Create a festive atmosphere in your home while saving energy with the best LED strip lights. The options currently available are the result of decades of development. They require considerably less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb, run cooler, and tend to be more affordable. Whereas an ordinary incandescent light bulb might last 2,000 hours, LED lights have a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours.
LED bulbs have become popular for existing light fittings, while LED strip lights typically have adhesive backing or clips that mean they can be fitted almost anywhere. Many can be cut to the required length with household scissors. More recent innovations include color changing, remote control, and compatibility with smart home hubs. While this gives you an array of ways to use LED lights, it can sometimes lead to confusion. We’ll help clarify how to pick the best LED strip lights for your needs.
— Best Overall: Govee RGB LED Strip Lights
— Best Budget: Phopollo LED Strip Lights
— Best for Kitchens: Cotanic Motion Sensor Cabinet Lights
— Best for Outdoors: HitLights Waterproof LED Light Strip
— Best for Parties: DayBetter LED Strip Lights with App Control
— Best for Greenhouse: Barrina T5 Grow Lights, Full Spectrum
How We Picked the Best LED Strip Lights
I recently fitted an LED light strip in a new kitchen, so I have up-to-date, hands-on experience with many of the options. Additional online research made sure we understood the full range available.
Usually we develop a set of performance-based criteria for evaluating products. We also consider brand reputation, and, of course, value. It is more difficult to establish those differences with LED light strips because there are around a half-dozen manufacturers who all produce broadly similar products, with similar costs.
We’re presenting as broad a spectrum as possible, covering different options from simple white LEDs to multi-colored app- and voice-controlled models. They all come from leading names within the industry, and each is competitively priced. The result is a selection of high quality products that should provide the best LED strip lights for any purpose.
The Best LED Strip Lights: Reviews & Recommendations
Best LED Strip Lights Overall: Govee RGB LED Strip Lights
Why It Made The Cut: These high-quality LED light strips from Govee show off an impressive range of lighting options, and provide advanced control features that are accessible from anywhere making these lights our pick for the best LED strip lights overall.
— Length: 32.8 feet each (2 strips included)
— Fitting: Adhesive or clips
— Controls: Govee App, IR Remote, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
— Advanced lighting management
— Wi-Fi control
— Easy to trim to desired length
— Doesn’t include 4-pin connectors
— Not compatible with 5G WiFi
Many competitors offer color changing lights, and several have apps and home control integration, but none offer the Govee LED strip lights’ comprehensive array of features. Supplied at two rolls of 32.8 feet, the ribbon-like LED light strips are flexible and can be fitted using the adhesive backing or the clips provided. Strips can be cut to any length, though additional connectors will be required to run any offcuts separately.
The Govee App, which is available for Android and iOS, offers outstanding versatility. Where some rivals offer a few dozen color combinations, Govee provides a choice of 16 million. There is also the opportunity to create custom color “scenes” for particular moods, set timers, and have the lights react to music. Using a smartphone and standard household Wi-Fi, multiple Govee LED light strips can be controlled from any location. You can also use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.
Best Budget LED Strip Lights: Phopollo LED Strip Lights
Why It Made The Cut: Phopollo’s LED strip lights are easy to install and provide a variety of lighting effects for different areas of the home at a competitive price making these the best budget LED strip lights.
— Length: 32.8 feet
— Fitting: Adhesive
— Controls: IR Remote
— Easy-to-use remote
— Less than $20
— Modest color options
— Limited remote range
Phopollo is another popular brand for LED strip lights. While functionality is basic, they offer 20 static colors (which are dimmable) and eight dynamic (color changing) modes that can be set using the infrared (IR) remote. One downside is that IR remotes usually only have about a 30-foot range, and their signals cannot pass through walls.
A strong adhesive backing makes it easy to attach the Phopollo LED strip lights to most surfaces. Like many light strips they can be cut to different lengths, though only one dual-socket connector is included.
The Phopollo LED strip lights don’t have an extensive feature set, but will be acceptable for basic use. A 16.4-foot strip with identical specification is available at an even more budget-friendly price.
