We Tested the Best Under-Cabinet Lighting to Illuminate a Kitchen

Increase kitchen functionality with the extra illumination that under-cabinet lighting provides.

Best Overall

Litever 6-Pack Under Cabinet Light Bar Kit and all its accessories

Litever 6-Pack Under Cabinet Light Bar Kit

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Lightkiwi 12-Inch Modular LED Under Cabinet Lighting set

Lightkiwi 12-Inch Modular LED Under Cabinet Lighting

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Best Bang for the Buck

Four Holkpoilot Under Cabinet Lights With Remote Control

Holkpoilot Under Cabinet Lights With Remote Control

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Talk about a bright idea! Bright light fixtures installed directly underneath the kitchen cabinets illuminate the countertops below for safer, more functional food prep and brighter small-appliance storage. We conducted hands-on testing of every product here, closely following testing guidelines and putting the lighting kits through rigorous use to help narrow down the contenders to the best on the market right now. 

We spoke with Thom Cloppert, who co-owns Fog Remodeling with Jud Cloppert in Loveland, Ohio, and has over 25 years of experience in kitchen, bathroom, and basement remodeling. He says about 70 percent of his clients request under-cabinet lighting, but once he discusses its benefits, he says that about 95 percent of clients have it installed. Why is it such a good idea? “Under-cabinet lighting is indirect, not glaring, and creates an ideal countertop workstation,” he says. “Most are dimmable, energy efficient, and have multispectrum LED lights to provide options for ambience.” 

Under-cabinet lighting is also considered a decorative element since the lower height of the light fixtures can show off a backsplash pattern better, just as puck lights can highlight workspaces in the kitchen. Cloppert explains that “if an uninterrupted backsplash is desired, the lights can also be selected with integrated outlets. And, if the light protrudes below the cabinet, most cabinet manufacturers offer an option of light rail molding.”

Additional areas of light can make a kitchen appear larger as well. The best under-cabinet lighting brings greater efficiency to a cooking space, a bit of class to a kitchen, and even connectivity with smart-home devices for optimal control and energy savings. The products tested and reviewed here are all top-notch in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Litever 6-Pack Under Cabinet Light Bar Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: Lightkiwi 12-Inch Modular LED Under Cabinet Lighting 
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Holkpoilot Under Cabinet Lights With Remote Control
  4. BEST HARDWIRED: Harrrrd Hardwired LED Under Cabinet Task Lighting
  5. BEST WIRELESS: BLS LED Motion Sensor Under Cabinet Lighting
  6. BEST LED: Wobane Under Cabinet Lighting Kit
  7. BEST HIGH-TECH: Torchstar Smart LED Safe Lighting Kit
  8. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Brilliant Evolution Wireless LED Ultra Thin Light Bar
  9. BEST FOR KITCHEN: LepoTec Wireless Motion Sensor Cabinet Lights
The Best Under Cabinet Lighting Option
Photo: istockphoto.com

How We Tested the Best Under-Cabinet Lighting 

We performed hands-on testing of each product in this guide. We did so by closely following testing guidelines specific to these types of lights and assigning number values to help ensure each product met certain standards of quality and ease of use, and to keep our results fair and equitable. 

We looked at a variety of factors for testing, including a light’s versatility, the output each lighting set provided, whether the light was controllable (such as through a dimmer), and the ease of installation. We even looked at how easily the on/off switch or dimmer moved to produce the desired lighting result, as well as the warmness (or not) of the light, thus reflecting whether it was designed for task lighting, ambient lighting, or both. 

Testing Stats
Products tested9
Time spend testing3 hours per light fixture
Tests performed2
Price range$15 to $60

Our Top Picks

The top-rated products below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help pinpoint the best under-cabinet lighting for kitchens. We performed extensive hands-on testing on each to help ensure the products lived up to their promises. 

Best Overall

Litever 6-Pack Under Cabinet Light Bar Kit

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Our Ratings: Installation 5/5; Quality 5/5; Value 5/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 2,000
  • Power: AC adapter or hardwired
  • Volts: 12


  • Up to 6 light bars for extensive coverage and brightness in small and large kitchens 
  • Emits a warm-white light; suitable for cooking, cleaning, or entertaining 
  • Wide variety of layout options and adhesive mounting for excellent versatility
  • Dimmer-switch placement provides unique lighting options


  • Instruction manual is simplistic; may not be detailed enough for some users 
  • Dimmer can be awkward to turn; adjustability may be limited 

This lighting system produces 2,000 lumens of brightness—more than enough for kitchen tasks—and the light is diffused through a cover so that the brightness is uniform across a countertop. The light is a warm white, flattering to anything it illuminates. The under-cabinet bar lights can be installed with backing adhesive or affixed with screws. A light-emitting diode (LED) system that is fully dimmable from 0 to 100 percent, it also has an on/off switch for optimal control. 

