Complete Buyer’s Guide: How Do I Choose an LED Driver for my LED Lights?

Compatibility is vital when it comes to picking the correct LED driver for your outdoor LED strip lights. In an LED system, using the improper driver may lead to failure and damage to the components.

This post will provide you with what you need to know about LED light drivers so you know what questions to ask before buying them and how to install them properly.

What is an LED Driver?

LED drivers regulate the electricity used to power LED strip lights. They convert alternating current (AC) at 240 volts, from the mains to a lower voltage, similar to standard transformers. Particularly, LED drivers convert the mains voltage to the continuous, direct current (DC) required by LED lights.

When the electrical properties of the LED tape change as it heats up, drivers adjust their output to ensure that the power provided remains constant at 12 volts or 24 volts DC.

Types of LED Drivers

There are two major types of LED drivers:

  • LED drivers that utilize a low-voltage DC input power, between 5 volts and 36 volts.
  • Offline drivers or LED drivers that use high-voltage AC input power, between 90 volts and 277 volts.

  • High-input, AC-powered drivers are preferred in large-scale lighting projects, as in a multiple series of domestic or commercial LED strip lights. Smaller applications require low-voltage, DC-powered drivers as they are more cost-effective and have output and dimming options.

    How to Choose an LED Driver

    Know the Type and Number of LED Lights in the Setup

    Identify the type and number of LED lights you need in your installation, as well as how you will arrange them.

    You need a constant-current LED driver if your lights are wired in series, like ground and decking lights. You need a constant-voltage LED driver if they'll be wired in parallel, like with LED tape or commercial LED strip lights.

    Check the Milliamp Rating of Your LEDs

    Ensure that the LED lights' milliamp rating is the same as the LED driver's. Amps and milliamps are the units of measurement for electrical current. While LED lights come in a variety of milliamp ratings, the most popular options are 350mA and 700mA.

    Check the Wattage of the LED Driver

    Ensure that the LED driver's wattage rating is more than or equal to the total wattage of all lights connected to it. For instance, a driver equipped with five 3-watt outdoor strip lights should have a wattage rating of at least 15 watts.

    If you're using an LED tape, multiply the length of the tape by the wattage rating per meter. If the tape is powered at 15 watts per meter and the total length is 3 meters, your LED driver should have at least 45 watts.

    Check the Output Voltage of the LED Driver

    The LED light's input voltage and the LED driver's output voltage should be compatible. Check these before connecting them to avoid damage.

    There are also constant-current LED drivers with 6 volts to 24 volts and are suitable for some types of LED lights. Still, their compatibility is not universal.

    Buy the Correct LED Driver for Your LED Lights

    For LED drivers that suit different types of LED lights, check out Hitlights' online shop. We have dimmable and non-dimmable models for a variety of lighting projects.

    For further questions about our LED drivers, you may also contact our team of LED experts at 855-768-4135 at HitLights today!