Best LED Strip Lights for Kitchens: Cotanic Motion Sensor Cabinet Lights
Why It Made The Cut: These energy-efficient LED strip lights from Cotanic can detect motion and light levels. They turn on as you get within range and turn off again when not required.
— Length: 15.94 inches
— Fitting: Two-sided adhesive tape or built-in magnet
— Controls: Switch or motion senso
— Motion sensor
— Ultra-low profile
— Regular recharging required
— Lighting large areas is expensive
Solid LED strips, like these from Cotanic, are a popular choice to use beneath kitchen cabinets, bringing useful additional light to work surfaces without the need to light the whole room. A built-in magnet makes them easy to use on iron surfaces, and included two-sided tape helps you attach the light to other surfaces. They can be used inside closets, and they also make for effective task lighting in a home office if, for example, the desk area was below shelving.
Most LEDs are already energy-efficient, but Cotanic takes this a step further with motion sensors so the lights can be set to only come on when required. Detection distance is up to 10 feet, and the lights will turn themselves off again if no movement is detected after 18 seconds. They also have a brightness sensor, so they won’t come on if there is already sufficient illumination in the room. An ordinary on/off switch is fitted to override these settings.
The space-saving, low profile design is just 0.37 inches thick. They run off rechargeable batteries, so no cables are needed. Full charge takes around two hours. This delivers four to six hours of continuous light, or up to two months in motion sensor mode.
Best LED Strip Lights for Outdoors: HitLights Waterproof LED Light Strip
Why It Made The Cut: Both the LED strip lights and connectors are IP67 waterproof, meaning they’re dust-tight and can be submerged in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
— Length: 16.4 feet
— Fitting: Adhesive or clips
— Controls: On/Off (Dimming switches are separately sold)
— IP67 waterproof rating
— Durable casing
— 164 Lumens per foot
— Lighting controller and dimmer switches sold separately
— White only
Most LED strip lights are designed for indoor use, while a few have a weather-proof layer that can be used outdoors — as long as the connectors are indoors. This HitLights model is IP67 waterproof, meaning it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for about 30 minutes. In other words, they can handle some rain, making them ideal for outdoor use. The only thing that needs cover is the mains plug. Lights, connectors, and power supply are also UL certified, meaning they have passed the Underwriter Laboratories’ specific safety standards.
The LEDs themselves are protected by a durable yet flexible silicone casing with high transmission levels so the lights don’t appear dull. It comes with a strong adhesive backing, or they can be attached with the clips provided. They can be trimmed, though resealing can be difficult and might compromise waterproofing. A dimmer can be added as can options for strobing, and other lighting effects, though these cost extra.
Best LED Strip Lights for Parties: DayBetter LED Strip Lights
Why It Made The Cut: DayBetter’s LED strip lights offer great versatility, whether you want cozy mood lighting or vibrant colors that react to music. The app also gives you control from anywhere.
— Length: 50 feet each (2 rolls included)
— Fitting: Adhesive
— Controls: IR Remote or App
— Long enough to light large rooms
— Versatile control functions
— Music sync needs phone app
— Not for outdoor use
DayBetter is another of the leading LED lighting brands. This pair of 50 feet strip lights is competitively priced, and delivers a variety of features. The two lengths are easy to fit using the adhesive backing, and they can be cut into smaller lengths (although extra connectors would need to be bought).
Once installed the DayBetter LED strip lights can be controlled by a basic IR remote or via a free app. The latter gives tremendous flexibility in controlling the color and timer settings. It also allows lighting to be switched on and off from anywhere.
When it’s party time, you can use the app to sync the lighting to music, as well as control a wide variety of pulse and strobe effects. However, this feature does rely on the microphone built into the phone, rather than one fitted to the lights. If the music is stored on the phone this doesn’t present a problem, but if it comes from a separate source, the phone needs to stay close by.
Best for Greenhouse: Barrina T5 Grow Lights, Full Spectrum
Why It Made The Cut: Traditional grow lamps often produce excess heat, which wastes energy. Barrina’s LED alternatives run much cooler, are far more efficient, and transmit a higher level of plant-friendly light.
