“Light is very important to architecture. Without the change of light, the form will lose its vitality, and the space will appear weak.” is the famous quote of I. M. Pei. His another famous quote is “Let the light do the design.” From the Louvre pyramid as well as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, you can discover the changes and charms presented by the combination of light and space.
Although it’s difficult for us to match the realm of the master, we can learn from his design skill and concept. And, actually, there are some lighting gadgets that can easily help us realize the lighting purpose and aesthetics we need. Typically, LED strip lights may be the best of the bunch.
When it comes to LED strip lights, it’s nearly one of the most versatile and useful lighting products that are widely used in all kinds of interior and exterior environments. Thanks to their flexible design, you can find them almost in every place from the ceiling, wall, floor, to the cabinet, stairs, curtains, and so on. In this post, we will introduce to you how the favored LED light strips can create a special atmosphere on different occasions.
The Best LED Strip Lights Overview
|1. 50 Feet Dimmable Led Light Strip For Ceiling Illumination||2. USB Powered RGB LED Backlight for TV 60-75 Inch||3. Waterproof Color Changing Light Strips with Remote||4. Motion Sensor RGB Tape Lights For Under Bed||5. Smart App Control Strip Lights Work With Alexa||6. High Voltage 110V Outdoor LED Rope Lights|
|√ Ultra-long strip light up to 65.6FT,|
√ 3 color temp options,
√ Dimmable from 10 – 100%,
√ Work on DC24V,
√ UL certified power adapter.
|√ RGB dynamic colors,|
√ Dual control: Remote+App,
√ Adjustable brightness,
√ Flexible cords are easy to bend,
√ Convenient USB powered.
|√ Silicone coating, water-resistant,|
√ Convenient remote control,
√ Adjustable brightness,
√ DIY colors and scenes,
√ Anti-Static technology.
|√ PIR Motion sensor,|
√ Remote control and Timer,
√ Adjustable brightness,
√ 9 dynamic modes,
√ Convenient USB powered.
|√ Google Home, Alexa compatiable,|
√ Remote control and Timer,
√ App control,
√ Musci sync is good,
√ Amazing color.
|√ Installation is pretty easy,|
√ IP65 waterproof and durable,
√ Safety design with fuses in plug,
√ 4 color options,
√ Running length up to 40M,
What Is An LED Strip Light?
LED Strip Lights, also known as LED Tape Lights, LED Cove Lights, are a long Flexible Printed Circuit Board with surface mounted LEDs, resistance, and other components. With an adhesive backing, it can be stuck to almost all surfaces. And some have clips, which can fix on the surface where not suitable for adhesive tape. It’s usually operated on low voltage 12V or 24V and requires a DC power supply. Typically, it comes in 5 meters (16 feet) a roll, and you can cut the strip every few inches to freely design your project according to the actual site requirements.
Two Typical Types Of LED Strip Lights
There are two types of LED strips: Flexible Strips and Rigid Strips.
As the name implies, flexible strip lights can be bent, folded, and winded arbitrarily. They employ FPC (Flexible Printed Circuit) as the assembly circuit board and use SMD LEDs to assemble, making the thickness only 1/16’’ (2mm), so it does not take up space and can easily be hidden from view. And it can be cut every few inches, as well as extend the strip length without affecting the light emission. Because the flexible light strip is soft and can be bent and wound arbitrarily, it’s suitable for use in irregular places and places with small spaces. And, you can DIY it for any various light patterns.
The rigid strip light is assembled with an aluminum PCB or FR4 PCB. Some are integrated with aluminum profiles together, known as rigid LED light bars. Rigid strip light is easy to install and fix, as well as better heat dissipation since it’s with an aluminum base. However, it cannot be bent like the flexible strip and it’s not suitable for irregular places. Rigid strip light with aluminum base PCB is with higher power than flexible one.
5 Main Styles of Flexible LED Strip
According to waterproof grades and different requirements of the area of use, flexible light strips can be divided into 5 different styles: Naked, Dispensing, Glue encapsulation, Sleeving, and Silicone. In a nutshell, it is to put on different protective clothing for ordinary strip lights.
