Easy To Install

If you know how electricity works and it’s wiring, you can install the lights and change the appearance of your kitchen with simple steps. You can also get assistance from an expert and achieve your desired lighting style in just a few hours.

Why LED Under Cabinet Lighting Is a Better Choice

There are several lighting options when it comes to under cabinet lighting. However, LED lighting comes highly recommended because it’s the most energy efficient among all other options. They turn about 70 percent of their energy into light instead of heating up to produce light. In fact, with just a 6 watts LED bulb, you can get the same amount of light that a 40 watts incandescent light produces.

Their initial cost of purchase is costly, but this eventually evens out since they last longer and save you on the utility bill.

The LED lights do not heat. They turn energy into light making them able to operate at low temperatures as compared other types of lighting options. LED can last for an average of 50,000 hours before a need for a replacement. This translates to an average of six years of use. Incandescent lights burn filament making it weaken out of time, and that’s why they do not last for a long time like the LED lights. The LED lights, on the other hand, do not burn out; they undergo a lumen depreciation where the amount of light produced decreases with time, and this process takes longer.

When it comes to brightness, the LED lighting achieves a high level of intensity. They also offer extensive range colors together with color temperatures. They light up instantly when you switch them on, and you do not have to wait for several seconds or minutes to be able to get light. The LED lights perform well in high humidity making them ideal for bathrooms cabinets as well.

Therefore when it comes to under cabinet lighting, the LED light makes more sense. It is dimmable and produces brilliant colors that will give your space a warm, intense glow particularly the kitchen.

Styles of LED Under Cabinet Lighting

There are several available styles that you can use to install your LED under cabinets lights. The style of lighting you choose will significantly define the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen, and also it will determine the amount of light you get from your lights.

Here are several styles of LED under cabinet lighting.

Puck Lights

puck lights

The puck lights appear like hockey pucks. They are round and are most popular because they can be battery operated making them easy to manage on areas that have not been wired for electricity. The puck lights are easy to install; you just need to stick them on the underside of your cabinets mostly with an adhesive tape, and you are ready to operate them.

You can also wire them in a string, and you will be able to control them with just one switch. They are ideal for small spaces, and you can still use them in areas with no access to a plug.

Linear Lights

led linear lights

These are the most ideal for under cabinet lighting. They provide a uniform illumination and distribute lights evenly to the countertops eliminating shadows in your space. Most of the time linear lights are wired in the cabinets, but some options usually come with plugs. The linear lights are dimmable and can be concealed under the cabinets since they are flat.

LED Strip Lights

led strip lights

These are ideal for big kitchens which need a significant amount of lighting under the cabinets uniformly. They are invisible when correctly installed; you just see the effect of light. They are easy to install since all you need to do is peel and stick under the cabinets.

LED Rope Lights

led rope lights

LED rope or tape lights are very thin making it easy to install them under your cabinets. They conceal well making them completely invisible and visually discreet. However, they do not have much light like the other styles of lights, and therefore, they are ideal for a kitchen that has an intense overhead lighting.

Types of Under Cabinet Lighting Installation Systems

There are four ways that under cabinet lighting system can be installed. They include:

  1. Direct wire installations
  2. Tape lighting installation
  3. Hard strip installation
  4. Plug-in installation
Direct Wire Installation

With direct wire installation, all the elements required in the operation of the light are within a single unit. The connection is made during the process of hanging the cabinets whereby the installer brings the wires right through the cabinets back lip.

The fixtures need an independent 120V power point on the wall to operate well, and they can be linked once the initial connection has been established. The ability to connect one fixture to another makes the installation process easy as compared to wiring each fixture on its own.

Tape Lighting Installation

The tape lighting hides the lighting system such that all you see is the effect. They have an adhesive backing for mounting. During installation, you can cut them into varying lengths to suit your lighting style. You can use them anywhere on the cabinets, i.e., under, below inside or above the cabinets. The tapes are flexible meaning they can conform to any surface.

