Understanding Outdoor LED Strip Lights

Outdoor LED strip lights are highly versatile and durable lighting solutions designed to operate outdoors.

 Generally, the strips have many LEDs with waterproof materials to withstand harsh conditions like snow and rain. 

And besides being weatherproof, outdoor LED strip lights are also energy efficient, converting almost 90% of energy into useful light. 

Moreover, we noted that these lights have a higher lifespan than incandescent or fluorescent lights, lasting over 50,000 hours. 

But there is more to outdoor LED strip lights than the high durability and energy efficiency.

 Today’s article highlights the most important aspects of outdoor LED strip lights, focusing on how to choose, use, and install them. Let’s get rolling!

Understanding Outdoor LED Strip Lights

These are strip lights with multiple LEDs designed for use in outdoor spaces. 

Generally, they are designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions like heavy rains, wind, and high temperatures. 

Funny enough, these lights are available in different colors with customizable features to produce your desired lighting effect. 

The main functions of this lighting include outdoor space decorations, accent lighting, and highlighting architectural features.

 Moreover, these lights are more energy efficient and long-lasting than conventional options. 

Features of Outdoor LED Strip Lights

A bridge illuminated with LED lights

(A bridge illuminated with LED lights)

Outdoor LED strip lights have become popular outdoor lighting options for the following reasons. 

Weatherproof: Manufacturers design outdoor LED strip lights with weatherproof materials (epoxy coating and silicone), which resists moisture, UV rays, and high temperature. 

Therefore, these LED lights are highly durable even in rainy conditions. 

Flexibility: All outdoor LED strip lights can bend and fit even on irregular surfaces and around corners. 

Additionally, they have designated cut points that allow you to cut or extend at specific intervals. 

Energy efficiency: One of the main advantages of LED lights is their high energy efficiency converting almost 90% of their input energy to light. 

This is way lower than incandescent or fluorescent lights and lowers energy costs. 

Color options: With outdoor LED lights, expect various color options like RGB or single-color options. 

Moreover, you can get some models with adjustable color temperatures to create your preferred ambiance.

Controllable: The market is full of dimmable LED lights that allow you to regulate brightness to meet your lighting requirements. 

Additionally, a built-in controller will enable you to control lighting with a remote control or integrate with home automation systems. 

Easy installation: Since outdoor LED lights come with mounting brackets or adhesive backing, you will find them easy to install. 

However, you might have to include fasteners or more clips in some models. 

Long lifespan: One common feature of all LED lights is their high durability extending to over 50,000 hours. 

Therefore, you will experience limited replacement or maintenance costs once you buy them. 

Ways To Choose Outdoor LED Strip Lights

Roads with LED lights

(Roads with LED lights)

You don’t just walk into any LED strip light shop and walk out with a reliable product that meets your outdoor lighting needs. Therefore, you’ll only get a good deal if you consider the following factors: 

Waterproof rating: The first and most important thing to consider for any outdoor LED strip light is the waterproof rating. 

Therefore, choose a product with a higher waterproof rating (Ingress Protection) of at least IP65. Generally, the higher the rating, the more your LED light will resist moisture and dust. 

Lumen Output/Brightness: Most outdoor settings require brighter light. Therefore, you should choose a product with a higher lumen output but focus more on your intended application. 

Color options: Decide whether you prefer single-color or RGB LED lights. However, if you settle on RGB, you might have to consider having a controller to change color. 

Power supply: Check your power supply systems and only buy LED strip lights that match their output. 

Length: Before buying any LED strip light, measure the area you wish to install. 

You can then purchase an exact LED strip light length or go for one with cutting points that allow you to customize the length to meet your requirement. 

Installation method: Consider the light’s intended purpose and whether the probable installation method works well.

 You’ll likely be forced to choose between mounting brackets/clips and adhesive backing. 

Therefore, choose an option that you’ll find easy to install. 

Brand reputation: This determines many things, including energy efficiency and durability. 

With some brands, you’ll even get a warranty that covers any damage within a specified period. 

Additionally, other brands offer reliable customer support to address all challenges you experience during installation or use. 

Ways To Use Outdoor LED Strip Lights

Light on the stairway

(Light on the stairway)

You can employ your outdoor LED strip lights in the following use cases. 

  • Accent lighting: We use LED light to highlight architectural features like columns, windows, or door frames. As a result, you will improve the visual appeal of your home or building. 
  • Pathway lighting: Additionally, we install LED strip lights along pathways to enhance visibility. This way, guests can easily find their way around your compound and still find the atmosphere attractive. 
  • Landscape illumination: You can have outdoor LED lights on tree trunks or garden beds to provide sufficient illumination at night. 
  • Patio lighting: Installing LED lights along the patio or deck creates an inviting gathering ambiance. 
  • Pool lighting: You can use waterproof LED lights to improve the beauty of any water feature, like pools or fountains. 
  • Security lighting: We also install LED strip lights near windows, entrances, or other critical areas to enhance visibility and prevent unauthorized persons. 
  • Outdoor furniture: The only way to create a cozy atmosphere and relaxing outdoor mood is to install LED lights on outdoor umbrellas, chairs, or tables. 

How To Install Outdoor LED Strip Lights

A technician installing solar and LED lights

(A technician installing solar and LED lights)

You can only have a successful outdoor LED strip light installation process if you plan and execute it properly. And this is possible if you follow the below steps.

  1. Plan your layout: First, identify the location you wish to make the installation and measure the area accurately (you’ll need the measurements later). Also, this is the time to consider the power source to guarantee its availability. 
  2. Clean the surface: Attaching LED strip lights on a dirt surface won’t provide a firm and durable attachment. Therefore, clean the surface to remove any dirt and debris. 
  3. Cut the required length: Based on the area you measured above, cut an LED strip light that fits. Fortunately, LED lights come with designated cut points to make everything easy. 
  4. Connect power: Connect your strip light to power. However, it should remain off before you make any connection. 
  5. Attach strip lights: Remove any adhesive backing from your strip lights and stick it (LED light) firmly on a clean surface. And for better support, use fasteners or mounting brackets. Afterward, switch on your power supply to test the LED strip light. 
  6. Install accessories: Follow the manufacturer guidelines to install the relevant accessories like dimmers and controllers. 
  7. Waterproofing: You should waterproof your LED light with waterproofing connectors or silicone sealant to prevent moisture from damaging the LEDs. 
  8. Protect wires: Hide all wires under conduits or structures like outdoor chairs. Moreover, you can double-check LED light functionality to ensure everything is ok. 


Are LED lights waterproof? 

Not all LED lights are waterproof. Generally, LED lights with a higher Ingress Rating (IP), like IP65 and IP66, offer more moisture-resistant.

 Therefore, you can employ such LED lights in any outdoor environment with snow or rain; nothing will be damaged. 

Where can you use outdoor LED strip lights? 

You can use these lights in almost any outdoor setting, including the following: 

  • Fencing lines
  • Decks and patio
  • Walkways and pathways
  • Water features like pools
  • Pergolas and gazebos
  • Landscaping and gardens
  • Outdoor bars and kitchens

Final Remarks

You can no longer restrict your LED strip lights to indoor settings. Nowadays, manufacturers are designing LED lights for use in outdoor settings, especially at night. 

These lights usually are weatherproof with an Ingress Protection rating above 65. 

Nothing should stop you from enjoying vibrant lighting ambiance in your outdoor environment at night. 

But to achieve this, ensure you abide by the above installation guidelines.