LED strip lights have grown popular in recent years, especially among homeowners and businesses that want to add accent lighting to their interior or exterior features. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and intensity levels, and while these lights are fairly easy to install on your own, you should keep some key things in mind before buying one of your own. After all, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, chances are you won’t end up with the perfect LED strip light that fulfills all of your needs and expectations. Here’s your ultimate guide to choosing and installing them in any area of your home!
What Is an LED Strip Light?
An LED strip light is an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent or fluorescent lights that are typically used for general lighting. Light Emitting Diodes are flat, thin diodes that are made up of semiconductors. An electrical current is passed through two semi-conductors which creates heat and light. LED strip lights are great alternatives to traditional lighting because they last longer, use less energy, and produce more light. You can buy them in multiple colors or RGB (red, green, blue) format so you can change their color based on your needs at different times of the day.
Anatomy of an LED strip
LEDs are diodes that produce light when an electric current passes through them. Unlike incandescent lights, they don’t need a filament to produce light, so LEDs also last longer than many other types of bulbs. LED strips consist of multiple LEDs that are encased in plastic and coated with phosphor material. A top layer is added for protection against damage, and then it’s all encapsulated within either silicone or epoxy resin. When power is applied to an LED strip, each individual diode produces its own small spot of light on your wall—you only see the strips of color when you look at an array of them together.
Determining LED Strip Brightness
When selecting your strip lights, you need to consider how bright they are. One way to do that is to determine what lumen output you need. Lumen outputs are measured in lumens per foot. Don’t be confused by the term foot, as it refers not to length but width. The higher number of lumens per foot, or lm/ft, will indicate a brighter light. Typical LED strip light outputs range from 10-120lm/ft, with most at 60lm/ft or less for an easier installation.
LED Density & Power Draw
The number of LEDs in an LED strip is also important when determining your power draw. For instance, if you have a strip with 3 LEDs per foot and you have that entire thing running at 100% it would put out less light than if you ran a 12 LED per foot strip at 50%. Generally speaking, the more LEDs there are in any given length of lights, the less power draw for each individual LED. This is because when all of those LEDs are off, their power draw is minimized. Still, when they’re on simultaneously or close to all being on simultaneously, then each individual has to work harder to get sufficient light output.
Input Voltage & Power Supply
Light-emitting diodes or LEDs can be powered by a voltage that varies from 3.2 to 12 volts DC. The exact amount of voltage you need will depend on your project. These lights work best when used with at least 10 watts, but most projects do not require more than 50 watts per meter of lighting strip.
By now, it’s clear that LED strip lights are a fantastic lighting solution. If you need to illuminate and beautify a space, and you don’t want to pay too much for energy consumption, LED strips are your best option.