Hard Strips Installation

These are most suitable for a linear type of applications. They are hard strips that have a rigid exterior for connection. They hide the light to enable a perfect effect.

Plug-In Installation

These are the easiest to install and most ideal for the DIY installation project. They come with a power cord that connects to an outlet and several plug accessories for the installation process.

LED under Cabinet Lighting Installation and Cost Factors

The overall cost of installing LED under cabinet lighting will depend on the number of fixtures you intend to install, whether you are hiring an expert or you are doing the installation yourself and, your location.

If you choose to hire an electrical professional to install the lights, expect to pay an average of $233 to$315, this is for installation of a single light fixture, material, and labor. The process involves working in terms that a professional will refer to as favorable site and conditions. They will do a layout and cut the routing wire. They may need to modify the wiring system form the existing switch. The professional will then connect the fixture and test to see if the lighting is in order.

Other electrical professionals charge an average of $80 per hour for the installation job. The average cost of installing recessed lights will be $130 to $200. A professional will charge around $148- $197 to add an outlet for the plugin lights.

For a light fixture job, a professional will charge an average of $6.45 to $7.34 for a single fixture. This involves the cost of materials needed for the installation materials such as connectors, mounting hardware, and fittings.

If you have an existing lighting fixture that you want to remove to accommodate new ones, a professional will charge you an hourly rate of $5.71 to $36.08. The process will involve shutting off electricity to allow safe operation. They will then remove the mounting hardware and trim pieces. The professional will disconnect the fixture leads from the main circuit wiring and cover it. They will dispose of the fixtures for you as required and responsibly.

If the installation involved the hard-wiring process, the installer would need to haul away the debris, installation waste, and old materials after the renovation and light installation process. Expect to pay an average of $2.36 to $2.69 for one fixture.

Details Quantity Cost
LED under cabinet lighting materials- using 12’’ an average profile under cabinet lighting1 fixture$18.56 - $44.23
Lighting fixture materials and supplies, e.g., connectors, mounting hardware, and fittings1 fixture$6.45 - $7.34
LED under cabinet lighting installation cost laborAround 2.5 hrs$233.00 - $315.00
Installing recessed lights$130.00 - $200.00
Adding a power outlet for plug-in lights$148.00 - $198.00
Cost of installation per hour 1hour$80.00
Removing existing lighting fixtures 0.3 hrs$5.71 - $36.08
Disposal of old materials and debris1 fixture$2.39 - $2.69

Factors To Consider When Installing Under Cabinet Lighting

The Cost

The cost of buying the lights will be determined by the results you want to achieve. If you choose to purchase multiple lights that will fill up the whole space the cost will cost will go higher. For example, if you have decided to use puck lights and light bars, you will need a considerable number of lights that will fill up extensively to provide enough light and complement the overall appearance.

Type of Installation

The type of lighting installation system you settle for will influence the cost of your under cabinet lighting. If you opt for puck lights that operate on batteries, you can easily stick them under the cabinets without the professional assistance hence cutting down on labor costs. You can also use the tape lights if you do not mind the cord that is used to plug them being visible.

However, if you do not want any cord and wires to be visible; you will have to opt for a method that involves containing the light into a self-contained unit that will be attached to a light switch. This process will require the help of a professional who is well versed in the electrical systems and their working mechanism.

Amount of Lights

The idea of having under cabinet lights is to add extra light to the working space and improve the appearance of the room. Therefore; the brightness may not be a significant lighting factor. However, depending on the kind of task that needs the lighting, you may consider the amount of lighting that the fixtures will provide for it be it be useful.

For example, if you wish to have a more focused light directly into your working space, you may consider having puck lights under the cabinet. On the other hand, if you want a more spread out light especially throughout the countertop, you may opt for tape lights or, light bar or, rope lights.

The Number of Light Fixtures

The size of cabinets will affect how many lights can fit in the limited space. You will need to measure the space where you intend to mount the lights. If you wish to have more lights spread out under the cabinet, you can go for light bars which go round the whole length of the cabinet. However, if you want a specific length, you can use the rope or tape which can be cut to your preferred size.

