How To Choose The Best Waterproof LED Strip Lights For A Safe Home
There’s something about the festive air of the holiday season that brings out our creative nature, isn’t there? Maybe you’re DIYing Christmas gifts, finding more inspiration in the kitchen, getting started on your next furniture-building project…or planning impressive upgrades to your house or place of business.
If you fall in that last category, do we have a product for you!
Waterproof LED strip lights are a simple and cost-effective way to immediately enhance the appearance and mood of any room or outdoor space. And let us tell you, today’s LED lights are so much more convenient, attractive, and advanced than those of the past.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you should know about waterproof LED strip lights before making your purchase—from frequently asked questions to a buying guide and a quick product review! It’s our goal to help you find the very best LED strip light for you, and to help you make an informed purchase.
Where to Use Waterproof Strip Lights
Due to their versatile and flexible nature, you can use LED strip lights almost anywhere. This type of lighting is most often used to highlight or accent certain areas of your home or outdoor space, though they are also a popular option for ceiling lighting.
LED strip lights can be used to accent stairs, entertainment centers, televisions & computers, displays, shelving, hollow wall areas, drop ceilings, and outdoor gardens or patios. They can also be used to provide additional lighting for bathrooms and kitchens, often being placed in key locations such as beneath the bathtub or cupboards. When used as ceiling lighting, LED strip lights provide bright but eco-friendly light to larger areas such as classrooms, warehouses, and the like.
You can also use LED strip lights as decoration or décor. For example, LED strip lights are increasingly popular for decking out cars, bicycles, and even Halloween costumes. These lights are so flexible that you can use them to form words or other designs, making them ideal for seasonal messages or advertisement signs for businesses.
And the uses we’ve listed here are just the beginning. There is no end to what you can do with LED strip lights. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that different projects require different types of LED strip lights, so make sure you do your research before getting too creative!
What to Look for in Waterproof LED Strip Lights
Feeling inspired already? Excited to get your hands on some LED strip lights and get to work on your upcoming project? Great! But one more thing (well, a few more things) before we acquaint you with our top LED strip light picks. Let’s discuss what exactly you should look for in this type of product before purchasing.
Type of LED Strip Lights
There are two ways to categorize LED strip lights by ‘type.’ The first is by number (which indicates the size and dimensions of the light) and the second is by the design type (which indicates how the strip is best used).
Here’s a breakdown of the most common LED strip light types by number:
Dimensions: 3.5mm (W) X 2.8mm (L)
Best Used For: Decorative lighting / Cove lighting
Dimensions: 2.8mm (W) X 3.5mm (L)
Best Used For: Decorative lighting / Cove lighting
Additional Note: The 2835 variety features a more economical and efficient design than the 3528 variety, despite their similarity in size.
Dimensions: 5.0mm (W) X 5.0mm (L)
Best Used For: Task lighting / General lighting
Dimensions: 3.0mm (W) X 1.4mm (L)
Best Used For: Accent lighting / General lighting
Dimensions: 2.2mm (W) X 1.6mm (L)
Best Used For: Accent lighting
Dimensions: 5.6mm (W) X 3.0mm (L)
Best Used For: Projects requiring high wattage
In addition to the different sizes, there are four main types of LED strip lights available to you:
- DC LED Flex Strips
The narrow strip design, low voltage, and low heat output of the DC LED Flex Strips make them ideal for a variety of tasks around the house—even if you’re not a professional. They provide an attractive accent to everything from furniture to cabinets and staircases.
- AC LED Flex Strips
AC LED Flex Strips offer more width than the DC variety, at half an inch wide. This variety is also very user-friendly and convenient—all you have to do is plug them in! Depending on your project, you can rest assured that cutting the strip to the length you need will be relatively easy as there are special ‘stops’ every eighteen inches where you can cut it without hassle.
- LED Rope Light
LED Rope Lights are a bit different, in that the lights are encased in a rounded, plastic casing. This type of light features a plug-and-play design and is extremely versatile due to its flexibility. Perfect for creating words, designs, or even accenting your bicycle!
- High Output LED Strips
This type of light features the highest level of brightness. It is ideal for lighting entire rooms or certain areas of the home where extra lighting is needed.
Lumens are used to measure the brightness of LED strip lights. Manufacturers indicate this by stating how many lumens the product has per foot or per meter. The number of lumens you opt for should depend on your project.