Naked: strip lights in naked mean it’s without any waterproof treatment, LEDs and other components are completely exposed, the back is with adhesive tape. It’s with the lowest IP level (IP20) and it’s for indoor use only.
Dispensing: the surface of LED board is dropped with a layer of colorless and transparent epoxy glue or PU glue and the back is still covered with double-sided adhesive. Compared with the naked strip, this dispensing strip has a slightly higher protection for the LED beads and circuit. It has a lower waterproof level.
Glue encapsulation: potting resin or transparent PVC plastic on the whole LED board, to encapsulate the bare strip light from left to right and front and back. It can be made into different waterproof ratings and extra-long lengths with high consistency. Silicone glue encapsulated waterproof strips has a higher waterproof level, it can be used outdoor.
Sleeving: wear a silicone sleeve for the strip light bar, to cover the naked strip light with a rectangular, transparent silica gel sleeving and the plugs on both sides are also sealed with silica gel. In comparison with epoxy resin and PVC, silica gel features a better temperature resistance, more stability, excellent resilience, less deformation, and high insulation. The sleeved strip light is with a higher waterproof level up to IP65. However, water is still easy to seep in from both ends of the sleeve and damages the strip if the ends are not sealed well.
Silicone: Similar to sleeving strip, flexible silicone light strip is made of flexible circuit boards (FPC, PCBA, etc.) and stretchy silicone rubber materials, and is formed by extrusion with CL-26AB-8L hot vulcanizing glue. This silicone is dual-color, white silicone is used to cover the circuit board and bring a more beautiful appearance, while milky white silicone is used to transmit light, it softens the emitting light and makes it a continuous light strip. The flexible silicone strip has all the features of sleeved strips, what’s more, it’s with strong weather resistance, waterproof level up to IP67 and IP68. And, it’s more longevity, gives off even light, and has no light spot. It’s also great for DIYers to sculpt various lighted shapes.
1. 50 Feet Dimmable Led Light Strip For Ceiling Illumination
50.5 FT strip light is long enough which makes it suitable to install in your bedroom or kitchen ceiling, so you don’t need to connect to extra strip light, with less wiring and save your time. It also has 65.6 feet ultra-long version for your option. As the most widely use strip light, it’s with dimmable function. The dimmer switch allows you to long-press its middle button to adjust the light brightness, short press to turn on or off.
And yes, this is a bare flexible strip light that it’s without any protective cover on it, which means it’s non-waterproof and only for indoor usage. Since it works on DC24 voltage, the light emits low heat and it’s safe even you touch the light. Besides, the package includes connection wires and terminals, you can use it for continuous running.
Warm white color temperature is popular to use in the spaces like bedroom, living room, etc, but if you prefer white color temp for a brighter atmosphere, this strip light has a white color option for you to choose with. And it also has yellow color options for a more special aura.
|Color:||Warm White 3000K|
|Application:||For Indoor Use only|
2. USB Powered RGB LED Backlight for TV 60-75 Inch
Here is a strip backlight that will make your TV stand out and give a great experience watching TV or music. It’s 16.4ft long and very simple to put on the back of the TV. The included corner connector cables made it easy to alter the direction to follow the square shape of the television. Plug it into USB and turn it on, you will see it adds a nice ambiance watching the movie.
About the control method, you can control it with either the included IR remote or App control. They allow you to adjust light brightness and customize the colors, you can choose from 16 million colors. Besides, there are different scene modes of smooth, fade, strobe, and flash, it’s nice to create a dynamic atmosphere.
Lastly, because most TVs are black finished, the strip circuit board is specifically designed in black, so the white strip doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It’s perfect for all TV backlighting. Be aware that the strip backlight is for a 60-75 inch TV, if trying to install it on a smaller than 60″ TV may be more difficult.
|Color:||White + RGB color|
3. Waterproof Color Changing Light Strips with Remote
If you need to add accent lighting to the wet areas, such as the bathroom and kitchen, try this waterproof strip light. It’s got a thick silicone coating on the surface which seals the components inside, thus making it waterproof and it’s convenient for you to clean it when it gets dirty. This robust design also helps prevent damage to the LEDs.
