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Installing additional lights under cabinets is easier than you might think — and most don’t even require any tools. The best under-cabinet light strips offer up a few different benefits.
First, aesthetically, they can instantly boost the look and feel of any room, adding a soft glow and additional pop of color without repainting or replacing cabinets. Beyond that however, they’re also practical, giving the room additional brightness where it’s needed most, like countertops when cooking, and floors for navigating at night.
Buying Guide: How to Pick the Best Under-Cabinet Lighting and Light Strips
Here are some basic things to consider when shopping for the best under-cabinet lighting for your space.
Measurements: Lumens is a measurement of brightness, abbreviated as lm, and 2000lm is a safe bet for lighting up areas such as kitchen countertops. You may also notice K, for Kelvin, 3000K is about average, with 5000K being at the higher end. For voltage, 12V is on the lower side, with some stretching 24V and above.
Installation: If you’re not handy with tools, or you live in a place where you can’t mess with the walls and wiring, there are still options out there for you. Adhesive backing is an excellent alternative, and avoids having to drill altogether. There are even lights that you can wire into your home’s electrical system, freeing up outlets and hiding wires running everywhere.
Light bars with pre-determined lengths may be easier to install, but the measurements don’t always line up with your space, and may create unlit gaps in the chain. That’s why some newer light strips give you the ability to cut them yourself, so they line up perfectly every time.
Extras: The features vary on all of these, but some can be really convenient, like a brightness dial that lets you dim or increase it right from your phone. A memory function can also be handy for keeping the same settings without having to find it each time. Connecting it to an existing smart home system is easy too, just make sure it’s compatible first.
What Are the Best Under-Cabinet Lights?
Here are our top recommendations to upgrade your studio or home lighting situation.
1. GE CYNC Smart Light Strip
General Electric got into the lighting game not long after the first lightbulb was invented, starting up operations in 1892. The brand kept up with the times along the way, and its light strip is an excellent option for under cabinets, above furniture, or anywhere around the room.
The minimal strip connects directly to your WiFi router, giving you options for millions of color choices, and the ability to trim to the exact length you’re looking for.
This is all integrated with GE’s other Cync products, a smart home family of devices designed to all work via the one central Cync app (along with optional voice control via Alexa or Google AI), letting you control your lights from anywhere.
2. Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Light Strip
This goes beyond just controllable lighting. In fact, this strip can sync up with the movie you’re watching or game you’re playing, adding an additional blast of color to match whatever’s on your screen. The Circadian Lighting feature also works with your natural schedule, cranking up white light during the day and removing blue light to prepare you for bedtime, or let you customize your very own color timeline too.
The strip works with most major smart hubs, but also includes a manual controller for the times when it’s easier not to open up the app.
3. Eve Light Strip
These smart LED strips bring a similar feel to wherever you choose to stick them, shining bright with 1800lm and full WiFi connectivity.
It’s awesome as a backsplash or giving a kitchen a cozy hue, plus it works smoothly with Apple HomeKit, even letting you sync it with your AppleTV.
4. Govee Smart LED Light Strip
Providing 16 million colors combinations via the app, this strip is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, and a strong adhesive backing makes them quick to stick. They fit well into any kitchen or bedroom, but look great on a porch or in a media setup as well, and feature 64 preset scene modes plus 11 “music modes” thanks to the designated built-in mic, where lights pulse to your favorite music.