Looking to add a bit of contemporary style to your surroundings? Then you can’t go wrong with LED strip lights.
LED strip lighting is stylish, versatile and cost-effective. It is available in a range of vibrant colours and you can get quick-and-easy plug and play strip kits as well as mains-wired strip lights.
This article answers some of the most common questions we get from customers about LED strip lighting. Don’t see yours below? Then drop us a question in the comments section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
1. What are LED strip lights?
LED strip lights are slim strips of tape featuring tiny SMD chips that emit light. They’re versatile and can be attached to pretty much anything, with lengths varying between one metre and five metres. They can also be cut to length to suit your needs and are available with a waterproof casing, so you can use them in a wide variety of locations.
Most commonly they’re used on banisters, under kitchen counters, bathrooms, behind home entertainment systems and as accent lighting.
2. Are LED strip lights dimmable?
They are indeed, but you also need to make sure you have a dimmable LED driver (unless you’re using plug and play strip kits of course). This is because LED strip lights rely on a constant current source which can only be supplied by a driver that switches an AC power supply to DC.
3. Do LED strip lights need a driver?
While we’re on the subject of drivers, if you’re not using plug and play strip lighting kits, you will need a driver to power your strip lights.
When finding the LED transformer you need, the wattage of the driver needs to cover the wattage of the strip it will be powering, plus 20%; so a five metre length of strip lighting with 60 small LED chips equating to 25W would need a 30W LED driver.
4. Are LED strip lights safe?
LED strip lights are as safe as any other electrical light source when installed and used correctly. We always advise you to consult an electrician when installing mains-wired strip lighting.
5. Are LED strip lights cheap to run?
Yes. LED strip lights are incredibly cheap to run. This is because LED converts 90% of its energy into light, making it the most cost-effective light source around.
For example, the cost to run a typical 10W LED strip light is approximately £10 a year. Take an equivalent incandescent light source and you can expect to spend £60 a year in energy costs!
6. Are LED strip lights bright enough?
This depends on where you want to use them, but you can expect your new LED strip lights to be just as bright as any other light source. They are also available with different lumen (brightness) values to give you greater flexibility.
7. Are LED strip lights waterproof?
You can get non-waterproof, splashproof and waterproof strip lighting. LUMiLife waterproof strip lighting is tightly sealed within a silicone tube, so they can be used safely pretty much anywhere you please.
8. Can LED strip lights be cut and/or joined together?
Strip lights come with handy little markers that allow you to cut them to length, so if you have a five metre length of strip but only need four metres, you can cut it to your needs. The remaining metre won’t go to waste either and can be used elsewhere in your home.
You can also connect different lengths of strip tape very easily. The best method for this is by using strip light connectors that don’t require any soldering.
You do need to make sure you use the right sized strip connector for the size of strip you’re using. There are three different sizes to choose from:
• 8mm connector for single colour 3528 (small chip) strip lighting
• 10mm connector for single colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting
• RGB connector for multi-colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting
Then you just insert the two ends of strip into the connector and clip it shut. Simple as that! Just remember not to exceed a total length of five metres.
9. Why are my LED strip lights flickering?
Your LED strip lights might be flickering because of the power supply you’re using.
LEDs require a Direct Current (DC) power supply, while most mains electricity in the UK is an Alternating Current (AC) power supply. To get around this you need a good-quality LED driver, and the total wattage of the driver needs to cover the total wattage of the strip tape it is powering, plus 20%.
Another reason could be the length of the strip lights. We always recommend that you keep each length of strip lighting you are using to five metres or less. This ensures that enough power is available through the entire length of the strip, preventing flickering or dimming of the lights.
10. Can LED strip lights be bent?
Yes and no. You can bend standard, non-waterproof LED strip tape around corners – as long as you bend them at the ‘cut’ line.
Alternatively, for trickier angles, you can cut the LED strip light and solder a wire between the separate lengths to carry the power supply. However, this method is less subtle to the eye.
Waterproof LED strip lights can’t be bent. This is because they’re coated in waterproof silicone that isn’t flexible enough to bend around corners, so you’ll have to cut and solder the adjoining lengths.