Essential Lighting Accessories You Need to Install LED Strip Lights
LED strip lighting, also known as LED tape, is quickly becoming one of the most popular home lighting solutions. Thanks to its effortless style and easy installation, LED tape is favoured by homeowners who want gorgeous lighting without all of the issues that can come with other types of lights.
However, despite its ease of installation, there are still some things you need to be aware of before you install LED tape in your home. In particular, you need to know which lighting accessories are essential for installing your strip lights safely and effectively. In this helpful guide, we’ll walk through the main lighting accessories you’ll need and discuss when and how you need to use them.
The Benefits of LED Strip Lights
Why are LED strip lights so popular nowadays? More and more people now want to know how to install LED tape and strip lighting in their homes, which is a testament to how coveted this type of lighting is becoming.
To explain this popularity, here are the main benefits of installing LED strip lights:
- Modern style. For those who appreciate a clean, modern and minimalistic aesthetic in their homes, LED tape is the perfect lighting solution.
- LED strip lights are particularly suited to bespoke accent lighting applications, such as uplighting, downlighting and backlighting. If you want to highlight certain features in your home, then LED strip lighting is the right choice for this.
- Easy installation. If you don’t want to deal with complicated wiring, then LED tape is ideal. Strip lights can be attached to almost any surface in your home, as long as they have access to a power source.
- Safe, eco-friendly and long-lasting LEDs. In general, LED lighting is far superior to traditional lighting options, such as incandescent, fluorescent and halogen lighting. This is because LED lights have a much longer lifespan and don’t contain chemicals like mercury that could harm you or the planet.
With all of these amazing benefits, it’s easy to see why so many people want to install LED tape in their homes. If you’re thinking of installing these lights too, then keep reading to learn more about the essential lighting accessories you’ll need to make your installation a success, including LED drivers, LED strip light connectors, LED profiles and LED coving.
LED drivers regulate the amount of power that’s provided to your LED strip lights. By regulating this power, LED drivers can preserve your LED lights and prevent them from burning out due to excessive temperature increases.
Constant Current Drivers vs. Constant Voltage Drivers
LED drivers work by supplying either a constant voltage or a constant current. This prevents your LED lights from being overloaded with too much power.
Constant current LED drivers are excellent at preventing thermal runaway. This is when a higher temperature causes the forward voltage of the LED to decrease, which makes the LED draw more current. Then, the LED will continue to get hotter and draw more current until it burns itself out. Thermal runaway is a particular concern for high-powered LEDs, so a constant current driver is preferable in this scenario.
On the other hand, constant voltage LED drivers are better for common LED strip lighting applications in the home. This is because LED strips are usually designed with a group of LEDs in series with a resistor included, and this resistor will already be regulating the current. Therefore, you need a constant voltage driver to deliver the right amount of voltage to your strip lights according to their specifications. For example, common LED strip lights will need either a 12V driver or a 24V driver.
Dimmable LED Drivers
To give yourself more customisation options with your new LED tape lighting, you could opt for a 12V dimmable LED driver or 24V dimmable LED driver. As the name suggests, this type of driver allows you to dim your lighting so you can adjust the brightness to fit the room, mood and atmosphere.
Dimmable drivers are designed to work in circuits that use dimmer switches dimmer switches such as Varilight V-Com for TRIAC Dimmers.
If you’re hoping to shop for a dimmable driver product, make sure you look at retailers who stock this option and filter the results if you’re shopping online.
LED Strip Light Connectors
If you want to use LED tape over a large area, then you’ll need LED strip light connectors to be able to complete your project. The two main types of strip connectors are strip-to-strip connectors and strip-to-wire connectors, and you may have to use both to complete your installation.
Strip-to-strip connectors allow you to easily connect LED strips together without soldering them. This is perfect if you want to cover a large area and you can’t find a single strip that’s long enough. The electrical current will flow through the connector so that all of the strips light up evenly.
Strip-to-wire connectors allow you to connect an LED strip to a wire on the other side of the connector. This enables you to connect your LED strips to a power source or connect strips across gaps. For example, you could use a strip-to-wire connector to bend the wire around a corner and then connect it to another strip. Alternatively, you could use L-shaped LED strip light connectors to connect to another strip at a 90° angle, which is great for installing LED lights around tight corners.
LED profiles allow you to mount your LED strip lights on walls and ceilings, creating a modern and seamless lighting effect. By placing your LED tape inside the profile’s channel, you can hide the appearance of the circuit board and make your lighting more aesthetically pleasing. Having an opaque diffuser covering the channel can also reduce the spotting effect caused by the individual LEDs, which will give your lighting a smooth and sleek finish.
Additionally, using an LED profile is very important because it prolongs the lifespan of your LED strip lights. Not only does the outer shell of the profile offer protection, but the LED profile also acts as a heat sink to reduce overheating.
Types of LED Profiles
There’s a wide range of LED profile styles to suit various applications. Here are the main types:
- U-shaped profiles. This is the typical LED profile style used in many applications.
- Surface mounted profiles. These profiles are designed to be mounted to a surface and will commonly need mounting brackets to complete their installation.
- Plaster in profiles. Designed to be recessed and plastered over their textured flange to create a sleek flush finish.
- Recessed profiles. Unlike surface-mounted profiles, which are installed with mounting brackets, recessed profiles are installed inside a surface (e.g., recessed into a wall) to create a seamless finish.
- Circular profiles. These profiles create a tube lighting effect and provide 360°
- Corner profiles. This type of LED profile can be placed under ceilings, cabinets and cupboards.
- IP65 profiles. If you want to install LED lighting in a damp area such as your bathroom, you’ll need an IP65 profile to withstand these conditions.
LED coving, also known as LED cornice lighting, is similar to LED profiles because it offers you a way to mount and house your LED tape. However, rather than providing an enclosed shell, LED coving acts as a ledge or trough between your ceiling and wall. Since they’re attached to this ledge, your LED strip lights will create a modern and stylish uplighting effect. Uplighting can provide softer illumination and therefore add an intimate or sophisticated atmosphere to a room.
Where to Buy the Best LED Lighting Accessories
If you’re hoping to install LED strip lights in your home, you’ll need the best lighting accessories to help you protect and enhance your LEDs. At Ultra LEDs, you can choose from an extensive collection of LED drivers, LED connectors, LED profiles, LED coving and much more. Speak to one of our dedicated members of staff to discover the highest-quality lighting accessories and find an answer to each and every question you have about the installation process.