Good lighting design is particularly important in the kitchen, which is often a family’s hub for cooking, eating, homework, and more. “Kitchens are the most critical space in home for lighting because a kitchen is so multi-functional, with both task and ambient lighting needs,” says Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light. “Your space needs to be well lit, and you need task lighting to support the preparation of food, often in multiple spots through the room. Accordingly, you need your kitchen lights to look good and throw off a lot of light.”

We researched dozens of kitchen lights from top home and decor brands, evaluating ease of installation and use, brightness, durability, and functionality.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pottery Barn Glass Globe Cord Pendant

What We Like:

  • More affordable than your average custom fixture
  • Adjustable height
  • Available in different sizes, colors, and styles

What We Don’t Like:

  • Non-brass hardware only available in 1 style
  • Expensive

Pottery Barn’s Glass Globe Cord Pendant is our favorite kitchen light since its elegant silhouette and customizable design allow it to meld well with all types of interiors.

You can opt to buy this fixture with a larger 12.5-inch shade or a smaller 8.5-inch shade to match your space. Both sizes have a 6-foot-long cord, though the maximum hanging length for the 12.5-inch option is 91 inches, while the maximum hanging length for the 8.5-inch option is 86.75 inches. To further personalize the look, you can choose between three different hardware finishes: bronze, brass, and nickel.

While this globe pendant is an expensive option, it’s still less costly than most custom light fixtures. It’s dry UL-listed, so you want to make sure you hang it in an area free of dampness. Otherwise, maintenance is simple with the help of a dry, non-abrasive cloth. For added versatility, it’s also compatible with a dimmer switch and is mountable on a slanted or sloped ceiling.

Price at time of publish: $179 for small

Dimensions: 8.5 x 86.75 inches | Material: Glass, iron, zinc | Watts: 75W | Bulb: Not included | Recommended Ceiling Height: 86.75 inches

Best Budget: Westinghouse Adjustable Mini Pendant

What We Like:

  • Adjustable height
  • Available in 2 hardware colors
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Small
  • Not long enough for very high ceilings

Even if you’re shopping on a budget, basic kitchen lights aren’t your only option. With its striking silhouette and textured shade, the Westinghouse Adjustable Mini Pendant is sure to make a statement in any space. And since the light is available at a reasonable price point, you can stock up on several without giving it a second thought.

Keep in mind that pendant lights work best over islands or in kitchens with high ceilings, so they may not be the best fit for every household. “If your kitchen doesn’t have an island or has a lower ceiling, opt instead for a flush or semi-flush mount fixture,” says Johnson. “Ideally, select one with multiple heads to help get light where you need it.”

The fixture boasts a diameter of 7 inches, so it shouldn’t demand too much space in your kitchen. But despite its small size, it promises to put off plenty of light. (Its shade is crafted from clear glass, after all.) When fully extended, the fixture can reach lengths up to 5 feet. But since it’s height-adjustable, you can easily shorten it to perfectly suit your space. And since color plays a key role in any kitchen design scheme, the fixture is available in two versatile neutrals: oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel.

Price at time of publish: $47

Dimensions: ‎7.5 x 7.5 x 60.25 inches | Material: Glass | Watts: 60W | Bulb: Not included | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: 61 inches

Best Flush Mount: Joss & Main Carreno 1-Light Flush Mount

What We Like:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Low-profile
  • Available in 2 hardware colors
  • Damp location-friendly

What We Don’t Like:

  • Canopy color isn’t customizable

If you’re looking for a flush mount light with a little flair, Joss & Main has you covered. The brand’s Carreno 1-Light Flush Mount offers the low-profile silhouette you’d expect from a flush mount light. But it’s still striking enough to make a statement in your space.

At 8.5 inches tall and 9 inches wide, the fixture is pretty small. But since it’s crafted entirely from hand-blown glass, it should still fill your space with plenty of light. The fixture is currently available in two different hardware styles, so you can decide whether you want to see sleek black or vintage bronze in your kitchen. (That said, no matter which option you choose, the lamp’s canopy will remain a crisp, versatile black.) And since it’s damp location-friendly, you can snag matching options for your bathroom and covered porch, if you feel like it.

Price at time of publish: $88

Dimensions: ‎9 x 9 x 8.5 inches | Material: Glass, stainless steel | Watts: 60W | Bulb: Not included | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: N/A

Best Recessed: BBOUNDER 6 Inch Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Lights

What We Like:

  • Available in 4 light colors
  • Dimmable
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Need to change entire light when LED burns out

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with recessed lighting. The sleek fixtures will brighten up your space without demanding much attention—giving you the versatile backdrop you need to craft the kitchen of your dreams. Given this, it’s worth it to focus on convenience and functionality when shopping for recessed lights. And BBounder’s Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Lights promise to deliver on both counts.

