LED strip lights are a great way to illuminate an area interestingly and originally.
Some people utilize strip lights during the festive season, wrapping up the Christmas tree in the living room or outlining the house’s roof, all done in celebration of a joyful time.
Others use strip lights to give a modern and hip feel to their homes by placing them along the cornice or tracing over the vertical portion of the steps on a staircase or backlighting drawers.
LED strip lights do not cost a lot of electricity compared to traditional incandescent lights. Consumption is directly determined by the length of the strip light and its light density. A standard 5-meter strip will cost less than $3 a year to run, on average.
It’s been shown that the electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5-10 times the original purchase price of the bulb.
Because of its inefficiency, most countries like Australia, China, Japan, and India have banned or phased out incandescent bulbs.
This decision was made as an effort to reduce national energy consumption.
Overall, it is a good step in the right direction.
LED Lighting: The Next Generation of Lights
Even if you’re not living in a country that has banned incandescent bulbs, you should definitely make the decision to switch to LED bulbs.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs have many advantages that make them a superior choice.
For one, they last way longer(15,000 – 50,000 hours) than incandescent bulbs(700 – 1,000 hours).
If you were to use LED light bulbs for 10 hours a day, they could last for well over 10 years!
Incandescent light bulbs, in comparison, will only last 100 days.
There is a third option, which is the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Still, it’s really just a minor improvement over the incandescent bulb. CFLs have a lifespan of only up to 10,000 hours – a massive jump from incandescents, but LED lights have them beat in lifespan and other areas.
LED lights are durable as they do not use a filament. They are much more forgiving to drops or bumps.
LED lights are free from mercury that you would normally find in CFL, which is highly poisonous. A CFL bulb breaking would release mercury into the air and can be a danger.
I know I was talking about general light bulbs, but the bottom line is that the same characteristics apply to LED strip lights.
Another main benefit of LED lights including strips is that, LED lights do not get extremely hot. You don’t have to worry about your Christmas tree decorations burning down your house.
And as you’ll see in the next few sections, LED bulbs are also extremely efficient and therefore are great for making energy savings and cutting the cost of your bills.
Do LEDs Use a Lot of Electricity?
Now, you understand how LED bulbs can save you money by having to buy fewer light bulbs over time.
But what about the energy cost of having one of these screwed into the ceilings of your home?
The electricity used by a light bulb is measured by KWh. An LED bulb uses 127.5KWh over its lifespan of 15,000 hours. Incandescent bulbs used for 15,000 hours (for theoretical purposes; an incandescent bulb cannot last that long) will use up 900KWh of electricity.
Now, the cost of electricity per KWh will depend on the area you live in. The average for the US is 13 cents per hour.
So, with that rate, the cost of electricity for an LED bulb is only $16.58, while an incandescent bulb would cost $117 – almost 7 times as much on your energy bill!
How Much Power Does an LED Strip Light Use?
So we’ve established that an LED light bulb doesn’t use a lot of electricity compared to older technologies.
But what about strip lights?
Here are two things you need to consider – the power consumption of the strip and the length.
The consumption is measured in Watts per meter, and this will be impacted by a few different things.
Firstly, the density of the lights. A standard density LED strip light will typically have 30 diodes every meter. A high density will likely be 60 or 120 diodes in the same length, although some go much higher.
Then there’s the size of the diodes. These are normally given as a four-digit number which just describes the width and height of the diode. The 3528 diodes (35mm wide, 28mm high) tend to draw less power than a 5050 light strip, but they won’t be as bright.
So a high-density 3528 strip might have a higher power draw than a standard density 5050 strip. Power consumption should be advertised on the box or webpage when you buy your strips – look for either W/m (watts per meter) or W/f (Watts per foot).
Another measurement you might see is lumens per meter or lumens per foot. This tells you how bright the strip is. A good quality strip will provide around 1500 lumens per meter.
Don’t assume that lower lumens per meter mean less power used, though – that may broadly be the case. Still, some diodes are more efficient than others, so they may be brighter without upping the power needed.
Then, there’s the length of a strip. Considering how power is measured in Watts per meter, that tells you that the more meters to a strip, the more Watts it needs to work. A 1.3W/m strip uses 6.5 Watts for a 5-meter strip but 13 Watts for a 10-meter version.
So to answer the question – how much power do LED strips use?
It depends on the length of the strip and the power consumption, depending on light density and diode size.
Do Connected Strip Lights Use More Electricity?
Simply put, yes, if you connect more strip lights to a circuit, then you will increase the electricity usage. Power’s measured in consumption per meter, so the more meters you add on, the more you’re consuming.
Remember that it’s always important to use the same strips in a series – don’t mix and match consumption as that’ll be dangerous.
