Halogen Cabinet Lights: Everything You Need to Know

halogen kitchen

Halogen lights offer a great choice for kitchen cabinetry lighting. The bulbs produce higher luminous light efficacy (visible light) and have a more blue spectrum than incandescent bulbs.

Triangle Under Cabinet Lights

triangle spot lighting

Provide under counter lighting with decorative triangle shaped halogen spot lights. These can be spaced underneath the cabinet to provide excellent illumination for the countertop space. These make an excellent task lighting choice and give a dramatic splash of lighting to any kitchen.

Shopping Option

Walmart sells a stainless steel, triangle puck halogen light that is surface mounted. It sells for around $16 plus shipping.

Installation Tips

If you're up to the challenge, you can install the triangle-shaped halogen lights underneath your cabinets. Most kits come with the halogen light (connected to cord), triangle-shaped bracket and fixing screw.

Most under cabinet lighting is best installed at the front of the cabinet, not the back for optimum task lighting. Basic steps for installing include:

  1. Mark area with a pencil where you want to place the light.
  2. Insert the provided screw. Be sure to leave enough space between the screw and wood so the bracket fits.
  3. A small hole need to be drilled above the bracket area.
  4. Thread the power cord of the halogen light through the drilled hole.
  5. Attach the halogen light into the bracket.
  6. Use a driver with enough slots for the number of triangle lights you install.
  7. Insert the power cord(s) into the driver.
  8. Plug driver into an electrical socket controlled by a wall light switch.

Round Puck, Pot, and Button Lighting

You can use recessed puck or pot lighting under the cabinet and inside cabinets. Place these underneath cabinets for task lighting and brightening the space between counters and overhead cabinets. This style of halogen lighting can also add greater interest and depth to glass door cabinets when used inside the cabinets.

round swivel recessed light

Make the most of this style by placing the light fixtures in the following ways, depending on your lighting goals.

  • For continuous light, space lights so light streams overlap.
  • For an ambient or dramatic lighting effect, space lights so they don't overlap.
  • Inside cabinet lighting should be placed in the front or the center (between front and back) of the cabinet.

Recessed Adjustable/Swivel Spotlight

A puck or pot light (recessed) that's adjustable can be installed underneath a cabinet for ambient and task lighting. Go with mini-round lights that provide strong light for task lighting. This style of recessed lighting offers the capability to redirect the light wherever needed.

Shopping Options

Pick up a couple neat options from these retailers:

  • Lighting Direct: Pick up an adjustable 3" halogen recessed light with a copper bronze finish. The light adjusts up to 30° angle. Prices are around $18.
  • Parts Town: This 12V/20W, one-piece, recessed halogen light is made by Vollrath. It's priced around $20.

Installation Tips

A recessed-mounted light is easy to install. You can use this type of light as a surface-mount or install it with the accompanying ring. Most products come with an installation manual.

Simple tips include:

  • Drill an installation hole.
  • Press-fit the fixture into place (no screws required).
  • To replace the halogen bulb, simply twist off the lens cover.

Surface Mount Round Button Lights

surface mounted round lights

Round button lights can also be mounted underneath the cabinet. This is the easiest type of installation. Use either hardwired or plug-in style.

  1. Drill a hole directly above the light placement.
  2. Thread power cord through the hole.
  3. Apply screws to the light frame.
  4. Insert light fixture into frame casing.

Light Bars

Another way to add lighting underneath cabinets is to use a light bar.

Plug-in and Wired Light Bar

Depending on the product, you might simply plug-in the light and use an on and off switch or call for an electrician to connect to your existing electrical system.

Light bars come in various lengths, The most common range from 18" to 26" in length. Most feature three or four individual lights within the bar. This should give ample task lighting.

Uplighting for Cabinets

Light bars can also be used on top of cabinets with the light shining towards the ceiling. This technique can brighten corners as well as add ambient light to your kitchen.

Fasica Board Uplighting

Uplighting is another way to highlight kitchen cabinets while providing light to areas that may normally be dark, especially corners. Placing lights along the fascia board is a technique that will add ambient light to your kitchen. If your cabinets aren't flush with the ceiling and you decided to decorate above the kitchen cabinets, you'll find uplighting a great way to show off those decorations.

The fasica board is added to the top of cabinets as a break between the crown molding and cabinet. A light bar as well as flush mini-pot lights can be placed directly behind the fascia board so that the decorations are uplighted. This placement will also ensure that the bar light is out of sight and doesn't shine directly into your eyes when looking up at the cabinets. The goal is to highlight the decorations and also allow the light bounce off the ceiling to reflect back down onto the cabinets.

Shopping Options

Home Depot offers the Juno Pro-Series 22-inch wide black halogen under cabinet light which features a high/low/off rocker switch and is dimmable. You'll find it for around $85.

Installation Tips

Just like recessed lights, a light bar should be mounted on the underside of the cabinet at the front of the cabinet instead of the back. A light bar can either as a hard wire or plug-in. This type of light design can be used for retro fitting existing cabinets.

If you're a DIYer, this YouTube video may help you with hard wiring your light bar. While the video demonstrates the installation of an LED light bar, you should be able to use these for halogen light bar installation. Always double check with the manufacturer if you're not sure. In fact, whenever in doubt about any electrical installation, consult/hire a professional.

Tips for Choosing the Right Style

There are certainly distinctive designs and style choices when it comes to kitchen cabinet lighting options.

  • Concealment - Consider that most under cabinet lights will be hidden by the cabinet, but more visible when working underneath. A thin light bar or recessed light are easier to conceal.
  • Decorative to match house décor - You may want to highlight your under counter light by purchasing a decorative or unique style, such as triangle shaped lights. Contemporary and modern homes lend themselves to this style but would be out of place in a country or old world decor.
  • Fixture finish - Also consider the finish of your lighting choice, such as chrome, brushed nickel, burnished bronze and other light fixture finishes. For example, you don't want a white finished under cabinet light if your cabinets are finished in espresso or cherry.

Pros and Cons of Halogen Lighting

Halogen lights are an incandescent lamp and are difficult to find as most incandescent bulbs/lamps are being phased out. There are some decided pros and cons when it comes to this type of lighting, especially for a kitchen.


The biggest pros for halogen lights are the higher luminous efficacy they give for a lighting solution. This is highly desirable for task lighting. In addition, the halogen lamps/bulbs are small and allows for a more compact light fixture. This can be very attractive for cabinet lighting.


Like all incandescent bulbs, halogen ones produce heat. This can become very undesirable when working in a kitchen that by nature is going to be a warm or even at times a hot environment.

Halogen Lighting Options for Kitchen Cabinets

There are many options when it comes to halogen lights for kitchen cabinets. By paying attention to the lighting style and finish you'll end up with lights that go well with your overall kitchen décor.

Halogen Cabinet Lights: Everything You Need to Know