Can Under Cabinet Lights be Used with a Dimmer?
Can under cabinet lights be used with a dimmer?
There are under cabinet light fixtures that can be used with a dimmer. They must either have built in dimmers or be compatible with dimmers that are made for the type of under cabinet light you are using.
In another article, I wrote about how under cabinet lighting can increase your home value. One of the reasons why I believe this is because under cabinet lighting adds a certain look and feel to your kitchen. When you consider the fact that kitchens help to sell homes, then under cabinet lighting is extremely important.
Having the ability to use your under cabinet lighting with a dimmer just adds to that look and feel or mood that the lighting can add to your kitchen. So, if you are reading this because you are thinking about dimming your under cabinet lighting then you are on the right track.
What You Need to Know Before Adding a Dimmer to Under Cabinet Lighting
- Determine what type of light you prefer
- Determine what light temperature you want
- Do you want hard wired or wireless under cabinet lights?
- Select the dimmer that is compatible with your lights
- Select the dimmer with the correct voltage and watt rating
Determine What Type of Light You Prefer
When I say type, I mean an incandescent bulb, fluorescent or LED fixture. This will be factor in the dimmer that you will be able to use. My preference is LED and look for an upcoming article on why LED lights are better. However, the decision is ultimately up to you.
Determine What Light Temperature You Want
If you are not sure what I mean when I say “light temperature”, then read about the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale before buying anything. Not even a light bulb. Knowing what light temperature you are looking for will help to understand which fixture to buy.
Do You Want Hard Wired or Wireless Under Cabinet Lights?
This is a big decision that requires a whole article dedicated to it. Essentially, wireless will be less expensive and easier to install. The hard wired under cabinet lights will be more expensive up front but will look better and will have less maintenance afterwards.
Wireless under cabinet lights can be dimmed but that is typically done with a remote control. For now, the majority of these come in the form of puck lights. You need to have the remote control handy to turn on the lights and to dim them.
Hard wired under cabinet lights have more flexibility when it comes to dimming. If you want a remote control, then you can select under cabinet light fixtures that come with one and they usually have a dimming feature. You can also select a fixture that has a dimming option with a switch. Usually, this is just two settings (bright and dim). Finally, the best option would be to have it all wired to a light switch on your wall that is a dimmer.
Read more about under cabinet lighting options.
Select the Dimmer that is Compatible with Your Under Cabinet Light Fixtures
This is extremely important if you are buying a dimmer for your under cabinet lights. Not all dimmers work well with all light fixtures. Some work better with incandescent and fluorescent lights but do not work well at all with LEDs.
I wrote about why LED lights buzz or hum when used with a dimmer. This is worth reading if you plan to ever use a dimmer with an LED bulb. You will need a special dimmer which may cost quite a bit more than a standard dimmer.
You may also want to read how to choose a dimmer switch.
Select the Dimmer with the Correct Watt Rating
Each dimmer will be rated for a maximum number of watts. For example, an LED ELV dimmer may be rated for 300 total watts. So, you need to add up the total watts of all of the lights that this dimmer will control and make sure that you do not exceed the total watt capacity. A 300 watt dimmer will be more than sufficient to power your under cabinet lights. Even if you have 12 fixtures at 10 watts each, that is only 120 total watts.
This maximum watt capacity for a dimmer typically becomes an issue with recessed lighting where a large room may have a few dozen lights.
Conclusion – Can Under Cabinet Lights Be Used with a Dimmer?
Effective lighting is all about creativity and research. You need to make sure that you are making selections after being fully educated on the topic. This is no different when it comes to deciding on whether to use under cabinet lights with a dimmer, and which ones to choose.
Can wireless under cabinet lights be used with a dimmer?
Wireless under cabinet lights often come with a dimmer feature included in their remote control.
Do I need an electrician to install a dimmer?
If you are comfortable working with electricity, then you can absolutely install a dimmer yourself. Make sure that you turn off the breaker that powers the switch and follow the dimmer wiring instructions closely. If you are remotely uncertain about what you are doing, then I recommend hiring an electrician.
Can I use a dimmer with LED lights?
Yes, you can use a dimmer with LED lights, but only certain dimmers are rated for use with LED lights. Your LED lights but also be compatible with dimmers. If you have a dimmer at home that is being used with incandescent or fluorescent lights right now, then chances are that dimmer will not work well with LED lights. If you do not select the correct dimmer, you may get buzzing or humming and possibly flickering.
Should I use a dimmer with under cabinet lights?
It would be a good idea to have the ability to dim your under cabinet lighting to create a different mood in your kitchen depending upon your needs.