The use of LED strip lights has rapidly increased in modern lighting designs around the world. From professional architects and lighting designers to individuals with a rudimentary knowledge of lighting principles, all are implementing LED strip lights into residential, commercial, and industrial projects including cars.
This is mainly due to an increase in efficiency, color options, brightness, and ease of installation. An example is the much-accepted Philips hue LED Strip Light. A homeowner can now make designs like a lighting professional with a complete lighting kit within a few hours. Moreso, buying LED strip lights is not difficult as they are readily available in electrical stores around you or you can check out Amazon for amazing products and prices.
Thinking about investing or learning more about LED strip lights? This guide is the right resource for you, as it contains detailed information on everything you need to know about LED lights to enable you to choose the right one for you. You can also check out our selections of top color changing LED strip lights and single color LED strip lights.
Note: This post contains affiliate marketing. We may earn a small commission at no cost to you for purchases made using any of our inks.
What are LED Strip Lights?
LED Strip Lights are small linear lights on a roll or a strip where each strip is a flexible circuit board that consists of an array of various sizes of LED chips. These LED chips are soldered to the flexible printed circuit board. An LED strip light is also known as LED Tape Light and can stick almost anywhere you want, adding powerful lighting in a variety of color and brightness. Each strip light can be cut, re-sized and re-connected to create personalized linear accent, task and exterior lighting. For more complex installations, channel guides and mounting accessories are available for use.
LEDs are mounted along the strip, typically at densities of 18-36 LEDs per foot (60-120 per meter). The light color and quality of the individual LEDs determine the overall light color and quality of the LED strip while the backside of the LED strip includes pre-applied double-sided adhesive. All you do is simply peel off the liner, and mount the LED strip to any clean and dry surface. Because the circuit board is designed to be flexible, LED strips can be mounted on curved and uneven surfaces.
Below is a video from the University of Granada in Spain, explaining what LEDs are, what they can do, how they are used and how it is beneficial in energy management.
Some common usages include LED under-cabinet lighting, bar lights, lit stairs, signage, display lighting, car strip lights, deck lighting or tight space and more.
With many options on the market for LED strip lights coupled with no clear-cut standard for how to choose LED strip lights, we will help newcomers and experts alike by tailoring this guide to help you reach the best decision suited for your needs.
Before continuing, let us answer 12 common questions asked about LED strip lights.
1. How Long Do LED Light Strips Last?
LEDs have a general life expectancy of 50,000 hours. This tally to around six years of continuous use. Over time, LEDs slowly and gradually lose their light output making 50,000 the number of hours it generally takes for LED lights to diminish to 70% of their original light output.
2. Are LED Strip Lights Worth It?
Though LED lights are more effective, it should be noted that LED lights are more expensive than other lighting options. However, they last much longer than other types of lighting. You will not have to replace them very often. Furthermore, when you consider how much more efficient LED strip lights are, the cost is more than worth it.
3. Can LED strips catch fire?
LED Strips can get very hot and begin to burn whatever it is attached to. If it is attached to a flammable surface such as wood, the result can be a fire.
4. Do LED strip lights raise electric bill?
LEDs use between 25% and 80% less energy than incandescent lights. They help to lower electricity bills.
5. Incandescent strip light or LED strip light?
Incandescent bulbs use about five times as much power to produce the same amount of light as LED bulbs and still do not get as bright as the latter. Hence, they cost more.
6. Are LED lights bad for your eyes?
The blue wavelength of light emitted by LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms.
7. Can LED lights cause blindness?
Exposure to an intense and powerful LED light is ‘photo-toxic’ and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision.
8. Which LED light is best for eyes?
Warm light is best for the eyes. This includes filtered natural light and light produced by incandescent and LED light bulbs.
9. What color deters bugs?
Bugs are naturally attracted to bright colors like white, yellow or orange. Colors like green and blue would not register as vividly when seen in the UV spectrum, deterring bugs away from these colored objects.
10. Do LED strip lights ruin walls?
LED strip lights are unlikely to damage walls, but this depends on factors such as the strength of their adhesive, the durability of paint or wallpaper, how long they have been applied for, and the climate can impact how well LED strips bond to a surface.
11. Can LED strip lights die?
LEDs behave differently unlike incandescent bulbs, which burn out, and fluorescent lamps, which begin to flicker, in that over time, they slowly and gradually lose their light output.
