In my plan to update our kitchen (you can read about the new counters and backsplash here and here), I decided to get new under cabinet lights. When we moved in, there were three fluorescent lights under the cabinets that looked similar to these, but one of the lights never worked and would have cost more to repair than to replace. Though the fluorescent lights were bulky and sort of ugly, they were bright and I liked how well they lit up the counters when I was preparing meals. But I let myself be swept up with the idea of new lights and getting rid of the one light that never worked. I decided not to get more fluorescent lights, but instead became enamored with the sleek sexiness of puck lights. Puck lights look exactly like their name suggests — like hockey pucks, but thinner and, well, lit. I crossed halogen and xenon lights off my list of puck light possibilities when I discovered that they get ridiculously hot and little fingers reaching under cabinets could easily get burned (you can check out a brief Consumer Reports under cabinet lighting guide here). Instead, I opted for LED puck lights. I liked that they were energy efficient, cool to the touch, and would, in fact, most likely never burn out. Also, they were inexpensive. I found this three-pack for about $35. I bought two three-packs to use for the entire under cabinet area. Here’s one installed under the cabinets:
While I like the fact that the LED puck lights are basically invisible unless you’re underneath the cabinets looking at them, I’m nonetheless quite disappointed in these lights. Compared to the fluorescent lights, they are very dim. Mark calls them “good mood lighting,” but the only thing I’m in the mood to do in the kitchen is cook, and as task lighting for food preparation they’re terrible. Also, the LED light is blue which, although I’d read about the blueness of the lights in various critiques before I’d bought the lights, I sort of thought the blue wouldn’t bother me (actually, I’m pretty sure what I thought was, “How blue can they be?” Answer: blue enough to be noticeably annoying).
Granted, in the photo above I used a flash which inexplicably makes the LED lights appear extra blue, but still, they’re blue. And that’s weird, right?
In addition to the $70 I spent on the lights, I spent $80 to have them installed (I never attempt DIY electrical; I think it’s important to know my own limitations). While I wouldn’t go so far as to say these lights were a $150 mistake, I sure do miss my fluorescents.