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I'd like to replace the old fluorescent white tube lights under my cabinets. I hate that harsh white color and want something warmer. Does such a thing exist that could be hard-wired into the existing circuits and switches?

I've seen halogen before but my recollection is that they tend to get quite hot. LED lights seem to be the latest trend, but I'm wondering if they're white as well.

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3 Answers

What you are interested in is the color temperature rating, rated in Kelvins.

Lower K rating is redder (2700K Warm White), higher is bluer (5000K Daylight).

LEDs and fluorescent tubes use phosphor technology to produce the light and by changing the phosphor mix, unlike other lighting, can be made available a wider range of Kelvin ratings.

If you're already using T-8 (1" dia), T-5 (5/8" dia) or T-4 (1/2" dia) tubes, you might get by just by changing the tubes out from the Cool White or Daylight color you describe for Warm White.

I wouldn't bother if you have T-12 (1.5" dia) tubes, these bulky old, larger tubes require more power in both the ballast and the tube to produce light. Best to swap to LED lighting, pricing has come down and the fixtures are a lot smaller.

Kelvin ratings of common lighting:

  • Candle 1800K
  • Tungsten Incandescent 2700-2800K
  • Tungsten Quartz Halogen 3200K
  • Cool White Fluorescent 4300K
  • Bright Sunlight 5600K

Standard 4 ft T8 Warm White - F32-T8-827

Note: Technically, there are two types of LED systems out there, Native color LEDs that emit a certain color of light due to the elemental makeup of their PN junction and White Light LEDs that emit UltraViolet light and use phosphors embedded in their plastic casings that fluoresce in the visible spectrum to convert it to perceived white light. The first are specified by the nanometer light wavelength emitted (color), the second by their Kelvin rating.

White Light Phosphor LEDs most closely approximate the spectrum of lighting we are already acquainted with.

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You should consider installing strips of 3528 series LEDs. They can be purchased in any color you like, including a variety of warm whites, even yellowish or orangish tints. The light from 3528's is very even because the bulbs are very close together compared to other varieties of LED strips such as the 5050.

This site has a good selection of LEDs in whatever style or color you like, or search at Amazon, Ebay, etc for 3528 LED.

3528 LED's at Super Bright LED's

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For reasonable natural white lighting, their Warm White or Ultra Warm White, though the latter might be a little too much towards the red end... Quality manufacturers like Cree will give you the Kelvin rating on the whites. UL Listed for safety. –  Fiasco Labs Jan 27 at 21:02
    
For one of their UL listed strips Cool White (4500K), Warm White (3000K) and Ultra Warm White (2500K). –  Fiasco Labs Jan 27 at 21:10
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Undercabinet light strips that employ small xenon bulbs emit a pleasant light that is little different from standard tungsten incandescent, especially when dimmed. The bulbs are not as hot as halogen, and not usually an issue, unless you let your babies crawl around on the countertops.

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