LED Lighting Buying Guide
LEDs have increased greatly in popularity since they were first introduced to the world. Over the years, you might have heard arguments that encourage your purchase of LEDs – they are stronger, more efficient, brighter, easily programmed, etc. LED lighting can be used in a variety of ways, in a variety of packages, and are a great option for residential lighting. If you have chosen to buy an LED for your lighting needs, how can you ensure you buy just the right one?
LEDs are promoted for their ability to get super bright and this is increasingly so with advancing technology. But you may not always want super bright. LED brightness is measured in Lumens; the higher the Lumens, the better the brightness. Be sure to take note of the Lumens that fit your preferences. For instance, most would prefer nothing more than 200 Lumens for accent lighting.
LED strip lights come in a variety of colors. Single colored LED strips that emit one fixed color are fairly popular and are cheap and easy to install. These colors include Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Cool White, Warm White, and Neutral White. Beyond these are multicolored strips that emit more than one display color. These are called RGB Lighting (Red-Green-Blue) strips and display different colors in flashes. You could control the interval and format of the color displays using a controller or you could tune it completely to a single color display.
This is mostly specific to the white LED colors. A color temperature determines how warm or cool the color feels on the eyes. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin. Higher temperatures represent cooler colors (with a bluish tone), while lower temperatures represent warmer colors (with a yellowish tone).
LED Strip Lengths
LED strip lengths should be a critical factor in your purchase. Shorter LED strips would be problematic and tedious to install on longer runways. Long-run LED strip lights usually come with areas that allow for cutting, in case you have reached your limit. But these should be properly timed.
Although the length of a strip is very important, it does not necessarily determine brightness. While Lumens measure the brightness of a single LED, the number of LEDs in a strip length determines how bright the strip gets. Compact LEDs produce cleaner, less spotty lights that are uniform and bright. Distanced LEDs – which might produce “broken” lighting – could fit into certain project needs. Be sure to confirm that which you need. You can always check the manufacturer’s description to find out the LEDs/length, though this measurement might differ by manufacturer.
Types of LED Strips
- 12V DC LED flex strips
- AC LED flex strips
- Omni-directional LED Rope Lights
- High powered LED strips
Useful LED Flex Strip Accessories you could Purchase
- Power Supplies: 12V DC strips require power supplies to run. Buy a power supply that handles the wattage of your system.
- Connectors: Strip connectors are used in places where strips have to be cut and connected.
- PWM Dimmers: as the name implies, dimmers are used to control color brightness, shut off strips, or adjust their settings.
- PWM Repeater Amplifier: A repeater is important for large-scale flex strips. It prevents you from having to buy more than one dimmer for up to 210 Watts of strips.