12. Why do LED strip lights turn yellow?
The epoxy coating of the LED starts to go bad from the heat and UV radiation from the blue light of the diode. Specifically, the coating material starts to turn yellow with use and age, and eventually brown.
Recommended: Top 5 Color-Changing LED Strip Lights Plus honorable mentions
LED Strip Light Features
LED strip lighting is a great alternative lighting option when compared to incandescent, xenon and halogen linear lighting. Benefits like durability, long-lifetime, low energy consumption, easy powering and controlling make switching or choosing LEDs the preferred choice. Let us examine some of their basic features:
1. Flexibility: LED strip lights are flexible and easy to bend. Some strips are also foldable, allowing 90 degree turns in a single run.
2. Low Profile: Ultra-thin profiles allow LED strips to be installed in tight areas and stay hidden from view.
3. Cut to Length: Strips can be cut every few inches, allowing the best fit in any area without worrying about space requirement.
4. Peel & Stick: Most, if not all, LED strip lighting has peel-and-stick adhesive on the back allowing easy installation on almost any surface.
5. Versatility: LEDs strip lights are available in single color and color changing options. RGB strips provide optimal lighting customization. They can be IP65 or IP68 rated for damp locations or wet locations, making them great for outdoor use. LED strips are dimmable and compatible with most home automation and DMX systems, wall dimmers, and remote dimmers.
IP rating refers to the International Protection marking, which is an IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standard.
There are three major IP ratings for LED Strip Lights, which are:
- iP20: Any LED rope light with this rating means it is an unprotected strip and should be used for indoor decorations only. Must be installed in an aluminum profile or properly housed.
- iP65: Any LED strip light with this rating means its strips are covered with a splash-proof coating. For indoor usage only as it is only protected against spills and splashes and not for immersion.
- iP68: Any LED rope light with this rating means its strip is silicone injected and silicone covered making it ideal for indoor and outdoor (including wet locations) usage.
Types of LED Strip Lights
When shopping for LED light strips, you would probably come across different forms of classifications. These might include all kinds of numbers and letters combinations that are supposed to describe the strip you are looking at. To an amateur buyer, this can get confusing seeing as there is no one particular method of grouping LED Strip Lights. We will discuss some here.
1. Color Emitted by LED Strip Chips
The letters in the description refer to the output color(s) of the LED chips installed on the strip. If the letters are separated by a space or “+”, it usually means that they are separate chips. If there is no space, it means they are all integrated into one chip.
When the LEDs are on separate chips, fewer lights can be soldered unto the same length strip. Let us examine what these letters stand for then:
i. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LED Strip Lights
An RGB LED contains three diodes on the same chip, one for emitting each color. Each color is wired to its own channel. By adjusting the power delivered to each color (using a controller), any number or combination of colors can be achieved. An example of a LED strip light with this functionality is the Govee Smart Wi-Fi LED Strip Lights
ii. W (White) LED Strip Lights
A single “W” refers to a pure white light at a temperature of 6500K. There is no set standard so make sure you verify.
iii. WW (Warm White) LED Strip Lights
Warm white is usually 2700K, similar to the color of an incandescent bulb. The MYPLUS Warm White LED Strip Lights is a great example.
iv. CW (Cold or Cool) White LED Strip Lights
Cold white is in the 6500K range, but check to be sure. An example of this is the Lepro LED Strip Light White.
v. CCT – Color Correlated Temperature LED Strip Lights
CCT usually means that the strip includes two channels of white. One is warm white and the other is cool white. By adjusting the power delivered to each white channel, the strip can produce any white light equal to or in between the two LEDs. The CCT LEDs can be either on the same chip or on separate chips. The Govee White LED Strip Lights is a great product with this functionality.
Common LED chip configurations are described below:
- RGB: A single 3 channel chip with RGB LEDs
- RGBW: A single 4 channel chip with RGB and white LEDs
- RGB+W: One 3 channel with RGB LEDs and a separate single channel chip with white LED
- RGB+CCT: One 3 channel chip with RGB LEDs and a separate 2 channel chip with cold white and warm white LEDs
- RGBCCT: A single 5 channel chip with RGB, CW, and WW LEDs
2. Addressable or Non-Addressable LED Strip Lights
In an addressable LED strip, each one of the individual LED chips on the strip can be programmed to work on its own. This means that users can control individually what colors are showing up (Red, Green, Blue, or White) by each LED chip. It also allows users to control each individual chip’s brightness, whether it is to switch it on or off, and other aspects of its lighting as well. An example is the ALITOVE RGB Addressable LED Strip light.
