Commercial & Decorating lights | LUNA MCFION Lighting

The 2021 LED Strip Lights Types Definitive Guide

2021.08.23 06:14 PM By Mark Mai

led strips types

LED strip lights becomes very popular in the recent years. You could use LED strip lights as cove lighting, or direct linear light. 

It's most possible that this article would help solving all your questions.

We classify almost all led strip lighting by many different ways, and giving all pros & cons of each one. You might feel crystal after reading. Let's get start. 

LED strip light classifications

Firstly, we are going to classify all the led strip lights by the following specifications:

1. by SMD types of LED chips

2. by outer sealing materials

3. by Input voltage

4. by LED colors

5. by controlling

6. by apparent shapes

by SMD types of LED chips

LED strip lights consist with three major parts: substrate, LED chips, and necessary accesories.

The core part is LED chips. So when we differ the types of LED strips by LED chips, we could have the following.

SMD5050 led strips

SMD5050 is one of the earliest SMD LED chips. The unit power of this 5050 is rarely small, around 0.05-0.1W at the first beginning. But it becomes much bigger power in later times, and now it can be range from 1-3 watts per chips. 

SMD5050 is also the most common LED strips. The reason is the large size of SMD5050 which is 5mm width, times 5mm length. And the six pads are also the main reason for the popularity. Since 6 pads can combine at least 3 different colors of LED chips inside one SMD5050.  And also we have 8 pads for more different functions.

You might found that the RGB LED strips are mostly comes with SMD5050.
SMD5050 led strip lights

SMD2835 led strips

Besides the SMD5050, the SMD2835 will be the next popular LED strip lights. SMD2835 is widely used in down lights, T5 or T8 tube, and outdoor lightings as well, thanks to the medium high power (range from 0.2-1W) and stable performance, 

There are only 2 pads for a SMD2835 chips, so it is used only for single color. 
SMD2835 led strip lights

SMD3014 led strips

SMD3014 might show up a bit early than SDM2835. It got regular 0.1Watts per chips. Most of the back-lit applications are used SMD3014 due to the small size (3.0mm length x 1.4mm width). 

In the LED strip light usage, the SMD3014 can not do better than SMD2835, no matter in power, brightness, stabilization, etc.  However, it can be used in low power strip lights or somewhere needed to be slim size.
SMD3014 led strip lights

SMD3528 led strips

SMD3528 is the elder brother of SMD3014 & SMD2835. It got bigger sizes than SMD2835, but with lower power, around 0.1W per chips. It becomes out of market during the popular of SMD2835.

SMD3528 led strip lights

SMD5730/5630 led strips

5730 & 5630 are nearly the same format without significant difference. This size of LED chips got high power (0.5-1W, typical 0.5W) and brightness, with the advantage of large size. It is not common in the usage of LED strip light. However, it was quite common used in High Voltage LED strips.

SMD5730/5630 led strip lights

COB Strip lights

COB means Chips On Board. Unlike the SMD LED chips, which the  wafer is placed within the bracket, and connected with pads by golden wires. COB is a technique to place the wafer directly into the circuits, without brackets or golden wires. Later, a continuous fluorescent powder will be glued on the surface. 

This is a new types of LED strips, and with the advantage of a continuous light beam. And surely will be the future trend of LED strip light.
raw pcb strips

By the apparent sealing materials

As we mentioned earlier, LED strips are consist of soft or hard substrate, LED chips, and necessary accessories.  We could classify the types of strips by the apparent sealing materials as follow.

Raw Strips

Substrates, LED chips, resistants, and connecting cables, sometimes with back tape, that are all the necessary parts of the strips light. This is the basic type of LED strips, we called it Raw Strips. Even you can see the soldering pads and also you can touch them. However, thanks to the low voltage design, it's still very safe to use this raw strips.

Half-irrigation Strips

For some cases, we still need protection for the LED chips and pads. Such as washing rooms, shower rooms, etc.  When we place a layer of transparent silicon glue on the LED side, that is called  half-irrigation LED strips.

The silicon provide protection from dust & fog for LED chips, and the back side remain the same, with back tape. So it uses just the same, but with more protections.
half-irrigation led strips

Full-irrigation Strips

Same as half-irrigation strips, when we place transparent silicon or PVC glue for all sides of a raw strips, we can get a full-irrigation strips.

This type of strips can be used for outdoor or even underwater.  There are also some cons either. The brightness will get decay, and also the color temperature will be shifted as well. Typically, the color temperature will get 200-300K higher. For example, a strips with 2700K in raw strip type, will shift to around 3000K in the full-irrigation type.
full-irrigation strips

PVC Strip

PVC strip is made by extruding milky+white PVC outer materials into the raw strips.

The milky PVC is placed just on top of the LED chips, so we could get a continuous light beam. And the white PVC is placed for the other parts, to achieve a better appearance.

There are some cautions before using this PVC Strips. Be aware not to use in applications of acidic or high temperature scenes. Otherwise, the PVC materials will get aging, hardening, and muddy. 
PVC led strip lights

Silicon Pipe Strip

Comparing to PVC materials, Silicon got much better performance. 

  • More stable, even in severe chemical applications
  • resist to high temperature,
  • anti-aging, will not muddy during long time usage,
  • waterproof, excellent insulation resistance.

In a word, silicon is perfect, but expensive. It's a smart way to use silicon pipe, with the less silicon, but powerful effects. However, the silicon pipe is transparent, so we will still see dots for each single led chips, not a continuous beam.
Silicon pipe led strips

Silicon Strip

The ultimate solution will be extruding milky + white silicon sealing materials plus the raw strips.

Same comprehensive advantages of silicon pipe strip, and also a constant beam. Nice! what left is budget.
silicon strip lights

 Hard Substrate LED Strip

Almost all the above strips we talked are based in soft substrate, so called Flexible Printed Circuit Board (FPC). The main advantage will be flexible, bendable. 

We still have many applications in only straight linear way. For example, stairs, cabinets, cove ceiling lights, ect. So the Hard Substrate LED strips are also in great demands. 

Normally, we will use aluminum as the substrate. Aluminum PCB Strip lights is as follow:  
aluminum hard substrate strips

Aluminum Profile Strip Lights

Aluminum profiles, a very popular word in the recent years of decoration. Actually, it's a combination of raw strip lights, inside a particular structure of aluminum profiles, normally comes with a milky or sanded PC cover. 

This type of strip lights can expand into hundreds of different sizes and structures. You can easily found particular aluminum profile for any applications.  Such as: stairs, cabinet, skirting board, cove lights, linear designs, etc.
Aluminum profile led strip lights

We will continue to introduce the rest classifications in the next blogs. keep updated by subscribe to our newsletters now.

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