LED strips are a popular and versatile lighting solution that can be used for a variety of applications. They are flexible, easy to install, and can be cut to size, making them ideal for accent lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and decorative lighting. One important consideration when choosing LED strips is whether to use low voltage or high voltage strips. In this article, we will discuss the differences between low voltage and high voltage LED strips and when to choose one over the other.
1. What are low voltage LED strip lights?
Low voltage LED strips typically operate at 12V or 24V and require a power supply (transformer/driver) to convert the mains voltage to the low voltage required by the LED strips. The driver is usually separate from the LED strip and must be selected to match the voltage and power requirements of the LED strip. For example, a 12V LED strip will require a 12V power supply; the power output of a transformer/driver should be greater than the total wattage of a certain length of LED strip light.
One of the main advantages of low voltage LED strips is that they are generally safer than high voltage strips. Since they operate at lower voltages, there is less risk of electrical shock, and they are less likely to cause a fire if there is a short circuit. This makes them ideal for use in residential and commercial settings where safety is a primary concern.
Another advantage of low voltage LED strips is that they are generally easier to install and work with than high voltage strips. They can be cut to size and easily connected to the power supply using simple connectors. The flexibility makes them ideal for DIY installations, as well as professional installations.
Low voltage LED strips are often used for decorative lighting, accent lighting, and under-cabinet lighting. They are also popular for lighting installations that require a lot of flexibility, such as curved surfaces or irregular shapes. Because they are easy to cut to length and can be bent around corners, low voltage LED strips can be used to create a wide variety of lighting effects.
2. What are high voltage LED strip lights?
High voltage LED strips operate at 120V or 240V and do not require a separate driver (also referred to as driverless LED strip lights). They can be connected directly to the mains voltage, which can make installation easier in some cases. However, it's important to note that working with high voltage electrical equipment can be dangerous, and you should always follow proper safety procedures when working with high voltage LED strips.
High voltage LED strips are often used for commercial lighting applications, such as cove lighting, and for general lighting. As high voltage LED strip lights connect directly to the mains voltage, they can be used to cover longer distances than low voltage strips with a single power input.
Another advantage of high voltage LED strips is that they may have lower overall initial cost, including lights, parts, accessories, and labor. Because they don't require a separate driver, they can be less expensive to install than low voltage strips with fewer components and wiring.
However, there are some drawbacks to high voltage LED strips. One of the main concerns is safety. Because they operate at higher voltages, there is an increased risk of electric shock. This means that you need to be careful when working with high voltage strips and follow proper safety procedures. Another issue with high voltage LED strips is that they can be less flexible than low voltage strips. Because they are connected directly to the mains voltage, you need to use larger wiring and connectors, which can make them harder to work with in tight spaces or around corners.
3. How to choose between low voltage and high voltage LED strips?
Here are some factors to consider when choosing between low voltage and high voltage LED strips:
- Length of the installation: If you need to cover a long distance with your LED strip installation, then high voltage strips may be the best choice. Because they can do long runs and can be connected directly to the mains voltage, they are ideal for covering long distances without losing brightness or experiencing a voltage drop.
- Safety concerns: If safety is a concern, then low voltage LED strips are the better choice. They operate at lower voltages, which reduces the risk of electric shock. If you're working in tight spaces or around children, then low voltage strips may be the best choice.
- Cost: If you're working on a tight budget, then high voltage LED strips may be more cost-effective on overall initial cost. Because they don't require a separate driver, they can be less expensive to install than low voltage strips.
- Flexibility: If you need a lot of flexibility in your lighting installation, then low voltage LED strips may be the best choice. They can be cut to length and bent around corners, which makes them ideal for irregular shapes or curved surfaces.
Overall, the choice between low voltage and high voltage LED strips ultimately depends on your specific needs and requirements. High voltage is very suitable for long distance lighting, while low voltage is more flexible and can be used for projects of various sizes. Going through the factors above and prioritizing them would help you make a good decision.
GL LED provides both high voltage and low voltage strip lights, as well as compatible channels, transformers, controllers, and necessary accessories. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your project needs, and we would like to help and provide you with professional opinions and solutions.