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How To Choose the Best LED Strips

LED strip lights

The lighting industry is rapidly changing with technological advancement. LED strips and their varied unique features are some of the best inventions in the industry. Lighting designers and architects incorporate LED strips into commercial, residential, and industrial projects since they are famous for their efficiency, brightness, color options, and ease of installation. Businesses and commercial building owners can use LED strips to light their business space to create the desired ambiance. 

Table of Contents
The future market analysis and insights for LED strips
Factors to consider when buying LED strips
Types of LED strips

The future market analysis and insights for LED strips

The current global market size for strip LED is estimated to be $959.4 million and is projected to increase to $1843.6 million by 2028, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%. Developed economies like China, the US, and Europe hold the largest market share for strip LEDs. 

Flex LED strips are endowed with several configurations. The purchasing company can go for bright strips for illuminating the entire room or use less bright LED strips for accent lighting. They also come with different usable colors or wavelengths suitable for business and residential projects.

LED strip sizes are described by a 4-digit number, such as 3014, 3528, 5050, or 2835. For instance, a 3528 chip size measures 3.5 mm wide by 2.8 mm tall; however, for the digitally addressable light strip, the four-digit number suggests the name of the LED controller chip and not the size of the chip. 

The strip LED market is propelled by the demand for energy-efficient, stylish, and flexible lighting for commercial and residential applications. The demand for low voltage LED strips is expected to rise because they are considered safe, reliable, long-lasting, easily controlled, cost-saving, and programmable.

Factors to consider when buying LED strips

Flex LED strips represent a huge industry with different unique LED strip lights. Businesses can choose one type over the other depending on how they want to use the lighting system. Below are some factors worth considering:

LED strip size or length

A business purchasing LED strip lights should consider how the LED’s length fits with the perimeter of the room where they intend to install the lighting. One way to choose the right length is to measure the perimeter, nooks, and sections that stick out. Some rooms and LED strip lights are not the standard sizes, but the lights can be joined or connected and powered from one plug. 

Analyzing the size of an LED strip can be challenging because different manufacturers use different measurement units to explain it. Most LED light strip widths range from 8mm to 12mm, depending on the brand or manufacturer. 

Knowing various LED strip light widths is valuable during installation, especially when using aluminum extrusion or routing out a channel to ensure the strip fits properly. This knowledge is also important when adding an edge under the counter overhand, along with a desk, or inside a cabinet.

Although it is commonly believed that larger strips perform better, this is not always the case. LED strip performance is dictated by several factors such as materials used, power consumed, and circuit design.

LED strip brightness

As lighting technology advances, LED strips also continue to improve their brightness. LED brightness is measured in lumens. The purchasing company should consider lumen per meter, foot, or reel. Different businesses can choose from the varied LED brightness levels depending on their desired look. Consider this buying guide for LED lumen by project type:

  • 100 to 360 lumens per foot are suitable for mood and accent lighting projects.
  • 280to 435 lumens per foot are ideal for task lighting projects near the light source.
  • 175 to 530 lumen per foot can be installed under the cabinet.
  • 525 to 1000 lumens per foot are suitable for task lighting projects far from the light source.
  • Indirect lighting in a hotel, lobby, bedroom, and vehicle would need an LED strip with 380 to 562 lumens per foot.
  • Industrial lighting and tube replacement projects will function well with 500 to 950 lumen per foot.

Before purchasing an LED strip, it is good to evaluate its lumen output and consider if it fits the desired project. 

The colors

Businesses can choose between monochromatic LED strips or a wide range of multi-color strips. The non-addressable, monochromatic strip light is cheap, easy to install, and suitable for situations that do not require pomp, like office buildings. However, the color-changing RGB strips are appropriate for businesses that need pomp and color display, like clubs. These color-changing strips with multi-colored LEDs allow businesses to change the lighting to suit specific occasions. 

Waterproof

LED strip manufacturers employ technology to improve the versatility of their products. Today, some LEDs come suitable for outdoor installation with a protective coating to prevent water or dust from ruining the strip’s electrical components. For example, the IP65 waterproof LED strips are coated with a thin silicon layer to withstand outdoor elements. 

A residential construction company looking for patio lighting, outdoor lighting, lighting under the cabinet, and bathroom lighting can purchase waterproof LED strips. IP68 LED strips can function well even submerged in water or a hot environment; therefore, they are suitable for pool, steam room, or sauna installation. 

Technological features

Some LED strips have advanced technological features such as Wi-Fi support, remote control, and voice control from Google Home and Alexa. These LED strip lights can enhance a building’s illumination with easy operation.

Club owners can install Wi-Fi LED strips controlled by a Samsung or iPhone smartphone from anywhere within the network. Furthermore, the Wi-Fi controller enables the multi-colored LED light to change colors with the beat of the music, making them ideal for party lighting. These LED strip lights can create a beautiful ambiance suitable for mood and accent lighting. 

