Battery-operated LED under cabinet lights are revolutionizing how we illuminate our kitchen countertops. Generally, we install the lights for task lighting applications in the busy spaces of our kitchens.
Moreover, they shine their light downwards and, by design, illuminate a small space on the kitchen top. Many homeowners who prefer battery-operated lights may wonder why we advocate for LED lights.
Well, they are more energy efficient, meaning you can power them with a smaller battery. Also, they produce less heat allowing you to work without worrying about the rising kitchen temperature.
Today’s piece delves into battery-operated LED under cabinet lights and why they suit you perfectly.
An Introduction to Battery-Operated LED Solutions
(Lithium-ion battery pack)
Battery-operated LED solutions are revolutionizing home and business lighting projects for several reasons. Generally, batteries haven’t improved significantly despite manufacturers looking for ways to improve their densities.
In fact, the uptake of battery-powered lighting solutions solely relies on the efficiency and practicality of LED lights. LEDs are, by a distance, more efficient than traditional lighting systems.
For instance, an LED converts close to 90 percent of incoming power to light energy, whereas an incandescent bulb converts less than 10 percent. Consequently, the LEDs will be nearly 900 percent more efficient when powering both with similar-rated batteries.
Additionally, other critical components of battery-operated LED lighting systems include:
- Power control circuitry – control flow of voltage and current to the LEDs. Subsequently, it protects your lighting system from surges or electrical overloads that hinder efficient operation.
- Switches and controls – You can control LED lights manually using switches or remotely using remote controls. The two allow you to turn the lights on/off, control color changes, and adjust brightness.
- Circuit protection – When powering your LED lights using bigger batteries, it’s crucial to include circuit protection components. Common ones include circuit breakers and fuses that safeguard against voltage spikes and short circuits.
Different Options Available for Battery-Operated LED Under Cabinet Lights
(The Puck under cabinet lights)
Puck LED lights are small, sometimes battery-operated, light sources that you can install singly or in a group under your cabinet. You can determine the number to install by considering the wattage and the beam spread.
For instance, an LED with higher wattage produces more lumens and brightness. Moreover, you need fewer lights if the spread is greater since fewer dark spots will be under your cabinets.
Lighting-wise, puck lights create an effect similar to spotlights as they direct a triangular beam to the space under it. Therefore, you may need more puck lights if your kitchen counter is wide. Alternatively, keep the lights higher on the cabinet to ensure that they spread illumination even more.
Bar and Strip LED Lights
Bar and strip lights resemble fluorescent lamps because their lighting doesn’t create the “hotspots” of light synonymous with puck lights. In other words, they spread light evenly across your kitchen counter, making accomplishing tasks easier.
Additionally, you can choose your LED lights as strip lights or integrated LED light bars. The difference is that LED strip lights are light-emitting diodes on a flexible printed circuit board.
Therefore, you can install them on uneven counter surfaces. On the other hand, integrated LED light bars have built-in LEDs and are more like fluorescent lamps.
Generally, they come in “direct wire” packaging, meaning that you don’t need to include additional transformers or electronics.
Other variants include:
- Stick-on LED light bars
- Motion-activated LED lights
- Touch-activated LED lights
What Determines the Battery Size When Powering LED Lights?
(A kitchen design with under-cabinet LED strip lights)
A common concern when installing a battery for powering your LED lights is its capacity. Generally, most people will go for a bigger battery because they are sure they won’t experience frequent blackouts.
However, such an approach is often inappropriate as bigger rechargeable batteries lose charge if they sit for long. Here, we look at what determines the battery to install for your LED lights.
Voltage determines how an LED light operates as higher values reduce lifespans. For instance, LEDs have specific voltage requirements; you will find they typically range from 1.5V to 24V for the strip lights.
Typically, your battery’s voltage should match or exceed your LED lights’ voltage requirement. If you underpower your lights, you will find that they perform poorer and often dimmer.
A good battery supplies current to an LED for a sufficient time without causing it to dim or drain itself quickly. In other words, the LED lights have a specific current draw that a battery must match.
For instance, a 12V, 33mAh A23 battery cannot power an LED strip consuming 2.0A.
(Testing voltage of a 12V battery using a multimeter)
If you need your battery to power your LED lights for a longer time, ensure it has a higher capacity. We measure battery capacity in milliampere-hours (mAh) or ampere-hours (Ah).
The more the mAh or Ah, the longer your battery lasts while providing sufficient energy.
There are many different batteries, each with varying energy densities and discharge characteristics.
Additionally, common battery types include lithium-ion, lithium polymer, alkaline, and nickel-metal hydride. When buying one to power your LED lights, pick one that suits your application.
Lithium-ion batteries are bigger and more cumbersome than alkaline batteries. Consequently, the former suits large LED lighting projects that require a higher current draw.
Moreover, smaller batteries, like coin cell batteries, are best for portable LED light sources, including torches.
For long-term LED lighting applications, it’s paramount going with batteries with high densities and low discharge rates.
The reason is that they will supply a reasonably constant voltage to your LED lights, limiting cases of spikes that lower light-emitting diodes’ lifespans.
How long will battery LED lights last?
Battery LED lights last as long as 50,000 hours under sound installation and maintenance routines. Moreover, the high-quality ones last for close to 100,000 hours of use.
In other words, your battery LED lights will last for more than 20 years if you keep them on for 8 hours a day throughout the year.
Conversely, fluorescent lamps last around 20,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs have an average lifespan of 1,000 hours.
However, remember the lifespan of your battery LED lights depends on how well you maintain them.
Poor maintenance means your lights will last fewer hours than what the manufacturers predict.
Is it OK to leave LED lights on all day?
It is safe to leave your LED lights on all day since LEDs, by design, are more tolerant to long illumination periods.
Generally, they produce less heat than incandescent lights, meaning they won’t suffer from degradation due to heat.
Moreover, LEDs have longer lifespans, with most lasting more than 50,000 hours.
If you have a lighting project and need the lights to be on for a long time, we recommend going with LED lights.
They are the most energy-efficient lights that, by design, can withstand frequent switching on and off.
Does turning LED lights on and off use more electricity?
Turning your LED lights on and off doesn’t impact the electricity they use for illumination. In fact, LED lights are the most efficient electricity-to-light converters converting close to 90 percent of incoming wattage to lumens.
Additionally, unlike incandescent bulbs, the LEDs don’t have to heat up before attaining full brightness.
Commonly, they are at full brightness at the flipping of the switch.
The reason is that LED lights utilize semiconductors to emit light while consuming little power when you turn them on.
Furthermore, their power consumption at the steady-state operation remains relatively similar to that at switching.
Batteries have been around for a long time, acting as energy reserves for multiple systems across the globe.
One of their application was illuminating the various dark spaces of the time.
However, their biggest shortcoming was that they drained faster, hence the need for more energy-efficient light systems like LEDs.
Many people aren’t sure whether an LED illuminating their kitchen tops is an excellent idea.
Luckily, we’ve gone through the most critical information regarding under-cabinet lighting.