LED Strip lighting, under cabinet, how do I know how much light I need?


Old 01-02-14, 03:35 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
LED Strip lighting, under cabinet, how do I know how much light I need?

My basic question is this: how many LED Strips will I need to light the countertop well?

My secondary question is: has anyone used color-changing lights for this purpose? I think I at least want to run some of those above the cabinets -- seems like fun.

In about six weeks, we're going to start completely remodeling our kitchen. I have become convinced that LED Strip Lighting under the cabinets will provider even distribution of light to the work surfaces.

The details and figures I see when shopping for these strip lights are a bit mystifying to begin with, but I see things like 300 LEDs/5M or 150/5. That's where I come to the first question about how much I need.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Old 01-02-14, 04:52 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 24,441
Received 750 Votes on 689 Posts
When looking for lights I like to go by the output specs. What color temp is the light and how much light? Saying so many LED's does not mean a thing since LED's come in different brightnesses. If the manufacturer does not provide the output specs for their lights I would find something that does.

I have continuous LED strips under my kitchen cabinets. They are warm white (3'250k) and output a bit more than 300 lumens per linear foot while consuming 3.5 watts per foot. They are great task lighting and replaced our previous halogens. If you want gentle mood lighting you may want dimmer lights or a dimmer.

I find colored lights to kitsch for my taste in the proper part of the house but as an accent in a game room or home theater they are great. I have some in the hot tub room and I usually have them set to slow color changing.
Old 01-02-14, 06:47 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 13,806
Received 253 Votes on 221 Posts
I have installed some of the 300 LED strips before for me and once for a job. IMO I would suggest the double density (600 LEDs per 5M) for under the cabinets or double up the 300 LED strips. I feel you would have better task lighting and the 300 are a little dim for my taste.

Here is a picture of ones I used for my gun safe:

This one worked better then the commercial job I did where they were used for accent lighting:

As you can see the light under the island top does not really throw a lot of light compared with the office lighting.
Old 01-05-14, 11:22 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you both for your thoughts here.

It does sound like two strips will be better than one. I am leaning towards using warm white for under-cabinet and maybe just do the color-changing for above cabinet, since that would be more for mood lighting and less for general illumination.

I have an example description where I think I understand it, but wouldn't mind the double-check:

300xSMD3528, Warm White 3100K, 2026WW-31K

… means 300 LEDs in the reel of .35" x .28" LEDs of Warm White of temperature 3100K, but the last park (2026WW-31K) seems either redundant or something different…?
Old 01-05-14, 11:38 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,469
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
I would install the 3-color strips everywhere. You can dial in the exact color of white light that you like if you do that.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: