Best 7 LED Strip Lights Do's and Don’ts

HitLights loves LED strip lights and wants you to love LED strip lights as much as (or even MORE than) we do. That’s why we always give it to you straight. There are some things you need to know about LED strip lights—some things to consider and understand—and so we have for you a handy set of our best 7 LED strip lights do’s and don’ts to help you with all your LED strip light project planning.

1. DON’T let your LED strip lights droop (or fall down—yikes)

DO use the right double sided, remarkably sticky, heavy duty, high-quality tape supplied by Hitlights so you DON’T have to worry about your LED strip lights pooching out, drooping, sagging, or falling down. 

We’ve heard all the concerns about drooping or falling LED strip lights, and frankly some low-quality strip lights with bargain basement tapes have earned that concern. That’s why we're so happy to tell you about the tapes we offer from HitLights. Tape is critical to the success of your LED strip light installation and if the tape doesn’t hold up, all your effort to put up the LED strip lights just the way you want will be for naught.  

We know that some people developed a bad taste in their mouth about LED strips altogether because of bad tape. Part of the appeal of LED strip lights is their sleek look and a modern feel. Gaping or obvious hanging spots interrupts that vibe and instantly radiates cheapness. Our solution: a wide selection of tape suitable to a diverse variety of applications. Whatever you want to do with your LED strip lights, we probably have exactly the right tape. HitLights is proud to offer genuine 3M double sided tape in addition to our own heavy-duty tapes. Learn more about all your HitLights tape options. Now that you’ve got your tape handled…

2. DO cut LED strip lights on designated cut marks

DON’T just cut your LED strip lights any ol’ place. You’ll find pre-designated cut lines in convenient increments across LED strip lights of all lengths. Snip on those lines for LED strip light success!

Yes! LED strip lights are cuttable. In addition to energy savings, innovative appeal, and exciting color options, people choose LED strip lights because they can do things that other lights can’t. LED strip lights are convenient. One of the most convenient factors comes from the fact that LED strip lights can be cut to size. That means you can get nearly exactly the amount of lights you want for your projects. You won’t have to gather extra inches of strip and tuck it out of the way or otherwise kluge your way to the strip length you want. 

What do you do once you cut? Solderless connectors are a snap (literally.) Connectors snap into place either letting you join two lengths of LED strip lights or to do things like turn a corner (making a 90 degree turn. More on this situation in the next section.) There are connector options like wire lead connectors to give you additional flexibility. 

Does cutting LED strip lights require any special tools? No! Any pair of sharp scissors are sufficient to cut the LED strip light. Simply make your cuts on the designated areas. Where are the designated areas? On HitLights LED strip lights, look for a dashed line or an icon of scissors (the universal symbol for CUT HERE.) 

Here’s the thing and the reason we’re making this point: some people get excited about cutting the LED strip light and assume that any blank area can be cut. Just because you can’t see anything on the exterior area of a strip light doesn’t mean there isn’t technology at work on the interior of that seemingly “blank” spot. Only make cuts where you can identify the designated cut line, and you’ll be fine. 

3. DON’T bend the LED strip light or crimp it in any way

 LED strip lights are amazing, but even they have some limits. DO plan on laying the LED strip lights flat on to whatever surface you’re mounting the lights on and use connectors to make corner joints. 

Crimps can cramp your style! As you know, the flexibility of the LED strip lights makes them easy to use. Flexible does not mean bent or folded. LED lights are powered by thin wiring that run the length of the strip. Any hard bends or crimps anywhere in the strip can potentially interrupt the function of the diodes. An easy way to avoid any damage from folding or bending is to keep the lights on their spool until installation. When installing, handle with care and plan your installation path before you start.

What about corners or 90 degree turns? A popular hack we’ve seen people try for making corners (especially for back lit monitors or TVs) is to create a little loop that allows a strip to make a turn. We don’t recommend this method. Not only is it unnecessary, it is exactly the type of set up that can get a bend in the looped area and also has the potential to create a kind of “hot spot” with a couple of diodes layered on each other. 

