Low Voltage vs. High Voltage LED Strips: When to Choose and Why I HitLights

The growing popularity of LED strip lights in both residential and commercial applications can be attributed to their versatility and easy installation. However, when it comes to making the right choice, it is essential to understand the key differences between high-voltage and low-voltage LED strip lights. 

Let's further examine the safety, cost, installation, packaging, lifetime, and usage scenarios in this article. 

When considering LED strips for your project, one crucial factor to weigh is the voltage rating. LED light strips generally fall into two main voltage categories: 

  • Low Voltage (24 volts or below) 
    • High Voltage (110 volts or greater)

    Each category has its unique advantages and applications, and understanding the differences between the two will help you make an informed decision based on your specific project lighting needs.

    Table of Contents:

    What Are High-voltage LED Strip Lights?
    What Are Low-voltage LED Strip Lights?
    Safety: High-voltage vs Low-voltage
    Cost: High-voltage vs Low-voltage
    Installation: High-voltage vs Low-voltage
    Packaging: High-voltage vs Low-voltage
    Lifetime: High-voltage vs Low-voltage
    Where to Use High-voltage and Low-voltage LED Strip Lights?
    Making the Right Choice: Factors to Consider

    1. What Are High-voltage LED Strip Lights?

    High-voltage LED strip lights are powered by 110V or 220V, which are standard household voltages. 

    Key Features:

      • Allow for longer runs without significant voltage drop, making them suitable for large installations.
      • Deliver higher brightness levels, providing excellent illumination for commercial and outdoor applications.
      • Offer robust construction and durability to handle higher voltages safely.

    Ideal Applications:

      • Commercial and industrial lighting: High voltage LED strips are often used in warehouses, factories, and commercial spaces where bright and reliable illumination is essential.
      • Outdoor lighting: These strips are well-suited for outdoor applications such as architectural lighting, landscape lighting, and perimeter lighting.
      • Large-scale installations: High voltage LED strips are ideal for large installations, such as airport runways, sports arenas, and parking lots.

    2. What Are Low-voltage LED Strip Lights?

    Low-voltage LED strip lights operate on DC12V or DC24V, working at significantly lower voltages. 

    Key Features:

      • Operate efficiently at lower voltages, minimizing energy consumption.
      • Generate less heat, making them suitable for applications where temperature control is important.
      • Allow for dimming capabilities, enabling flexible lighting solutions.

    Ideal Applications:

      • Home lighting: Low voltage LED strips are perfect for accent lighting in residential spaces, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
      • Architectural lighting: These strips can be used to highlight architectural features, adding an aesthetic touch to interiors.
      • Signage and displays: Low voltage LED strips are commonly used in signs, displays, and retail applications to draw attention to products and promotions, and more.

    3. Safety: High-voltage vs Low-voltage

    3.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • The 110 and 220V voltage used by high-voltage LED strip lights poses potential safety hazards in certain risky applications.
      • Requires specialized installation expertise due to higher voltage levels.
      • Requires professional electricians for complex installation requirements.

    3.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Operate on safer voltages, usually 12V or 24V.
      • Reduced or eliminated risks associated with high voltages.
      • Suitable for direct contact and installations in wet environments.

    4. Cost: High-voltage vs Low-voltage

    4.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • The upfront cost of high-voltage LED strip lights is comparable to low-voltage options.
      • Overall cost may be lower as high-voltage strips can support longer installations with a single power supply.
      • Usage cost for costumer’s is higher due to higher energy consumption.

    4.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Similar upfront cost to high-voltage LED strip lights.
      • Overall cost may be higher if multiple power supplies are needed for longer installations.
      • Usage cost for customer’s is lower due lower energy consumption, thus more savings for the customers in the long run.

    5. Installation: High-voltage vs Low-voltage

    5.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Installation is straightforward but it is powered directly by a high-voltage driver. 
      • Requires professional electrician expertise for safe and efficient installation.

    5.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Relatively easier to install as they come with connectors and adhesive backing for quick installations.
      • Electricians, Contractors, Professionals, and Homeowners can install them without extensive electrical knowledge.
      • Blends well and can be integrated into traditional lighting systems and installations.
      • Compatibility considerations may play, however, this is straightforward and easy to follow.

    6. Packaging: High-voltage vs Low-voltage

    6.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Packaging typically offers longer rolls, ranging from 50 to 100 meters per roll.
      • Suitable for larger-scale projects with continuous lighting needs.

    6.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Come in rolls of 5 to 10 meters, suitable for smaller-scale and medium projects. 
      • Consider voltage drop limitations beyond 10 meters for longer installations. Limitation can be mitigated with various installation options.

    7. Lifetime: High-voltage vs Low-voltage

    7.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Generally have a shorter service life due to higher voltage levels. 
      • Service life is typically around 10,000 hours.
      • Warranty coverage from manufacturers are also shorter
      • Wear and tear is faster

    7.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Offers a longer service life, ranging from 30,000, 50,000, 70,000 hours and up.
      • A more durable option for extended use.
      • Warranty coverage from manufacturers range from 3 years to 15 years 
      • Due to make and energy consumption, wear and tear is relatively slower

    8. Where to Use High-voltage and Low-voltage LED Strip Lights?

    8.1 High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Ideal for larger lighting projects that require longer lengths and higher brightness levels.
      • Commonly used in architectural lighting, commercial signage, outdoor building facades, and stadium lighting. 

