LED strips are such fascinating pieces of lighting technology, but they have a bad reputation because of cheap variants clogging the marketplace. Luckily, there are ways to distinguish high-quality LED strips from the ones that will break down within months. In this blog post we’ll do our best to show you what to look for when picking out LED strips.
If the product mentions no technical specifications at all, that’s one of the biggest warning signs. Low cost LED strips claim to have high brightness are also a red flag, because they may overdrive the LEDS to the point of premature failure.
Look for these specifications
LED strips should at least offer you information on the following: the number of LEDS per meter, the brightness per LED emitter and the power draw per meter. These numbers will tell you a lot about the overall quality and brightness of the strips on offer.
The number of LEDs per meter is sometimes referred to as LED density. This specification will give you an idea of the distance between the LEDs that are present on a strip. This in turn will tell you whether there will be visible hotspots and dark spots between the LED emitters. Ideally, you want at least 30 LEDs per meter, going up to 120 for the most evenly distributed lighting. Always look out for information about the LED density, because the LED emitters are the most expensive component of the strip and probably the first thing where manufacturers will try to save costs.
Power draw per meter
The next step is to check the power draw per meter. With this number, you can calculate the amount of electricity that is necessary to power the complete strip. A decent quality LED strip should be capable of providing at least 10 watts per meter. You can also use the power draw per meter to see if the LED emitters on a strip are being overdriven. Divide the wattage per meter by the LED density per meter and the outcome of that simple calculation will tell you the wattage per LED. It’s usually a good sign if the LEDs are not driven at more than 0.2 watts per emitter.
The brightness of a LED strip is also usually measured per meter. A good quality LED strip should at least provide 420 to 1500 lumens per meter. This level is approximately equal to the light output of conventional lamps. The wattage rating of a LED strip is not enough to determine the actual light output, because the strips can have different levels of efficiency.
In summary: check for all the specifications mentioned above and see if the product meets or exceeds the minimal requirements. If so, all you need to worry about is having enough electricity to power the LED strips. Professional strips are configured to operate at 24V DC, so if you’re running them off a standard power source, for example a wall outlet, you need a power converter for the lower 24V voltage.
Also make sure that your power supply has enough capacity to power the strips. You can determine the total power draw by multiplying the LED power draw per meter by the length of the strip in meters.
If you want to know more, you can always contact us for further details or other information on LED-related lighting.