The Complete Guide to Buying LED Strip Lights
Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jun 8th 2020
Did you know that LED lights can have a lifespan of more than 25,000 hours and be up to 7 times more efficient than conventional light sources? That's because LED lights are more efficient at converting electricity into light, and they are slowly replacing incandescent light bulbs around the world.
Best of all, now you can buy LED strip lights to create mood lighting both indoors and outdoors! These products are bands of 60 small LED lights or more. They can be installed virtually anywhere and cast a bright light in the color of your choice. Keep reading to learn more about the various types of LED strips and how to buy the right one.
1. Choose Between RGB or Simply White LEDs
There are multiple types of LED strips out there. Many homeowners go for RGB LED strips because these can be used to create a broad spectrum of colors such as red, green, blue, purple, orange, cyan, and white. When buying LED strips, you'll also be given a remote and you can change the colors from a distance.
Since the spring is coming, you'll probably want to spend more time in your yard or patio. An LED strip light can be installed somewhere on your deck and you can create mood lighting to improve the atmosphere during evenings. The remote you find in the package will also allow you to switch between different modes such as "Fade" or "Strobe", depending on your preferences.
However, you can also go for plain white LED strips if you want to. These come in various options such as warm white, neutral white or cool white. Warm white usually has a temperature of 3000 K, neutral white goes up to 4000 K and cool white rises up to 6000 K.
2. The Density of LEDs per Band
Some bands have more LEDs, others have fewer LEDs and the prices are established accordingly.
If you want a higher-quality LED strip that renders brighter colors, go for a band with 18 LEDs per foot. If you want a less bright strip, go for one that has 9 LEDs per foot.
Keep in mind that your strip is "cuttable", meaning that you can cut the strip at different intervals to make it fit perfectly in the desired place such under the coffee table, under the outdoor stair railings, etc. If you want to install the LED strip outdoors, it's recommended to go for a band that has more LEDs per foot, so that it's more efficient at illuminating a desired area.
3. Consider the Length of the Reel
LED strips can also have different lengths. For example, some of the longest strips you can find have 16.4 feet and they are called full reels. Other bands are shorter by increments of 3 feet, so you might find strips measuring 3 feet, 6 feet, 9 feet or 12 feet.
As mentioned earlier, you can cut your strip at different intervals, but it's best to buy a LED band that's roughly the size of the area you want to install it on.
For example, if you want to put an LED strip under the couch to create mood lighting at the feet area, make sure that you measure the length of the couch first. Most patio sofas are around 8 feet long, so a 9 feet LED strip is probably ideal for you.
4. Decide If You Need Waterproof LED Bands Or Not
It's possible to install LED strips indoor too and in this case, you might not need an IP65 rating on them. However, if you want to add an LED strip in your yard, preferably around your barbecue deck, it's recommended to go for one that has an IP65 rating or higher. By doing so, your LED strip will not be affected by rain, snow or other weather conditions and your investment is protected.
5. Check The Voltage Of Your LED Strip
Most LED strips come in standard voltages of 12V or 24V. You can decide what type of band you need depending on the place you want to install it on.
For example, if you want to put one in your camper van, you might want to go for a 12V LED strip. That's because most recreational vehicles have a 12V power outlet that's compatible with your LED strip. If you want to install one indoors or outdoors, you can go for a 24V one without problems.
6. Check The Brightness of Your LED Strip
As mentioned earlier, if you want a brighter LED strip, you should probably go for one that has more LEDs per foot. However, some LEDs are more powerful than others and you need to know more details about their brightness level.
For example, white LED strips have their brightness measured in lumens. The more of them, the brighter your LED strip. RGB strips have their brightness measured in millicandela.
A millicandela is a thousand times less bright than a candela. A candela is a standard measurement unit for brightness used all over the world. If your RGB LED strip has a lot of millicandelas (such as 2,000 or more) then it will be very bright and easily visible.
7. Consider Getting Additional Accessories
There are many accessories you can get for your LED strip such as additional adhesive tape, maybe and amplifier for your LEDs, etc. However, some of the most important ones are mounting clips.
These are ideal for outdoor settings to ensure that your LED strip stays in place regardless of weather conditions and other factors. The mounting clips can be installed using a small screwdriver and they'll keep your LED band in place for years to come.
Now You Know More About LED Strip Lights!
As you can see, buying LED strip lights is not that complicated if you know a few things and plan everything accordingly. Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one LED band. You can have multiple around your patio or barbecue deck, creating a very beautiful atmosphere at a small price.
If you have no idea how to decorate your yard or patio with LED lights, read our article to find out 7 interesting ways to do exactly that!