We spend a lot of time singing the praises of LED strip lights here at HitLights (and we know you are fans, too!) As easy, convenient, functional, and attractive as our high-quality, safe LED strips are, there are some mistakes that can be made when selecting and installing these awesome lights. To help keep you out of trouble and keep a smile on your face as you complete your LED strip light projects, we’re going to shed some light on the five most common mistakes people make when it comes to LED strip lights and give you some helpful practical tips to either fix your missteps or avoid problems altogether. Ready to stay on the straight and narrow for your next LED strip light installation? Here are five common LED lighting mistakes (and what you can do about them.)
Table of Contents:
- Picking the wrong LED strip light for the job
- LED strip lights in the wrong color can ruin your whole look
- Installing LED Strip Lights that Aren’t Bright Enough
- Sloppy or Careless Installation Robs LED Strip Lights of All Their Utility
- Don’t Overlook All the LED Strip Light Accessories (like dimmers and drivers)
1. Picking the wrong LED strip light for the job
The saying for real estate is location, location, location. The saying for LED strip lights should be function, function, function. There isn’t just one variety of LED strip light! Thank goodness for that because having a wide variety of LED strip lights means that you can selectively choose an LED strip light to perform the exact function you need. Do you need an accent light? There’s an LED strip light for that. Want task lighting? There’s an LED for that. Need room filling light? Sure, LED strips can do that. The mistake happens when LED strip lights are picked as if there is no difference from one strip to another.
To avoid this common LED strip light pitfall, make sure you first know what you expect the LED strip light to do in any room. Some quick questions to ask yourself include:
- Is this an accent light (enhances mood or appearance) or task lighting (needs enough light to work under or see even small details)?
- Do you need the strip to be the main light source or will the LED strip light supplement other lights in the space?
- Will the LED strip light be visible or out of sight?
- How would you like to control the LED strip lights, including turning them on and off?
Knowing the answer to each of the above will set the baseline of the function of your LED strip light and help you pick the LED strip just right for you.
Function tips for picking LED strip lights from HitLights:
- One of our favorite accent lights is the Premium Luma5 LED Light Strip Standard Density
- Tasks love to be seen under our high-density, beautifully bright Premium 24v LED Light Strip
- Boom! Get more light than you’d ever expect from HitLight’s COB light—a great pick for full-room light
Not sure or need some help selecting your LED strip lights? You can reach out to our Tech Support and talk through your project.
2. LED strip lights in the wrong color can ruin your whole look
Color options are abundant when it comes to LED strip lights. When LEDs first hit the scene, the very fact that LED strip lights could—wow!—change color was one of the many qualities that made LED strip lights novel and unique.
Before we get too deep into talking about color, we need to define some terms. There’s color and there’s color temperature. Some LED strip lights offer a rainbow of colors— picking either from an RGB (red green blue) palate of preprogrammed colors or choosing from (literally) millions of colors that you program yourself.
Some LED strip lights are white lights, but white as based on a color temperature scale (think: a range of color, brightness, and tone that scales from candlelight to bright outdoor sunlight.) Both of these terms are offered to illustrate that there are a lot of choices when it comes to the color options of your LED strip lights.
Color mistakes happen when the tone either misses the mark (the mood or ambiance is wrong) or doesn’t compliment the room or—we hate to say it—looks tacky or basic instead of stylish and enhancing.
Keep you colors in the good zone with a couple of practical tips, starting with white lights. Match the color temperature throughout a room or area (for example, if you are using warm white LED strip lights, make sure all the strips and bulbs are all warm white. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: mismatched tones of white LED strips are the quickest way to a major LED lighting mistake!)
Select the white color temperature that conveys the mood of the room: ethereal to radiant, the color temperature of your white LED strip lights can heavily influence how the room feels.
When you would like a little more rainbow than white, some mistakes include displaying clashing colors or relying too heavily on primary colors and not exploring shades. If you are using LED strip lights to show off event colors or brand colors (or team colors, let’s gooo!), consider lights where you program an exact color, choosing from more than 16 million possible color variations. The HitLights Premium Luma10 RGB Multi-Color High-Density LED strip light is a great choice.