We found that the dimmer switch offers flexibility in static lighting versus dimmable lighting depending upon the placement of the switch. Placing the dimmer next to the on/off switch allows for dimmable control of all connected light bars, while placing it between light bars along the run results in static light from those near the switch and dimmable for those connected after the dimmer. We found this quite helpful in creating targeted lighting for tasks as well as dimmable lighting for atmosphere. 

Though it’s a low-voltage system at just 12 volts (V), it offers the flexibility of two different power-supply options: One runs from the wall outlet, through an AC adapter and to the lights, and the other can be wired directly into an electrical system and then flow through an AC adapter to produce under-cabinet lighting. Having both options means choosing between a simple, straightforward installation or wiring directly into an electrical system to hide the cords and operate the light using a household light switch. 

Get the Litever under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.


Lightkiwi 12-Inch Modular LED Under Cabinet Lighting

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Our Ratings: Installation 5/5; Quality 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 1,120 per bar
  • Power: AC adapter
  • Volts: 24


  • Produces 1,120 lumens of light for cooking, cleaning, or entertaining 
  • Comes with a peel-and-stick-backing adhesive; can also be installed with screws
  • 24V low-voltage system can be plugged into a standard wall outlet 
  • Memory function keeps the user’s preferences for convenience


  • Doesn’t dim completely; may not be ideal for some users 
  • No option to dim individual lights to match lighting to users’ tasks and preferences 
  • May not be as versatile as some wireless options 

This under-cabinet LED lighting system of four light bars produces 1,120 lumens of brightness per bar. The thin, sturdy light bars can be connected directly or linked through a cord for customizable coverage. They can be installed via peel-and-stick-backing adhesive or by using screws. Users will want to keep in mind the on/off switch and dimmer are on the same unit and must be installed nearest the AC adapter, which potentially limits the options for customization. 

The Lightkiwi is a 24V low-voltage system that plugs into a power outlet. A dimmer switch controls the brightness output, and a low-energy red light remains lit so that the on/off switch can be found in the dark. We liked that the dimmer has a memory function that sets it to the previous brightness level until we decided to change it. During our testing, we found that the dimmer doesn’t dim all the way; the bars remain lit at a level that might be too much for users who want a very mellow light. 

Get the Lightkiwi under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

Holkpoilot Under Cabinet Lights With Remote Control

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Our Ratings: Installation 4/5; Quality 3/5; Value 3/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 100
  • Power: AAA batteries
  • Volts: 4.5


  • Variable light intensity allows for ample customization and ease of use
  • Adjustable timer can set to turn lights off when desired; ideal for closets and pantries 
  • Very competitive price point compared to other options available


  • Adhesive strength can vary; may not be as durable as some comparable options 
  • Batteries not included with purchase; may need to be purchased separately

An affordable option for decorative under-cabinet lighting, the Holkpoilot under-cabinet light set includes four battery-operated lights, plus a remote control. Each compact unit is just 3.5 inches in diameter, so they are easy to position. At full brightness, they provide plenty of illumination thanks to the use of six LEDs, where many competitors only install three. The lights also can be set to 10, 40, or 80 percent when ambient lighting is required.

In our testing, we found that the Holkpoilot puck lights were easily controlled by touch or via a convenient handheld remote. The remote can also be used to set the timer that automatically turns them off, a feature we enjoyed so it’s not necessary to remember to turn them off manually. The lights can be programmed to stay on for either 10, 30, 60, or 120 minutes.

Each puck light requires three AAA batteries, and we found it frustrating that these were not included. Additionally, the lights are meant to attach to surfaces using peel-and-stick adhesive tabs. While some users have found them almost impossible to remove, others thought the adhesive didn’t provide sufficient hold. We found they worked fine on a smooth, dry surface, but it’s important to note that they are not designed to be repositioned. 

Get the Holkpoilot under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.

Best Hardwired

Harrrrd Hardwired LED Under Cabinet Task Lighting

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Our Ratings: Installation 3/5; Quality 3/5; Value 3/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 1,250
  • Power: Hardwired
  • Volts: 120


  • No wires dangling under the cabinet; ideal for those with children and pets 
  • Easy on/off switch integrated into the construction for quick adjustments
  • Glare-free frosted cover provides a luxurious look with its warm white light


  • Users might require professional help during the installation process
  • Some users have reported that the instructions are not very clear 
  • A dimmer switch is not included with the purchase 

Hardwiring under-cabinet lighting may be complicated, but the results—free of cords plugging into outlets—lend a clean, neat look that’s desirable in a kitchen. This 120V line-voltage under-cabinet LED bar light system is ideal for those choosing the hardwired route, as its slim design in five different lengths (12 inches, 18 inches, 21 inches, 24 inches, and 36 inches) blends right into existing decor. It provides what users need for kitchen under-cabinet lighting and nothing more; the simplistic, minimalist design could appeal to those who prefer sleek lines. 

We found that the light affords a uniform look thanks to a glare-free frosted cover that diffuses the 1,250 lumens of brightness. The bar light has an on/off switch and is compatible with dimmers, but a dimmer switch is not included. Since this is hardwired, the addition of a dimmer switch or even the installation of this unit itself might require professional help. 

Get the Harrrrd under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.

Best Wireless

BLS LED Motion Sensor Under Cabinet Lighting

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Our Ratings: Installation 4/5; Quality 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 180
  • Power: AA batteries, hardwired, or USB adapter
  • Volts: 1.5


  • Easily adjustable motion sensor feature is ideal for kitchens, closets, and pantries
  • Multiple power options allow for adjustability and energy-saving capabilities
  • Variety of options for sensor or steady light


  • Some users have reported that this option emits a harsh light
  • Motion sensor can be finicky; this feature may not be ideal for long-term use

For under-cabinet lighting that activates when someone enters a dark kitchen, or that provides simple accent lighting to dishware or appliances, this wireless option is the way to go. The moderate 1.5V system produces only 180 lumens of brightness, and the white light is harsher than the light of some other products we tested. While this is good for task lighting, we found it less so for atmosphere.

Installation issues won’t be a problem, and we appreciated that there were no messy cords to look at with the BLS lighting. We were able to install it in just a few seconds with backing adhesive or mounting screws, and it operates with three AA batteries. If batteries aren’t an option, users can employ the 37-inch USB cord to power the LED bar light; there is also a hardwire option. Note that the USB wall adapter is not included with the light kit. 

The under-cabinet lighting is attached at only two points, allowing the light to rotate down for additional lighting angles. This feature also makes it possible to change the batteries without detaching the light. The system includes automatic motion detection that users can adjust for sensitivity or turn off altogether. It can also be set to be on, off, on only during the night, or on only during the day. The light turns off after 20 seconds of sensing no motion, giving users ample time to leave the kitchen with this bar lighting the way. 

Get the BLS under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.

Best LED

Wobane Under Cabinet Lighting Kit

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Our Ratings: Installation 5/5; Quality 4/5; Value 5/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 1,100
  • Power: Wall outlet
  • Volts: 12


  • Very light; will not come out of place once affixed to a wall or cabinet 
  • Exceptionally warm white lighting provides enough light for cooking, cleaning, or washing 
  • Very easy to install; simply stick onto the desired surface and plug it in


  • Not dimmable; may not be ideal for some users’ preferences
  • Operates only with wall outlet; may not be as versatile as wireless options

LED lighting is the best option for under-cabinet lighting, and the affordable, versatile Wobane system exemplifies why. The LED strip lighting produces an impressive 1,100 lumens of brightness and can be installed in seconds using the strong adhesive backing. Its 12V low-voltage system plugs directly into a power outlet so there’s no need to hire an electrician to install it, nor will there be any need to change batteries in the future.

The flexible under-cabinet strip light is very thin, so it was perfect for tucking up on the underside of cabinets where only the illumination is visible. Its flexibility also allowed for installation around corners and curves with ease. Additionally, the strip can be separated into four equal-length pieces for more customization options. The sole drawback is that these lights are not dimmable and only operate via an on/off switch. However, despite these small drawbacks, we were delighted to discover that the light is very warm, reminiscent of candlelight, and perfect for setting a relaxing atmosphere. 

Get the Wobane under-cabinet lighting at Amazon.