For example, if you only need accent lighting, it’s best to opt for a lower lumen count (100 to 250). But if you’re doing something large-scale like advertisement signs, you should opt for a higher lumen count (upwards of 500).
Strip size refers to how long the LED strip is. The length you need will depend on your project, so try to get a good estimate of what you’ll need before purchasing. LED strip lights are normally sold per foot or by the reel, with the average reel containing five meters (almost 16.5 feet) of strip.
Once you know how much strip you’ll need, it’s important to look for a product with the best LED density for your project. LED density refers to how many individual LED lights there are per a given unit of length (often measured by the foot/meter or yard). You can expect for products with more LEDs per length to have a higher light output and more even lighting than those with fewer LEDs.
Color & Temperature
As for aesthetics, there are two key components to keep in mind: color and temperature.
You can purchase LED strip lights in one solid color or opt for versions that provide multiple colors. The product you end up buying should really depend on your personal preferences. While single-color lights can provide an elegant, clean look for accenting or basic lighting, multi-colored varieties can add depth and character to your home or business.
When talking about lighting, temperature (measured in Kelvin) refers to how ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ the glow from the light is. The higher the Kelvin, the cooler the temperature. A cool temperature will provide more of a blueish glow, while a warm temperature will provide more of a yellow or amber glow. There are also ‘neutral’ temperatures that are basic white. The temperature you opt for should depend on your personal preferences and your project. For example, cool lighting is better for task lighting whereas warm lighting is better for more laid-back environments such as the bedroom.
The installation refers to how the lights must be installed. While ‘plug-and-play’ units are very popular nowadays—and are, in fact, the most convenient option—there are also units that require more advanced installation. Some LED strip lights even have to be programmed before use! Unless you’re a professional or have prior experience with this LED light installation, you’ll probably want to opt for a unit that’s easy to install (such as adhesive strips).
Wattage / Voltage
The wattage of your LED strip light refers to how much power it uses to function. Watts can be labeled as per foot/meter or per reel, so make sure you know which case applies to the lights you purchase. This information can help you figure out what kind of power source you require and how much money you can expect to spend each month for lighting.
The voltage refers to how many volts the unit requires to function. There are two common voltages: 12V and 24V. Basically, you just have to make sure that the lights’ voltage matches the voltage of the outlet you’ll be using.
Waterproofing is an important feature in LED strip lights that you plan on using outdoors or in areas of the home where water is used (such as the bathroom). If you’re planning an outdoor project, make sure to purchase waterproofed strip lights to increase the longevity of your lights.
Safety is a crucial—and non-negotiable—element of LED strip lights.
One way to know that a product is safe is to see if it’s UL-listed. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is an independent company that tests products for safety and quality. So if a product has been certified by them, you can rest assured it’s top-notch and safe to use.
As a general rule, LED strip lights with lower wattage and voltage tend to be safer than those with higher wattage and voltage. Also ensure that the lights on the unit you purchase do not get overly hot when in use; this could indicate a potential fire hazard. Many LED strip lights today are specially designed to keep the lights from getting too hot.
The Best Waterproof LED Strip Lights
You are now ready, grasshopper. You now have the knowledge you need—and probably more—to narrow down your LED strip light options. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites for you!
OSLS16 LED 7.09″ Under Cabinet Strip Light
Looking to add some pizazz to your kitchen, bathroom, or living room? Then this 16-foot reel of LED strip lighting is exactly what you need!
This product features multi-color capabilities, a simple adhesive installation process, and 50,000 hours’ worth of integrated LED life. Oh, and did we mention the smart features and downloadable app? If you’re the type of person who likes things “just so,” you’re going to love everything this product has to offer—16 million possible color options, remote dimming features, and Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant control options barely scratch the surface. You can install these lights anywhere for a dramatic date night effect or cozy lighting for family gatherings. Best of all, they come with a full lifetime warranty.
JUL10WM4 LED 10″ Under Cabinet Strip Light
This LED strip light set provides a stunning white glow that’s equally ideal for general lighting and accent lighting. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a little extra kitchen or bathroom lighting, especially around cabinets or drawers. They’re relatively easy to install, too, featuring a surface-mounted design. Nothing you can’t handle! With a lifespan of 30,000 hours and a 1-year warranty, what do you have to lose? Fall in love with your home again or impress your guests with the simple elegance these lights have to offer!
84-Light LED 12″ Under Cabinet Strip Light
Does your kitchen need a little TLC? Some added character? Or maybe just a little more lighting for when you grab that late-night glass of water? Then you need to check out these LED strip lights!