“Recessed lighting is a clean look that is commonly used over countertops, islands, and other points of visual interest,” says Preston Gilmore, Lumens Expert at GoodBulb. In order to make sure you have enough recessed lighting in your space, he recommends installing one recessed light per every 36 square feet of space in your kitchen.

This budget-friendly multi-pack comes with six recessed lights. And since the lights promise to be incredibly easy to install, you can save money on the lights and on the install fees. The lights are available in four different colors—cool white, daylight, soft white, and warm white—so you can choose the ambiance that best suits your space. And since they’re also dimmable, you can flexibly adjust the lighting in your kitchen any time you need to.

Price at time of publish: $160

Dimensions: ‎11.65 x 8.27 x 7.83 inches | Material: Metal | Watts: 12.5W | Bulb: Built-in light | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: N/A

Best Track: Hampton Bay Large-Step Linear Track Lighting

What We Like:

  • Adjustable, multidirectional heads
  • Easy enough to install yourself
  • Available in 2 colors

What We Don’t Like:

  • Utilitarian style may not blend in all kitchens

If you’re looking for a more adjustable alternative to recessed lighting, adding track lighting to your kitchen is a particularly striking option. And Home Depot’s Hampton Bay Large-Step Linear Track Lighting is a great place to start. The traditional track light comes with three multidirectional heads, which you can adjust to illuminate those hard-to-reach spots in your space. And since the track light is designed to be compatible with other (matching) track lights, you can stock up on as many as you need to fill your space with light.

“Track lighting can be used to replace or collaborate with recessed lighting,” says Gilmore. “If you are replacing recessed lighting with track lighting, then you’ll want to [install] one light fixture for every four to six square feet of ceiling space.” If you’re using recessed lighting and track lighting together, you’ll want to consider other factors—like the angle of your track lighting or how close your track lighting is to the wall—when determining how many to install.

This track light promises to be easy to install, so if you’re an experienced DIYer, you can tackle the process yourself with some research. And since the light is designed to be ceiling or wall compatible, you can get creative with where you add light to your space. What’s more? The track light comes in two versatile neutrals—white and black—either of which is sure to look great in your kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $50

Dimensions: ‎5.7 x 44 x 10 inches | Material: Metal | Watts: 60W | Bulb: Not included | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: N/A

Best Under Cabinet: MCGOR LED Under Cabinet Light

What We Like:

  • Easy to install
  • Great for reaching tucked-away places
  • Rechargeable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Need to be recharged every 5 hours (in always-on mode) and every month (in motion sensor mode)

When you’re outfitting your kitchen with lighting, remember that ceiling-mount lights aren’t the only options on offer. You may want light in other, more underrated places—like under your cabinets, along your shelves, or even inside your pantry. And when your goal is to bring light to these tucked-away spots, your best bet is to invest in some under-cabinet light strips—like McGor’s LED Under Cabinet Lights.

Snag McGor’s Under Cabinet Lights set, and you’ll score three low-profile light strips. Each of these strips is lined with 46 LED lights, so the full set will provide plenty of light while you chop veggies or mix up a cookie batter. And since the lights are rechargeable, you shouldn’t have to replace them with much frequency. Each light strip comes with a dual-sided install strip, which is magnetic on one side and adhesive on the other. This dual-sided design should give you the versatility you need to mount your light strips, well, anywhere and you won’t have to worry about a complicated install.

Price at time of publish: $19

Dimensions: ‎5.7 x 44 x 10 inches | Material: Aluminum, ABS | Watts: 9W | Bulb: 46 built-in LED lights | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: N/A

Best for Over Sink: Rejuvenation Carson Wall Sconce

What We Like:

  • Large opening
  • Versatile design
  • Available in 26 colors and finishes
  • Available with a removable cage

What We Don’t Like:

  • Hardware isn’t customizable
  • Expensive

Pendant lights are a popular choice over sinks, but sconces can look just as pretty. And Rejuvenation’s Carson Wall Sconce is one of the most striking options around. The sconce is crafted from lightweight aluminum from top to bottom, so it should be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of your kitchen—but not so heavy that you’ll worry about it falling off your wall. And thanks to its 12-inch opening, it should give you all the light you need for a thoroughly illuminated kitchen.

The sconce boasts a relatively simple silhouette—one sure to suit many different decor schemes. And if you want yours to look a little more industrial, you can snag the version that comes with a removable cage. Even better: The sconce is available in a whopping 26 colors and finishes. So you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to selecting the right fixture for your space.

Dimensions: 11 x 5 x 13 inches | Material: Aluminum | Watts: 100W | Bulb: Not included | Maximum Hanging Height/Length: N/A

Best Pendant: Huxe Lanz Mini Pendant Light

What We Like:

  • Frosted glass for diffused lighting
  • Sloped ceiling-friendly
  • Dimm