12 May Puck Lights Under – Cabinet Lighting Series
Puck lights have been around since the early 70s, and homeowners have happily used them for their under cabinet lighting needs for years. Originally, these fixtures were the best product available, but as time has progressed, so has the lighting industry. If you are looking to install fresh under cabinet lighting or to upgrade your current system, be sure to use puck lights in the appropriate areas where they can enhance the overall design.
Puck lights should no longer be used for your entire under cabinet lighting project. Since the source of light comes from a smaller, round area these fixtures can create hot spots if they are used along a longer span of countertop. Puck lights are fabulous for smaller cabinets that stand alone to the left or right of a stove top. Those cabinets and countertops that measure about 8-10 inches wide. A puck light would perfectly compliment this area without showing the source of light is any different than the under cabinet light fixtures that stretch along the other areas of countertop.
Another great use for puck lights is to mount them inside of a Quero or Glass windowed cabinet. These decorative display cabinets need interior lighting to highlight the seasonal platter or holiday decorations that adorn the shelves. By installing a puck light at the top of the cabinet, you are boldly enhancing the interior design of these feature pieces.
Types & Styles
Puck lights come in a variety of sizes, but the average puck light measures 2.25 inches around. Some of these puck lights provide homeowners directional lighting options with a swivel face to allow for customized beam angles, other options are simpler and direct with a straight beam. Either style provides you with two different mounting options.
The first is a surface mount. A surface mount option provides a cup that comes with each puck light fixture. The cup is mounted to the underside of the cabinet and then holds the puck light in place. The other option is a recessed mount. From a design perspective, we recommend this option the most when installing in quero or decorative display cabinets. With a recessed mount you will need to drill hole to pressure fit the puck light into the cabinet. With the recessed option the wiring is hidden within the cabinet or fed through the drilled hole, and only a thin edge of the puck light is exposed.
Last, puck lights offer a variety of voltage options to choose from. You could go with a 12v, 24v, or 120v system depending on your preferences. They also offer incandescent, halogen, or LED options as well. From an energy and cost savings perspective we’d recommend LED, but keep your entire system in mind as you navigate this decision. All of these options to allow homeowners to dim their system, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to modify the light output.
The most important thing to remember when installing a puck light is that a 120v puck light can not be hardwired without a junction box. Building codes will not allow you to hardwire the system by splicing wires and leaving wire nuts exposed. So if you are looking for an easier installation process we’d recommend a 12v or 24v puck light. While 12v and 24v need transformers, those can be as easy as a plug into the wall or through a hardwiring process. If you are in love with a 120v system, you can still use it, just be sure to have a Jbox or receptacle to ensure you are installing your puck lights to code.
Keep in mind, puck lights have designer uses and are best utilized when the surface area illuminated is smaller. For other areas of under cabinet lighting needs check out the fixture that provides homeowners with the best of both worlds, tape light!