The light is with RGB LED chips, which means you get a ton of colors and modes to work with. Through the remote, you can adjust its brightness, set various scenes, and DIY your desired colors for lots of applications. It has two length options: 16.4FT and 32.8FT to fit for different locations.
In addition, it comes with strong 3M adhesives in the back, along with 10 mounting clips, which should ensure your strip lights are installed firmly, and no need to worry about the light will fall off sometimes. Whether you’re installing it indoor or outdoor, this strip light will do its job well.
|Number of LEDs:||300pcs|
4. Motion Sensor RGB Tape Lights For Under Bed
What is it like when adding changing color strip lights under your bed? It just makes your bed like floating at night and creates a dreamlike ambiance. In addition, the under-the-bed lighting can prevent you from tripping over your dogs or cats at night.
This motion sensor RGB LED strip is 6.56ft long with a total 2 sets, the sticky tape is stuck to the bedframe, it fits perfectly under both sides of the bed. The motion sensor detects movements within 10feet (3.5m) then auto-on. It shut off after 30/130/380s of no motion detected, you can set the timing and adjust the brightness from the sensor itself.
With the remote control, you can set up various moods, change colors, and set the different ambiance in a moment. It’s powered by USB, easy to install, and wiring free. The USB cable is 3.28ft which is long enough to connect to the socket under the nightstand.
|Color:||RGB 5050SMD type|
|Length:||2 x 6.56ft|
5. Smart App Control Strip Lights Work With Alexa
Compatible with Google Home and Alexa, this WIFI control strip light is easy to use and gives you much more control over functionality. You’ll need to use the Tuya Smart Life App to achieve all the features, make sure you know your wifi password and it’s 2.4GHz, not 5GHz.
The light can respond to sound whether from voice or music, which is lots of fun to watch and enjoy. It has a built-in microphone that listens to your room and changes color when the noise level changes. And it’s with amazing multiple color modes you can adjust. There is an optional timer function from the App, you can set them to go off in a minute or hour, etc.
It’s with 5 different length options from 25 feet to 100 feet, long enough to go around the living room with only one power supply. In case you don’t like the App control, it’s also with a remote control that contains most of the features for you to play with.
6. High Voltage 110V Outdoor LED Rope Lights
This is a high voltage LED rope light that works on 110 volt, which it’s pretty convenient as you can power up to 40-meter long rope lights without additional wiring. It directly connects to AC electricity and does not require a power supply. If you worry about the safety of high voltage used strip light, no need. There are two small 125V fuses on the plug, which can automatically short-circuit before an accident to ensure life safety.
In addition, the LED rope lights are IP65 waterproof and heat-resistant, it’s typically used for outdoor decoration, such as lightening the trees and wrapping around the edge of our home to make a lively ambiance at night. Installation is much easier, you can run the light at a long distance in any shape, max connectable length can be extended to 393.6 feet. The rope light is round type, it’s flexible and cuttable, you’re free to DIY it according to the actual situation. Besides, it’s with four color options, white, warm white, blue, and multicolors.
|Light Output (Lumen):||1737 LM|
|Color:||Warm White 3000K|
|Length:||131.2FT / 40M|
Low-voltage Strip Lights VS High-voltage Strip Lights
LED strip lights generally fall into two voltage categories: High-voltage LED strips and Low-voltage LED strips. High-voltage LED strips are also called AC strips, which operate on 110V/220V or higher volt. Low-voltage LED strips are also called DC strips, which work on 24V/12V or lower volt.
When you’re shopping for a strip light, you might be confused and wonder what’s the difference between these two tape lights? Are low-voltage lights safer and more durable than high-voltage lights? Which one should you choose? To figure out these questions, let’s read on.
Maximum Running Length
Because of the thin baseboards that are with limited capacity to run the current, Low-voltage strips normally come in 5 meters per roll, their maximum running length is 5 meters. If you install more than the maximum run of your LED strip lights, additional strip sections must be wired to the power supply instead of to the previous strip. For example, if you’re installing 10 meters strip, then you need to wire to the power supply every 5 meters. Some special tape lights can be designed into 20 meters per roll, its baseboard is thicker to enhance the tolerance capacity of current.
While High-voltage strip runs on 120v, their maximum running length can be 100 meters per strip, with the dedicated plug, you can just connect it to the 120V electricity and done. Moreover, high voltage light is with bigger wattage, it can be 1000 lumen per meter, or even up to 1500 lumen/meter.
Different Cutting Lengths
When you need to cut the low voltage light, just check the cuttable mark on the PCB board. There is a scissors mark on the low-voltage light strip every short section, which means that this place can be cut. So, how long do you cut it? It depends on the strip light’s working voltage. For example, a 24v light strip is every six LEDs a scissor mark, normally the cuttable length of each section is 10cm. While a 12v light strip is every three LEDs a cut, the cuttable length is 5cm.
As for the high voltage strip light, its cuttable length is every 1 meter or 2 meters. But remember that do not cut from the middle, it has to be cut in meters, otherwise, the light will be damaged. For instance, if you only need a 2.5m long strip, instead of just cutting 2.5m long, you cut 3m and fold back the extra length or wrap it using black tape, avoid the situation of the end part being too bright. Therefore, a high-voltage strip is suitable for areas that require a longer length, small spaces are not recommended.
Various Application Scenarios
As convenient as it is, low voltage strip light can be mounted to any places that are narrow or with limited space, such as bookshelf, kitchen cabinet, Showcase, or closet, etc. The shape of the light is changeable, whether making a turn or forming a cove, it is just a piece of cake for the flexible strip light. All you need to do is peel off the adhesive tape in the back and stick it to where you want to add light on.
High-voltage light strips usually collocate with buckles to fix the installation. Because it’s working on the 110-220V high voltage, it will be dangerous if it’s installed in the places where people are easily accessible, such as steps or handrails. Therefore, it’s recommended that high-voltage tape lights can be installed in a higher position, where it’s not much accessible, like the ceilings or roofs. And, make sure that high voltage strip light must be used with a protective cover.
The usage of power supply
When installing low-voltage strip light, it needs to connect with DC power supply together. And to enable the light can operate normally, the wattage of the power supply should match with the power consumption of the connected strip lamp. For example, if the strip light is 10w per meter, and you’ve installed 5 meters long strip, total light wattage is 50w, then you should select a 60w power supply. After finishing the installation, test it and see if they’re working properly.
While for high-voltage LED strips, the installation is relatively simple. You can use a high voltage driver to drive the light, just plug it into the outlet then it can work. The led driver will be configured by the supplier, so you don’t need to worry about what kinds of power supply you should use.
If you look at the two types of tape lights alone, their price is similar, but the overall cost is different. This is because high-voltage tape lights are paired with high-voltage power supplies, generally, a power supply can carry 30-50 meters of strip tape light. Also, the cost of a high-voltage power supply is relatively cheap.
While low-voltage strip lights pair with a DC driver, as 1 meter of strip light is normally 12-14w, which means every meter of strip will need a 15w DC driver. Even though you can use a longer strip, the max workable length is 5 meters (considering the limitation of voltage drop), you will still need drivers every 5 meters. And for over 5 meters installation, you need to do the wiring in parallel and pull the mainline. This increases the total cost (material and time), which is much higher than the high-voltage tape lights. Therefore, if you review the overall cost, the price of low-voltage LED lights is higher than that of high-voltage LED lights.