The benefit of an addressable LED strip is that users have a lot more customization options when it comes to addressable RGB LEDs.
In a non-addressable LED strip, whatever commands users issue to the LED’s will affect every LED on the circuit meaning each LED chip is not individually controlled. So, if you want one LED to be blue, then every LED will be blue. If you want one LED to be off, then all the LED’s will be off.
3. Size of the LED strip Chip
An LED strip description often includes a 4-digit number such as 5050 or 2835. The number usually describes the size of the chip.
For example, a 5050 LED chip measures 5.0 mm wide by 5.0 mm tall. On the other hand, a 2835 chip measures 2.8 mm wide by 3.5 mm tall.
However, this should not be confused with a digitally addressable strip, where you will likely see a four-digit number (for example, WS2812B or SK6812). In this case, it has nothing to do with chip size. Instead, the number is the name of the integrated LED controller chip.
It is not misplaced to ask if chips of the same size present the same functionality and features across different manufacturers. The answer to this is NO. Therefore, there is no guarantee that chips of the same size from different manufacturers have similar performance.
Primarily a larger chip is brighter, but not necessarily, as several factors determine the overall brightness, for example, the chip circuit design, the power consumed, and materials used.
The table below shows the basic specifications for three different chips made by Epistar (a popular LED manufacturer).
|LED Type||Chip Surface Area||Luminous Flux||Power Consumed|
|2835||9.8 mm2||22-24 lm||0.2W|
|5054||27 mm2||45-55 lm||0.5 W|
|5630||16.8 mm2||50-60 lm||0.5 W|
Notice how the 5630 puts out more light than the 5054 even though it has less surface area. Besides, it manages to put out more light while still using the same amount of power (more efficient).
Strip and Chip Specifications
1. Chip type: 3528, 60 LEDs per meter
The 3528 strips are great for areas where ambient lighting is needed. They are mainly used to light up stairs or crown moldings where an accent is needed. It is not recommended for under cabinet lighting. The Tasodin water-resistant LED strip light series is a perfect example of an LED Strip that uses this chip type.
Other specifications of this chip size include:
- Typical light output: 400 lm/meter (this will slightly vary depending on the shade of white selected)
- Available shades of white: 3000K, 4500K or 6000K
- Voltage available: 12V,24V
- Resizable: 12V: every 3 LED (5cm) 24V: every 6 LED (10cm)
- Strip width: iP65: 8mm iP68: 10mm
- Maximum Length per power supply: 20m in parallel (10m on each side of your Power supply)
- Waterproofing available: iP65, iP68
- Power consumption: 4.8W/meter
- Recommended power supply: 6W/meter
- Dimmable: Yes, either through a remote control or a wall dimmer and dimmable power supply
- Heat sink: Not necessary
2. Chip type: 5050, 60LEDS per meter
The most common and probably the most versatile type of LED Strip available today. It is great for adding lighting to a room, under cabinet lighting and to create accent lighting of the outside of the house. The L8star LED Rope Lights is a perfect example of an LED Strip that uses this chip type.
Other specifications of this chip size include:
- Typical light output: 900 lm/meter (this will slightly vary depending on the shade of white selected)
- Available shades of white: 1800K, 3000K, 4500K or 6000K
- Voltage available: 12V and 24V
- Resizable: 12V :every 3LED (5cm) 24V: every 6LED (10cm)
- Strip width: 10mm (iP65) 12mm (iP68)
- Maximum Length per power supply: 12V:10m in parallel (5m on each side of your power supply)
24V: 20m in parallel (10m on each side of your Power supply)
Waterproofing available: iP65,iP68
- Power consumption: 9.6W/meter
- Recommended power supply: 12W/meter
- Dimmable: Yes with either through a remote control or a wall dimmer and dimmable power supply
- Heat sink: Recommended when using the LEDs for more than four consecutive hours
3. Chip type: 3014, 240LEDS per meter, variable white
These ultra-bright LEDs are great when installed inside a continuous lighting channel as the channel removes the hot spot/dot effect to render a smooth and steady light. In addition, they allow the user to choose and customize the shade of white that they want at all times. The downside to this is that it requires the usage of a special controller remote, creating an extra cost for users. The BTF-LIGHTING Warm White Light Strip is a perfect example of an LED Strip that uses this chip type.
