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High Voltage VS Low Voltage – How To Choose The Right LED Strip Light?

While searching for an LED strip light, you may repeatedly come across a voltage rating. But are you unsure what exactly it means? Do you know whether you should choose High-voltage or Low-voltage? Read on to find out!

Which is better - High-voltage or Low-voltage?

What Is a High-voltage LED Strip Lights?



High-voltage LED strip lights typically run on 110V or 220V power. It is the standard voltage for household use. These high-voltage strips typically require direct wiring to a circuit, making them ideal for professional installations or applications where lighting spans a large area.A high-voltage LED strip light refers to a type of LED lighting product that operates on a higher voltage electrical system, typically 110-240V. Unlike low-voltage LED strip lights that require a transformer or power supply to convert the voltage, high-voltage LED strip lights can be directly connected to the main power supply as they are designed to handle higher voltages.


High-voltage LED strip lights typically offer simpler installation since they do not require additional voltage conversion equipment. They are commonly used for large-scale indoor and outdoor lighting applications, such as architectural lighting, commercial signage, and accent lighting. However, it's important to note that working with high voltage electricity requires proper precautions and electrical expertise to ensure safety.


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What Is a Low-voltage LED Strip Lights?



Low-voltage LED strips are usually DC12V or DC24V, and their working voltage is much lower. We think the design of these low-voltage LED strip lights is more user-friendly. Homeowners can easily install it without extensive electrical knowledge since it supports safe installation within limits.A low-voltage LED strip light refers to a type of LED lighting product that operates on a lower voltage electrical system, typically 12V or 24V. Unlike high-voltage LED strip lights that can be directly connected to the main power supply, low-voltage LED strip lights require a transformer or power supply to convert the voltage from the main power supply to the appropriate voltage for the LED strips.


Low-voltage LED strip lights are commonly used for various lighting applications, such as under-cabinet lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting. They offer flexibility and versatility in terms of installation options, as well as energy efficiency and longevity. However, it's important to ensure that the power supply or transformer is properly sized and compatible with the LED strip lights to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Low-voltage LED strip lights usually come with a power adapter or transformer that converts the voltage from a standard electrical outlet.


Low Voltage LED Strip Comparison: 5V vs. 12V vs. 24V
Total Voltage of LED Strip Voltage Across Resistor % Power “Wasted” On Resistors Application
                5V (1 LED Per Group)                 2V                 40%                 Portable devicesUSB-powered lighting DIY projects Small accent lighting
                12V (3 LEDs Per Group)                 3V                 25%                 Automotive lightingRV lightingUnder-cabinet lightingHome decor and accent lighting
                24V (6 or 7 LEDs Per Group)                 3V                 12.5% Commercial and industrial lightingArchitectural lightingLarge-scale installations Outdoor signage and illumination

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High-voltage LED Strip Lights vs Low-voltage LED Strip Lights:

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High-voltage LED strip lights and low-voltage LED strip lights have some differences in terms of voltage requirements, installation, and application. Here are some points of comparison between the two:


1. Voltage Requirements: High-voltage LED strip lights operate on a higher voltage electrical system, typically 110-240V, and can be directly connected to the main power supply. In contrast, low-voltage LED strip lights require a transformer or power supply to convert the voltage from the main power supply to a lower voltage, typically 12V or 24V.


2. Installation: High-voltage LED strip lights offer simpler installation since they do not require additional voltage conversion equipment. They can be easily connected to the main power supply. On the other hand, low-voltage LED strip lights need a power supply or transformer for voltage conversion, which may require additional space and wiring considerations.


3. Safety Considerations: High-voltage LED strip lights may pose more hazards during installation and maintenance due to the higher voltage involved. Proper grounding and electrical precautions are necessary. Low-voltage LED strip lights, operating at lower voltages, are generally considered safer and easier to handle.


4. Application: High-voltage LED strip lights are commonly used for larger-scale lighting applications, such as architectural lighting, commercial signage, and outdoor lighting, where higher voltage operation is more suitable. Low-voltage LED strip lights are often used for smaller-scale applications like accent lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and decorative lighting.


5. Compatibility: High-voltage LED strip lights may require specific electrical infrastructure and compatibility with the main power supply voltage. Low-voltage LED strip lights offer more flexibility as they can be easily integrated with various power supplies and transformers.


Ultimately, the choice between high-voltage and low-voltage LED strip lights depends on the specific lighting requirements, installation considerations, and safety regulations of the intended application.


Low Voltage Vs. High Voltage LED Strips: Quick Differentiating Chart 
Criteria Low-Voltage LED Strip High-Voltage LED Strip
Working Voltage                 DC12V or DC24V                 110V-120V or 220V-240V
Maximum Running Length                 15-20 meters (approx)                  50 m but can go up to 100 m (max length) 
Voltage Drop                 More prone to voltage drop as you increase the length                 No severe voltage issues 
Cut mark length                  5 cm to 10 cm                 10 cm, 50cm, or 100cm
Flickering Issues                 No                 Yes 
IP rating                 Available in both low and higher IPs                 Usually, high IP ratings ranging from IP65 to IP68
Application                 Used for indoor lighting and residential areas                 Best for outdoor lighting and is ideal for commercial and industrial areas
Packaging                 5m to 10m per reel                  50m or 100m per reel
Lifetime                 30,000 to 70,000 hours or more                  10,000 hours 
Power Consumption                 Low                 Higher than low-voltage LED strips but much less than other traditional lighting like incandescent or fluorescent 
Brightness                 Lower brightness than high voltage strips                 Brighter than the low-voltage ones 
Installation                 Easier to install without extensive electrical knowledge or professional help                 Requires professional electrician 
Safety                 Safer voltage rating                 Potential safety hazard
Voltage Variation                  More resistant to voltage variation                 Robust but not equally resistant to changes in voltage

The relationship between voltage and LED strip lights can be explained as follows:

1. Forward Voltage: LED strip lights have a specific forward voltage, which is the minimum voltage required for them to operate and emit light. This voltage varies depending on the type and specifications of the LED strip. For example, common LED strips have forward voltages ranging from 2V to 4V.

2. Operating Voltage: LED strips need to be powered by a voltage equal to or slightly higher than their forward voltage to function properly. If the voltage is too low, the LEDs may not light up or operate inefficiently. On the other hand, if the voltage is too high, it can damage the LEDs.

3. Voltage Drop: LED strip lights are often installed in series or parallel configurations, and each LED consumes a portion of the voltage. As a result, there is a voltage drop across the entire length of the strip. This voltage drop can vary depending on factors like the length of the strip, the current flowing through it, and the quality of the wiring. It's important to consider this voltage drop when selecting the power supply for the LED strip.

4. Voltage Requirement: LED strips are typically available in two voltage options - low voltage (such as 12V or 24V) and high voltage (110V-240V). Low-voltage LED strips require a transformer or power supply to step down the voltage from the main power supply to the required level. High-voltage LED strips, on the other hand, can be directly connected to the mains power supply since they operate at higher voltages.

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