Top 5 Considerations Before Buying Flexible LED Strip Lights

LED light strips have many benefits – most significantly, they reduce energy costs and are good for mood or focal lighting. There are several properties of LED lights that should inform your decision as you are planning to purchase some To make an informed decision about the type of LED light that you need, you need to consider five fundamental factors with regards to LED strip lights.

1. TYPE: What type of LED Strip Lights do you need?

First, think about the different types of LED light strips that exist; there are rope LEDs, fixed LEDs, self-adhesive strips, multi-color and single-color LED strips available. Self-adhesive strips may be more suited for home applications, wherein commercial spaces, flexible strips allow for versatility in product displays. Finally, rope LEDs may be suited for either outdoor or patio settings.

2. DURABILITY: Is resistance pertinent to your project?

The durability of flexible LED strips is important too. A strip’s IP rating, or “Ingress Protection” rating, indicates its resistance to the elements. The first digit indicates its protective capacity against dust, with six (6) identifying the highest protection. The second digit defines the strip’s level of water resistance. Again, higher digits indicate greater protection.

For example, a strip with IP20 rating, like MX LightForce High Lumen Flexible LED Strip, is designed to protect against dust. As a result, it may not be suited for areas where direct contact with water is expected. If such applications are needed, a glass panel or other protective covering is a great alternative to the strip’s predefined IP rating.

LED Strip

3. BRIGHTNESS: How many lumens are required?

Any planned applications of LED strip lights are incomplete without touching on the level of brightness needed – the strip’s lumens. LED strip lights come in different lumens per LED and per Foot (depending on the manufacturer),   resulting in a brightness depending on the density of LEDs per length; the higher the density, the more the lumens and the brighter the light.

An individual LED may provide a certain number of lumens, or,  the length of a strip may define lumens. For example, the lumen output for a 50 ft strip containing 23.5 LEDs per foot could have a total rating of 1,175 lumens per foot.

The required Lumen per foot depends on the intended usage. A  guideline below:

  • Accent lighting – 150 to 250 Lumens/ ft
  • Under-Cabinet Lighting & Nearby Task Lighting (Lamps) – 175 to 550 Lumens/ ft
  • Distance Task Lighting (Ceiling Lighting) – 350 to 1200 Lumens/ ft
  • Indirect Lighting – 375 to 1200 Lumens/ ft
  • Signage – 500 to 1200 Lumens/ ft

Additional lumens may always be added to increase the visibility as needed.

4. COLOR TEMPERATURE: What color temperature do you need for your project?

Another major consideration is the required color temperature of the lighting. This is not the physical temperature near the lighting, but rather the temperature within the LED that results in a warmer or cooler light.

Color temperatures are denoted in Kelvin temperature units (K)) and range from 2700K to 6000K. Lower temperatures produce warmer, yellowish hues, and higher temperatures produce cooler, bluish hues. Consider the following temperature recommendations:

  • Outdoor LED lighting, bathrooms and areas in need of direct task lighting – 5000K to 6000K
  • Kitchens and hallways – 3500K to 4100K
  • Living rooms, bedrooms and foyers – 2700K to 3000K

5. POWER: Will you require a power supply?

It is important to consider the length of light and power supply needed to sustain the level of energy for LED strip lights. The energy used is identified as wattage per foot (W/ft).

For example, a strip using 7.23 W/ ft would require 72.30 Watts for a 10 ft strip. In addition, the power supply should have  20% extra capacity, beyond the actual need. So, this strip would require at least a 90W power supply.

If the wattage capacity is not listed on the power supply, you can calculate it by multiplying the device’s input voltage by the amperage.

Light up your project! Know which LED factors to consider before purchase

Making the decision to purchase LED light strips should not be left to the last minute. Even the U.S. Department of Energy recommends all buyers do their “due diligence” to make sure their investment into this energy-saving lighting solution delivers on its promise.

You will be well prepared to select LED strip lights that works for your project after taking all of these considerainto in to account. Contact MX for more details on choosing the right LED lights for your project.