What Are the Different Types of LED Kitchen Lighting?

Gregory Hanson

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, can be used in all traditional kitchen lighting applications, and can also be used to illuminate some areas that are hard to light with conventional bulbs. Some LED kitchen lighting involves the simple replacement of incandescent or fluorescent bulbs with new LED light bulbs. In other cases, LED kitchen lighting may consist of purpose-build units that can be mounted under cabinets or inside pieces of furniture to provide targeted illumination. LED lighting varies considerably in cost, light output, and quality of light, and these differences appear in LED kitchen lighting bulbs and fixtures.

Standard fluorescent bulbs are being replaced by LED lighting.
Standard fluorescent bulbs are being replaced by LED lighting.

Most kitchens include one or more ceiling light fixtures, mounted either on the surface of the kitchen ceiling or recessed into the ceiling. These fixtures typically employ standard incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Many manufacturers now produce bulbs which are compatible with these standard sockets but that use LEDs to generate light. Replacing ordinary bulbs in these fixtures with LED bulbs is the simplest sort of LED kitchen lighting. Bulbs mounted in recessed can lights are especially good candidates for replacement, as heat output is a concern in such fixtures, and LED bulbs produce very little waste heat.

Most kitchens have at least one ceiling light fixtures.
Most kitchens have at least one ceiling light fixtures.

A second LED kitchen lighting option involves installing LED lighting elements under or inside of kitchen cabinets. Small LED light fixtures and LED lighting strips, which contain a series of diodes mounted one after another, can be mounted under most kitchen cabinets. This type of lighting provides gentle illumination for counter-top workspace. These lights are typically sold and installed in segments, which can be connected together to fit countertops and cabinets of varying sizes. Such lights can also be mounted inside many cabinets, in order to provide illuminated storage spaces.

LED kitchen lighting may also be mounted inside of kitchen furniture. The small size and modest power requirements of LEDs mean that they can easily be installed inside of kitchen display cabinets or cases. This sort of display lighting is well-suited to showing off collections of elegant dinnerware or similar kitchen decorations.

Each type of LED lighting has unique characteristics. Some offer very inexpensive illumination but tend to produce relatively little light and produce light in a narrow spectrum. More expensive LED kitchen lighting will use more diodes and will use diodes that produce a broader spectrum of light as well. This type of lighting is generally preferable, as a broader spectrum light makes colors appear more natural and is easier on the eyes. It is always a good idea to evaluate the actual quality and quantity of light produced by a given lighting product during the kitchen design process.

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