Instead, simple to use solderless connectors are made to create corners and turns for your strip lights. (You can also buy a kit that is specially made for the application, like the Eclipse for back-lit monitors or the Wave which can help you in curvy situations.) 

4. DON’T get the power supply wrong

DO select a power supply that matches the voltage of your LED strip lights and DO pick the right voltage LED strip light that will suit your needs. 

This is where HitLights can really help. When you choose LED strip lights, you also need to select a power supply (and maybe even a dimmable driver if that’s a function you’d like to include.) A LED strip light set up is a whole electrical system, even if in a mini form. The voltage of every element in the system needs to match—a 12v strip needs a 12v power supply; a 24v strip needs a 24v power supply, etc. 

Our superstar tech support can double check your order and make sure all your items are compatible and there won’t be any installation woes when it comes to your power needs. 

You also need to consider what voltage will be the best for what you want to achieve with your strip lights, 12 or 24? While 12 volts might give you the effect you want for accent lighting and décor; 24 volts gives enough light output for task lighting or to light up a room. 

These decisions are similar to our next DO…

5. DO pick the proper density LED strip light  

LED strip lights create a look, and density of the lights can have a big impact on illumination. DON’T overlook high-density lights!

When are some times you might want to select high-density lights? In installations where the lights are placed higher in a space (like a vaulted ceiling) or when you’re hoping for full-room illumination, a high-density light strip might better achieve the look you want. You also get to select between 12v or 24v when it comes to high-density LED light strips.

Remember, as you use 24v strips, the energy consumption changes, just as it might change with a higher-density LED light strip. You don’t need to figure anything out on your own, though: this situation is perfect for the tech staff who is ready, willing, and able to help you make all the choices you need and get your order complete and ready to go in a snap. 

Are you excited for the possibilities? You should be, and we’re almost there, you’ve just got to…

6. DO plan the LED strip light placement in advance

DON’T “wing it” and order a bunch of parts and piece it together on the fly. We’re not trying to crash your party or take away your spontaneous spirit. But a few minutes of planning ahead will pay off bigly when it comes time to install. 

Here are some items to assess in your planning: 

  • What is the total length you’re trying to cover?
  • Is the surface you’re mounting on smooth or do you need a channel or other mounting surface?
  • What is the depth of where you will install (LED strip lights are thin, but you still should measure to make sure there’s no overhang.)
  • How about power? Where will you locate the power supply?
  • Visibility: You should also think about your placement in terms of visibility (is anything going to interfere with or block/touch the lights? That’s a situation you want to avoid.) 

Cutting to the chase: HitLights tech support can help you in this planning, too

Last but not least, when it rains, it pours, so…

7. DO worry about the weather (waterproofing)

DO worry about the weather then DON’T worry about the weather. We’ll explain.

LED strip lights are an electrical product that needs to be protected from the elements, especially moisture. (Water and electricity don’t mix!) Assess the potential for exposure of the lights you want to install and decide if you need waterproof LED strip lights or not. 

Any outside LED strip lights should automatically opt for lights with an IP rating of at least IP-67. HitLights offers waterproof LED strip lights. Choose from standard or premium waterproof LED strip lights. It’s not just rain protection that our waterproof LED strip lights feature; our waterproofing is appropriate for pools, spas, and ponds, too! 

If you pick waterproofed LED strip lights, you won’t have to worry about the weather because your LED strip lights will be safe. Good thing you DID worry about the weather, so you DON’T have to worry about the weather (see? It worked out!)

Now that you have your best 7 DO’S and DON’TS for LED strip lights, we DO hope you’ll look at the variety of lights we offer and DON’T hesitate to reach out if you need a hand from our team. Call us now at 1 (855) 768-4135. to get the assistance you need. DO have a great day!