Undercabinet Lighting - LEDs vs. Halogen
Our expert predicts when LEDs might overtake T2s under cabinets.
I have been watching the residential LED market grow in under-cabinet lighting. Prices still seem somewhat prohibitive, so I continue using T2 lamps for this application. Where do you see the T2 lamp market going? Also, do you see any downside to T2 lamps, aside from lack of dimmability, and the brittleness of the lamps?
You’re right that under-cabinet LEDs are costly, but I believe that in 12 to 18 months we will be seeing LED versions that are comparable in price to their fluorescent counterparts with a very good CRI, some of which will also be dimmable. The manufacturers just need to amortize the cost of research and development, as well as the expense of getting UL, ETL or CSA listings. I suspect that these improved and lower-cost LEDs will probably push T2 lamps out of the residential market. As you mention, they are brittle and they are not dimmable. There are commercial applications such as in airplanes where linear T2 lamps will live on until an LED alternative is incorporated into newer aircraft models. Of course, the other downside is the mercury factor, which is still a concern to many people about all fluorescent lamps. We’ll see if the new mercury-free Vu1 lamps (Electron Stimulated Luminescence Lighting Technology) will offer a T2 version, but I’m sure that’s not at the top of their list.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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