Last updated: August 8, 2021

Welcome to our big product test 2021. Here we present all the LED cabinet lighting products that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

With this, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best LED cabinet lighting for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy LED cabinet lighting.




Summary

  • LED cabinet lighting brings light into corners that the basic lighting of the room does not reach - and that with minimal power consumption. You can choose between LED spots, LED strips and panels or LED strips.
  • Whether battery-operated or with mains connection, LED cabinet lighting is available as surface-mounted or recessed luminaire, with switch, touch function, remote control or motion detector. Models with dimmers are also easy to find.
  • Warm white, neutral white, cool white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet - LEDs are available in all these colours. Even luminaires with the option to change colours are possible.

The best LED Cabinet Lighting: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying LED cabinet lighting

What does LED mean?

LED stands for "light-emitting diodes". This means diodes that emit (generate) light. In such a small, pen-like diode with two wire legs (anode and cathode) there is a chip that generates the light. Depending on the material composition and control of the chip, different light colours and light intensities are produced. This works as follows:

  • The chip is a semiconductor crystal that consists of two layers and lies on a reflector trough. It is protected by a plastic lens that determines the angle at which the light shines into the room.
  • These two layers are each made of a different semiconductor material. One layer consists mainly of positive electrons, the other of negative electrons.
  • If voltage is supplied to the anode and cathode, it flows into the chip via the so-called bonding wire. There, an exchange of electrons occurs between the two layers.
  • The energy thus released generates small flashes of light which are reflected by the reflector trough and distributed in the room via the plastic lens.

DIP LED - elongated diode - oldest LED variant

The elongated, pen-like LEDs described above are called DIP "dual in-line package" LEDs. It is the oldest, but also the weakest variant of LED. The life of such a diode is only about 15,000 hours and the brightness 4 lumens.

SMD and COB LED - flat diodes - newer LED variants

The new and currently most used LEDs no longer have the typical shape with the elongated plastic body and the two wires. In these models, the anode and cathode are flat metal plates that are soldered directly onto a carrier and the plastic lenses are much less high. On average, such a diode is only 2.5 - 5 mm wide and 2 - 5 mm high.

The smallest version is even only 0.65 x 0.35 x 0.2 mm. The SMD LED is the successor of the DIP LED. The lifetime of such a LED diode is up to 50`000 hours and the brightness between 50 and 100 lumen.

They are mainly used in industry and in the home. COB LEDs are similar to SMD LEDs in terms of construction and service life. However, a special manufacturing process makes them even more powerful. A single diode achieves a lumen output of more than 100 and is suitable, for example, for headlights and street lighting.

What are the distinguishing features of LED lamps?

The biggest advantages of LEDs compared to halogen and energy-saving lamps are: their long service life, low energy consumption and low heat generation.

Bright light is essential for work, even in the kitchen. Built-in LED spots at the right distance can be regulated independently of the room lighting and are ideal cabinet lighting for sufficient light at the workplace. (Image source: unsplash.com / squarely)

While a halogen lamp lasts on average 2`000 hours and an energy-saving lamp 5`000 hours, LEDs have a service life of up to 50`000 hours. This with an energy saving of around 80 % compared to an ordinary light bulb. The purchase costs of LEDs are higher than those of conventional halogen or energy-saving lamps, but the costs are offset by the longer service life.

Advantages
  • Long life
  • Low energy consumption and heat generation
  • Available in many colours
  • LEDs work at temperatures from -20 to 70 degrees
  • Very low heat generation
  • Flexible lamp design
Disadvantages
  • Cheap products often have a cold light
  • Often the whole lamp has to be disposed of
  • Have to be disposed of in hazardous waste
  • More polluting than other light sources

Where can I use LED cabinet lighting?

There are many different places where LED cabinet lighting can be used. The following placements are common:

  • In a furniture cabinet / shelf / showcase
  • On a piece of furniture - cabinet / shelf / showcase
  • Under a wall unit - kitchen / bathroom / workplace

LED spots, LED strips and LED strips can be used in all the places mentioned.

How much does LED cabinet lighting cost?

