Cabinets can create large shadows that make it hard to see preparation surfaces while cooking food. This can not only lead to cuts and to a more difficult cooking experience, but it can also make cleanup more difficult, leading to bacterial growth. Under cabinet lighting is certainly the ideal solution, but getting the right lights for the situation is important.
The under-cabinet lights in my kitchen are chunky T12 fluorescents from the 1980s. They flicker and buzz and have that aggravating warm-up period every time you turn them on. In other words, they must go. This led me to research replacements, which I thought I’d share with you here! Whether you’re starting from scratch or, like me, are replacing old fixtures, here are some options to consider.
1. T4 Fluorescent Strips: Unlike the T12 bulbs in my current fixtures (which have a 1 1/2-inch diameter), T4 bulbs have just a 1/2-inch diameter. This makes for a much sleeker fixture. Today’s fluorescent bulbs are also much improved from their predecessors in that they don’t have a delay when you flip on the switch, they don’t produce a hum, and their color value is improved.
- My favorite slim fluorescent strip fixture is the Super-Sleek by Brodwax.
2. Puck Lights: These round, hockey-puck-shaped fixtures are popular because there are many versions of them that don’t need to be hard-wired or even plugged in. Battery-operated models with LED bulbs simply stick to the underside of your cabinet. These are a great option for rental kitchens or in cases where wiring would be prohibited by expense. Before LEDs, puck lights generally had xenon bulbs, but these burn hot, making them undesirable for kitchens.