Best 10 LED Strip Lights
As Of January 2022
Do you want to take your smart home to the next level? LED strip lights are here to make it happen! They have advanced so much, that work with Google Home & Alexa now! Interesting, right? Imagine you could light up your indoors & outdoors with your favourite colour. Or music sync the lights to your favourite songs. Now, stop imagining & let us introduce you to LED strip lights of the present! They are here.
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Finding The Best LED Strip Lights To Enhance Your Home’s Lighting
Do you want to be able to create different moods for relaxing to partying? Well, traditional lights are great; at least you get the basic necessity we all need when lighting up spaces. Over the years, there has been a need to improve the efficiency of lighting. LED bulbs offer just that, longer life at a lower cost than the traditional bulbs. But there is more to the LED lighting in the tech world.
Manufacturers are always finding ways to improve what we already have, even if it is just beautifying your space. With LED lighting, we thankfully have strip lights. These lights will accent the decor in your living space and provide you with your preferred lighting colour.
With many options out there, getting the perfect lighting strip can be challenging for small manufacturers and known brands. While knowing the most important features is the key to getting the ideal product, not everyone knows or understands these features. But our buying is here to fill in all those gaps.
Why Do I Need LED Strip Lights?
Are you spending too much on lighting? Are there dark spaces in your space where incandescent lights are not able to light up? Is decorating your lighting a big part of enhancing your home’s decor? If the answer is yes to any or all the above questions, then yes, you need LED strips.
These are energy-saving, long-lasting, more affordable and can fit on any space. An LED strip can light up the ceiling coves, the bendy areas in your attic or under cabinets, or use them to accent lighting your living room and bedroom or to light your bookcase. Most importantly, LED strips allow you to light up locations with different colours.
You can also consider colour shifting LED strips as a mood lighting accessory after a long day. Colours have different psychological effects, and LED lights are even used to treat seasonal affective disorders.
How Do these Lights Work?
A strip usually has LED bulbs mounted onto it. Most brands mount 18 to 36 LED lights per foot. If the strip is multi-coloured, the individual LEDs quality and the light colour will determine the final light colour from the strip, and its quality.
LED strips require a power source to light up the bulbs on the strip. The power source depends on the build. Some use batteries, while others use electricity from your main power outlet. Ensure that you read the manufacturer’s label on all power requirements for the strip before buying.
There are some key features you need to look for when you search to buy LED strip lights. Here is our list:
It is best first to consider where you want to install the LED strips. Are they for indoors or outdoors, where they are exposed to liquids or other elements? What is the installation place, cabinets, display cases, eaves, coves, kickboards or are they for backlighting? Ask yourself what it is that you are lighting. It will help you decide the best type of strip lights to get for that location. Also, remember to check what material you will be attaching the lights to.
Are you looking for a smart/App, Bluetooth or just an electric control system? Most use remotes and these are the more affordable options. But if you need to have more control over the lights, like voice control and more customisation, smart strip lights are the best options. The smart ones will also require access to Wi-fi, so ensure you have an internet connection.
If you are going for a smart set of LED lights, ensure that they are compatible with your home’s ecosystem. If you are using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit, the lights you are going for should be compatible with that setup. Even if it is a combination of these ecosystems, compatibility makes controlling the LED lights more effortless.
Think of the area you want to install the LED lights to determine the meters of strip lights you will need. Keep in mind that the closer the LEDs are to each other, the brighter the strip will be. Strips whose LEDs are further apart, tend to produce spotty lighting instead of a clear and clean constant lighting line. Although manufacturers list the length in different measurements, like yards or feet, you can simply convert to the measurement you are most familiar with and find out which size produces cleaner light.
In addition to the length of LEDs in a strip, confirm the brightness level. That’s because some strips will have many LEDs than others and still produce dimmer light. To measure the brightness of the LEDs, look at its lumens. You could use LEDs with lumens of 200 or lower per foot for places where you need dim lights to accent the space. But if you want to brighten up a room further, go with anything brighter that also suits your decor and taste.
LED colour Options
Do you want a strip with a single colour type or one with multiple colour options? You will find LED strips with a single colour, but with several colour options to choose from, depending on what the manufacturer is offering. The colour could be green, red, blue, or ultraviolet. If it is white, check whether it is warm white, neutral white or cool white.
There are also strips with different colors instead of only one option. These multi-colour strips also referred to as colour shifting strips or RGB strips, come with a control system for changing the colour in every flash. You can also choose to stick to one colour option at any particular time.
Do not confuse RGB and RGBW LED strips. While both produce a white colour, only RBGW gives out a pure and bright white colour. The light in RGB LED strips can be a bit dull, and not the best choice, if you want to light up your space in a clear white LED colour.
It measures the amount of energy required by the strip for optimal functionality. Dimmer LED strips have a lower wattage than the brighter ones, often requiring less power. But the more wattage a strip has the more power it needs to achieve its full brightness. If the strip’s wattage does not match the power source, either from the batteries or your home’s electrical wiring, it will not work correctly.