    8.2 Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      • Versatile and suitable for various lighting projects, including residential environments and architectural lighting.
      • Used for ambient lighting, general lighting, task lighting, and decorative purposes.
      • Adding style, functionality and fun in a wide range of areas of applications:
    • General area of applications:
            • Kitchen Lighting
            • Living Room
            • Bedroom
            • Bathroom spaces
            • Retail and Office Spaces
            • Outdoor and landscape lighting
            • Tradeshows and Events
    • Specific area of applications:
          • Under Cabinet Lighting or Woodworks
          • Arts and Crafts
          • Signages
          • Shelves and Display showcases
          • Cove and coffer lighting 
          • Bar lighting 
          • And more

      9. Making the Right Choice: Factors to Consider

        • Lighting Project Scale: 
          • Consider the size 
          • Scope of your lighting project 
          • Determine the most suitable voltage option
        • Safety Considerations: 
          • Prioritize safety 
          • Choose the voltage option
          • Align it with your installation requirements and environment
        • Energy Efficiency: 
          • Look for energy-efficient LED strip lights
          • High energy efficiency rating of A or A+ to reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impact
        • Ease of Installation: 
          • Consider the work involve
          • The level of expertise required for installation
          • Choose accordingly to available resources 
    • Durability: 
        • Opt for reputable brands
        • Look for LED strips that were tested for quality i.e. UL, LM-79, LM-80, TM-21, test certified, etc.
    • Versatility: 
        • Check specifications that meets your project requirements
        • Check for available on-shelf lighting needs
        • Review if there is an option to customize the LED strips when needed
      • Color Temperature and Color
        • Select the color temperature and color options
        • Check for available output specs that match your requirement
      • Pressure Drops Concerns: 
        • Evaluate the length of your lighting run 
        • Choose the voltage option that maintains consistent brightness

      Summary Table of Aspect of Low Voltage vs High Voltage LED Strips:


      High-voltage LED Strip Lights

      Low-voltage LED Strip Lights

      Working Voltage

      110V or 220V

      DC12V or DC24V


      Potential safety hazard 

      Safer voltage rating


      Similar upfront price

      Overall cost lower due to supporting longer LED strips + Lower usage cost for customers


      Requires professional electrician 

      Relatively easier to install without extensive electrical knowledge


      Durable, but less resilient to voltage fluctuations

      More resilient to voltage fluctuations, with built-in voltage regulator/surge protectors for compatible drivers 


      Generally around 10,000 hours (1 yr)

      Longer service life of 30,000, 50,000, 60,000 up hours (3,5 yrs and up)


      Generally 50-100 meters per roll

      Typically 5-10 meters per roll


      Ideal for larger lighting projects, commercial, architectural, high ceiling

      Versatile, suitable for various lighting projects, residential, medium scale commercial installation, arts and crafts, signages, etc


      As a general rule, you should keep your voltage as low as possible for your project. This saves on cost, decreases risk, and makes installation easier. Keeping voltage down can be done in a handful of different ways (some discussed here) but the overall theme of those suggestions is to decrease run length. A simple example is to take a run (let’s say for example, 50 feet), and to split it into two runs (25 feet each) by placing the power source in the middle instead of at one end.

      It’s hard to make hard rules on limited project information, but as a very general guide, the below run lengths and voltages are suggested by the HitLights technical support team. (Note : HitLights does not currently stock high voltage strip lights, but our team will be happy to advise you on what to look for should your project require them)


      Ideal Voltage 

      Any Special Considerations

      Up to 32 feet:

      12V Rated LED Strips

      More than 32 feet is possible with splitting the load into sections

      32 feet - 100 feet

      24V Rated LED Strips

      More than 100 feet is possible with splitting the load into sections

      More than 100 feet

      110V or High Voltage LED Strips


      If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us at customerservice@hitlights.com or give us a call at 1 (855) 768-4135. Our team of expert engineers and electricians are here to assist you every step of the way! 

      If you are a professional installer, an integrator, or a business owner and you want to:

      Save MORE! And Do MORE! Project! 

      You can join our professional partner program RISK-FREE, NO CONTRACTS, NO HASSLE PROCES there is nothing to lose but MORE to GAIN!

      *Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only.



      This has been really useful for helping with my project. Looking forward to dreaming up ways of using strip lights to make my project awesome.


      HitLights are the best. You wouldn’t believe the applications that you can use these strips for.
      I have used them in many ways:
      accenting wall pictures
      ambient light for back of the television makes movie night awesome
      lighting in dark closets
      I have even used them in hobby work to light up my model railroad.
      I love hitlights and I will keep using them as long as light is needed

      Richard Scott

      We have used Hitlights UL listed low voltage lights for several projects. The knowledge and suggestions given by their technical salesperson has been a key to the success of each project.

      Thank you

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