I agonized over that question when I rehabbed my kitchen a couple of
years ago. I hate fluorescents for undercabinet, I hate hockey pucks,
and I hate halogen. That sort of narrows the field. I still didn't
have any answers until I saw a fixture at my local lighting store.
They are made by Kichler and use a xenon bulb. The fixture is low
profile, 120V, and chainable. They come in several sizes (multiples of
six inches, as I recall). The xenon light is a much warmer light than
the harsh halogens, and they are instant on (unlike the fluorescents),
have two brightnesses (also unlike the fluorescents), and might be
dimmable--I don't recall (again, unlike the fluorescents). Did I
mention I don't like fluorescents for undercabinet?
They're a little on the pricey side, particularly at the local
lighting store, but you might be able to do better on line. Also, for
a one time, long time purchase, it seems a little extra money up front
for the right fixtures pays off in the long run.
When I rented a house a few years back it needed lighting under the
cabinets. I bout a string of those diode rope-lights and it worked great
was able to conform to all the necessary curves and stayed hidden. Worked
for me :-)
Todd, Also take a look at the zenon under cabinet lights made by
General Electric. Home Depot has them along with a hard wire box.
They are linkable and can also be plugged in. Being 110 v they
are dimable. A 3 bulb fixture is 18" long. Bulb life is 10000hrs and
don't run as hot as halogen. I bought a 2 bulb fixture to try out
befor getting the rest.
I used a pair of these HD specials in a display cabinet a year ago. They
were reasonably priced and give you the option of flush mount or standoff
mount with a trim ring. I control them with a fairly inexpensive touch
switch that could be mounted up under the cabinet skirt and remain
invisible. They come as singles, doubles or triple light sets but you can
probably gang them up as you want.
I'm going to put a set under our kitchen cabinets during the next week or
two and wire them into the existing flourescent accent lights above them.
Then one switch does all or I can turn the lowers off by themselves.
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