Buying Guide - LED Strip Lights
The rapid advancement of LED lighting technology means you can now get more creative than ever with your lighting design.
LED strip lights offer one of the most versatile, user-friendly solutions for a range of domestic and commercial settings. They are flexible, easy-to-install, and can make a particular aspect of a room really stand out.
White or coloured lights?
If you simply want white strip lights to run along cabinets or shelves, you can choose from warm white or cool white colour temperatures. Warm white lights are ideal for more relaxed spaces, such as living rooms and bedrooms, while cool white lights are more suited to workspaces and more ‘active’ areas of the home or workplace.
RGB (red, green, and blue) lights offer endless customisation, as they allow you to change the colour of the lights at the touch of a button. These can often be found in bars and restaurants, but are ideal for adding some accent lighting to certain areas of your home.
LED strip lights come in a range of lengths. Carefully measure the space in which you’re looking to fit them to know how long the lights need to be. One of the biggest benefits of LED strip lights is that they can be cut to size to fit the space you want to put them in, so it’s better to buy too much than not enough. Flexible strips allow you to run the lights around corners and ensure everything fits together smoothly.
Some LED strip lights are low voltage, meaning that you need to install them with a compatible LED driver to ensure they work correctly. Connecting low voltage lights to a mains voltage circuit could shorten the lifespan of the lights and affect how they perform.
Luckily, many LED strip lights are packaged with the requisite transformer/driver, making installation easy. Always check the product listing carefully to determine if you need to buy a separate driver.
Using the strip light outdoors? Check its IP rating
Most LED strip lights are waterproof, so they can be used outdoors or in bathrooms, although they need to have a good IP rating to be suitable for wet environments. An IP rating of 65 is ideal for these situations, but make sure to check that all components are suitable protected. For example, in some cases the strip lights may have a good IP rating, but the accompanying LED transformer might not.
See here for more information on IP ratings.
Are you confident enough to install them?
Some LED strip lights have a self-adhesive backing, meaning that all you need to do to install them is stick them where you want. Others may have more complex installation instructions, however. Before trying to install lights of any type, ask yourself if you have the skills to do it. If you’re not confident about this, we would advise consulting a professional electrician to help. You can always watch to see how they do it for future reference.