Now that you are able to avoid color and color temperature mistakes, let’s see what other bright ideas we have about common LED strip light mistakes (and what to do about them.)
3. Installing LED Strip Lights that Aren’t Bright Enough
One good thing about all the LED strip lights from HitLights are that they are dimmable, allowing you to choose the brightness of your lights at any given moment. However, sometimes you want more light output than other times. This is where the mistake can happen: if the maximum brightness of your strips doesn’t give you all the light you want, no amount of dimming is going to help you be satisfied with your lights. A good rule of thumb is to install LED strip lights capable of delivering the maximum light output for the light style you select. In other words, don’t underestimate the maximum light output you may ever need for a particular installation.
An easy way to max the output of any LED strip light is to look at any of the HitLights high-density light strips (more light producing diodes per feet); any of the HitLights 24volt light strips (more juice means more light output); or if you want to experience some of the brightest of the bright in our catalog, take a look at our impressive Premium Luma20 (2835) LED Light Strip in High Density.
As you make your pick, remember that you can always dim a HitLights strip, all the way down until dark; but the brightest an LED strip light can go is like a ceiling: once you hit it, you’re at the top. Don’t make the mistake of setting your “brightness ceiling” too low.
4. Sloppy or Careless Installation Robs LED Strip Lights of All Their Utility
Ugly is ugly, no getting around ugly. Do not let your LED strip light installations get ugly! What do we mean by ugly? Drooping strips, strips poking out when they’re supposed to be invisible, strips twisted into loops to turn corners (instead of using easy and convenient connectors), strips that are laid into place instead of mounted into place with proper tape (oh yes—we’ve seen it), or (big oof) LED strips push pinned to the wall as if everyone isn’t going to see that disaster of a kludge. Ugly!
We all know that part of the beauty of LED strip lights are the ease and simplicity of installation. Embrace the beauty of the convenience of LED strip lights by properly installing your lights. An easy way to avoid the mistake of an ugly installation is to make sure you have all the supplies you need to complete the installation when you start. Pick premium mounting tape whenever you can (like our genuine 3M premium mounting tape) and talk to our tech team if you need any guidance.
An insider tip we at HitLights love to share is all about time. Now, we love boasting about how quick it is to install our LED strip lights, but we also advise that you not rush it. We all know that mistakes can happen when we’re rushed—installing LED strip lights is no different. Take the time when installing to clean mounting surfaces; take the time to properly press strips; double check that contact has been made the whole length of the strip. Many of the droops, sags, and hangs can be avoided if you take your time during the original installation.
Want to avoid the ugliness but you don’t have the bandwidth right now to get it done? Don’t hesitate to call in a pro! Sometimes outside help is the better call as opposed to the job not getting done.
Do you see the start of a beautiful relationship? We do. We’re going to solidify our relationship by sharing the final LED strip light mistake that you can avoid.
5. Don’t Overlook All the LED Strip Light Accessories (like dimmers and drivers)
We’ll cut to the chase: when you are installing more than one LED strip light, it’s wise to consider all the lights as a system. That is, once you are connecting multiple strips and expecting the strips to perform multiple functions, thought and planning is well spent on deciding:
- How all the strips will connect to each other
- How all the strips will interact with each other
- How all the strips will be controlled
- How all the strips will be powered
This is where our team can be especially helpful and specifically help you not make any mistakes with your LED strip light system. We can help you assess all the ins and outs and offer you choices about things like dimming, switches, power and more. We know all the options so you can make an informed choice! Once you decide all those details, our team can make sure you get a complete order to make your project a success.
There are a lot of details to keep track of and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Let our experts help you get the accessories you need, steering clear of the mistake of overlooking the items that can help your LED strip light installation be all it can be.
Congratulations! You are now officially leagues ahead of the rest of the pack, simply by avoiding these 5 common LED strip lighting mistakes. Pick up the phone now and take the next winning step of calling our team to get your order going. HitLights is here to help—no mistake about it!