Other specifications of this chip size include:
- Typical light output: 1200 lm/meter (this will slightly vary depending on the shade of white selected)
- Available shades of white: will do 10 shades of white between 3000K and 6500K
- Voltage available: 24V
- Resizable: every 6LED (5cm)
- Strip width: 10mm
- Maximum Length per power supply: 10m in parallel (5m on either side of your power supply)
- Waterproofing available: iP20
- Power consumption: 18W/meter
- Recommended power supply: 24W/meter
- Dimmable: Yes, through remote ONLY
- Heat sink: Recommended at all times
4. Chip type: 2835, Bendable 60 LEDs per meter
Thanks to its unique bending shape PCB, this LED Strip can be bent to just about any shape to backlight letters or oddly shaped objects. The Novostella Dimmable LED Light Strip is a perfect example of an LED Strip that uses this chip type.
Other specifications of this chip size include:
- Typical light output: 700 lm/meter (this will slightly vary depending on the shade of white selected)
- Available shades of white: 3000K or 4500K or 6000K
- Voltage available: 12V
- Cuttable: every 3LED (5cm)
- Strip width: 6mm
- Maximum Length per power supply: 10m in parallel (5m on each side of your power supply)
- Waterproofing available: iP20
- Power consumption: 9W/meter
- Recommended power supply: 11W/meter
- Dimmable: Yes with either through a remote control or a wall dimmer and dimmable power supply
- Heat sink: Recommended when using the LEDs for more than 4 consecutive hours.
Note: Size plays a role in determining how many LEDs can be mounted on a strip. A narrow chip can be mounted to a strip more closely together creating a more uniform light. Similarly, a large chip can potentially fit multiple diodes on the same chip. This can allow for better spacing for multi-purpose (color-changing) strips.
Why do I need an LED Strip Light?
Different projects require different types of LED strips to execute. Besides similar projects executed by different individuals might require a different approach as it all comes down to personal preferences. Hence, there is no one-fit-all or universal solution. Therefore, potential buyers must answer some important questions – call it a checklist.
1. First on our checklist is the location: It is important to consider this as what LED Strip Light you buy will be determined by this factor.
Some of the considerations include:
- What type of location are you working on? Commercial, residential, outdoor or indoor?
- Where will the lighting be installed? Some considerations include but not limited to under cabinets, coves, eaves and awnings, backlighting, display cases, kickboards, driveways?
- Will the lights be exposed to the elements or liquids?
- What material will the lighting be attached to?
2. Our second checklist item is the functions and aesthetic needed.
- What overall look do you want to achieve?
- Do you require accent lighting, perimeter lighting, task lighting, indirect lighting, principal lighting or other forms?
- Do you need a high color rendering index?
- Do you want the lights to emit a white light only, single colors like red, green, or blue? Have the ability to change colors at the push of a button on a remote? Or have the ability to change the white output from warm to cool white with a remote controller?
- Are there other lights in the surrounding area and if so, what color are they?
- Do you want to control the intensity of your lights with a remote or wall switch?
3. Lastly, you should consider the psychological impression you want to create:
- Do you want to create a calm, seductive, energetic, hopeful, safe, relaxed, bold, or fun environment?
- What do you want your guests or customers to think or say when they enter your space?
Identifying Premium LED Strip Lights
One might ask, “How then do I choose from the vast products and manufacturers available in today’s market?”
Let us discuss some prominent pointers, which you should understand before purchasing a premium LED strip light.
1. Lumen (Brightness)
Unlike incandescent bulbs, different LED strips can have different levels of efficiency. Therefore, the brightness or intensity of LED strips is determined using the lumens measurement.
Lumen is the most important variable when considering which LED Strip Light you need. Lumen is the measurement of brightness as perceived by the human eye. Because of incandescent lighting, we are all accustomed to using watts to measure the brightness of a light.
Different projects require varying brightness to achieve the desired looks. Therefore, we will advise potential users to always go brighter than needed and add a dimmer. Running your LEDs below their full power and brightness by using a dimmer will lower the operating temperature of the LEDs, which will lengthen their lifespan.
