What to Think about when choosing an LED Flexible strip supplier.

Flexible LED Strip light wholesale buying guide

How to choose the right supplier and the right product for the job.

The use of flexible LED strip lights in restaurants, bars, cabinets, displays, showrooms and outdoor applications 
is becoming more and more prevalent and is creating unique lighting experiences in many different environments.The quality of product is excellent and the installation a breeze, if you can find  the right supplier! Simple right? But finding that right supplier is often easier said than done. Alot of the product in the market looks similar, but there is a big difference in overall quality, lifespan, brightness and colour temperature each product will emit. LEDs are becoming brighter more efficient, simpler to install and the cost is reasonable for the quality of product available.

It is a tough job to keep up with the market and to know what the most efficient and cost-effective product available is, but we are here to help you find ways to decipher a quality product from it's cheap counterpart.  

While there is no formula  or standard on how to choose the right flexible LED strip,  there are a few basic industry terms that you should familiarize yourself with before choosing a supplier.

Flexible LED Strip Lights

 1. LEDs per..... 

Reel, Meter or foot? What does this all mean? This number can be misleading if you don't understand how it affects the light output you will be getting from your new LED flexible strips.

The first thing you need to understand is not all companies use the same standard of LED measurement, some will use LEDs per foot, some will use LEDs per roll (3M, 5M or 25M roll) and some will use LEDs per Meter. 

What do all these numbers mean and what should I be looking for?

These numbers in essence, represent  the amount of light output you will receive from your strips. You should try and find a common value to compare, if you know that company A uses 30 LEDs per meter, and company B uses 300 LEDs per roll, you need to convert the LEDs per meter to LEDs per roll. For example if company A uses 30 LEDs per meter, then you will  need to multiply 30 by the number of meters in the roll, for example a 5M roll. which would work out to 150 LEDs per roll. You will then discover that company B's LED strip should be twice as bright as company A. 

Although this is true, you also need to be aware that there are multiple types of LED chips used in flexible led strip, the most common being 3528 and 5050 chips. These numbers refer to the size of the chips, for example a 5050 chip, will be 5mm x 5mm , whereas the 3528 chip will be 3.5mm x 2.8mm. Make sure you are comparing a product that uses the same type of LED chip in the flexible strip. 

2. Lumens? How bright are your flexible strip lights?

Determining the lumen output a particular strip emits can still be a little tricky as each of the companies your considering may be giving Lumens in different measurements, you will need to convert them to a common unit of measure and this will give you an even comparison, after that it will come down to quality of light and certifications.

In this section, suppliers will also have differing ways of saying the same thing because of the wide range of flexible strip lights out there you need to be sure to understand what the supplier is actually referring to when discussing lumens. Lumens per reel, meter or foot? You should be inquiring "how are the "Lumens" measured?

3. Wattage

The reduced Power consumption, increased lifespan as well as the flexible nature of LEDs is the main reason why these lights are so popular. The wattage simply tells us just how much power we are consuming while operating these lights, and ultimately how much they will cost us every month to operate.

The main point to verify is the wattage per meter, foot or reel before you purchase.

Another point to consider is to make sure you confirm the voltage the strips operate, some use 12V DC while others use 24V DC. This is important when deciding what power supply to use to operate your new strips.

An LED strip light that uses 12 volts will not work if you purchase a 24 volt power supply. 

4. Cost

Why are some LED strips so cheap and others not so cheap? The old saying, you get what you pay for definitely rings true with LED strip lighting. What is the main contributing factor to the high or low cost of LED strip lights? The LED market is saturated with manufacturers and distributors with a varying quality, cost, and speficications. So what should I be looking for if I want to find a quality product? 

First lets break down the cost of the flexible strips--The main cost is the Flexbible LED strip is the LED chips themselves, the components used and also the quality of PCB (printed circuit board) which is the circuit board that all the components are soldered. 

You want a product that you can install and not have to ever think about again. A product  that will produce a nice clean light that will be maintenance free for years. 

If you would like to purchase a quality product, the first thing you need to  consider is certifications, whether it is (cRUus-- component UL marking), cULus, cETLus or CSA you are after, you need to verify that the strips will meet your standard. By ensuring the flexible strips have certifications you can have the peace of mind that the components used are high quality and the manufacturing processes used are up to the highest standard. 

Other aspects to consider when choosing your LED strip lights:

Thermal Management - Have the LED flexible strip lights been designed to properly dissipate heat?  Heat is the killer of all lights, reduce thermal output and your lights will last longer. If your LED strip lights do not use proper thermal management techniques, your 50,000 hour 'life span' just turned into 10,000 or 15,000 hours. 

Product material safety - What materials have the manufacturers used in the production of the LED strip lights? How was it produced, and under what conditions. Look for cRUus certifications or UL, ETL & CSA. 

The MAIN four points

When purchasing LED flexible strip lights there are a few main areas to consider and compare before purchasing.

  • Certifications -- This is important because this it ensures quality components are used in manufacturing.
  • Amount of light produced in Lumens
  • Wattage consumed 
  • Color temperature and quality of light

 

Feel free contact us directly if you have any questions or require additional informtion.