Best High-Tech

Torchstar Smart LED Safe Lighting Kit

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Our Ratings: Installation 4/5; Quality 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 900
  • Power: Wall outlet
  • Volts: 12


  • Very efficient controls for using the dimming feature 
  • Pairs with voice assistants for added ease of use and quick adjustability
  • Easy-mount lights can be adjusted for different angles
  • Motion-sensor option available; ideal for closets and pantries 


  • Requires an app; may have too many bells and whistles for some users 
  • Instructions might be difficult to understand for some buyers 

The Torchstar LED Safe Lighting Kit connects with Amazon Alexa for fully customizable brightness control. Use voice control or the app to adjust the brightness in 1 percent increments from 0 to 100, or set a timer to turn lights off on a schedule. This lighting system requires the use of a smartphone app; the instructions might be confusing to some. Once this lighting was installed and connected, we found it offered very fine control from mood lighting to bright task lighting. There is also a simple on/off button that allows for controlling the lights without the app, but this cuts deeply into the options this light offers. 

We found this under-cabinet LED bar lighting easy to install with backing adhesive, and it can be mounted at a 45-degree angle instead of shining directly down. This 12V low-voltage lighting system produces 900 lumens of brightness and plugs directly into a power outlet. This system also provides motion detection that can be turned off or left on auto to illuminate the room anytime someone enters.

Get the Torchstar under-cabinet lighting at Amazon or Wayfair.

Best for Small Spaces

Brilliant Evolution Wireless LED Ultra Thin Light Bar

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Our Ratings: Installation 3/5; Quality 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 65
  • Power: AA batteries
  • Volts: Unlisted


  • Can be mounted anywhere and no outlet is required; very versatile construction 
  • Offers up to 100 hours of light with the use of 3 AA batteries 
  • Compact construction should be easy to install in smaller kitchens or spaces


  • Batteries are not included with purchase; may need to buy separately 
  • Needs strong adhesive to stay in place 

This straightforward offering from Brilliant Evolution provides the convenience of a wireless light with the bright task lighting necessary for easy meal prep. It’s a small but mighty light at 8.5 inches long by 2 inches wide, and less than 1 inch in depth, which opens up a world of placement options under kitchen cabinets. We installed the light with the included strong adhesive light strips, but once it was in place, it stayed put. Those who want added security can use the included screws. 

The 65 lumens come to life with a simple tap of the frosted screen; four LED lights brighten up the space with a warm/bright light. We found it’s a bit too harsh for ambient lighting but ideal for lighting up small spaces, such as a countertop nook. It runs on three AA batteries, which we found were not included, but it can perform just as well on alkalines as on rechargeables. Either way, users can expect up to 100 hours of runtime. The beauty of this light lies in its simplicity and size; we found it provides ample lighting right where it’s needed, and it does the job well. 

Get the Brilliant Evolution LED under-cabinet lighting at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best for Kitchen

LepoTec Wireless Motion Sensor Cabinet Lights

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Our Ratings: Installation 4/5; Quality 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 350
  • Power: Rechargeable battery
  • Volts: 5


  • Versatile magnetic fixing can be made into a portable unit if desired 
  • 2 lighting modes integrated for convenient adjustability 
  • Rapid recharging via USB cable for added user-friendliness 


  • No brightness adjustment; not as adjustable as some comparable options
  • Relatively short duration if left fully on for an extended period 

LepoTec’s 54-LED under-cabinet light has a number of interesting features that make it a valuable and flexible addition to any kitchen. The 12.67-inch strip provides 350 lumens of warm lighting that can be set to on or off like any typical light, but it also offers motion sensing. Movement within a 100-degree angle and from up to 10 feet away will turn the light on. If no further motion is detected, it will turn itself off after 20 seconds to extend battery life. This is ideal for those late-night trips to the fridge or to increase safety on stairs and in other areas.

We liked that the LepoTec cabinet light is magnetic, so it will stick to fridges, freezers, washing machines, etc. A thin magnetic strip with adhesive patches is provided for fitting under cabinets. This gives the added advantage of making the light portable so it could be used to light the way between kitchen and laundry room or basement, for example.

Power comes from an internal lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via USB in under an hour. However, when it’s used in always-on mode, we found it lasts for about 3 hours. It doesn’t have a brightness adjustment either, so some may feel it is best as supplementary under-cabinet lighting rather than the sole solution.

Get the LepoTec under-cabinet lighting at Amazon or Wayfair.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing Under-Cabinet Lighting

Under-cabinet lighting design can add ambience or utility light to a space. But, not all under-cabinet lighting is the same. To buy the best under-cabinet lighting for a given kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom space, keep these important considerations in mind.