When comparing lumen output against one another, note that manufacturers have devised different ways of saying the same thing, which can confuse amateur buyers.
The relevant and required questions to ask are what are the lumens per foot, per meter or per reel? How long is the reel?
A good quality LED strip should provide at least 450 lumens per foot (1500 lumens per meter), which provides approximately the same amount of light output per foot as a traditional T8 fluorescent lamp.
Note that LED strip brightness is primarily determined by three factors:
- Light output and efficiency per LED emitter
- The number of LEDs per foot
- The power draw of the LED strip per foot
The table below provides a guide for brightness levels for various purposes.
|Task lighting (close)||275-450|
|Task lighting (far)||350-700|
|Fluorescent tube replacement||500-950|
Which is the brightest LED Strip Light?
SMD (Surface Mounted) 5730 series is the brightest LED strip simply because it contains powerful LEDs that can create a lot of light. An example of a product that uses this is the Marineland Advanced LED Strip Light. The brightest LED light strips are great for lighting warehouses, photography equipment and retail spaces.
Caveat: Buyers should be mindful of manufacturers or products that do not specify the lumen output. An LED strip light without a brightness specification in lumens is a red flag. You will have no idea what the brightness is until you purchase them.
2. CCT (Correlated Color Temperature)
Correlated Color Temperature is another quality that helps to identify a premium LED light strip. It refers to the color temperature of light, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The temperature rating directly affects what the white light will be perceived as. It ranges from cool white to warm white. For instance, a light source that has a 2000 – 3000 K rating is seen as warm white light. Warm white light looks very orange and/or yellow.
Color temperature is a measure of how “warm” or “cool” the light’s color appears. The soft glow of an incandescent bulb has a color temperature of 2700K, while the crisp, bright white of natural daylight has a color temperature of 6500K. When increasing the degrees Kelvin, the color will change from yellow to yellowish-white to white and then a bluish white (which is the coolest white). Although the varying temperatures have different names, it should not be confused with actual colors such as red, green, or purple. CCT is specific to white light or rather, the color temperature.
Confused? Do not be, below is a picture showing perception under 3000k, 4200k, and 6200k LED lights.
Notice how lighting changes the perception, the aesthetic or emotion of a space depending on the color temperature you use. Select the CCT that is right for you and satisfies your local regulation.
3. CRI – Color Rendering Index
Color rendering index (CRI) measures how colors are correctly rendered under a light source in comparison to natural sunlight. Imagine not being able to tell the difference between the black and navy colored gloves in your walk-in closet. This might happen if your current lighting source has a very low CRI.
The index is measured on a 0-100 scale with 100 being a perfect rating of color accuracy, which means the colors appear as they naturally would under unadulterated daylight. High CRI lighting is a premium lighting quality sought out everywhere and is particularly valuable. The bottom line – the higher the CRI, the higher the quality of the light source.
This rating is also a measurement in the lighting industry to help discern naturalness, hue discrimination, vividness, preference, color naming accuracy, and color harmony.
Here is how the Color Rendering Index ranking stands:
95 – 100 CRI → Colors appear as they should, subtle tones pop out and are accented, skin tones look beautiful, art comes alive, backsplashes and paint shows its true full saturation. It is a phenomenal color rendition.
90 – 95 CRI → Great color rendering! Almost all colors ‘pop’ and are easily distinguishable. Noticeably great lighting starts at a CRI of 90.
80 – 90 CRI → Good color rendering, where most colors are rendered well. You may not see items as fully saturated as you would like, but most people will not notice.
60 – 75 CRI → Poor color rendering. Items and colors may look de-saturated, drab, and at times unidentifiable (cannot see the difference between black and navy colored gloves).
4. Compare LED strip size and number of LEDs on the strip
Measure how many feet of LED strips you need before you start. This will make it easier to compare quality and price. Once you determine the number of feet on the reel being sold, look at how many (density) LED chips are on the reel and the LED chip type. This can be used to compare LED strips between products.
The number of diodes or LED chips on a strip and how close they are will determine its density. Traditionally, LED strip lights are packaged on a reel or spool of 5 meters, or 16.5ft. An example of a high density strip is the Luma5 (3528), which has 600 diodes on a 16.5ft strip.
