Strip and profile lights offer a variety of benefits that can help you to light up any nook and cranny in your home. Whether you’re looking for the perfect complement to your current lighting plan, or you need a versatile solution to fit any space, strip and profile lights can provide a solution to fit your needs.
What is LED Strip Lighting?
LEDs come in many forms, but one popular choice is strip lighting. These small LEDs are mounted on a narrow strip of flexible circuit board, and often these strips can be purchased without the outer casing. To create a higher end look, strip lighting comes encased in a profile — an aluminium case that’s moulded to fit any space with a diffuser to reduce the appearance of spots.
About the Strip
LED strips are thin ribbons of LEDs, about 1 cm in width. They come in custom lengths, with 60-120 LEDs per metre. The strip adheres to the surface and is easy to install.
LED Strip Brightness
LED strip brightness is measured in lumens, and a good quality LED strip should emit 1500 lumens per metre at a minimum. The power draw of LEDs per metre determines the brightness of an LED strip — higher power draws will typically result in brighter strips.
LED density refers to the number of LED emitters per meter of strip. This determines the spread and distribution of light. Higher densities will provide more even coverage, and higher density is often the factor that contributes to a difference in price.
Power Draw per Foot
The power draw of the system determines both how efficient it is, and how long the strip will last. I recommend selecting a strip with at least 15W/m as this ensures a bright yet efficient system. Cheaper products often drive more watts into the system, which eventually causes it to fail. To check, convert the wattage per meter to an LED density per foot: divide the wattage per meter by the LED density per foot.
Colour and Colour Temperature
LED lights are available in two colors: cool and warm. A single color LED light emits a single color. RGB LED light strips come with three colors: red, green, and blue. These strips allow you to mix colors to get basically any color. Different colors of LED strip lights allow you to control the temperature of the light.
Drivers and Transformers
LED strips are available in different colors. The most popular ones are cool or warm whites, but there are other colors as well. Single color LEDs emit a single color of light. Colour changing LEDs have a strip with different colored LEDs. They offer basic colors and allow you to mix them together to create any desired color. Then you have strip lights that allow you to control the color temperature. You can modify the brightness (warmness or coolness) of the light!
Profiles And Heat Sinks
The first thing you should do is decide on your fixture. If you want a higher-end look, you can get a strip light that has an aluminum profile and a diffuminator. The aluminum cover will hide the bare circuit boards, as well as the diffuser — and make an aesthetically pleasing lighting effect. To finish off the design, a profile can also act as a heat sink, something that not only cools the LED but also dissipates heat for safe operation. Higher quality LED strips will typically be underdriven, so there’s little risk of the system producing too much heat to handle.