The prices of LED cabinet lighting range from 8 to 100 euros or more. Be careful when buying, spots and strips are often sold in sets of 2 to 8 lights. The price depends on the following points:

  • Quality of the LED diode
  • Material and quality of the socket
  • Type of operation and power supply

Inexpensive models, from 8 euros, usually have adhesive mounting and a plastic housing. Dimmable products with motion detectors are already available. Occasionally, the powerful COB LEDs are also offered at low prices. LED strips are on sale for as little as 5 euros per linear metre.

However, the light quality may not be optimal and the diodes may start to flicker when dimmed. Except for very high design demands, the average price range leaves nothing to be desired. There are spots, strips and ribbons with aluminium or stainless steel sockets.
Most products are dimmable and, if desired, battery-operated, with mains connection, motion detector or remote control. The expensive LED cabinet lights are mainly from specialist lighting retailers. They are recessed or surface-mounted luminaires of very high quality and also feature special lampholder designs.
Price range qualities
Low-priced - from 8 euros plastic lampholder / mainly bonded / lumens up to approx. 300 per spot or strip
Average - 20 to 50 euros plastic or stainless steel lampholder / any type of mounting / unlimited lumens
Expensive - from 50 euros additional: high-quality stainless steel lampholder / special designs

What alternatives are there to LED cabinet lighting?

Cabinet lights usually have a flat socket and are very efficient despite their small size. That is why there is really no alternative to LED any more. We explain why in this section.

Cabinet lighting with small halogen lamps was an alternative. Since they are no longer allowed to be produced and marketed in the EU since 01.09.2018 due to poor energy efficiency (class C), they are no longer an option.
Nevertheless, briefly, what are halogen lamps: Halogen lamps are a further development of the incandescent bulb. To extend the life of the bulbs to 2,000 - 3,000 hours, halogen gas was added to the hollow body. The bulb is/was popular because of its warm, natural light.
Energy-saving lamps are also not suitable for cabinet lighting because of their size. Energy-saving lamps were developed to replace incandescent bulbs. They consume only ⅕ of the energy of an incandescent bulb and have a service life of 5`000 - 15`000 hours.
As they are not available in small formats (diodes), they cannot be fitted to flat spots or strips.
Fluorescent tubes (neon tubes) are an alternative to LED cabinet lighting until the end of 2019. However, because of the toxic mercury they contain, they are to be banned from 2020.

Decision: What types of LED cabinet lighting are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy LED cabinet lighting, there are basically three alternatives to choose from:

  • LED spot
  • LED strip
  • LED ribbon/strip

In the following paragraphs, we will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each variant.

What are the characteristics of an LED spotlight (round LED luminaire) and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An LED spot is a small round lamp that is mounted as a surface-mounted spot or as a recessed spot in a surface. The diameter is between 5 - 10 cm, whereby the edge of the socket is more or less wide depending on the model.

LED spots are suitable as cabinet lighting in all living spaces. They can be used on, in or under a cabinet as desired. They are space-saving and come in all price categories. Very inexpensive spots are already available from 8 euros per set of 8.
They are usually sold in sets of 3 - 8 luminaires. Since the light tends to be emitted selectively, several spots are needed for larger areas. Exactly how many depends on the desired brightness (number of lumens). More information on this topic can be found under "Buying criteria".
Advantages
  • Space-saving - also possible in confined spaces
  • usually on sale as a set
Disadvantages
  • Several spots needed for longer areas
  • No uniform illumination - punctual light

What are the characteristics of an LED strip (rectangular LED luminaire) and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

LED strips or panels are elongated, rectangular luminaires that are also suitable for all living spaces. If you are looking for a narrow lamp, a strip is suitable; if you want a wider lamp, look for an LED panel. Such a strip is between 20 and 60 cm long. Ideal for evenly illuminating a longer area.

Glued-on surface-mounted/underground models are easy to install and remove. For a fixed solution, there are recessed batten luminaires that are installed in the surface. If you want a lamp that is flush with the surface or barely protrudes, choose a recessed model.
Advantages
  • Wide exposure area - fewer lamps needed than with spots - less installation work
Disadvantages
  • Sufficient space required
  • inferior adhesives come off quickly

What are the characteristics of an LED strip and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An LED strip has a width of 5 - 15 mm. The LED diodes are attached directly to this strip. The LED brand is sold per linear metre for as little as 5 euros.

