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Waterproof LED Strip Light Guide

December 06,2023

 LED strips are a popular choice for adding lighting to a space. They are available in a variety of colors and can be installed in a number of ways. One thing to consider when purchasing LED strips is whether or not they are waterproof. There are many types of waterproof LED strips on the market, so it's important to know which type is best for your needs.

What is an IP rating?

The IP rating or Ingress Protection Rating is a number assigned to an LED strip to indicate the level of protection it provides against solid foreign objects and liquids. The rating is usually represented by two numbers, the first for protection against solid objects and the second for protection against liquids. For example, an IP68 rating means that the unit is completely protected against dust ingress and can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

When do we need waterproof LED strips?

We don't always need waterproof LED strips. If you are starting out, you may not need them yet. Most basic LED projects can be done with non-waterproof LED strips. However, if you work in wet environments or plan to use LED strips outdoors or underwater, you must use waterproof LED strips.

How many waterproof ratings are there for led strip lights?

There are many waterproof ratings for led strip lights. It is hard for beginners to know which one to choose. There are five waterproof ratings: IP20, IP52, IP65, IP67, and IP68.

The rating you need depends on how you will be using the led strip light. If you are using it for indoor decoration, an IP20 rating will be fine.

IP20 is not waterproof

IP20 is the lowest rating and is not waterproof at all. It is intended for indoor use only.

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IP65 silicone coating

Waterproof process:

Add a layer of silicone on the LED strip light beads, but the other side is bare PCB. IP65 LED strip light can be dustproof, but waterproof performance is poor.

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Applications:

For use in dry or wet areas such as living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms. Not recommended for use in areas where water will splash.

Color Shift:

The CCT of the finished product will be higher compared to the color temperature of the LED. For example, when producing 3000K IP65 LED strips, we cannot use 3000K LEDs, but only LEDs with a CCT lower than 3000K, such as 2700K LEDs.

Brightness loss:

Approximately 10% lumen loss.

Dimension change:

There is no change in the width compared to the IP20 LED strip, but the height has increased by about 1.5-2mm. Therefore, we don't need to consider the additional width when choosing LED aluminum profiles.

IP65 Silicone Hose

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Waterproof Process:

Add silicone sleeve to wrap the  LED light strip  by extruding it through synthetic or silicone. IP65 LED light strip is dustproof and waterproof.

Applications:

For use in wet or splash areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, eaves. Not recommended for outdoor use as the housing is hollow.

Color Offset:

Basically, there is no color offset.

Brightness loss:

Approximately 5% lumen loss.

Dimensional changes:

Compared to IP20 non-waterproof LED strips, IP65 silicone tube LED strips have an increase in width and height of approximately 2mm. You must take this increased size into account when selecting your LED aluminum profiles.

IP68 full PU package

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Waterproof process:

Wrap the LED strip with fully transparent PU adhesive.

PU stands for polyurethane.

Applications:

Suitable for outdoor and underwater use. Due to the small molecular gap of PU, it will not seep water, resistant to chlorine, acid and alkali, suitable for underwater use.

Color Shift:

Similar to IP57 silicone fully encapsulated LED strips, IP68 fully PU encapsulated has a color offset.

Brightness Loss:

Approximately 15% lumen loss.

Dimensional Changes:

Same as IP67 Silicone Fully Encapsulated LED Strip, IP67 Full Silicone LED Strip has increased in width and height by approximately 2mm.

Common Materials Used to Make Waterproof LED Strip Lights

The most common materials used to make waterproof LED strips are epoxy resin, PU glue and silicone.

What is the difference between them? Let's take a quick look.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin has the advantages of low cost, good workability and low toxicity. Therefore, it is a popular waterproof material for most cheap LED light strips on the market. However, its molecular structure has a fatal flaw.

First, it has poor thermal conductivity, which will reduce the life of the light strip.

Secondly, epoxy resin rapidly turns yellow after half a year, and this yellowing will affect the color temperature of the tape.

In addition, epoxy resin cannot withstand high and low temperatures. It is easy to harden and crack when the ambient temperature is below 0℃.

PU adhesive

The cost of PU adhesive is higher than epoxy resin. It is resistant to yellowing, low temperature and good thermal conductivity. However, it is toxic. Polyurethane adhesive produces some small molecule compounds after curing. These compounds smell bad and are not suitable for health.

Secondly, it is not resistant to high temperatures. Do not use adhesive strips with PU adhesive in places where the ambient temperature is higher than 80 °C.

Silicone

Silicone is the most expensive. It is an environmentally friendly material with the advantages of PU glue and epoxy resin.

First of all, the heat resistance and low temperature resistance are excellent.

-50°~300° ambient temperature will not affect its structure and performance. We can use the silicone LED strip for sauna and refrigerator.

Secondly, the silicone glue will not turn yellow after a long time. This also ensures the long-term stability of the color temperature of the LED strip. It is essential for high-end lighting projects such as hotels and yachts.

The heat dissipation of LED strips is facilitated by the good thermal conductivity of silicone. However, we needed to add aluminum channels for high power (over 20 W/m) strip lighting for thermal control.

Glite manufactures high quality LED Strip Lights and  LED Neon Lights . All of our products go through a high-tech lab to ensure the highest quality. In addition, we offer customizable options on our LED Strips and Neon Lights. So for quality LED Strips and LED Neon Lights, contact Glite as soon as possible!


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