LED strip lights are also categorized according to the total number of LED bulbs per full reel. Standard strip lights suitable for common household illumination projects or TV backlighting generally contain 150 LEDs per strip. Manufacturers double this number to 300 to create “high density” light strips, which work for decorative lighting and advanced animation effects. The cost difference between standard and high density LED light strips can be considerably different. When purchasing, make sure you are purchasing by the foot or by the reel and always confirm length and density before payment.
5. Fixed or Variable Color
There are two primary types of colored LED strip: fixed single color and color changing.
A fixed color LED strip
A fixed color LED strip emits just one color. Sometimes, you want an aesthetically pleasing, saturated color effect. For conditions like this, colored LED strips can offer great accent and theatrical lighting effects. Colors across the entire visible spectrum are available – violet, blue, green, amber, red – and even ultraviolet or infrared.
A color-changing LED strip consists of multiple color channels on a single LED strip. The most basic type will include red, green and blue channels (RGB), allowing you to dynamically mix the various color components to achieve virtually any color.
6. Wattage consumed per strip of LEDs
Power consumption is one of the major reasons consumers are switching to LEDs. Wattage tells us how much power we are consuming while these lights are on, and in turn how much bill we have to pay at the end of each month. Once again, be sure to verify the wattage per foot, meter, or reel before you buy. According to the DOE, the annual energy cost of a 60 W incandescent light is $4.80, but the comparable cost of a 12 W LED, providing the same light as a 60 W incandescent light, is $1.00.
An LED strip light that uses 24 volts will not work if you purchase a 12-volt power supply, and may result in a risk of fire. A good quality LED strip should be capable of providing 4 watts per foot or more (15 W/meter).
Finally, check to determine if the individual LEDs are not being overdriven by dividing the wattage per foot by the LED density per foot. For an LED strip product, an ideal range is at not more than 0.2 watts each.
7. Power Supply
Most LED strips are configured to operate at 12V or 24V DC. When running off of a standard mains supply power source at 120/240V AC. The power needs to be converted to the appropriate low voltage DC signal. This is most frequently accomplished using a DC power supply.
Make sure that your power supply has enough power capacity to power the LED strips. Every DC power supply will list its maximum rated current in Amps or power in Watts.
You can determine the total power draw of a LED strip using the following formula:
Power = LED power (per ft) x LED strip length (in ft)
Example: Consider connecting 10 ft of LED strip where LED strip power consumption is 5 Watts per foot:
Power = 5 Watts per ft x 10 ft = 50 Watts
The power draw per foot (or meter) is almost always listed in an LED strip’s datasheet.
Not sure if you should choose between 12V LED strip light and 24V LED strip light? 24V LED strip light is typically your best choice as it offers more power capacity.
Can I use rechargeable batteries to power LED Strip Light?
The answer is YES. Rechargeable batteries can be used to power strip lights if the user wants to get off the grid. However, some conditions need to be met:
- LED strip voltage must match that of the battery output. A battery supplying voltage level above the voltage specification of the LED strip can cause damage while under voltage supply will result in dullness or no illumination.
- Battery supply capacity should be enough for the duration you need; mathematical skills will be needed here. With the fore knowledge of the power consumed by the LED strip, then find the milliAmpereHour (mAh) rating of the battery. The final step is to divide the battery mAh value by the LED strip mA value, what you get is the expected battery life in hours.
- Connectivity between the battery pack and LED strip must be correct.
A rechargeable LED strip light is just a strip light sold with a rechargeable battery pack, thereby eliminating the need for the above-stated processes since the manufacturer has performed it. All you do is recharge your battery whenever it is drained.
8. Verifiable Quality
End users are most likely looking for a lighting system that can be used for years to come. To make sure that your LEDs last their intended lifespan, are safe around your home and business, and do not require extra maintenance costs to replace, you need to verify the quality claims. Claims on Thermal Management, Safety Certifications, Material Quality, Warranty, Customer Service, and Installation/Design Assistance should be verified.
9. Ease of use
Installing LED strip lights does not require special training or an electrician’s license, but some knowledge of basic electronic soldering is helpful. Some LED strip lights kits make the task of installation easier by including special clips and connectors instead of solderable lead wires. Users can only cut strip lights at certain points, and these points should be clearly marked. MINGER LED Strip Lights are known for their ease of installation. Some sets also include connectors for corners and remote controls for the power supply.
