Product Education

Which Under Cabinet Light Should I Choose?

Four of our favorite task lighting options

There are many excellent under cabinet lighting products on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits.

In order to select the right one for your project, you’ll want to consider key factors like:

  • The task to be illuminated
  • Whether features such as color rendering, variable illumination and the ability to angle the fixture will be required
  • The ability to safely wipe down the fixture (especially for kitchen applications)
  • Any obstructions to be worked around

Below is an overview of four of our favorite options that we offer at NSL – including our take on what makes each one a great choice and the projects they’re best suited for.

Option 1: GEN II Hard Strip

This is a great example of a hybrid product. It incorporates LED Tape Light with an aluminum extrusion for easy mounting and an opal lens providing an even 120-degree beam of light over the task surface with no pixilation or LED imaging on the task surface.

The Gen II Hard Strip is a modular system with lengths that range from 300mm (nominal 1ft) to 1.2m (nominal 48”) in a single piece. ‘Plug and play’ modular jumper connectors offer different lengths that work around obstructions such as sinks and stoves.

The power feed can be attached on one end and offers the user a Low Voltage (24V) solution and a slick, low-profile look. The extrusion includes mounting brackets that allow you to angle the light to 30 or 45 degrees or lockable rotational bracket for the greatest versatility. The driver is remote and can be in an accessible area such as the kickplate of the cabinetry or integrated into the office furniture system.

Product Specs:

  • Performance: Great with a range from 288- 400 lumens/ft
  • Available in 3000K or 4200K static color (not variable)
  • Profile: Low 16mm (5/8”) H x 21mm (13/16”) W
  • Modular power and jumper connectors ranging from 12-39 inch
  • 50,000-hour life rating and 3-year warranty.
  • Power consumption: Nominal 4 watts per foot
  • Price value: Very good
  • Ease of installation: Excellent. Classified as a single pass, with snap in clips and channel, plug and play. Product is dimmable using an ELV dimmer. Maximum wattage per single run is 90 watts.
Option 2: GEN II LED Task Star with 3 Color Temperature

This product lends itself to both new and retrofit applications. Its deeper housing – (1.54”) with a ½” knockout – allows for a direct 120v power feed with no remote driver and a large wiring channel for thru wiring and easy installation.

Performance is enhanced via a side-mounted LED bar that is obscured by a frosted lens. This LED strip is CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) tunable and offers three selectable colors of 3000/4000 and 5000K to suit the backsplash finish and/or task requirements.

The Gen II Task Star offers variable light output with a three-position Hi/Off/Low switch. If additional lumen control is required, this product can be used with most ELV dimmers to dim down to 5%. It comes in lengths ranging from 9.5” to 43”, which can be wired together (with the contractor/installer providing wiring between the luminaires).

The housing of the Gen II LED is available in four colors: white (standard), black, bronze and aluminum.

Product Specs:

  • Performance: Excellent with over 400L/ft
  • Available in 3000/4000 and 5000K by the flick of a switch
  • Profile: Deeper (1.5”) allowing for retrofit and larger wiring compartment
  • Multiple KOs can accommodate 120v power entry along the side, back.
  • 50,000-hour life rating and 5-year warranty.
  • Power Consumption: Nominal 6w/ft.
  • Price Value: Excellent
  • Ease of Installation: Best suited where individual units are required, larger wire gauge is existing or thru wiring is preferred. Toolless entry and captive mounting screws makes this a contractor favorite.
Option 3: LED Task Star Pro

This low profile (1”) under cabinet fixture integrates all mounting accessories in a kit form. It offers direct feed at 120v, with no remote driver required and the option to be hardwired from rear or side feed via a power cord with plug (included in kit).

Lengths range from 9” up to 40” as a single unit. A unique feature is the integrated molded power connector which allows for end-to-end mount for continuous light, linkable up to 400 watts. Jumper cables can be added and come in lengths from 12” to 32” to accommodate obstructions such as sinks and stoves etc.

Performance is achieved via an edge-lit LED Technology allowing for diffuse lighting across the work plane. At 300L/ft it offers illumination that will suit many applications, with great color rendering at over 90 CRI. The three-position switch allows for variable CCT 2700/3000 and 4000K and lumen output can be controlled via a three-position Hi/Off/Low switch or via most ELV dimmer for dimming down to 5%. 

The LTS Pro is available in four finishes: white (standard), black, bronze, and satin nickel to provide a high-end look.

Installation is straightforward, and mounting screws are supplied without requiring access to the fixture. Direct connection is via a rear entry 3/8” knockouts, romex connector supplied in kit, for a sleek clean install. Traditional 14AWG wiring is recommended due to smaller wiring compartment.

Product Specs:

  • Performance: Very good and offers the best in terms of even, pixel-free illumination
  • Available in 2700/3000/4000K and best for when a warmer CCT is required
  • Profile: Shallow at 1” and integrates well without a valence
  • Ability to offer both hardwire or cord and plug makes this a versatile product for new and retro jobs.
  • 50,000-hour life rating and 3-year warranty.
  • Power consumption: Nominal 5w/ft
  • Price Value: Excellent for feature set and accessories
  • Ease of Installation: Wiring from rear entry is easy with push in connectors, mounting holes and screws provided, continuous runs available with unique back-to-back connector up to 400w.
  • Kit form allows for flexibility on wiring to suit jobsite conditions.
Option 4: LED Edgelit Pucks

This is the slimmest profile option at 0.5” depth, available in 3” round or square form. Its low voltage (24v) allows for discrete look and wiring is minimized. These fixtures are secured to the cabinetry via a back plate and magnets, so there is no need to hole drill the aperture.

Lumen output is 200 and when placed on 1 ft centers offer the same performance as the traditional units. 4 watts per fixture. Single color temp available in 3000K, CRI of over 90. Product can be dimmed with up to 23 edge lit fixtures linked together off a single dimmable driver.

LED Edgelit Pucks offer 30,000 hours rated and 3-year warranty and are available in three finishes: white, (standard), black and bronze, both round and square.

Product Specs:

  • Performance: Very good with no pixilation and nice diffuse illumination. Outperforms other puck light system on its even illumination, superior finishes, and ease of installation.
  • Profile: Lowest at 0.5” depth and 3” round or square offering
  • Power Consumption: 4w per module, 200L
  • Price Value: Very good as this system is modular with a very discrete look
  • Customer can design their own system as opposed to 3 pack designs currently offered by others.

For more information on our full range of under cabinet lighting options – or for help determining which is best task light for your project – please feel free to contact your local Sales Agent or a member of our Customer Care team. You can also sign up for our mailing list for the latest product information and to be notified of our upcoming under cabinet webinar including live installation demonstrations.

In business since 1988, National Specialty Lighting is proud to provide top-quality architectural and specialty lighting products for the American market – backed by unparalleled customer service.

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