The lifetime of the low-voltage LED strip will technically be 50000-100000 hours, and the actual use can also reach 30,000-50000 hours. But for the high-voltage strip light, it generates much more heat per unit length than low-voltage LED strips, which directly affects the lifetime of high-voltage LED strips. Generally, high-voltage LED strips last around 10,000 hours;
110V or 220V voltages are dangerous voltage, and there are potential safety hazards in some risky applications. If you’re installing neon strip lights in the swimming pool areas, then high-voltage strips are not recommended. Low-voltage LED light strips work under a DC 12V or 24V working voltage, which is a safe voltage and it will not cause harm to your human body even you touch it accidentally with bare hands.
How To Decorative Your Home With LED Strip Lights?
Plan in advance
Rather than thinking about how to dress up your home with strip lights, the first thing you need to consider is to plan in advance. If you skip the planning step and add lighting after the decoration is finished, the light effect might be not that beautiful.
For example, if you want to add lighting to the ceiling, but you do not leave space for strip lights when installing the ceiling, then later you will find there is no condition to mount the light strip anymore.
Another situation will pop up when you lay out the circuit to wire the strip, there is no electricity cable for strip lights at all. So you end up either pulling new cables for strip light which might disfigure the arrangement of the ceiling or you have to wire the light to another position where it has electricity.
Therefore, it is necessary to plan before the decoration: think about where you’d like to install the light strips first, in this way, you can reserve the cables and switches for the strip lamps.
After you have made the planning and also get your favorite strip lights, then you can start mounting them to create your own style. There are many spaces in our home that can be lighted with the strip, we have included 5 positions where you can get a pleasing ambient by adding the light strips.
Ceiling Strip Light
Ceiling is one of the most popular spaces to add strip lighting, normally it’s lighted in a square shape within the four sides of the ceiling. In addition to the main light, LED strip light can also serve as an auxiliary decorative purpose. When the light strip is turned on, it creates a more bright environment and upgrades the overall look of the room. Besides, LED strip lights possess a strong illuminated function. Although you may have a ceiling light mounted, the strip could layer the lighting ambient to make the lighting effect more complete and vivid.
Entrance hallway Light
Whether the ceiling of the entrance needs to install light strips depends on your house style. If your home hallway is pretty long and without adequate natural light, then it is necessary to add hallway lighting to the entrance. In addition to the flush-mounted ceiling lights, we can also consider using strip light bars for decoration.
As for the entrance cabinet, we can consider installing light strips on the shelf or under the cabinet where the shoes are placed. Adding lighting to the cabinet can serve a decorative purpose, not just brightening the area, so the whole house looks impressionable.
Wardrobe light strip
In fact, when we purchase or design a wardrobe, the wardrobe is already with sensor light inside, when you open the wardrobe the light will turn on automatically. However, if the wardrobe you have is without lighting, then you can consider installing wardrobe strips lights, which are flexible and slim enough to put inside the small and narrow space. So whether you’re changing clothes or picking, you can clearly see the clothes in the wardrobe, and not mess up the colors.
For the bedroom area, decorating the ceiling is not the only option, you can also add strip lighting under the bed, which gives you a pleasing feeling at night. Especially when you get up at night, if you turn on the ceiling light, it will be too dazzling and disturb sleep quality. But if you’re using under-bed strip light, it’s softer and less irritating to our eye at night, as it’s indirect lighting, making it more suitable to use at nighttime.
Sideboards and kitchen light
In the kitchen, if there is a cabinet above the tabletop, the illumination of the cooking bench will be affected and have a dark area due to inadequate light. In this way, under cabinet strip light will be a great solution. It serves as accent lighting and creates a bright environment for you to cook in the kitchen. As for the sideboard, the installation of light strips plays more of a decorative role.
Why You Need To Know The Width Size of an LED Light Strip?
The width of an LED light strip could be way different depending on the manufacturer or brand. According to the current products in the market, widths can range from as narrow as 5mm to just short of 12mm sizes. Typically, there are 4 different widths:
- 5mm = 3/16″
- 8mm = 5/16″
- 10mm = Little over 3/8″
- 12mm = Just short of 1/2″
It’s important to know the width of LED strip lights because it will greatly affect the installation. If you’re cutting out a groove to recess the light into a wall or furniture or employing an aluminum profile to sit your light strip in, widths need to be noted prior to installation. Otherwise, it will not fit properly.
