7 Facts to Know Before Installing 12V LED Lights

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Nov 18th 2019

7 Facts to Know Before Installing 12V LED Lights

LED lighting is expected to achieve 84% market share by 2030. This is mostly thanks to more and more people discovering the efficiency and customizability to these tiny lights. 

There are a few things you need to consider if you want to install 12v led lights in your home. Be sure to review these four points before you buy and install your LED lighting. 

1. How Bright Do You Want Them? 

LED strips come in two densities, standard and high. This refers to how many LEDs are on the strip in a specified length. The standard measurement for the number of LEDs is referred to as "LEDs per meter". 

For standard LED strips, there are 30 LEDs/M. A high-density strip will have double that amount at 60 LEDs/M. 

For most users, the higher density option equates to a higher quality product that produces a brighter light. 

Standard Density 

For your three feet of standard density LED strip, your 30 LEDs will produce 540 lumens and 27 watts. You'll be able to cut the strip every 4 feet. The max length you'll be able to run them is 32.8 feet. 

High Density 

With high density LED strips, the three feet of 60 LEDs will produce 1080 lumens and 40 watts. You'll be able to cut the strip every 2 feet. The max length you'll be able to run them is 16.4 feet. 


Lumens is the scientific standard of measurement for how bright the human eye perceives light. This is the standard method of measurement for the brightness of LEDs. 


Thanks to incandescent lighting, most of us are familiar with watts. This measurement also tells you the measurement of the brightness of a light. 

Choosing the Right Lumens 

It can be tempting to think that the brighter, the better. But this isn't always true for all projects. 

  • Bedrooms: 180-500 Lumens/ft.
  • Under-cabinet: 175-360 Lumens/ft.
  • Accent or mood: 100-300 Lumens/ft.
  • Task or high distance: 300-450 Lumens/ft.

2. What Color Will You Choose? 

The color of the light you choose will depend on personal preference. LEDs are especially useful if you want some variety in the color of your lighting. 

First, do you want white or color? Colored lights use a combination of red, green, and blue diodes to create unique shades. These colored lights make perfect accent lighting.

Colored Lights 

You can choose from a single color or light strips that can rotate through multiple colors. If you select the rotating colors, be sure to use a controller that allows you to control the changing colors.  

UV Lights 

Then you have the option of UV lighting. These are perfect for making your own black light. These lights are not meant for providing traditional task lighting. 

Color Temperature

Let's now discuss white light. This isn't as easy of a choice as you might think. You need to decide what temperature of the color white you want. 

Light temperature is measured in Kelvins. Warm white light with a hint of yellow will have a low Kelvin measurement of 3,000K. As you go lower in Kelvins, the light will begin to look almost orange. 

If you increase the temperature to 4,000K, you will have a neutral-colored white light. Increase the Kelvins even more to 6,000K, and you will have a cooler white light. 

At the extreme end of the spectrum, your white light will have blue tones and then beyond that purple. 

Warm White

If you want to create an inviting and cozy space, then you need to pick a warmer temperature light. Consider warmer white in your dining room, bedroom, and living room. 

Neutral White

This neutral light tends to be the most popular as it works in any area of the home. This is because it mimics natural daylight and creates a comfortable, bright light for working on tasks. 

Cool White 

Those looking to light a task station will want to consider cool light. It provides bright, focused light. In homes, it is most often used in kitchens, workspaces, and bathrooms. 

Keep in mind though, warm and cool light will change the look of makeup colors. This is important when creating lighting around the mirrors. 

3. Plan Your Lengths 

Before you start installing your LED strips, you need to outline your entire project. Determine how many feet of lighting you need. This will help you figure out the total cost of your project. 

Next, plan how you lay out your strips. Do you want them to all have the same power supply or separate power sources? 

4. Choose Your Power Supply 

As a part of your project plan, you will need to decide how you plan to power your LEDs. You have four options, plug-in adapter, Hardwired, batteries, or dimmable power supply. 

A plug-in adapter works like any electrical appliance in your home. There is a plug at the end of your cable, and you insert it into a socket in your home. 

You could hardwire the LEDs into the electrical system of your home. Just be sure to accurately calculate your new light's power requirements and adjust to ensure you don't over or undersupply them. 

If you want complete control of your lights, you can connect them to a dimmer. This way, you can have them lowered for a soft accent lighting effect. Or you could raise them to full brightness for working. 

The final option is to use batteries. This may not be the best option if you are looking to add permanent lighting to your home. 

Purchase Your 12v Led Lights

Adding 12v led lights to your home can modernize the lighting in your home. But to make this upgrade successful, you need to have a plan and choose the right lighting for the effect you hope to achieve. 

Once you know what type of LED lights you want, you are ready to shop for your LED strips and install your lighting. 

Shop for your 12v LED lighting today from our extensive inventory

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