Which lighted medicine cabinet is best?

Glowing beauty comes from within, but sometimes a little light can help you see it more clearly. A lighted medicine cabinet is a critical feature in any bathroom when you need more illumination. Proper lighting makes simple tasks like applying makeup and inserting contacts easier. It can also add a nice finishing touch to any decor. 

If you are looking for clean lines and sleek, modern features, the Decadom LED Mirror Medicine Cabinet is a good option. It includes USB ports and a digital display of time and temperature on the face of the mirror.

What to know before you buy a lighted medicine cabinet

Size

A lighted medicine cabinet should be appropriately sized for your bathroom. Smaller powder rooms with single sinks and small vanities or pedestal sinks can fit a 15-by-24-inch medicine cabinet that would look out of place in a larger bathroom. 

Other sizes that work well include:

  • Vanities that are 30 to 36 inches wide: 20-by-24-inch medicine cabinet.
  • Vanities that are 42 to 48 inches wide: 30-by-24-inch medicine cabinet.
  • Vanities that are 60 inches wide or more with double sinks: Use two 20-by-24-inch medicine cabinets, and place one over each sink.

Recessed vs. surface-mount cabinets

Recessed medicine cabinets sit inside the wall with the mirror flush and blending seamlessly into the existing architecture. Many people prefer the clean lines of this type of installation, but it is more involved and can be more costly. Recessed cabinets are best installed in new construction or a total bathroom remodel where the walls are already open. 

On the other hand, surface-mount cabinets take up more aesthetic space, but they can be easy to mount on your own and are more affordable if you need to pay an installer. They are also easier to add to an existing bathroom. 

Design

The design of the medicine cabinet should reflect the design of the bathroom overall. This includes its style, whether clean and simple or ornate and traditional, plus the material of the cabinet itself. 

In general, bright metals like chrome fit well into contemporary bathrooms, while woods and darker metals lend a more traditional or industrial feel. 

What to look for in a quality lighted medicine cabinet

Outlets and USB ports

If your existing bathroom or powder room does not have many outlets, a medicine cabinet featuring outlets and USB ports can be a big plus. These are great for charging electric toothbrushes, plugging your phone in at night and powering hair dryers. 

Cosmetic mirror

Cosmetic mirrors with 3x magnification or more make everything from applying makeup to tweezing eyebrows easier. These are also great for people with vision concerns.

Dimmable lighting

No one wants to walk into the bathroom and have light blaring in their eyes first thing in the morning. Look for dimmable lights to ease yourself into the day.

Defogger

Defoggers are set into the glass of the mirror. They keep condensation from forming and fogging the mirror as you shower. 

Digital display on the mirror

If you find yourself losing track of time in the morning, a digital display can help. Some lighted medicine cabinets show the time and temperature directly on the mirror — a handy trick if you find yourself running late or unsure of how to plan for the weather. 

How much you can expect to spend on a lighted medicine cabinet

This bathroom upgrade is not the cheapest. Expect to spend $300-$1,600. 

Lighted medicine cabinet FAQ

Can you replace a surface-mount cabinet with one that is recessed?

A. Yes. However, it’s important that you either have construction experience or can hire someone to do it for you. You’ll need to:

  • Carefully remove and dispose of the surface-mount cabinet.
  • Open up the wall to fit the cabinet. Outline the cabinet measurements first as a guide. This is called the rough opening, and it should fit the body of the medicine cabinet so that the lip is flush against the wall.
  • Leave an opening in one of the studs to connect the electrical wires. Check in with the manufacturer’s instructions for this step, and hire a professional electrician if you are inexperienced.
  • Use the appropriate fasteners to secure it to blocking that is fastened to the studs. 
  • Install your shelves, add the doors and connect the lights to power (while the power is disconnected).

Do lighted cabinets require special care?

A. No. They can be treated as any other medicine cabinet and cleaned using standard glass cleaning products.

What’s the best lighted medicine cabinet to buy?

Top lighted medicine cabinet

Decadom LED Mirror Medicine Cabinet

Decadom LED Mirror Medicine Cabinet

What you need to know: This elegant medicine cabinet has tons of modern features.

What you’ll love: No more foggy post-shower mirrors, thanks to the built-in defogger. This sleek medicine cabinet also has a digital time and temperature display. It has a cosmetic mirror with 3x magnification, and the interior light turns off and on automatically. Charge phones and plug in appliances with built-in outlets and USB ports.

What you should consider: All of these features come with a hefty price tag.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top lighted medicine cabinet for the money

Design House Richland Lighted Mirrored Medicine Cabinet

Design House Richland Lighted Mirrored Medicine Cabinet

What you need to know: It’s a classic design with wood trim that looks great in smaller spaces.

What you’ll love: This surface-mount cabinet features three lights that provide ample illumination. Three narrow doors access three shelves. The frame is solid wood, and it comes with a one-year warranty.

What you should consider: It requires assembly, which can be tricky.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Kohler Bathroom Verdara Collection Medicine Cabinet

Kohler Bathroom Verdara Collection Medicine Cabinet 

What you need to know: It’s a roomy option from a trusted retailer in high-end bathroom accessories.

What you’ll love: The tempered-glass shelves are adjustable. Hinges are slow-closing. It can be recessed or surface-mounted. There are interior outlets and dimmable lights on the doors.

What you should consider: Some people noted that the doors had to be removed to adjust the shelves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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