If you’re simply installing straight to a surface or do not need an aluminum bar to fit with strip light, the width isn’t as important. However, one thing you need to be aware that strip lights with the same parameter but in different widths, the wider the width, the higher the cost.
How Many LEDs Are There In a meter Strip Light?
You may notice that the number of LEDs on strips is different. Some brands are with a lot of LEDs per foot, while some are with fewer LEDs per foot. So, what’re the difference between them? and what does it have anything to do with us? Before we start, let’s sort out the strip lights with different quantities per meter:
- <60 LEDs/m
- 60-120 LEDs/m
- 121-180 LEDs/m
- 181-240 LEDs/m
- >240 LEDs/m
A LED strip containing a high density of LEDs (>120 LEDs per meter) will be considered to provide the best and most evenly distributed lighting effect. If strip light is with low density of LEDs (the distance between LEDs (pitch) is big), chances are there will be visible dark spots which LEDs are visible when the light is on and luminance is poor. Typically, the more LEDs, the brighter the light.
Strip light with a high density of LEDs performs a better lighting effect, it doesn’t mean you have to go to the high density one. Depending on the application and environment, just go with the light that fits mostly your needs. Because LED emitters are the most expensive component of LED strip manufacturing, when you look for the high-density type, you should also compare their prices.
How many LED strips can I connect together?
One of the benefits of using led strip lights is they can be connected together. However, all LED strip lights have a maximum run, if you haven’t noted that there is a limit when connecting multiple strips, you will end up burning the lights.
LED strips are designed to be interconnected, but how long can they be connected together depends on the width of the circuit and the thickness of the copper foil. Because the current intensity that the unit area can withstand is related to the cross-sectional area of the circuit, if you do not take it into consideration when doing the wiring, then you will experience voltage drop which might reduce the service life of LEDs.
Typically, for low-voltage strip lights, the maximum run is 5 meters connected end-to-end, that’s why the strip lights are always packed into 5m per roll. If the connection exceeds the maximum run, then you need to run additional power wire for the additional strips. Otherwise, you will notice your strip get dim or the color change as it goes farther away from the power supply, that’s the signal of voltage drop.
If you’re using high-voltage strip lights, the maximum connected length can be up to 100 meters.
How to Avoid Voltage Drop?
Voltage drop is harmful in the long run, it will heat up the strip due to overcurrent, which not only damages the circuit board but also the LEDs could get serious light decay or burnt out. To avoid this situation, you can follow the below instructions before installing strip lighting.
- Instead of using 12v strip light, change to 24v or 36v light strip, so it can be interconnected longer.
- If you want to connect multiple regular LED strip lights through a single controller, you need to get a higher wattage one. For example, if you’re using 10 meters 24v strip lights, each meter is 10w, total wattage is 100w. When selecting the driver, go with the 120w one. Why not 100w? Because if you choose 100w, the power supply will run at full load which will affect driver longevity. Moreover, the actual wattage of the power supply will be slightly smaller than the rated wattage.
- Make another wiring to the power supply if you’re installing more than the maximum run of your LED strip lights. For example, if you need to install 9 meters continuous strip lights, if the maximum run of the strip light is 5 meters, you will need to wire the strip back to power twice after your initial connection – you need to wire another time for the 4 meters strip. So to light up the 9 meters strip, you have to do the wiring twice.
- Connect LED Strips in parallel rather than in series. Parallel connection ensures that if one of your strips fails, the others will stay lit. Although it’s tricky to install in the first place, it guarantees stable performance and is easy to do maintenance without interrupting the other strips.
LED strip lights are really one of the best lighting decorations that you spend less on but get the most out of it. You don’t have to be an expert to buy LED strip lights, it’s pretty easy to use and installation-friendly for anyone. We hope that our strip light guide will help you to make the correct buying decision when selecting the best LED strip lights.