An LED tape is very suitable as indirect lighting on a shelf. It can be placed either at the bottom or at the top of the shelf. Because of the low heat development, there is also no risk of burns for children. (Image source: unsplash.com / jason leung)

A high-quality LED strip has up to 300 chips per running metre. Obviously, the fewer the chips, the weaker the luminosity. With very cheap models, a loss of light quality and service life is to be expected.

Advantages
  • Flexible placement
  • sold per linear metre
  • can easily illuminate long areas
Disadvantages
  • Battery box / cable may be visible
  • Many poor quality LEDs on the market
  • Inferior adhesives come off quickly
Before mounting, consider where the box with the batteries or the ballast (transformer) will be located. With inexpensive products, these elements are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing. The LED tape, flexible and easy to install - but know how:
  • If the LED strip is not the right length, it can be shortened according to the cut marks on the strip. If you do not cut at a cut mark, the strip will no longer light up.
  • If the tape is too short, two pieces can be joined together using a quick connector.
  • The tape is cut to the correct length and attached to the thoroughly cleaned surface with double-sided adhesive tape

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate LED cabinet lighting

We present the following buying criteria:

  • Mounting method
  • Power supply
  • Operation
  • Dimmability
  • Brightness / power consumption / beam angle
  • Light colour

Basic decision criteria for the purchase of LED cabinet lighting are: Power supply, type of installation, operation and dimmability. Not all combinations are available or make sense to use. The criteria of brightness and light colour are of course also important.

However, since every combination of power supply, installation type, operation and dimmability is available with all brightness levels or light colours, you can make this decision at the end. To give you an overview right at the beginning, the following table shows a list of possible combinations:
Power supply Battery / rechargeable battery Mains connection
Type of installation surface-mounted / under-cabinet luminaire / recessed luminaire / luminaire in clothes rail spots and strips as recessed luminaire / strips as surface-mounted luminaire
Operation Switch / Touch / Motion detector / Remote control and W-Lan controller (subsequent connection rarely possible) Switch (also via light switch in room) / Touch (rarely) / Motion detector / Remote control and W-Lan controller (subsequent connection possible)
Dimmability Problem-free (connection afterwards hardly possible) Problem-free (connection afterwards well possible)

Mounting method

LED cabinet lighting is available with the following mounting options:

  • Surface-mounted luminaires
  • Recessed luminaires
  • Luminaire integrated into a clothes rail

Surface-mounted and under-cabinet LED cabinet lighting

There is no difference between a surface-mounted and an under-cabinet luminaire. They are both attached to a surface with adhesive or screws. All three types - spots / strips / ribbons are available as surface-mounted / under-cabinet luminaires.

Surface-mounted luminaires are very popular because of the ease of mounting and dismounting. Products with magnetic adhesive tape are particularly easy to replace. The adhesive tape with magnet is applied to the desired surface and the lamp adheres to the magnetic surface.

A glued surface-mounted spotlight is also suitable for glass surfaces.

Special surface-mounted luminaires or mirror luminaires These models are particularly ideal for bathrooms or wardrobes with mirror fronts. You can see yourself without the disturbing shadows that other lamps in the room cast on your face or clothes.

Such LED luminaires are available either in an elongated shape, as a strip or round as a spot. They are mounted exclusively on the wardrobe.

Recessed LED wardrobe lighting

For recessed luminaires, a hole needs to be cut in the bottom or top of the wardrobe. The spot or strip is clipped into it or screwed in from above. They are often used in kitchens or bathrooms. The advantage is that models with this type of mounting are also available almost or completely flush with the surface.

LED wardrobe lighting integrated in a clothes rail

If you like it practical and special, a clothes rail with integrated LED strip is the right thing for you. These are controlled by a motion sensor and are available for as little as 20 euros.

