✔️ Location: The first question you need to ask yourself before purchasing strip lights is where you want to install them. Do you want strip lights that illuminate the walls of your bedroom as you read before bed, or will you install strip lights along stairs, under kitchen cabinets, behind the TV or even outdoors? If you plan on using strip lights along stairs, opt for a model that is flexible and can be easily bent. If you need strip lights to cover walls in a sizeable space, make sure you purchase ones that can come in a long length or can be extended. Likewise, if you’re looking for strip lights for your TV, you should opt for shorter strips or ones that can be cut. If you plan on setting up your strip lights outside on your patio or along your front porch, double check whether they have an IP rating and come with a strong adhesive. Our pros recommend an IP rating of at least IP67 if you plan on leaving your lights exposed to rain, snow and other weather conditions as this ensures they are waterproof.
✔️ Operation and connectivity: Not all strip lights are made equal. While some have a physical on and off switch, others come with a remote to make changing colors and settings easy. If you prefer to operate your strip lights via an app on your smartphone, look for ones that have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Keep in mind that if you want to be able to operate your strip lights via a smart assistant like Google or Alexa, you’ll need to opt for Wi-Fi-enabled strip lights or ones that use a hub.
✔️ Color: Strip lights come in all sorts of colors. If you’re not looking for a colorful glow, you can opt for white strip lights in various temperatures ranging from 2,000 to 6,500K (Kelvin). Lower temperatures create a warmer, yellow-white while higher temperatures produce a cooler, bluish-white. If you want strip lights with millions of color options, look for lights that are RGB or RGBIC, the difference being that RGBIC strip lights enable you to individually control each segment on your strip lights to create a rainbow-like effect. Also, double check whether your lights are dimmable or feature dynamic lighting effects if you’re interested in those features.
✔️ Brightness: Strip lights vary in brightness. If you’re hoping to light up your bedroom or kitchen cabinets, look for strip lights with 500 lumens per foot so you have sufficient light. If you’re trying to create mood lighting, around 200 lumens per foot should suffice. Also make sure to check the strip light’s LED density, which is often labeled as LEDs per foot. The more LEDs per foot, the more illumination you can expect to create, with 5050 LED chips being the brightest.
✔️ Size: If you’re installing strip lights in a large indoor or outdoor area, make sure you purchase strip lights that come in a suitable length, so you have enough to cover the area. Oftentimes strip lights are sold in two individual rolls. Always confirm whether they’re expandable or cuttable so you can adjust them to your liking.
✔️ Extra features: If you’re using your strip lights for entertainment, consider ones that feature a built-in mic so you can sync up the beat of your music to your lighting or ones that offer multiple dynamic color modes. If you’re looking for strip lights that turn on automatically, pick ones with motion sensors or ones that can be set to a timer. If you’d like smart home integration, choose strip lights that are Wi-Fi enabled and compatible with your favorite smart assistant.