Which LED light strips are best?
For a stylish and practical source of accent lighting, an LED light strip is hard to beat. Also known as tape lights, LED strips have an incredibly long lifespan and are perfect for casting a soft glow on hard-to-reach places like the inside of a deep cabinet.
LED light strips work differently from regular bulbs, so you may need to research before purchasing. That said, if you want a high-tech smart light loaded with features, C by GE 80-inch LED Light Strips are the top pick.
What to know before you buy an LED light strip
How do LED light strips work?
Unlike incandescent bulbs, tape lights use light-emitting diodes fixed to a slender, flexible circuit board to provide soft, subtle illumination. LED light strips use DC power and don’t produce a significant amount of heat, which means that they can be tucked away or placed in wooden cabinets without any risk of fire.
Monochromatic vs. RGB
LED light strips use either monochromatic or RGB diodes to produce light. Monochromatic lights are a single color, usually white or blue, while RGB can provide an endless array of hues. RGB light strips are typically more expensive and come with a controller that lets you change the light color whenever you’d like. This can be a great feature for providing a romantic ambiance or a colored light for special occasions.
Cutting LED strips
You will need to cut to size the majority of LED light strips for any length adjustments. Manufacturers will often simplify this part of the process by adding lines where you can cut the strip. Most of these lines are spaced around 2-6 inches apart, and a simple pair of scissors should do the trick. Before attempting to cut your tape lights, make sure that the strip you bought can be cut and read any included instructions.
What to look for in a quality LED light strip
Smart device compatibility
Some high-end LED light strips have features that you can use with your home’s smart device “ecosystem.” This means that you can control a room’s lighting with your phone or via a voice-activated assistant like Alexa. Strips with smart device compatibility typically require a Wi-Fi connection.
LED light strips are usually held in place by adhesive tape that’s fixed to the back of the lights. Since adhesive can wear off over time, some sets come with additional clips and attachments for added support. When shopping for an LED light strip, look for one that includes bonus clips or an extra-strength adhesive.
Most LED light strips advertise as standard-density or high-density. This refers to how closely the light-emitting diodes are placed together. Standard-density lights feature diodes that are spaced relatively far apart, making them suitable for accent lighting. At the same time, high-density LED light strips have diodes packed closely together, producing a light that’s bright enough for most tasks.
Consider the space that you’re planning to illuminate and make sure you buy LED strips that are long enough. If you think the length will be an issue for your project, look for a tape light that features connectors so you can combine multiple strips.
How much you can expect to spend on an LED light strip
The cost of an LED light strip can vary depending on the length, power and any included features. Many decorative light strips can be purchased for around $10-$30, while high-end strips with dimmable control and smart device compatibility will typically cost $50-$60.
LED light strip FAQ
How long do LED light strips last?
A. LED lights have an incredibly long lifespan compared to other lights, usually around 17 years for a single strip.
Is it all right to leave LED light strips on all night?
A. Because of their low heat generation and energy consumption, LED light strips can be left on as long as you’d like, making them perfect for night lights.
What’s the best LED light strip to buy?
Top LED light strip
What you need to know: This high-tech LED light strip comes with tons of features and a power supply.
What you’ll love: Backed by an energy-leading manufacturer, this smart light strip is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant and lets you schedule illumination times on your smartphone. The strip’s wide color spectrum theoretically lets you customize your space with millions of different color options.
What you should consider: This light strip is expensive and too short for some home lighting projects.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top LED light strip for the money
What you need to know: Simple and reliable, this product comes with two LED light strips that you can combine for a light that’s nearly 33 feet long.
What you’ll love: These extra-long light strips can be easily cut for adjustability and feature a strong adhesive back for simple installation. The strips are very flexible, and many users note a great bang for the buck.
What you should consider: This light strip doesn’t include a power adaptor, and the diodes are rather fragile.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
LED light strip worth checking out
What you need to know: This solid light strip casts a warm glow that’s perfect for holidays and family gatherings.
What you’ll love: Another reliable product from LE, this simple light strip is extremely energy-efficient and easy to install. A single roll is about 16 feet, which is suitable for most home projects.
What you should consider: The tape light doesn’t include a power adaptor, so an additional purchase will be required.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.