Power supply

Your LED wardrobe lighting can be powered in two ways:

  • with battery or rechargeable battery
  • with mains connection

The power supply has no influence on the price. Both options are available in every price category. Important to know: The current directly from the socket has an alternating voltage.

Therefore, every LED lamp that is operated via a mains connection needs a ballast (transformer) that converts the voltage into the necessary DC voltage. It can be integrated into a small, external housing or directly into the lamp socket.
A battery or rechargeable battery supplies direct DC current, so no ballast is needed for these products.

LED cabinet lighting with battery or rechargeable battery:

Most inexpensive LED cabinet lighting is battery-powered. In the case of spotlights or strips, they are inserted directly into the housing; in the case of LED strips, there is a pre-installed box for this purpose. Models with rechargeable batteries are rare.

However, battery-operated models with rechargeable batteries are becoming more and more common, which has the same lasting effect as a rechargeable battery.
The clear advantage of this power supply: No complicated wiring is necessary. However, the batteries have to be replaced or recharged after a certain time. How long this takes depends on the product. Anything from 8 hours to 1 year is possible.

One disadvantage of these models: dimmable products are harder to find and it is hardly possible to connect a dimmer afterwards. However, there are LED spots and strips with integrated dimmers. The brightness is controlled via a touch function or a remote control. You will find more on the subject of dimming LED cabinet lighting in a later section.

LED cabinet lighting with mains connection:

Models with mains connection are mainly LED recessed luminaires or LED strips. They are used in the kitchen, bathroom or on a cabinet. One advantage is that the lighting can be connected so that it can be operated with a light switch in the room. If you lack the know-how, it makes sense to enlist the help of a professional.

Due to the low power consumption of LED luminaires, there are also hardly any costs. A disadvantage is the more complicated installation, but there is no need to replace or recharge the battery.

The mains connection of an LED strip can be easily hidden in a walk-in wardrobe. The lighting can be operated by motion detector, remote control or via a light switch in the room. (Image source: unsplash.com / bbh singapore)

Operation

How you will operate your cabinet lighting is an important decision and influences which connection type is suitable. We present you the 4 possibilities:

  • LED wardrobe lights with switch or touch function
  • LED wardrobe lighting with motion detector
  • LED wardrobe lights with remote control
  • LED cabinet lighting with W-Lan control

LED cabinet lighting with switch or touch function

LED cabinet lighting with integrated switch or touch function is easy to operate. Switches are common for LED strips and ribbons, the touch function is mostly used for spotlights.

If you want to operate your LED lighting with a light switch in the room, you need to choose a model with a mains connection and connect it correctly. If you lack the necessary know-how, it is essential to consult an electrician.

LED cabinet lighting with motion detector

Motion detectors react to movement via an infrared transmitter. The distance and angle of detection varies depending on the product. A distance of 1-3 m and an angle of 120 degrees are frequently encountered.

With an integrated timer, the lighting switches off automatically after a certain time (20 - 180 seconds). You should clarify before buying whether the lighting also has an integrated switch or the option of connecting a remote control in addition to the motion detector.
The luminaires are suitable for use in cupboards or bathrooms because the light is only needed there when a person is within range of the sensor. In the kitchen or living room, it can be more pleasant if the light does not go out by itself.

LED cabinet lighting with door contact LED lighting with door contact works very similarly to those with normal motion sensors. A small device that you place directly behind the door reacts to the opening of the door, whereupon the LED is switched on. As soon as you close the door again, the light switches off automatically.

LED cabinet lighting with remote control

Remote control can be practical in any room. All types of LED cabinet lighting are available with remote control. Certain products can be retrofitted with a remote control.

To do this, a receiver must be connected to the lighting, which receives the signal from the remote control. Note that this is only possible if there is a connection on the lighting for attaching a receiver that is compatible with the transmitter.

Control via W-Lan Controller

Instead of a remote control, these LED luminaires are fitted with a device that can be connected to the Internet. In this way, the lighting can be controlled via an APP. Even voice control is an option.

If this option is offered with very inexpensive products, there is a risk that the control system will have quirks. If you have planned a complicated recessed lighting system and want to be sure that it will work properly, choose a model from a professional.