Types of Under-Cabinet Lighting

The type of under-cabinet lighting—LED, fluorescent, halogen, or xenon—will determine its aesthetic and maximum efficiency rating. 

LED Lighting

LED lighting is the most popular and most energy-efficient type of under-cabinet lighting. Originally, LED lighting was expensive and only offered directional lighting, but now even smart-home–compatible LED lighting systems have become more affordable. However, they are still the priciest choice of the four types. Current LEDs also offer whole-room diffused lighting that can be used in overhead fixtures, replacing the common incandescent bulbs. 

While initially costlier, LED bulbs outlast their counterparts by double or triple the time. They produce less heat (a big asset in the kitchen) and, on a purely aesthetic level, can create millions of colors on the spectrum. All these benefits make LED lights with the appropriate lumen rating (the unit of brightness measurement) the preferred choice of many consumers for under-cabinet lighting.

Fluorescent Lighting

Compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) is energy efficient and doesn’t produce a lot of heat, but it does have some unappealing issues. These tube bulbs tend to produce harsh light and emit an annoying buzzing sound. They cannot be used with a dimmer function, and turning them on and off repeatedly can shorten their lifespan. What’s more, because they use both mercury vapor and a phosphor coating to convert UV light to visible light, they cannot be tossed in the trash when spent—these bulbs must be disposed of according to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. 

Halogen Lighting

Halogen lights use a gas compound containing halogen vapor within the bulb. When electricity is run through the filament, the compound reacts to produce clear, white light. However, halogen lights get very hot and should not be used where they might accidentally be touched. In terms of energy, halogen bulbs are a step above fluorescent bulbs (and several steps above incandescent bulbs), using between 25 and 80 percent less energy. They fall below xenon bulbs and well below LED lighting in most categories but are a good midrange choice that will provide decent lighting at a moderate cost.

Xenon Lighting

Xenon lighting casts clear, white light but, unlike halogen bulbs, it doesn’t use a filament. Instead, an electrical current is channeled through the xenon gas contained in the bulb, causing the excitation of electrons to produce light. Xenon lighting is cooler to the touch than halogen bulbs and also more efficient, lasting two to three times longer. LED lights outshine xenon and halogen lights in every category except price, but xenon bulbs are the next-best option for brightness and lifespan.


The voltage of under-cabinet lighting is separated into three main types: line-voltage (120V) lighting, low-voltage (12V or 24V) lighting, and battery lighting.

  • Line-voltage lighting is wired directly into a home’s electrical system. Bulbs using this type of voltage system produce more heat than low-voltage or battery lighting.
  • Low-voltage lighting can be wired directly into a home if there is a transformer installed to reduce the voltage from the house down to the required 12V or 24V. It’s much more common for these systems to simply plug into a power outlet. There is no significant difference between the average energy savings, light quality, or lifespan of line-voltage and low-voltage lighting.
  • Battery-powered lighting doesn’t rely on the home’s electrical system for power, so no transformer is necessary. Battery voltages for under-cabinet lighting range from 1.5V to 10V. The higher the voltage, the more power the battery will be able to push, and the brighter the light will be. 

Strip Lights vs. Puck Lights vs. Bar Lights

Under-cabinet lighting comes in three primary styles: strip lights, puck lights, and bar lights.

  • Strip lights come in rolls that can be stuck onto a surface via backing adhesive. They can also be screwed on if need be, but the backing adhesive normally holds strongly enough to fasten under cabinets. Strip lights are flexible and customizable, making them an excellent option for unique layouts. However, their flexibility makes them more fragile, so they’re not the best choice for illuminating task-oriented countertops used for food prep.
  • Puck lights, shaped like hockey pucks, are designed to create spots or pools of light instead of an even beam of illumination across an area. This makes them an excellent choice for accent lighting, but if using them for task lighting, they must be spaced so that there’s no break in the lighting between pucks. Puck lights are most commonly battery-powered models that stick onto a surface with adhesive backing, though they can be low voltage and, in rare circumstances, they can be line voltage.
  • Bar lights—the most common style of under-cabinet lighting—have an aluminum housing and a light diffusion cover, making them sturdy enough for the task-oriented areas of a kitchen. These under-cabinet lights can be low voltage or line voltage and generally measure from 6 to 48 inches in length. The only real drawback with bar lights is their inflexibility, so measure carefully to plan their installation before buying.