Power Source

Before starting the under cabinet lighting process, you need to think about the power source of your lights. There are three power sources:

  1. Battery operated
  2. Electrical
  3. Hard-wiring

The battery operated lights options are one of the easiest to install. However, you will need to replace them often especially if they are continuously in use. The plug-in lights are also easy to install, but the cords are usually visible. You might have to dedicate a power outlet for the plug-in lights.

The hard-wired lights are the best option for most homeowners. They are permanent, and you do not have to deal with cords over your countertops. They provide a natural, seamless finish in your kitchen. However, the process of installing them is a complicated one and requires an expert to fix them safely.

DIY LED Under Cabinet Lighting Installation

You can, however, cut the installation cost by almost 60% if you do the work yourself. The installation can be easier if there is an electrical receptacle just near the place you wish to install the lights. The plug-in type of lights and the battery powered fixtures also make the installation project easy and you can do the work without the need to hire a professional.

LED Strip lights

The first crucial step you need to take is to choose the right LED strips for you under cabinet lighting. If you intend to use the light for illumination purpose, make sure you check the brightness level to see if it will suit your needs. However, if you are doing the lighting for decoration purposes, you might consider getting LED strips that are less intensive and provide a warm glow. Alternatively, you can settle for a bright strip and then install a dimmer to be able to control the amount of brightness you need.

undercabinet strip lighting

The installation of LED is less involving and also not complicated. You will need to take the required accurate measurements of the length underneath the cabinet where you plan to install the lights to be able to cut the right size of your LED strip to fit along the cabinet. Make sure you get extra low voltage wires if you are planning to connect a dimmer on the strip lights.

The LED strip lights come with an adhesive at the back and a protective cover on top making it easy to install them. If your cabinets have a rough surface, you may consider getting an extra adhesive to achieve a stronger attachment. Some LED strip lights need to be attached with screwed in clips which are also easy to install.

After you have managed to attach and set the strips, you can plug it into your power outlet and switch it on to see if the lights are working.

Puck Lights

LED puck lights will need a spacing of around 8 to 12 inches on the surface under your cabinets. If you are installing surface mounted puck lights, make sure you drill small holes first. Ensure that you do not drill through the cabinet. They should be in a small size enough to mount the lights.

You also remove the mounting cap and make use of it to mark all the holes positions underneath the cabinet before you start drilling.
You can then proceed to install the mounting cap and make sure you secure it with the screws. Twist the lights on the cap to ensure they fit perfectly.

undercabinet lights

If you are using recessed puck lights, you will need to use the hole saw to cut through the underside of the cabinet. You can then proceed to the process of securing the mounting cap using the screws and twist the lights in to ensure they are firm and well fitted.

The power hub that connects the puck lights to the main power outlet should be mounted underneath your cabinet. If you want to create a better aesthetic look, you might consider installing the lights near the front face of your cabinets and make them a bit invisible. It also prevents a direct glare reaching to anyone positioned at the direct line of the light.

Battery Powered Puck Lights

These are pretty easy to install. You just need to remove the protective paper from the adhesive backing and then you can place them under the cabinets. Press them firmly to make sure they are attached well. You can then switch on the power button and have the lights on.

Factors to Consider Before the DIY LED Under Cabinet Lighting

Achieving quality lighting for your cabinets is essential. The lights you choose to install will change the appearance of your kitchen and can enhance its feel and look. You may wish to create an ambient atmosphere that reflects a warm environment and a soft glow.

To achieve the best lighting quality, you will need to consider the following:

The Length of Your Cabinets

Before you embark on the DIY LED under cabinet lighting you need take measurements of your cabinets especially the underneath surface where you intend to place the lights. This will enable you to know the size and the type of lights that will fit the cabinets to bring out the best look with optimal lighting.