Dimmable or not

For a long time, LEDs lagged behind other light sources in terms of dimming. The reason is that LEDs cannot be dimmed by reducing the current voltage. It requires an additional dimmer that is built into the circuit or already built in at the time of purchase.

The dimmer controls the brightness via the ballast of the LED. (You can find out what a ballast is in the chapter on power supply) Products in which the dimmer is already integrated in the lamp housing are practical.

If you want to install a dimmer yourself, e.g. in an LED strip or a row of spots with a mains connection, you have to make sure that the two elements are compatible. Not every dimmer works with every LED.

The best thing to do is to ask the manufacturer directly about suitable products. The dimming itself can be controlled with a remote control, a touch function or a switch.
Attention:
  • Only LEDs marked as dimmable can be combined with a dimmer. If you try to dim a non-dimmable LED, it will quickly start to flicker or break.
  • If the LED cabinet lighting is marked as dimmable, a dimmer is not necessarily included.

Brightness / power consumption / beam angle

Due to the high energy efficiency of LEDs, they consume significantly less electricity (wattage) than halogen or energy-saving lamps without losing brightness (lumens). This means that to compare how bright an LED lamp is, it is not the wattage that is decisive but how many lumens the luminaire has. Here is a comparison:

  • An energy-saving lamp with a lumen rating of 600 has a power consumption of 60 watts
  • An LED luminaire with a lumen rating of 600 has a power consumption of 10 watts.

The number of lumens is always given per luminaire for spots and strips, and per linear metre for LED strips.

How many lumens should your cabinet lighting have?

Wardrobe lighting in a bedroom or living room rarely takes on the task of providing ambient lighting for the room. That is why LED spots, strips or ribbons with a lumen rating of 100 - 200 are sufficient.

If the luminaire is too bright, it can even be uncomfortable. In the kitchen or bathroom, the situation is different. Lighting in the wall unit of a kitchen combination or a bathroom cabinet is lighting like that for a workplace. 500 lumens / m2 in a neutral or warm white are recommended.
This means, for example, that 600 lumens are ideal for a 60 cm deep and 2 m long worktop. This can be achieved with several, distributed spots, with strips or with a long LED strip. Under the interesting links you will find a lumen calculator that will help you to calculate the right number of lumens for your location.

Why is the beam angle important?

The beam angle defines the angle at which the LED luminaire spreads light. An angle of 120 degrees is common and suitable for cabinet lighting. However, some products are also available with a beam angle of 180 degrees. If your LED cabinet lighting has a smaller beam angle, the light cone is very selective and more suitable for accent lighting of an object.

Light colour

The first LED, invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak, had only red light and was extremely expensive. A lot has happened since then. In the meantime, LEDs are available in 5 light colours:

  • Red / orange / yellow / green / blue / violet / white

White is additionally divided into colour temperatures:

  • Cold white: from 5000 Kelvin
  • Neutral white: 3500 - 5000 Kelvin
  • Warm white: below 3500 Kelvin

Sunlight is a good reference to better imagine the light temperatures. It ranges between cool white and neutral white - at midday it has approx. 5500 Kelvin.

Lighting specialists recommend cold neutral white for workrooms, bathrooms and kitchens and warm white for living rooms. Would you like to be able to vary the light temperature? No problem.

There are some products on offer that allow you to switch between white tones and/or colours.
Exciting to know: There is no such thing as white light. By mixing several light colours (rainbow colours), it appears white to the human eye.

Facts worth knowing about LED cabinet lighting

Why does my LED cabinet lighting flicker?

There are several reasons why an LED begins to flicker. However, these four are the most common causes:

  • LED is dimmed, although it is not designed for this. The only solution here is to switch to a dimmable product
  • The dimmer and the LED do not match. In this case, too, two compatible products must be purchased.
  • The LED is connected to an old transformer (ballast) for halogen lamps. The LED needs a specific ballast, replacing the old one is unavoidable.
  • The LED is of poor quality. Often occurs with very cheap products and cannot be remedied.
Image source: 123rf.com / Alexandre Zveiger

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