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The best LED strip lights in 2023: Top picks for every room

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Several light strips from Govee, Tapo, Nanoleaf, and Lifx glow different colors on a wooden floor.LED strip lights can bring light and shimmering color to every corner of a room.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

While our selection of the best smart light bulbs will brighten up your home and help you set the right mood, LED strip lights can take it to the next level. 

LED strip lights are a smart solution for illuminating dim areas like under cabinets. They can add interest to an otherwise boring desk or bedroom. You can even use a strip light to add an immersive experience to your home theater.

Depending on your application, you’ll want a strip light that’s bright and colorful with creative effects and useful features. You’ll also want to consider how they integrate into your smart-home ecosystem. Below you’ll find our favorite smart LED strip lights, based on years of testing. 

Our top picks for the best LED strip lights

Best overall: Lifx Lightstrip with Color Zones – See at Amazon
For the brightest, most vivid colors, nothing can compete with the Lifx Lightstrip with Color Zones.

Best budget: Tapo L930-5 Multicolor Light Strip – See at Amazon
Offering brightness, affordability, and fun features, the Tapo L930-5 includes a surprising amount of features at a low price point.

Best outdoor: Govee Phantasy Pro Outdoor Strip Light – See at Amazon
The Govee Phantasy Pro Outdoor Strip Light has a huge variety of effects and a ton of ways to customize.

Best for task lighting: Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Lighstrip – See at Amazon
With its bright whites, the Nanoleaf Essentials Lightstrip is the perfect choice for wherever you need extra illumination.

Best for TVs: Govee M1 LED Strip Light –  See at Amazon
With a built-in microphone and tons of customizability, the Govee M1 LED Strip Light can make watching your favorite show more immersive.

Best overall: Lifx Lightstrip with Color ZonesThe Lifx Light Strip with Color Zones glows pink and blue on a wooden table.The Lifx Lightstrip adds bold and bright color around your home.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

  • Brightness: 700 lumens
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Power usage: 8 watts
  • Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT
  • Hub needed: No

LED strip lights are a great way to add ambiance to a room but only if they deliver vibrant colors and interesting effects. If you want a strip that beams beautiful colors that are bright enough to illuminate dark corners, then you’ll want to take a look at the Lifx Light Strip with Color Zones

Of all the options we tested, the Lifx Light Strip with Color Zones has the best balance of brightness and features. Its white settings were dimmer than a few others, like the Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Lightstrip, our pick for the best task lighting. However, no other strip came close to matching the brightness of its red, green, blue, and violet settings. 

For bold colors and fun effects, the Lifx delivers. Whether they’re installed behind a bed, under a bookcase, or lined up in the corners of a room, they’ll provide an eye-catching accent in whatever colors you like. You can choose between nine options for lighting effects with adjustable speeds, including strobe, pastels, and twinkle. 

The Lifx app allows you to create your own schedules or edit preset routines, like O.K. to wake and circadian rhythm. You can also group the strip with other Lifx bulbs so they all come on at the same time. 

One thing to note with the Lifx Light Strip is that you can’t save effects. So if you want a certain effect to have a specific color scheme, you’ll have to adjust the color each time. However, some effects support several preset color themes, like “mellow” and “spacey.” That said, you can save and customize static colors with the paint function, adding different hues along the length of the strip. 

The strip light is available in 40, 80, and 120 inches. With the 40 inch, you’ll need to purchase a longer attachment for most areas. Despite not being as customizable as other strip lights, no other strip light came close to matching the Lifx’s bright colors.

Best budget: Tapo L930-5 Multicolor Light StripThe Tapo L930-5 Multicolor Light Strip glows white on a wooden table.TP-Link’s Tapo L930-5 Multicolor Light Strip is the brightest option if you’re on a budget.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

  • Brightness: 1000 lumens
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Power usage: 13 watts
  • Smart-home compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings
  • Hub needed: No

There are no shortage of budget options for strip lights, but most are flimsy and emit pale, washed-out colors that are depressingly dim. TP-Link’s Tapo L930-5 Multicolor Light Strip comes in a thick, plastic coating and offers the brightest colors of any sub-$50 strip light we tested. 

The Tapo L930-5 is an RGBWIC LED strip, meaning it has both RGB lights and tunable white LEDs. The Tapo puts its pretty colors to good use with some fun effects, and it allows you to  edit the colors and speed of these effects or create your own. You can further customize how the strip appears by applying different colors to 50 individual segments. 

