What Is an RGB Strip Light?
One of the most important aspects of any lighting design is color, and with an RGB light, you no longer have to choose just one. Cutting-edge LED strip lights can change to any desired color at the press of a button. One set of lights can transform a space, offering millions of shades and hues to create whatever ambiance is expected for the setting at any given time.
What Is an RGB Light?
RGB stands for red, green, and blue. However, those aren't the only colors an RGB light can produce.
In art, the primary colors — yellow, red, and blue — can combine to create any shade in a painting. In lighting, red, green and blue light function the same way.
An RGB light changes the output inside every single one of its diodes to "mix" your desired color from these three base components. Red and green light combine to make yellows and oranges, red and blue light create pinks and purples, and green and blue light form cyan and other pale, cool colors.
"Smart" color light bulbs using this technology have become extremely popular, but it's also available in strip lights. RGB strip lights combine all of the efficiency, durability and brightness of a standard single-color LED strip light with the flexibility to change your lighting color at any time.
RGB Versus RGBW
In perfect balance, red, green and blue light will form pure white light. However, if you've ever tried to make pure black paint by mixing primary colors, you know that this process has its flaws.
RGBW lights can produce dedicated white light along with red, green and blue. This achieves quality white lighting that's not possible solely through mixing three colors.
Some brands make RGBW strips by placing white diodes along an RGB strip at intervals, but this dilutes the strength of both the color and white lighting options. HitLights Premium RGBW light strips use specialized chips that can produce red, green, blue and white light for maximum brightness across the entire spectrum.
How Does an RGB Strip Light Differ From a Smart Lightbulb?
If you're considering smart lightbulbs for your home or business, you'll also want to look into RGB light strips.
Both are durable and safe, with HitLights offering UL-Listed options, and both can be changed at any time to display any color. The innovative Alexa and Google Home voice control features of a smart lightbulb are available in RGB strip lights as well, and both can be controlled through an app on your phone.
For large-scale projects, RGB strip lights are often the superior choice. Strip lights can illuminate a wider area than lightbulbs in a more cost-effective manner. By mounting your lighting directly on a wall or surface, you can achieve bright color without having to purchase and coordinate multiple light fixtures. They're also extremely durable and long-lasting, and they can't break like a traditional lightbulb.
RGB strip lighting also opens up design options not possible from a smart lightbulb, such as under-counter lighting or an accent around an electronic screen or art piece.
How Do I Choose the Right RGB Light?
Selecting the right RGB light to suit your needs depends on a few factors.
Location and Environment
If you intend to install your lighting outdoors, make sure to purchase a waterproof strip light designed for this purpose. These feature a protective coating that shields the LEDs from the elements.
For indoor use, choose an IP-30 strip light. RGB lights function fantastically as ambient or accent lighting due to their color options. RGBW strip lights can also be used as primary lighting for a space.
Length of Strips
Most HitLights RGB strip light kits are 16.4 ft long, with some 32.8 ft options. If you require a shorter length, they can be cut on marked lines like any other LED strip light. However there are also smaller kits with 3 pieces of 1 footer strip or 4 pieces 1 footer strip.
If you will want white light at any point, consider a high-quality RGBW light such as HitLights Premium RGBW Strip Lights. The specialized diodes in these lights have a separate white diode that can produce pure white light in addition to their array of colors, making them the perfect all-in-one LED solution.
Since the major feature of RGB light is how it can change color, it's important to decide before purchasing how you will control your lights.
- Smart Controls allow you to turn lights on and off, adjust color and dim your lights from your phone using the "Smart Life" app. You can use these controls remotely anywhere from any network over wifi or mobile internet. The app also allows you to mix your own light colors and keep a list of favorites to easily switch between. Smart controls can connect to Echo and Google Home to enable voice commands, and they can even sync to music for the ultimate high-energy lighting.
- Standard Remote Control is another great option. HitLights' remote for our remote-controlled RGB light strip comes preset with color options, but it can also adjust the levels of red, green and blue for the full spectrum of custom colors. Flashing and pulsing patterns are possible as well, with adjustable speeds and an easy one-button pause feature.
- A Control System is ideal for large-scale projects and businesses. The HitLights M-Series Multicolor LED Light Strip Control System combines the convenience of a remote control with the power to command an entire network of strip lights at once. The receiver can be in a separate room from the lights themselves, as the remote is long-range and effective even through walls.
How Can I Tell if an RGB Strip Light Is High Quality?
With any popular new technology, there will be durable, quality options on the market and cheaply made imitations. Luckily, with RGB light, it's not too difficult to tell the difference. Though two brands may look the same in a picture, there are several aspects to check to be sure you're getting a quality product.
The number of diodes a strip contains determines its brightness at max power. Low-quality brands offer fewer LEDs for your money, so a cheap light strip is a bad deal all around.
HitLights Premium RGBW light strips contain 300 diodes in every spool, for a density of about 18 diodes in every foot. This delivers a powerful, bright light that can prove equal to several lightbulbs.
Holding a RGB strip light or seeing it held in a video can reveal a lot about its construction. A poorly made RGB light will bend and flex like clear plastic tape. Instead, look for a strip light with heft and resistance. These contain the proper amount of copper to reduce heat, and lower heat means less burnout and greater longevity.
For long-term installation and safety, make sure your RGB light has the seal of approval from Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit that tests electronics and other consumer technology. Products that pass their rigorous standards for safety and performance are advertised as "UL-Listed."
One of the surest ways to ensure your lights are built to last is to check if the company selling them offers a warranty. HitLights stands behind our products and offers multi-year warranties on RGB strip lights.
How Do I Install RGB Strip Lights?
Despite LED strip lights' impressive appearance, they're easy to install. If you can tape a poster on a wall, you can install a light strip. First, be sure you have the necessary components:
These components are included in HitLights easy all-in-one kits, but you can also build your own custom kit. Once you have your components, consider ways to hide the LED strip to give your lighting a professional look.
To install your strip lights:
- Thoroughly clean the surface you'll be attaching the lights to. Alcohol helps remove dirt and grease.
- Remove the backing on the adhesive tape.
- Placing the light strip squarely over the adhesive tape, press and hold both to the surface in the chosen position.
- Plug your light strip into the controller (follow any diagrams that came with your controller to help you with this step.)
- Plug the power supply into the controller (keep following those diagrams).
- Plug the power supply into your wall outlet if applicable.
- Have fun adjusting your new RGB light system!