Everything you need to know before buying LED strip lights

Before buying LED strip lights, we recommend that you first understand the relevant led strip knowledge so that you can use the led light strip in your lighting project to the greatest extent, whether it is an indoor led lighting project or an outdoor waterproof lighting project.

The applications of the LED light strips are various, home lighting, commercial lighting, or building outline lighting, like bedrooms, cabinets, living rooms, TVs, ceilings, stairs, KTVs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores, etc. You will always find the right led strip light for your lighting project.

Everything you need to know before buying led strip lights: 

Part 1. What are LED strip lights?

Part 2. Where and how to install LED light strip?

Part 3. How do LED strip lights work?

Part 4. How long can you run an LED strip?

Part 5. How long do LED strip lights last?

What are led strip lights?

With the popularity of LED lights, LED light strips came into being. LED strip lights are also well-known as led tape lights, led rope lights, or led ribbon lights. 

As its name indicates, LED strip light is like a strip. Its component is a print circuit board with surface-mount device/SMD LED lights and other electrical parts, and its backing is a 3M adhesive, which is easy to install. 

What makes led rope lights unique is that led strips can be cut, and there are many cutting lines along the lighting strips, which surprised people unbelievable.

Single color 5050 led strip light

Led strip lights have countless advantages, long lifespan, easy installation, less energy consumption, material environmental protection, safe and various colors and color temperatures. 

Working VoltageLow-voltage led strip lights (5V, 12V, 24V, 36V, 48V)
High-voltage led strip lights (AC110V/220V)
LED ColorSingle color, RGB, RGBW, RGBCCT, addressable dream color
LED StructureSMD LED, COB LED, LED with constant current IC, LED with addressable IC
Luminous WaySide-emitting, top-emitting
Waterproof RatingIP20/IP65/IP67/IP68
LED Light Strip Accessories3M tape, LED connector, LED aluminum channel, LED neon silicone tube

Where to install led strip lights?

The most common places to install led strip lights at home are bedroom, ceiling, wall, under cabinet, under counter, stairs, kitchen, and bathroom. These places all can be installed led light strips to be lighting lights or atmosphere lights.

Outdoor waterproof led strip lights are normally used in swimming pools, parks, roofs, steps, etc. Led rope lights can also be installed in offices, factories, supermarkets, and even in cars.

The installation place of led strips is numerous. As long as the light strip usage rules are met, it can be used anywhere. 

How do led strip lights work?

When connecting the led strip to a power supply(also called LED driver, LED transformer), current will through the strip, and make its light-emitting diodes glow. Note that the current should be within the normal use range of the light strip. The current cannot be too high or too small, too high will burn the led strip, and too small the brightness of led lights will get dark.

LED strip light is marked with positive and negative poles, and it represents led strip needs to be connected to the positive and negative poles of the power supply to let it work normally.

Generally, led strip lights will tell you what voltage it needs. And the voltage is marked in the strip as well. So, if you want to enjoy led rope lights, pay attention to the working voltage. Otherwise, it will not work.

Wattage power is another important factor in led strips work. If you want to know the wattage of your led lighting strip, it is not marked in the led strip, you have to find the led strip specification to see what wattage it uses. 

Single color LED strip directly connects to the LED driver.

*RGB color changing LED lights connect to RGB controller, then connect to LED power supply.

(RGB LED light controller controls RGB color change and LED brightness adjustment, LED transformer supplies power to the RGB controller and the RGB color changing LED strip lighting)

For example, the led strip light above, single color 5050 LED light strip, its working voltage is 12VDC. So that it need a 12VDC power supply. And it requires a 90W power supply a roll. Therefore, before putting the LED lighting strip into use, you should prepare an LED power supply whose output voltage is 12VDC and the power source is 100W.

In addition, when talking about the power of the led power supply, please remember the rule 80%. It means the power of the led transformer is about 1.2 times the power of the led strip. So, the strip light above can choose an LED power supply, which is 12VDC and 100W power sources.

In conclusion, the normal operation of led strip lights is inseparable from the correct working current, voltage and power wattage, and correct wiring.

How long can you run an LED strip?

In general, the length of led rope lights is 5 meters / 16.4 feet a roll. According to the content mentioned above, to make led strips work normally, you must make sure the working current, voltage, wattage, and wiring are correct, which are all important factors. These factors determine how long an led strip you can run.

If your 12V led strip light is 5 meters / 16.4 feet, and your lighting project is 10 meters / 32.8 feet, can you use the 5 meters / 16.4 feet 12V led strip light? The answer is yes. You can use two led strips connecting them, and make it a 10 meters / 32.8 feet led strip.

However, as the strip length increases, the power also increases. If the wattage of the led strip is 100W, when it becomes 10 meters / 32.8 feet long, the power changes. And it becomes 200W now. 

We have to pay attention to the problem of voltage drop when running super long LED strips. What is voltage drop? Due to the too long length and the insufficient power supply, the light strip will have LED brightness attenuation and white light LED color changes.

The most obvious way to observe whether there is a voltage drop is to turn on the LED lights with white light color. The white light of the light strip gradually turns yellow and turns orange and red as the distance increases. This is a typical manifestation of the led voltage drop. Finally, when there is a 100% voltage drop, the LED brightness will disappear. 

The solution to solve the LED voltage drop is to power the led light strip sufficiently. Where the LED white color turns yellow, a separate power supply should be required when running super long LED strip lights. 

Actually, there are ultra-long constant current led strip lights in our product lists to make up for the LED voltage drop problem. Constant current means that the LED brightness of the long LED light strip is always the same. So the constant current LED strip can make the LED brightness keep the same and at the same time achieve super long running. 

We provide 10m/32.8ft, 15 meters/49.2ft, 20 meters/65.6ft, 30 meters/98.4ft, and 50 meters/164ft LED strip length options. You can choose the right ultra-long constant current led strip light for your super long LED lighting project.

If you don’t want your led strip light to be too long, there are some led strip lights that provide a choice of 1meter/3.28 feet as well, or you can contact us to customize the strip length you want.

How long do LED strip lights last?

The service life of led strip lights can reach 50,000 hours, which is 5.7 years. However, there is a difference while the using hours are different per day.

Although led strip lights have a very long life, incorrect use will still reduce the life of the led light strips. In the process of using the led strip light, please make sure that you use it correctly and will not damage the light strip. 

Improper bending will cause the LED strip to break and affect its life. LED strips work under non-standard voltage, current, and power, which will also affect their service life. Generally, precautions are marked on the packaging of the led strip light.

If you have any questions, you can search for answers on the Internet or ask for help from others or contact us. Wish you a perfect chemical reaction between you and your led strip lights.