The Size Of The Lighting Fixtures

LED under cabinet fixtures comes in various sizes. They range from one to four feet in size. The most common sizes are around 12 ”, 18”, 24” and 36”. Your cabinets shape and length will determine how many fixtures you can install depending on the size of the fixture you choose to have.

The Number of Fixtures You Need

It’s vital to determine the number of lighting fixtures you will need for budgeting purposes. Make sure you know the right measurements before you decide the number of fixtures to purchase.

Linkable Models

If you are planning on purchasing multiple fixtures for your under cabinet lighting, you will need to buy linkable model. This way, they can be powered and controlled by a single source. Besides, linkable under cabinet light fixtures have an excellent aesthetic appeal and are more functional in an ideal kitchen.

Installation Method

If you are carrying out a DIY project, you should consider the more friendly methods that do not require the hard-wiring system. Direct wire fixtures need a qualified professional to install them because they have the proper knowledge of how to handle electrical wiring and devices. However, lightings such as plug-in fixtures, LED strips and battery powered lights are easy to install, and you should consider them if you are planning to do the installation job yourself.

Color Temperature Selection

Before you purchase the lights, you need to figure out the right color temperature that will complement your kitchen appearance. Try as much as possible to manage and maintain consistency throughout the kitchen environment.

Also, you want to choose a color temperature that will dictate the mood of the kitchen appropriately. If for example, the lighting is helping you see the contents of your cooking pot, you need the right temperature that will not make your veggies look brown or other unappealing colors. Therefore the color temperature choice is very critical.

Dimmable Options

It is advisable that you get LED under cabinet lighting that has a dimmable capability. You will incur an extra cost to purchase the dimmers, but they will give you control over the lighting options. If you do not need a bright light to carry out a task, you can just dim the light and avoid excessive use of energy. You can change the mood of the kitchen anytime you want.

Also, dimmers allow anyone to work with a brightness level that best suits them. For example, for a person who has eyesight problems, they may prefer to work with low-intensity light that will not hurt their eyes. Therefore, if you are planning on Installing LED under cabinet lighting, consider having the dimming features for your lights.

Installation Cost Checklist

When installing LED under cabinets lighting, you do not have to go overboard with your budget. You can follow the below steps to ensure you get a better deal for your lights.

Shop Around

Every company has a different pricing for it’s LED under cabinet lighting. This is because different companies have varying overhead and operational costs.

You can shop around at several shops and compare the prices of lights and materials you need to kick start the installation process. You can also negotiate with the supplier to get a better offer or a discount and save some money on the purchase. If you are hiring an electrical professional to install the lights for you, you need do the same thing. Get at least two to three quotes to get an average estimate.

Budget for Additional or Unexpected Costs

To avoid getting inconvenienced due to unexpected expenses that you had not put in the budget, ensure you add at least 7 to 15 percent additional cost to your final budget. Sometimes you might realize you need more lights for the cabinets while the project is already underway. You need to put some money aside for any anticipated expenses. This way, you can plan better and carry on with your LED under cabinet lighting project without delays and interruptions.

Conclusion

If you have been thinking about sprucing up your cabinets with a little brightness, LED under the cabinets lighting is the way to go. You may also want to add some brightness to make your tasks under the cabinets or on the countertops easier and manageable.

If well installed, the under cabinet lights will allow you to be able to see clearly because the LED lights provide a focused lighting for you. You can be comfortably roll out your dough or see the contents of your cooking pot without shadows from the overhead lights blocking your view.

The LED under cabinet lighting also comes with dimmable features that enable you to adjust the light to your preferred brightness. You can also choose a color temperature that will sufficiently reflect the surrounding environment and bring out a beautiful ambiance for your kitchen. The LED under cabinet lights can be added to bring out an elegant style and design for your kitchen and blend perfectly with the overall décor of your home.

The installation of LED lights can be a DIY project for a homeowner. You can be able to achieve your desired style by following simple steps for installation. With LED under cabinet lighting, you will gain extra lighting with a little amount of energy consumption.

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