The most basic monochromatic LED rope lights can cost as little as $10 per reel, but they generally do not provide quality illumination. Higher-grade LED light strips with RGB capability and more effects cost between $25 and $35, while professional-grade reels with all the controls, effects, and connectors required for a major lighting project start at $35 per reel.
Installing LED Strip Lights
While most LED Strip installation projects can be as easy as using a double-sided adhesive end to attach strip lights to virtually any surface, it can also be as complex as using specialized surfaces for attachment.
These surfaces are called channels and are important when the required amount of installation is quite significant. These channels can be made from various materials and serve as heat sinks for better dissipation of heat from the LEDs and to add aesthetic designs and safety measures.
The channels are available either angled or flat, and with a diffuser cover or clear cover. They come in different widths, so make sure the channel fits the strip you intend to use.
Connecting LED Strips
Connecting LED strips is dependent on factors such as weather (outdoor installation, or heating and cooling that could cause condensation) and movement (any sort of flexible channel or location that might experience vibration).
Clips are faster and require virtually no skill. I recommend using clips if you will have easy access to the strips. However, the connections made by the clips are not as permanent as they are vulnerable to corrosion and movement.
That leads us to Soldering, which is usually the most reliable method for joining two LED strips, but it is time consuming and requires special equipment and a bit of skill.
When installing, challenges such as bends and corners occur. How then can one effectively turn the corner without leaving a “light gap” and without spending too much time fiddling with cutting and connecting? One way is to bend gently the strip itself while a more professional way is to use a Corner connector.
Controlling LED strips
Let us quickly explain how to automate or wirelessly control the LED strips using smart home devices.
Say you have a single color LED strip, you most likely would not need a controller. You could just plug directly to a power supply. However, this can as well be upgraded into a smart light; you could plug the power supply into a smart plug.
Some people will at least want the ability to dim. To achieve that, you will need a controller. One way to do this is to use a smart AC dimmer installed in the wall. Another way is to use a smart controller.
What if your LED strips are color-changing strips? You will need a smart controller. Make sure your controller has enough channels. If you have an RGBW strip, you need a controller with five output terminals. One terminal is the supply voltage (V+). The other four terminals are for each of the R, G, B, and W LEDs.
Note: a controller has a limit to how much current that can run through it.
A smart LED controller communicates with your smart home using some kind of wireless “language” (protocol). You have three protocols to choose from WiFi, ZigBee, or Z-Wave.
ZigBee and Z-Wave are both wireless protocols designed specifically for home automation. With one of these controllers, you can connect your controller to a smart hub like Samsung SmartThings and your automation possibilities will be endless.
If you do not have any other smart home stuff, it is recommended that you stick to a WiFi controller. It does not require an additional hub (uses your WiFi router) and is cheaper than the other two options.
Note: If you want your controller to be compatible with Hue, you have to make sure it is a ZigBee 3.0 certified controller.
Controllers are usually much smaller than power supplies so they are easier to conceal. In most installations, it makes sense to install the controller as close to the strips as possible.
If necessary, run a heavy gauge wire from the power supply to the controller to minimize voltage drop. Then switch to lighter gauge wire from the controller to the strips.
What are the disadvantages of LED Strip Lights?
- High up-front costs.
- Transformer compatibility.
- Potential color shift over time.
- Performance standardization has not yet been streamlined.
- Overheating can cause a reduced lamp.
Daytime running light LEDs
Daytime running lights (DRL) LEDs are low powered, bright lights working on LED technology, which comes on all the time your car is running. They are mostly infused into but not limited to headlight clusters of a car and are distinguishable from dipped beam lights. They can also be used to create undercar lighting, rim lighting as well as decorate the interior of a car. The HOLDCY Flexible Car Led Light Strip is one of the best DRL LEDs available in today’s market.
The use of LED strip lights has rapidly increased in modern lighting design around the world. It is cheap, efficient, and cost-effective. Aesthetically pleasing makes it a lovable choice among lighting options. Why not go ahead and try your hands on it.
In our next article, we will be discussing as well as reviewing and providing links for purchase of some of the amazing LED strip lights that are available in today’s market. Whether you want to add exciting colors to your car or your home or even your business space, there is certainly an LED strip light perfect for the job.
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