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We selected the best-LED strip lights by looking at the following features — length and customization, color options, waterproof ratings, brightness, installation kits, and controls. We looked at models that ranged from 16 to 36”to give more versatility and customization for a range of DIY projects. We prioritized models that offered RGB color controls and installation kits for an easier installation experience. And finally, we looked at value-added features such as waterproof ratings, remotes, and controllers to increase the functionality and versatility of this product category. If you’re looking for more lighting options then check out the best smart light bulbs to upgrade the lighting in your home.
Because of the above features, we selected the HitLights 3 Pre-Cut 12-inch/36-inch LED Light Strip Accent Kit as our Top Pick. This model offers the easiest installation process and comes complete with everything you need to quickly install the LED lights and offers the enhanced versatility of RGB-based color technology that you can control with the included remote control.
For people who are intimidated by DIY home improvement projects, LED light strips can be an overwhelming prospect. But HitLights’ LED light strip accent kit comes with everything you need to easily upgrade your surroundings with ambient light. The three pre-cut 12-inch LED strip lights feature RGB LEDs that can cycle between 12 colors and 19 dynamic modes that include dimming and flashing functionality. And since each strip comes with pre-attached Blue 3M LED tape, installation is easier than ever.
Related: Here’s the best dimmer switch to help you set the mood with your lighting.
You’ll like that this kit comes with a 360-degree RF controller that works at distances up to 66 feet and doesn’t rely on line of sight to function properly. But what makes this choice our Top Pick is the fact that it comes with the 12-volt DC power supply, six adhesive-backed wire clips, and three extension wires to easily configure your LED light strips wherever you want. This lighting system is easy to use, comes with a self adhesive tape for easy installation, and easily integrates into your home with your other best smart home devices.
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Customization is one of the biggest draws for the complete LED light strip kit. In addition to an IP65 waterproof rating and the ability to cut these strips wherever you like for a truly customizable lighting installation. These RGB lights can create up to 16 million color variations. But to achieve 16 million variation, you’ll need to purchase additional controls because the included remote isn’t capable of that level of granularity.
Still, you’ll enjoy a bright output with the 2,000-lumen rating. Best of all, you’ll like that this kit includes everything you need to install the lights — two LED light strips with a 3M adhesive that measure 16.4 feet each, a 44-key remote control, an IR controller, 12-volt DC power adapter, and additional connectors. Since they are waterproof, you can use these with the best WiFi outdoor outlet easily.
Just like with anything else, there are countless reasons that someone would choose to install LED strip lights — especially around the home. The LE 12-Volt LED strip light is our Best Budget selection because we think it’s the perfect solution for illuminating strategic areas in your home or office. The 16.4-foot length LED light strip features labeled cut marks so you can accurately adjust the length to fit in any space. If you’re trying to light an outdoor space, you might want to take a look at the best waterproof LED strip lights instead.
See also: Protect yourself against possible carbon monoxide poisoning with the best smoke carbon monoxide detector.
Although this model lacks color variety (you only get white LEDs as opposed to all the other options) and doesn’t come with a power adapter or remote control, we think you’ll like the cool Daylight White illumination which is dimmable and ideal for makeup application in your bathroom or enhanced clarity when you’re in the kitchen cooking. Much like when you use any best smart thermostat, these LED strips are going to save you money on your electric bill.
If your goal is to create the ultimate entertainment experience, we recommend the Ruicaikun Music Bluetooth Waterproof LED Light Strip is a great option. We’ve chosen it as our Best Value because it offers a longer length (32.8 feet), is customizable like our Best Budget choice, but is RGB based with a potential maximum output of 16 million colors.
This model also wowed us with an IP65 waterproof rating. But the biggest allure is that through Bluetooth, you can set these lights to animate in unison with music. To do so, you’ll need to download the free proprietary app which is available on the Google Play and Apple App Store and connect via Bluetooth. Supported animations include two jumping changes, seven gradual changes, five crossfades, eight strobe flashes, and adjustable dimming. Best of all, these LED light strips come with everything you need (minus the app) to install them — a 12-volt DC plug, four-pin connectors, and pre-backed adhesive LED light strips. If you are looking for warmer light, our best warm white LED strip lights list has some great options for the home. For outside of your living space, the best garage lighting is a great section to read.
Note: Other LED Strip Lights we haven’t reviewed here include the Philips Hue LightStrip Plus that’s is compatible with Google Home and can be used with the Philips Hue Hub. The Govee Smart WiFi LED Strip Lights is also one of the best LED light for use with smart apps and connects with Google assistant to sync music and create mood lighting.
LED light strips are a great way to upgrade the functionality of your home or business and are relatively easy to install as part of a DIY project. To narrow down the vast options in this category, we looked at length and customization, color options, waterproof ratings, brightness, installation kits, and controls.
In terms of length, we found that many LED light strips range in length from 16.4 to 36 feet. In some cases, brands that offer 32.8 feet sold their strips as two individual strips that are each 16.4 feet long. But something else we also considered was how easy it was to customize the length. Our #2 through #4 options allow for full customization where you have the freedom to further cut the strips to the right length for your needs. In contrast, our Top Pick features three pre-cut 12-inch LED strips that might be intimidating for beginner LED light installers to attempt to adjust the length.
Color is another big issue as one of the biggest draws of LED lights is the wide range of colors you can achieve. Only our Best Budget model was limited to simple white lights. The remaining LED light strips in our round-up are RGB color LED lights. This is ideal if you want to have the widest range of color options available as theoretically, you can create up to 16 million unique color hues with an RGB LED light strip. However, to do so, you’ll typically need a more robust controller than the simplistic remote controls that the majority of affordable all-in-one LED light strip installation kits supply.
The waterproof rating is important if you’re planning on outdoor installation. Our Honorable Mention and Best Value selections both feature an IP65 waterproof rating which is the minimum you need to safely install a light strip outside. Wherever possible, we did attempt to list the exact lumen rating for each of the products on our list. However, the Top Pick and Best Value selections failed to clarify these values.
Except for our Best Budget selection, all of the other models feature complete installation kits that included a DC power adapter, adhesive, connectors, and some type of controller. Our Top Pick and Honorable Mention come with remote controls that give you the ability to choose a static color or cycle through various animations. Our Best Value choice relies on Bluetooth technology and a free proprietary app that you need to download on your own
The most important feature to look for is an IP rating that clarifies how resistant to water the strip will be. Specifically, a quality outdoor LED light strip should feature at least an IP65 rating. At this level and above, your outdoor LED light strip should be able to withstand water exposure.
LED light strips are usually manufactured in 12 and 24-volt variations. Depending on where you plan on installing your strips, you’ll need to pick the right supporting voltage. If you’re installing an LED light strip in your car, opt for a 12-volt variation. But if you plan on running longer light strips, 24 volts is best to avoid wiring issues. However, keep in mind that your power supply needs to match the voltage that you choose.
This is going to depend on what you find most comfortable. If you don’t want to deal with tools or drilling, then LED light strips with adhesives are the easiest option — especially in difficult to reach areas like under cabinets. For a sturdier installation, you can use mounting clips. But if you want a cleaner aesthetic, aluminum channels or profile housings will create a high-end more professional effect.