Can the strips bend around corners without breaking or affecting its functionality? There are many flexible strips available, making it possible to get one for any places with bends. The more flexible strips tend to be dimmer and longer than the rigid ones. For straight spaces that need more lighting, you are better off with the rigid strips. Some of the rigid strips are even incorporating motion-sensors, which can come in hand on staircases or under the sink.
Types Of LED Strip Lights
You need to know the types of LED lights in the market when buying because each type has its pros and cons. There are four main types; AC LED flex strips, DC LED flex strips, high output LED strips and LED rope lights.
DC LED Flex Strips
DC LED flex strips are the most common ones for DIY projects. These strips use a 12 volts DC, so you will need a power supply outlet that produces this much power. They are also pretty easy to install, thanks to the double-sided 3M adhesive. If you have a small space, these are the strips to get due to their low heat production. They come in 5m size and have cutlines for precise trimming.
AC LED Flex Strips
These run straight from 110 to 120 AC power outlets, no need to add anything else. AC LED strips are also wider than the DC LED strips and stretch up to 45 meters. While it is possible to cut them every about 50cm, they are ideal for more extended installation locations without using several power outlets.
LED Rope Lights
Unlike other types of LED strips with a ribbon-like or flat design, these come in an encasing of rubberised plastic and end up looking like a rope. The material of this encasing allows you to bend it in any direction. Due to this, it will also have omnidirectional LEDs such that when you bend the lights to fit in a location that is not straight, the strip will light the place from all the sides.
LED rope lights usually are waterproof, making them safe for outdoor usage. Unfortunately, these types of LED strips are not as ideal as the only lighting source. They are best if you are looking at dim lights to accent certain areas, like the desk or garden.
High Output LED Strips
If brightness is your main reason to get LED strips, then high output LED strips are the best options. These are very bright, applicable to power sources with 24VDC will do well on high ceilings, cabinets or any locations that require a lot of brightness, like outdoor locations.
How To Connect LED Lights Together?
You can connect strip lights using two primary methods, soldering the strips or using connectors. When connecting with them, look for one that works with the wires on your strip lights. RGB strips will probably use a different adaptor than a monochrome stripe. The two types of adaptors are fold-over and clip-on connectors.
Soldering involves burning of metal, which liquefies it for easy attachment of the two strips. Ensure you do it in a well-ventilated area because the fumes can be unhealthy for your lungs. Remember also to wear protective gear, like gloves and safety goggles.
Can I Cut Strip Lights?
It is possible to cut LED strips. Some manufacturers even include cutting marks in their strips for guidance. However, we would recommend understanding how the stripes work first, especially when using strips with different colours. Cutting an RGB or RGBW strip will impact what light you get to see. Whatever size you cut needs to suit your lighting needs and also match with the app.
Can I use LED Lights Outside?
Yes, you can use strip lights outside. But the lights you use to light outdoors need to be weatherproofed or waterproofed and explicitly built for outdoors. Before you purchase a LED light make sure to check whether they are suitable for outdoor installation or not. This way you will avoid spending time and money on strip lights that don’t suit your purpose.
Is It Ok If I Leave LED Light Strips On All Night?
It is totally fine to leave your LED lights on all night. You can even have them running all day and all night long, 24/7. But we would not advise you to do that for economic purposes. Although an LED strip running all day long is cheaper than having an incandescent light, you will be reducing the light’s lifetime. It is best to let the bulb cool down in between uses, and it will serve you longer. The average usage of 5 hours a day is enough to have your colourful strip last for years.
How Long Do LED Lights Last?
Among other features that make LED lights the better option, is the fact that they last longer than traditional bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs only last 700 to 1,000 hours, which narrows down to 3-5 months with long usage per day (like 10 hours a day). On the other hand, LED bulbs last for 7,500 to 15,000 hours. These can run for about 4 years, with an average usage of 10 hours per day.
Are LED Lights Expensive To Run?
There is no need to worry about your power bill going up from using LED lights. In fact, LED lights are more affordable than traditional bulbs. Although electricity cost varies from one region to another, LED lights still use less KWh (Kilowatts-hour), lowering your electricity usage. KWh is the unit of measuring how much electricity a bulb uses, and LED lights use about 127.5KWh over their life of 15,000 hours. An incandescent bulb can use up to 900KWh in the same lifespan of 15,000 hours.
Are LED Lights Energy-Efficient?
Compared to incandescent lights, LED lights are quite efficient. As mentioned above, LED lights use less electricity and last longer. While traditional bulbs require 40W to illuminate up to 450 lumens, LED lights only need 4 to 5 Watts. The watts for the strip will depend on the length, but it is still lower than what the incandescent bulb requires. That means the LED bulbs are using less electricity by about 85%. When you compare with CFLs, LEDs are still more efficient by about 18%.
Always keep in mind that...
Forget the energy-sucking incandescent lights and the boring lighting options they have. With LED strip lights, you get to decorate your spaces with multiple colourful options. These LED tape lights are not just affordable in price but are more energy-efficient, too. LEDs are more and more preferred over the years for their efficiency and low running costs.
With our buying guide, you can start shopping knowing all you need to know: from the color temperature of the LED strips to its length, installation needs and the different types of LED strips to compare. Pick yours and spruce up the atmosphere of your home!