You can read more about connecting LED strip lights in my other article.
How Long Can You Leave LED Strip Lights On?
An LED strip light can be theoretically left switched on for 24/7 if you want, but I don’t recommend doing that.
While doing that would cost less than doing it with an incandescent light strip, you’d be using up a lot of the transformer’s life hours.
A transformer would have a longer lifespan if it had time to cool down in between use.
So if you use your strip lights for just 5 hours a day, you will have a transformer that would last much longer.
You also need to consider heat dissipation. The longer you leave a strip light switched on, the more heat it will generate.
If you want to leave a strip light on for longer periods of time, including 24/7, you’ll need to install a proper heat sink, especially if the strip is in an unventilated area.
Do LED Strip Lights Make Your Electricity Bill High?
So then, do LED lights use a lot of electricity, and how much does it cost you?
Let’s use a few examples to show you the costs of running strip lights in real terms.
For this table, we’re using the average electricity cost in the US, which is 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
A kilowatt-hour is the measure of energy that’s equivalent to 1,000 Watts drawn for an hour. So to convert Watts to kWh, you multiply by the number of hours and then divide by 1,000.
We’re also using 1.3W/m as the power consumption of a standard density strip and 3W/m as a high density strip, as examples. Some strips can be much higher, so bear that in mind.
|Length of strip light||Standard density strip – 1.3W/m||High density strip – 3W/m|
|5 meters||0.08 cents per hour||0.19 cents per hour|
|10 meters||0.17 cents per hour||0.39 cents per hour|
|15 meters||0.25 cents per hour||0.59 cents per hour|
That means that, even if you run a high-density LED strip over 15 meters and switch it on for an hour, it’ll barely cost you more than half a cent.
Let’s see how that extrapolates over the course of a whole year – let’s say using your LED strips for 10 hours per day.
|Length of strip light||Standard density strip – 1.3W/m||High density strip – 3W/m|
|5 meters||$2.92 per year (10 hrs a day)||$6.93 per year (10 hrs a day)|
|10 meters||$6.21 per year (10 hrs a day)||$14.24 per year (10 hrs a day)|
|15 meters||$9.13 per year (10 hrs a day)||$21.54 per year (10 hrs a day)|
So buy a shorter, standard density strip light, and you’re paying less than $3 for an entire year of regular use. Even a much longer strip with a higher density of LED lights averages out at less than $22 a year or lower than $2 a month.
Of course, add an LED strip to every single room in your home. Illuminating kitchen cabinets, false ceilings, coving, and more, then costs will add up.
But does a single LED strip light have high energy usage?
It’s pretty clear that it doesn’t, and they are one of the most energy efficient types of light you can install in your home.
How To Calculate LED Strip Power Consumption?
If your strip light provides the Wattage but not the Power Consumption, here’s how you can find out for yourself.
Power Consumption is measured in W(watts)/m(meters) or W/foot.
If your strip light is 10 meters long and draws 24 Watts, your Power Consumption is 2.4W/m.
This can also be reversed to find the Wattage if only consumption is provided – simply multiple the consumption by the length of the strip to see the total Wattage.
If power consumption is 2.4W/m and your strip light is 15 meters, then its Wattage is 36W.
This information is vital when you need to buy a power supply for your strip lights.
Some strip lights don’t provide this information. Let’s use as an example the strip light that I have bought not so long ago.
As you can see on the image above, it only states the consumption per 1000 hours which equals 20kW. Now converting that back to Watts/h is only 20 Watts per the whole strip.
Not too bad.
When picking a power supply, remember that it’s okay to get one capable of providing more than what the power supply needs.
In my case, a 36+W power supply can be used. If you look at that image, it doesn’t actually directly tell you the supply’s Wattage.
But it provides all the information to calculate it yourself, which is the output of 24V and amperage, which is 1500mA or 1.5A.
The formula for Wattage is W=V*A, so in my case, it’s 36W. This means that the power supply provided with the strip is 36W.
I always recommend using 20% more Wattage than the actual consumption, just to leave room for surges and overloading to the power supply.
Never use a supply that provides less than your strip light needs, i.e., a 12W power supply. This will quickly overload the transformer and will become dangerous.
So there you have it — LED strip lights do not cost much money to install or run.
They are way cheaper than incandescent and CFL to run. While it might cost you a little more to buy, it is worth it. Think of it as an investment.
And besides, they are very much in demand, which means the price is getting lower and lower.
LED Strip Lights look cool and unique. Use them for accent lighting or festive decorations, and you won’t regret it.
- So are you ready for the Christmas season?
- And have you thought about where you can use LED strip lights for accent lighting?
Share your plans for LED strip lights below in the comments section.