Energy Efficiency and Heat Output

The energy efficiency and heat output of under-cabinet lighting depends primarily on the type of bulb used.

  • Fluorescent lighting is one of the best options in terms of energy efficiency and heat output. The bulbs remain cool during operation, and they rate between xenon bulbs and LED bulbs in overall efficiency. 
  • Halogen lighting produces the most heat and is the least efficient bulb. The light these bulbs emit is clear and easy to work by, and they’re also dimmable, making it easy to create ambience.
  • Xenon lighting gets a bit hotter than fluorescent and LED lighting, but the temperature is still acceptable to the touch. These bulbs are less efficient than LED and fluorescent lights, but they can be dimmed for mood setting and energy saving.
  • LED lighting is the best option for both energy efficiency and heat output. Some LED under-cabinet lights use as little as 5 watts of energy while still producing adequate brightness, and they can be dimmed for more energy savings. LED lights have a very low heat output, leaving them cool to the touch, even after hours of operation.


Fixed brightness feels out of place in our customizable world, making dimmers an important addition to an under-cabinet lighting system. By dimming the under-cabinet lights to a level suitable to the current use of the room, it can reduce the energy consumption and save on the electric bill. Dimmers can also adjust the brightness to suit the situation, sometimes as low as a night-light. Cloppert advises anyone adding this type of lighting to “plan a convenient place for the switch and use a dimmer that is rated for LED lights.”

Ease of Installation

Installing an under-cabinet lighting system can be incredibly easy—or complex enough to warrant hiring a professional electrician.

  • Line-voltage lighting is the most difficult type to install because the wiring must be connected directly to an electrical system. If replacing an old fixture with the same voltage, the installation can be completed by an experienced DIYer who is comfortable working with electricity, but if it’s a new installation, it’s recommended to hire a professional electrician to be certain that a certain electrical system is capable of supporting an additional fixture. Line-voltage systems will also look better if the wires are all hidden inside the wall or on the underside of the cabinet—part of the job for a pro.
  • Low-voltage lighting is most often installed using backing adhesive or a few mounting screws. The power cord is then plugged into a nearby power outlet, making this style of system simple to install.
  • Battery-powered lighting is the easiest to install, using backing adhesive, mounting screws, or even magnetic light strips to connect to a surface. These systems are designed to be mounted and removed repeatedly so that their batteries can be changed or recharged.

The Advantages of Using Under-Cabinet Lighting

Installing under-cabinet lighting can lower energy bills by using high-efficiency lights to illuminate one area at a time. This will provide more light for cooking and food prep while reducing the energy output of a lighting system. In addition to illuminating tasks such as food preparation on countertops, under-cabinet lighting can highlight a backsplash pattern that might otherwise be lost in shadow and/or enhance a mood—low brightness during dinner, for example—to create a relaxing atmosphere. Under-cabinet lighting can also enhance the home’s interior value by reducing shadows that make a room look small. 

  • Under-cabinet lighting is an easy-to-install, affordable way to update a kitchen;
  • it can lower a home’s energy consumption and save money on the electric bill; and 
  • it can enhance the home’s interior value by focusing on unique style points and reducing shadows.


Now that we have covered all of the products and considerations needed to select this particular lighting type, check out the answers to the most common questions about under-cabinet lighting.

Q. How many under-cabinet lights do I need?

The number of under-cabinet lights you need will depend on the lumens per light produced, the type of light fixture, and the size of the room. In general, under-cabinet lighting should produce an average of 1,000 to 2,500 lumens for all surfaces that will be used for cooking or cutting. Other non-task-related areas for under-cabinet lighting don’t have lumen requirements, so you can choose as many or as few lights as you wish.

Q. Where should I place under-cabinet lighting?

To avoid mistakes when mounting any fixture under a cabinet, position it toward the front. If there is a lens, face it toward the backsplash. The bottom-front rail of the cabinet should hide the fixture from your line of sight, whether standing or seated. If it doesn’t, consider extending the rail with a narrow board or trim piece.

Q. How many lumens do I need for under-cabinet lighting?

The lumens for your under-cabinet lighting depend on where the lighting is being installed. Under-cabinet lighting for task-related areas like counters used for food preparation should have between 1,000 to 2,500 lumens to ensure you have plenty of light while cutting, peeling, chopping, or undertaking any other food prep activities. Under-cabinet lighting in the rest of the kitchen can range depending on your personal preferences.


Timothy Dale Avatar

Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.