LED Strip Lights Guide - Installation and Use

What is an LED strip?

An LED strip is a flexible ribbon which has multiple LED lights on it. LED strips can be installed pretty much anywhere including above and under cabinets, kick-panels, skirting boards, ceiling coves, around bar areas, inside cupboards, display cases and bar counters, near doorways, windows, stairs and floors, in gardens, paths and driveways and for industrial signs.

How are LED strips mounted?

LED strips can be mounted in two ways: either using adhesive backing (many LED strip light come with self adhesive on their back, or they can easily be stuck on with double sided adhesive patch) or placed in a mount. The mounts are great because they protect the LED strips, diffuse the brightness and makes them very portable. On Lighting Style many of our strips are self adhesive, and we also offer a large range of mounting profiles.

Are LED strips weatherproof?

Many are indeed weatherproof, including on this website. You can check the IP Rating of the strip to see whether it can be used outdoors (we have an excellent IP Rating Guide which explains how to interpret the IP Rating). We offer both Indoor LED Strips and Outdoor LED Strips.

What should I look for in a LED strip?

The main things you should look for are color (if the LED is white see our Colour Temperature Guide), brightness (remember this is measured in lumens not Watts) and the number of LEDs per meter (the closer the LEDs are the better, as the strip then looks more even).

How bright should my LED strip be?

As a very rough guide (measured in lumens per foot):

  • Mood lighting and accent lighting: 150 to 250
  • Cabinet lighting: 175 to 550
  • Task lighting near source: 250 to 450
  • Task lighting far from source: 350 to 700
  • Indirect lighting in bedroom or lobby: 375 to 575
  • Industrial signs: 500 to 850

Can I cut the LED strip to suite my length?

Most LED strips can be cut to size, but they will all have some increments (eg an increment of 2.5cm) - and you will need to rewire the cut part.

How are LED strips powered?

LED strips use LED drivers (also called power supply adapters). They take incoming AC voltage and current and convert it to whatever your LED strip needs. We offer a number of Indoor LED Drivers and Outdoor LED Drivers. The wattage of the driver must be able to handle the combined length of the LED strip. This sounds complicated but it is actually very easy as follows: lets assume you have 3 metres of an LED strip that is rated at 24.5 W/m. You multiply the length by the rating and get 24.5x3 = 73.5. Hence you need a driver that is rated at MORE than 73.5 Watts (eg 80W or 100W). In terms of voltage you should get a driver that is the same voltage as your strip.
Note that more than one strip can be powered from a single LED driver and the total wattage of your LED strips should be below 90% of the wattage rating of the driver.

What's the difference between 12V and 24V LED strips?

Most LED strips are 12V. 24V LED strips are typically used for longer lengths because the strip lights can sustain longer runs without voltage drop becoming a problem, so the LEDs att the end of the run do not start to dim.

How are LED strips applied when it comes to cabinet lighting?

  • A good place to install your LED strips is all the way along the front of each shelf
  • For glass and large shelves, you may want to add strips to the sides of the shelves as well
  • Adhesive is probably much better than mounts
  • You can use a single power point to power multiple strips by connecting them in parallel or series

Tips and tricks

  • LED strips should be installed on a clean and dry surface
  • Never put LED strips where they are directly visible (for example, on cabinet shelves place them 1cm back from the front)
  • Consider a programmable multi-colour RGB strip and dimmers for enhanced mood lighting
  • Most LED strips have clearly visible cut lines to show you exactly where to cut
  • If you are installing LED strip lights indoors next to moisture, consider using weatherproof strips
  • Choose colour / colour temperature to match the decor and room
  • An important thing to rememeber is whether the strip will be switch on and off by your lighting circuit or on a separate switch
  • You should evaluate an LED strip by temporarily installing it with masking tape and testing it before setting it in place
  • LED strips should be installed by a qualified electrician