— Length: 2 feet each (8 strips included)
— Fitting: Adhesive, clips, or cable ties
— Controls: Individual on/off switches
— Provide controllable ‘sunlight’
— Big energy savings compared to traditional plant lights
— Full spectrum
— Adhesives can fail in high humidity
There’s a misconception that part of a grow lamp’s purpose is to provide heat. In fact their purpose is to mimic sunlight, and in many cases, traditional grow lights create too much heat so additional energy has to be used on cooling.
LEDs have the advantage of running cooler, and they use considerably less electricity. Barrina claims these 80W LED light strips produce equivalent light levels to 500W of ordinary lighting. They produce Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD), which means more useful light reaches the plants. These are full-spectrum lights, with blue, red, and green components each of which is beneficial to different aspects of plant growth. However, it does mean they take on a pinkish hue, rather than being bright white.
All the required fittings and connectors are supplied. While adhesive tape is one option, there have been reports of it weakening in humid growing environments, so the included clips or cable ties are recommended. While control is minimal, each LED strip light can be switched on and off independently, thus offering simple management of light levels.
Things to Consider Before Buying LED Strip Lights
Leading manufacturers of LED strip lights like Govee, Phopollo, Gusodor, and Daybetter make a wide range of very similar products. So, the small details can make a big difference. Others like Barrina and Cotanic are more specialized. The following elements all have an impact on choice.
Brightness and Color
Brightness is measured in lumens (Lm), with higher numbers indicating a higher brightness. A standard incandescent bulb that was formerly described as 100 Watts is roughly 1600 Lumens. However, this can be misleading when looking at LED lights because LED light strips have many small light points close together. They provide a more even spread along a wall, and as a result, many manufacturers do not provide figures.
When describing light colors, Kelvin (K) measurements may also be quoted, as color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale. For example, 6500 K is similar to daylight. It would be suitable for a kitchen but probably too bright for a bedroom. Many LED strip lights can be dimmed, allowing their use in multiple locations. They may also have a wide range of color options for mood lighting.
Some LED light strips are solid, like fluorescent tubes, but come in a greater variety of shapes. Others come as flexible tapes. When choosing a solid LED strip light, it will be important to check dimensions. Most flexible tape models can be cut to length with an ordinary pair of scissors. Sometimes multiple mains connectors are provided, so one long strip can be cut into several shorter ones. However, often only one is included. Additional connectors would need to be purchased, and fittings can vary, so it’s important to check.
Solid LED light strips usually have clips that are easy to screw to cabinets or closets. Some use cable ties or similar adjustable plastic straps. Flexible tapes use either a strong adhesive or clips. While adhesive allows them to be fitted more or less anywhere, painted surfaces might be damaged when replacement is eventually required. Given LED light strips can have a life expectancy of 10 years or more (if used on average 8 hours per day) this may not be a significant drawback.
Dimming is a common feature for LED strip lights, though not all products offer it. Being able to change the color of the lights, or rotate through a series of colors, is also frequently offered. On more advanced models, this may happen in response to music. Hand-held infrared (IR) remote controls are available, as are smartphone apps, and in some cases voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. Motion sensors are another possibility.
The more customizable the lights, the more expensive they’ll be. If you’re using them as grow lights or for parties, it may be worth the money — but if you’re looking for casual, everyday use, basic features will be more than enough.
Q: Are LED strip lights safe?
Absolutely, if installed and used according to manufacturer’s instructions. They run considerably cooler than standard incandescent bulbs, and do not emit either infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV) light.
Q: How much do the best LED strip lights cost?
LED strip lights are very affordable, with cost largely depending on length. Most are somewhere between 40 cents and $1.50 per foot, though waterproof outdoor models are around twice that. Prices for solid models are usually in the range of $15 to $25 each.
Q: Can you leave LED strip lights on all the time?
You can. They run at low temperatures, use less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last longer. However, even LEDs use some energy so it’s better for your household bills, and the environment in general, if they are turned off when not needed.
Final Thoughts on LED Strip Lights
LED strip lights can serve a number of purposes, whether you’re looking to enhance your plants’ growth or want to amp up your party. We chose Govee as the best LED strip lights because they combine quality, versatility, and value. If you’re looking for a cheaper option that can still deliver quality, we’d recommend the Phopollo LED Strip Lights.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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