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LED strip lights we love

(Image credit: Pixabay)

LED strip lighting is very much on-trend because it’s generally easy to install, simple to set up and results in some very snazzy effects. It can be used inside and out, depending on the strips that you are buying. If you do want to place the strips in the garden, however, then you must check that they're waterproof.

In general, you get what you pay for. The cheapest strips will tend only to produce a warm white light but this can produce a cosy feel, which is why they are popular in kitchens and living rooms. For added bling, you may want to opt for coloured lights and play around. Indeed, most RGB strips offer a jaw-dropping 16 million colours.

Coloured strips are going to offer the greatest flexibility and most of them will come with an app that allows you to determine the light they'll produce. In some cases, they'll add extra functionality such as responding to music or allowing voice control. If this is something that catches your imagination, check that everything you need is provided: for strip lights that form part of a wider ecosystem, you might have to buy some extra accessories.

It certainly helps that strip lights tend to be easy to install. Those that affix using adhesive are as simple as peeling away the backing and pressing the strips into place. Be aware, too, that LED strip lights can be cut to fit into the required spaces. Those that are particularly bendy will tend to prove more flexible and so increase the potential for creativity.

(Image credit: Amazon)

L8star Colour Changing Rope Lights

These strips will change colour with your music

Reasons to buy
+It uses an app for control+Colours change for sound and movement+There are pre-coded modes
Reasons to avoid
-They are not waterproof

These LED light strips rock – or at least that's the idea behind them anyway. By downloading the accompanying app for your Android or iPhone smartphone, it's possible to play your own music and have the lights on the strip change colour in accordance to the beats.

There is also a microphone function that alters the lights when you sing or talk, and the strips can even be set to change colour when you exercise or merely move. The strips themselves can be stuck to surfaces using the supplied 3M tape and you have a choice of how long a roll you need too.

With 16 million colours at your disposal, an adjustable brightness and a set of built-in patterns, we love how they have the potential to get your party started.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Govee LED Strip Lights

Go hands free with voice assistant activation

Reasons to buy
+Works with Alexa and Google Assistant+The app lets you mix colours+A timer adds welcome extra smarts
Reasons to avoid
-It's for indoor use only

As well as being controllable via an app, Govee is compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Assistant devices, allowing you to call upon Alexa or Google Assistant to turn your LED light strips on and off. You can also use the power of your voice to change the lights' colour and alter their brightness, with the app coming into play when you want to fine-tune.

Everything you need is provided in the box so you should be able to start sticking the strips to surfaces within minutes. Govee suggests using them as WiFi ambient light in your bedroom or as strip lights for a home party but you're really only constrained by your own imagination.

Indeed, we love that there's a timer function so they could double as a security device to suggest you're at home when you're out. Given that the app can listen out for music and react with lights, however, there's a good chance that you may not want to leave the house in the first place.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Philips Hue Outdoor LightStrip

Shed some light on your garden

Reasons to buy
+Waterproof for outdoor use+They can be placed on timers+Produce a uniform light
Reasons to avoid
-You need to buy a Hue bridge

We're already big fans of the Philips Hue range of smart lights and their ability to be controlled by iOS and Android apps as well as through Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. As such, these bendable and shapable light strips certainly caught our attention since they fit in with Hue ecosystem (which means they could be used to welcome you home) and they have been designed to be used in the garden or some other outdoor setting.

Although you will need to buy (or already have) the Philips Hue bridge, we like how you can use designed scenes via the app to create a lighting atmosphere. The light mixes inside the strip so you get to see a uniform colour. In fact, there are 16 million colours to play around with as well as shades of white light so they could be great for lining paths, backlighting trees or ringing around your decking for a relaxing evening.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Wobane Under Cabinet Lighting Kit

A quick and easy way of installing and using LED strip lights

Reasons to buy
+A no-frills strip light option+Gives off 1100 lumen brightness
Reasons to avoid
-No colours other than white-Can't control via an app

Primarily designed to fit under the wall-mounted cupboards in your kitchen or within shelving units and around workspaces, these simple strips stick to surfaces using 3M tape before being connected to a power supply and plugged into the mains.

The result is a warm white glow – there are no different coloured lights here – but for the low price, it is hard to quibble that they're not more feature-packed. Makers Wobane say the lights deliver a total of 1110 lumen and the strips can be connected together so if you just want a hassle-free way of creating light, they're well worth considering.

(Image credit: Amazon)

NZXT Hue 2 LED Strip Accessory

Don't be stuck in the dark ages of gaming

Reasons to buy
+Lots of available options+Specially created PC software+Mix and match with other accessories
Reasons to avoid
-Needs the separately sold lighting controller

The clichéd days when gamers would be lit only by the flicking glow of their monitors as they sat in darkened bedrooms appear to have long gone. Today, the trend is to cast light using LED lighting kits to adorn computer cases, monitors and anything else that surrounds them.

The NZXT Hue 2 light strips have 10 LEDs spread across each strip and they are powered by CAM, a PC monitoring program created by NZXT that manages performance, temperatures and devices. To that end, they have presets, and modes for gaming and audio and they can be matched with other Hue 2 accessories for potentially jaw-dropping lighting effects.