Since some of these LED strip lights are programmable and come with remotes, they can light up in multiple styles and patterns. These LED strips can be programmed to give continuous flow lighting or decorative patterns depending on the occasion. 

Ease of installation

Before a business purchases LED strips, it should determine where to install them and the respective ease of installation. LED strip lights are mostly easy to install since they have adhesive mounting clips to attach to the preferred surfaces. Unlike the regular bulbs that require the installation of a bulb socket, LED strip lights can stick anywhere, provided the surface is suitable.

Since LED strip lights are versatile, they are suitable for accent light installation under the furniture, on the floor, ceiling, and behind walls. However, it is important to consider the length of the LED strips for easy installation. If the needed length is longer than the stated maximum, they should be installed parallel to the power source. 

The LED light strip provider should also allow the company to run a complete installation test to check the brightness and efficiency. Installation tests help purchasing companies verify the color temperature and troubleshoot any issues that could arise after purchase. 

Types of LED strips

Since several LED strips of lights can be used for commercial and residential building decoration and lighting, making the right selection can be overwhelming, but this guide aims at making the decision easier. Here are some common types of LED strip lights.

AC LED flex strips

230v AC LED strip lights
230v AC LED strip lights

The custom length for each LED strip varies depending on the purchasing company’s needs, ranging from 3 to 100 feet custom-made to suit the area of installation, but the maximum length run is 150 feet. The AC LED strip has varying numbers of LEDs and lumens per foot depending on color themes and manufacturer. For example, some warm-white AC LED strips have 145 lumens per foot, and cool-white ones have 180 lumens per foot. AC LED flex strips are easy to install and can be used immediately after plugging in. 

Pros

  • They can continuously stretch up to 150-feet.
  • They are easy to install.
  • You can easily cut it in every 18-inches.
  • There is no need for several power supplies since they can be directly and safely attached to a 120 AC line. 

Cons

  • You need to use a strip-to-strip jumper to connect the cut pieces.

DC LED flex strips

220V to 12V DC LED strip light
220V to 12V DC LED strip light

Most DIY projects use DC flex strip lights. With a 12-volt capacity, DC LED strips can provide heightened aesthetic lighting functions wherever they are installed. The DC LED strip length depends on its voltage. Consider these voltage and length variations:

  • The length of 12V DC LED strips is 5 meters.
  • The length of 24V LED strips is 10 meters.
  • The length of 120V LED strips is 50 meters.
  • The maximum length of 24V RGB & RGBW is 7 meters (exceeding these lengths could result in LED strip voltage drop).

The DC LED strip is smaller than the AC, with a 10-millimeter width and a 3-millimeter length. Since they are small in size and produce low heat, they are suitable for application in small spaces and places that can be touched.

The 24V DC LED strip is a more versatile option for decorative, functional, and professional lighting. Depending on the IP levels and color displays, they can be used for outdoor or indoor installation. 

Pros

  • They are easy to install. 
  • Since they produce minimal heat, they are suitable for application in tight places. 
  • There is a low electric shock risk.

Cons

  • They need a 12VDC battery, power supply, or transformer to provide sufficient wattage. 

LED rope light

PVC silicon neon rope strip
PVC silicon neon rope strip

Unlike the flat AC and DC LED strips, LED rope light is ribbon-like light encased with rubbery plastic, resembling a rope. Its casing is waterproof and bends in any direction, thus allowing omnidirectional installation. It can be installed in damp places to provide an aesthetic touch to the garden, deck, or room. It needs other bright lights to complement it since it has limited brightness. 

Pros

  • It is waterproof, thus suitable for outdoor decoration. 
  • It is multi-colored and can be changed to suit any given mood and ambiance. 
  • It is energy-efficient and portable.
  • It utilizes wireless remote controls for convenience at office parties or celebrations. 

Cons 

  • It has a low brightness level.
  • It is thick and can be challenging to install in some places.
  • It often experiences yellowing of the tube.

High output LED strip lights

High power LED strip lights
High power LED strip lights

High output 5050 LED strips consist of more inflexible strips mounted to a high-power source. These LED strips have a varied number of LEDs and lumens per foot that dictate their brightness. High-quality LED strips have at least 450 lumens per foot, providing light output equal to a traditional T8 fluorescent lamp. Their lighting is thrice the light output of regular LED light strips, making them suitable for special lighting purposes. 

High output LED strip lights are ideal for projects that need high brightness, like ceiling covers, skyline, and gardens. Though they need a 24VDC power supply, it is possible to set the power supply and dimming control on the strips to adjust their brightness.

Pros

  • They provide high brightness.
  • They are durable with their thick copper component.
  • They have better heat management due to the thick copper plate.

Cons

  • They need high voltage, resulting in shock risks.
  • They are not flexible.

Conclusion

Although the LED strips market is full of lighting options, choosing the right product should not be challenging if the company knows what it is looking for. It should know its area of restrictions, colors, and power demands. The company should also consider ease of installation, size of the LED strip, waterproofness, and ingress protection when deciding on the LED strip to buy. 

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