If you want a strip light that can sync with music, the Tapo can do that, albeit in a rudimentary way. Unlike our pick for the best TV strip light, the Govee M1, which has built-in microphones, the Tapo uses the mic on your phone to pick up sound. That means you have to leave the app open. It’s not as seamless as Govee’s experience, but it is a nice feature to have on a budget strip.

Tapo’s app is very straightforward and simple to figure out. The home page has a “favorites” list of devices. Tap on the strip light, and you can control the color and brightness. There’s also a menu along the bottom for themes, schedules, away settings, and timers. If you want to turn the strip on or off, there’s a power button on the light’s cord. 

Plus, you can incorporate the strip light into a wide range of smart-home ecosystems like Apple HomeKit and use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for voice control. 

While the Tapo is plenty bright for most situations, there are some trade-offs for the budget price. Connection points where the strip attaches to the cord might detach at the slightest jostle, and the strip light didn’t have the strongest adhesive backing, either. But with a decent length and for about $40, the Tapo gives you the most vibrant colors and one of the simplest apps.

Best outdoor: Govee Phantasy Pro Outdoor Strip LightThe Govee Phantasy Pro Outdoor Light Strip glows blue on a stone floor.For outdoor lights that are super customizable, the Govee Phantasy Pro Light Strip delivers.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

  • Brightness: 150 lumens per meter
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Power usage: 52.8 watts
  • Smart-home compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Water resistance: IP65 but adapter needs to be covered
  • Hub needed: No

If you like to illuminate your outdoor space in colors, weather-resistant strip lights are a good way to go. You can leave them up year-round, and they’re, well … not Christmas lights. The Govee Phantasy Pro Outdoor Strip Light is endlessly customizable and offers great bang for your buck at about $70 for 32 feet of illumination. 

Govee strip lights offer an overwhelming amount of ways to display colors. You can set 15 individual segments to a different color and brightness or apply one of the dozens of effects. “Ballet,” “deep sea,” and “meditation” are just a few of the many options that cycle through different colors and brightnesses in impressive displays. In the Effects Lab tab, there are colors grouped by emotions, fruits, flags, and natural sights. You can create DIY effects with your own hues, transitions, brightness, and speeds.

You can use voice control for the strip light via Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. You can also set timers and schedules to have the strip turn on at certain times. An internal microphone can sync the lights to music or other sounds.

One big flaw with the Govee is that its adaptor isn’t waterproof, so you’ll want to keep it protected from the elements. The strip itself is weather-resistant, though. We also liked the GE Cync Dynamic Effects outdoor strip, but it is substantially more expensive. But if you want something that feels very heavy duty, the Cync strip is about as thick as a garden hose.

For the price, it’s tough to top the Govee Phantasy Pro, which has a staggering amount of lighting effects that are perfect for making your house stand out.

Best for task lighting: Nanoleaf Essentials Smart LightstripThe Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Light Strip glows white beneath a TV on a wooden table.The Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Light Strip delivers the brightest whites of any we tested, perfect for under-cabinet lighting.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

  • Brightness: 2200 lumens
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Power usage: 23 watts
  • Smart-home compatibility: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Thread
  • Hub needed: No

Strip lights can be immensely useful in illuminating dim areas like under kitchen cabinets, and if you’re looking for a strip light for tasks like cooking, you likely care more about bright whites than vibrant colors. The Nanoleaf Essentials Smart Light Strip has the brightest white options of any we tested. 

Even if you’re planning on using the strip mainly for its white light, the colorful scenes and effects available are very customizable for holidays and parties. Nanoleaf is best known for its vibrant light panels, and the strip light can showcase similar effects, allowing you to choose up to seven colors to loop between. Its control box is also one of the more useful, letting you power it on or off, change the brightness, and click through the color settings. Voice control is also available via Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple’s Siri. 

One of the areas where the Nanoleaf falls short is scheduling. You need to use either the Google Home app or Apple HomeKit to set schedules. That’s a feature that’s available natively in every other strip light we tested, so it’s disappointing that the Nanoleaf lacks it. Otherwise, it works with a good number of smart-home platforms.  

The Nanoleaf’s starter kit is a comparatively short 80-inch strip, but you can add expansions up to 32 feet. That should be enough for most kitchens so your strip light can illuminate your workspace with its bright whites.  

