The Complete Buyers Guide to LED Strips
In this buyers guide we shall take you through our ranges of LED strip lights to help identify the right choice for you and your project requirements. The ranges we shall be covering are:
We also have some useful hints and tips for you under:
First things first, our Ranges explained:
Suitable for a wide range of applications including auxiliary and ambient lighting, the Standard range consists of our single colour tapes, available in whites of the full temperature spectrum from flame white to cool white.
Standard tapes feature low to medium power and brightness ideal for use in most environments including domestic, commercial and retail spaces.
The Eco Bright series offers lower energy consumption at 60 LEDs per metre, or the 120 LED Bright Plus series offers slightly higher luminosity. Both tapes are available in an Easy to Use version which offers plug and play technology, saving you time and money on professional installations or on DIY projects for those unfamiliar with soldering.
Our Standard tapes can also be purchased as a kit which includes everything you’ll need and utilises plug and play technology (no soldering required) to make installation quicker and easier than ever before. Featuring the innovative Syndeo multiport driver, multiple runs of LED tape can be powered from one power supply. Shop tape kits here.
Manufactured using premium componentry and typically offering a longer warranty, the Professional range is ideal for demanding, long term installations where high performance and durability is key. Consisting of both white and single colour tapes, including the Pro Bright and Super Bright series, the Professional range offers a brighter light output for large-scale projects such as in schools, hospitals and theatres.
The Professional range also features the innovative Optiprofile series. The Optiprofile strip has been designed as a result of years of research and development by industry specialists at Tagra. This supreme quality tape offers non-spotting illumination and High Definition 95+ colour rendering, making it the most premium tape on the market.
The tuneable range consists of our dynamic taped, including CCT, RGB, RGBW and digitally addressable varieties. The tuneable range is widely used in display lighting in both domestic and commercial environments to create stunning visual effects, including restaurants, hotels, night clubs and events. To make full use of their decorative capabilities the tuneable tapes require a compatible controller, so you can change the atmosphere of your space at the click of a button. Learn more about LED controllers here.
The Specialist Range features tapes for more specific applications, including slimline tapes for narrow profiles, bendable tapes to cater for corners and curves and ultra violet tapes. The Specialist tapes are widely used for decorative lighting, primarily signage and display applications.
Things to consider when choosing your LED tape:
Due to the lower amount of energy that is required to power LEDs, they require a much lower voltage supply than the 240 AC mains voltage - usually around 12-24 volts. All our tapes require either 12 or 24 volts of direct current, which is why you need a compatible LED driver to power them. Learn more about LED drivers here.
The wattage of a tape or bulb refers to the amount of power it consumes. It is typically measured in watts per metre (W p/m). Depending on the componentry used, some LED tapes are more efficient than others, i.e. some use more energy to achieve the same light output, which is measured in lumens per watt (lm p/W.
When buying a tape, it is important to buy a driver with a sufficient wattage capability to power it. Learn more about powering your tapes in our Drivers Buyers Guide.
Due to their wattage being much lower than traditional lighting methods, the brightness of an LED is typically measured in lumens (lm). To give you a gauge of comparison a traditional 60w halogen bulb gives off the equivalent of around 700 lumens. The efficiency of a tape is demonstrated by the lumens it produces per watt of energy required to power it (lm p/W). For secondary, ambient lighting the LED tape can be low to medium brightness. For primary lighting installations a higher brightness tape is recommended.
LEDs per metre
The number of LED pixels per metre of tape determines it’s brightness. This typically varies from 240 per meter on Optiprofile tapes to 60 per meter in the Eco Bright range. The more spaced out the LEDs are the more likely the tape is to produce an undesirable spotted lighting effect when installed in a channel rather than a continuous linear one.
Our white LED strip lights are available in the full spectrum of temperatures from flame white (2000K) to cool white. The warmth of a light is measured on the Kelvin scale, with warm white being the most popular and reading around 3000K. Warm LED strip lights give a yellowy glow and are best suited for achieving ambient, cosy, relaxing atmospheres. Cool white tapes give off a bright, clean, white light and often read around 6000K on the Kelvin scale. These strip lights are more suitable for office spaces and areas in the home where tasks are performed due to their similarity to natural daylight and their ability to improve concentration. Neutral white lights read somewhere in the middle, around 4000K and are most similar to natural daylight.
Short for Colour Rendering Index, CRI measures the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. LED strip lights are therefore best suited for colour-critical applications such as museums, maternity wards and product displays. Learn more about CRI here.
Some LED tapes are available with waterproof capabilities, making them suitable for use outdoors or in installations where some splashing may occur. IP65 strip tapes are considered splash proof, whereas IP67 is fully submersible up to 1 metre subject to correct installation. Learn more about IP ratings here.
Installation – Easy to Use or Professional
Some of the tapes in our Standard range are available as Easy to Use variants; featuring plug and play technology these tapes don’t require any soldering or hard wiring into a driver to be installed – simply plug the components together and go.
Easy to Use tapes are ideal for projects where time is of the essence, or in DIY projects where the installer hasn’t any prior electrical knowledge.
We offer three main cabling systems here at Ultra LEDS: the 2.1mm DC Jack system, the JST system as used in our Syndeo furniture lighting range, and the low voltage cabling system for professional installations. Learn more about which cabling system is right for you here.
Our Professional tapes often require hard wiring into the terminals of one of our Professional drivers and will need soldering if cut to different lengths. These are better suited to those with electrical qualifications.
All tapes come with an adhesive 3M backing as standard for easy installation into profiles.
You will need a driver that corresponds to the voltage and wattage of the tape you are using, i.e. a 12V tape will require a 12V driver and a 24V tape will require a 24V driver. The driver also has to have sufficient wattage to power your length of tape, which can be worked out using a simple formula explained in this Drivers buyers guide.
In order to ensure LED tapes last as long as possible, they are often installed within an aluminium profile. These channels act as a heat sink to help prevent the LEDs from burning out, as well as protecting the tape from getting damaged. Combined with a diffuser to evenly disperse the light, profiles can be a great way to ensure a sleek finish of continuous linear light. Learn more about aluminium profiles here.