They feature a simple, no-frills design and their aluminum construction ensures durability and longevity. You’ll also appreciate the straightforward surface-mount installation method (though you will need a screwdriver) as well as how simple it is to link the two strips together. Best of all, these lights are UL-listed, so you can rest assured you’re purchasing a high-quality, safety-tested product. These LEDs will lend your kitchen the perfect white lighting for any occasion.
TBI Pro LED Strip Lights 32.8ft
Of the products on this list, these LED strip lights from TBI Pro may offer the most bang for your buck! This product was designed specifically with the user in mind, which is why it features a more effective adhesive mechanism than other products do and includes a 44-key remote control. Due to their flexible design, you can use these RGB LED lights for just about any purpose under the sun: basic accent lighting for your kitchen or bathroom, outdoor projects, and even commercial applications. This unit also has 50,000 hours of life and is designed to save energy—a bonus for your wallet and the environment!
Phopollo Waterproof Led Strip Lights Color Change 16.4ft
Whatever plans you have going for you, know that these waterproof LED strip lights from PHOPHOLLO can handle them with ease. Featuring strong adhesive capabilities, multiple color options, and an IR remote for easy control, this product has everything you could ever need—and more—in a set of LED strip lights. To make your life even easier, they feature ‘cut marks’ after every third LED light so you can cut the strip according to your needs with no hassle. These lights are ideal for a range of projects, from bar lighting to any number of outdoor projects. See for yourself!
Waterproof Mixi 65.6ft 600 Lights
These waterproof LED strip lights from Mixi have so many bells and whistles, and all at an affordable price. Each set boasts millions of possible color options, app control, volume recognition, and even a Music Mode that changes the lights’ rhythm based on the music playing. They’re also super-easy to install, adhering to most surfaces with no problem. Cutting the strip to serve your purposes will be a breeze, as there are ‘cut marks’ after every third LED. All in all, these lights provide superb functionality and are designed to serve a range of purposes and environments—both indoors and outdoors. Try a set and get ready to let your imagination run wild!
ALITOVE LED Strip Lights Waterproof Daylight
If you just need a simple lighting solution for your home, yard, or business, these waterproof LED strip lights are a great option. You can purchase them in an attractive Daylight White or Warm White temperature to best suit whatever project you have in mind, and they’re very flexible so you can use them in any number of applications or environments. The PVC tube casing keeps lights safe from the elements, meaning you can use them indoors or outdoors without fear! The lights boast an ultra-bright glow and can last upwards of 50,000 hours. What more could you ask for?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Are LED light strips worth it?
This depends on what you’re looking for in your future lighting system.
LED light strips possess a lot of features and positive qualities that other lighting systems don’t. For example, LED light strips are:
– Available in tons of options
If these features are important to you, then yes, LED light strips are definitely worth it!
Still, this lighting system isn’t for everybody, nor is it best for every project or location. It’s best to research a variety of lighting methods to see which ones suit your needs and preferences the best.
Is it OK to sleep with LED strip lights on?
There are four factors to consider here:
As long as your LED lights are high-quality and possess certain safety features, it should be safe to sleep with them on. That said, if your LED lights are not the best quality or if you’ve just purchased them, it’s better to turn them off before sleeping. Poor-quality builds or features can result in fires if they unit is kept on for too long.
Because they use so little energy, keeping them on all the time won’t cost you as much as keeping other lights on. But if saving money wherever you can is important to you, it’s best to turn off the lights before sleeping.
As for longevity, LED lights are designed to last a time. However, as with all other lighting types, the lights will die out eventually—a process which is expedited when you leave them on unnecessarily.
Finally, while LED lights do not use a lot energy, shutting them off before bed is still an eco-friendlier option.
In short: Yes, you can leave them on while sleeping, but it’s better practice not to.
How much do LED light strips cost?
This largely depends on the type of LED light strips you purchase, as well as factors such as their color or waterproofing. Generally, this will cost you somewhere from $15 to $50, with most LED light strips costing $30 or $40.
We hope you found this article useful, and that you walk away with a better understanding of what LED strip lights are and what you can expect to find on the market. You may have even found your dream set from our list!
LED strip lights are a big purchase and an even bigger commitment—make sure you buy the best possible product within your price range. And remember that the best LED strip light for you and your project is the one that checks all of your boxes.