Best for TV: Govee M1 LED Strip LightThe Govee M1 LED Light Strip glows white beneath a TV on a wooden table.A vast number of effects and the ability to sync with sound make the Govee M1 LED Strip Light a dazzling addition to an entertainment center.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

  • Brightness: 581 lumens per meter
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Power usage: 72 watts
  • Smart-home compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Hub needed: No

Adding a strip light to your TV can turn watching your favorite show into an atmospheric experience. With its built-in microphone and bold colors, the Govee M1 Strip Light brings an element of fun to your entertainment center. 

The mic lets the strip light respond to whatever sounds it picks up. Based on the rhythm you select (there are 11 options), the lights will brighten or flash. You can select the colors you want and change the sensitivity of what the mic picks up. If you prefer to make your own scenes, there are countless ways to apply different colors and effects to the strip. 

As with the outdoor Govee lights, you can use Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa for voice control. It’s also fairly simple to set timers and schedules, including having the lights automatically turn on in the morning and off at night. 

Govee also makes the Envisual TV Backlight T2, which uses a camera to sync its colors with whatever’s on your screen. The effect is cool, but it also costs $40 more than the M1. But because it’s specifically designed to attach to TVs, the strip has flexible corners that help it fit along sets. 

To help immerse you in a movie or bring some liveliness to a dance party, the Govee M1’s spectacular array of effects and bright hues make it an ideal addition to your home theater.

What to look for in an LED strip lightThe Govee M1 LED Light Strip glows blue and pink on a wooden floor.LED strip lights are great for colorful displays and task lighting, but how you use it will dictate which one is right for you.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

First, you’ll want to understand how you’re using the strip light. If you want it for ambient lighting for everyday use and entertaining, then you’ll want one with vibrant colors and robust effects. For task lighting, a bright but more simple strip may suffice.

Many RGB strip lights will allow you to change from warm to cool whites in addition to changing colors, but only RGBW lights can produce a clean white light similar to standard light bulbs.

Depending on where you put the strip light, you’ll want to consider length. Some are as long as 32 feet while others are 40 or 80 inches. If the length of the strip doesn’t exactly match the space, you can usually trim it to size, but keep in mind how that impacts colors.

When it comes to brightness, LED strip lights don’t always have their lumens listed the way bulbs do. Some give an overall number and others list them in lumens per meter. In general, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light.

For features, you’ll want to consider how you control the strip light. The accompanying app should have useful features like schedules and timers or vacation mode. Several strip lights have built-in microphones for syncing to music or use cameras to mimic colors on a TV or computer screen.

Lastly, you should check how the strip light will integrate with your existing smart-home system. Voice control is a huge perk of smart lighting, and every option we tested works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. However, fewer work with Apple HomeKit.

You may want an option that’s expandable if you want a more robust lighting setup later down the road. Consider how they work with other smart devices, too, like the ability to turn on if your security camera detects motion.

How we test LED strip lightsSeveral light strips from Govee, Tapo, Nanoleaf, and Lifx glow different colors on a wooden floor.We test every strip light in house.

Jenny McGrath/Insider

We use benchmark tests and utilize each strip light in our homes to gauge their performance in everyday circumstances. With a light meter, we test each strip’s brightness on cool white and warm white settings. We measure the strip’s dimness at 50%, 10%, and 1% to see if these settings are accurate and useful. Brightness for red, green, blue, and violet are also tested. 

During setup, we time each step of installing the app and setting up the light, noting any delays in the pairing process. We unplug the strip for several days then check and see if it needs to be set up again. Each strip is attached to a bookcase and left for 24 hours to see how well the adhesive holds. For the app, we take into account how easy it is to navigate, features,  scheduling options, and the privacy settings and permissions. 

Using an Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant device, we test how well the strips respond to voice commands. If the strip is compatible, we also add it to Apple HomeKit. We look at the number and type of available automations for IFTTT as well.

LED strip light FAQs

Can you cut LED strip lights?

Many manufacturers include directions for cutting their strip lights. Once cut, though, the excess piece is no longer functional. Cutting the strip may also affect how the colors are displayed.


Do LED strip lights use a lot of electricity? 

The lower the wattage, the less electricity a device uses. All the strip lights on this list use between 8 and 75 watts of electricity. That ranges from about the wattage of an LED to that of an incandescent. 


Do LED strip lights get hot? 

While strip lights stay relatively cool, it’s still important to keep them uncovered. Though the risk of a fire is low, it’s not impossible. Lower-quality strip lights may also pose a greater fire risk.

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