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Which Voltage LED Strip Lights is Good to Choose? DC12V OR DC24V?

LED strip lights typically come in either 12V DC or 24V DC input voltage. When selecting an LED strip light, it is important to consider its brightness, run length, cut-interval lengths, cut-interval frequency, cut length distances, voltage drop issues, etc. In general 12V strips typically offer shorter cut intervals while 24V may allow a greater running length without voltage decreases.

What should you select for your project: 12V or 24-Volt? This article will help you understand their differences so you can make an informed decision when buying something.

Article Guide

    1. Electrical Circuit Design

    Single SMD LEDs typically feature a 3-volt voltage rating; to make them glow, you must provide three volts between their positive and negative ends.

    Strip lights consist of multiple LEDs connected in series or parallel configurations. You can customize your system to meet a desired voltage by choosing either series or parallel wiring configurations for the LEDs.

    An LED system consisting of three 12V LED strings in series produces an LED voltage of 9V (3V*3pcs), or approximately 75% of 12V input voltage; approximately 25% is wasted due to this configuration.


    The 24V LED system can produce six lamp beads at any one cutting length; however, its overhead voltage allows seven LEDs to be connected in series in order to achieve higher light efficiency. Each group of six SMD SMDs generates 18V (3V*6pcs), which represents approximately 75% of 24V input; when 7 SMD SMDs are added together it increases to 21V (3V7%), or approximately 88% of 24V input; only 12% is lost due to heat waste.

    2835 120LEDs/meter 24V High Efficacy LED Strip Light.

    2835 LED strip light drawing

    LEDs are generally better suited to 24V than 12V DC; by switching, electrical design flaws can be reduced by more than 50%.

    2. Current Flow

    A 12V LED system draws twice the amount of current when operating at full power than 24V systems do.

    If your desired output is 48W, a 12V system would require four amps in order to produce that level of power (48W = 12V x 4A, or power = voltage plus current). With 24V systems it only needs 2A for this same effect.


    Copper conductors are necessary to safely transfer power, but excessive current flowing through copper PCBs will increase its resistance, leading to heat production and voltage drop. 24V systems offer significant energy efficiency advantages by consuming only half the current.

    3. Maximum Running Length (Voltage Drop)

    Every LED strip experiences some kind of voltage drop; 12V strips draw larger currents and thus experience larger resistance, leading to larger voltage drops than 24V strips.


    We conducted independent tests on 12V and 24V LED strips separately and found that their voltage drop is 15% lower with respect to each other, as demonstrated in the images below.

    Voltage Drop 12V VS 24V LED Strip

    Voltage drop 12V vs 24V

    Both 12V and 24V LED strips have maximum run times; 24V strips typically last longer. You can power the 24V 2835120LED 9.6W LED strip from just one side for use up to 7 meters long run times; for 12V strips however, we only recommend lengths up to 5 meters long.

    4. Luminous Efficiency

    Both 12V and 24-volt LED strips are energy-saving devices with low voltage consumption; the 24-volt strip being slightly more effective at producing light output.


    LED strips like any electronic circuit produce heat and resistance; 12V strips produce more heat, drawing a greater current from their power supply than their 6V counterparts, leading to reduced luminous efficiency due to wasted energy.

    5. Brightness

    The 24-volt strip can produce slightly brighter light output, though any differences may be difficult to notice by the naked eye.

    led strip brightness 12v vs 24v

    When it comes to accent and mood lighting, linear 24-volt light strips may be your best bet. If industrial signage and lighting needs arise, linear illumination is usually best served with 24-volt strips.

    6. Cut Unit

    In general, 24V strips should be cut every six or seven LEDs while 12V strips may be cut at three LEDs.


    12V LED Strip Light 12VWattage The cuttable length of 24V LED strips is half that of 12V ones; for the 2835 120LEDs per meter strip in 12V mode this corresponds to 25mm cutting interval and 50mm in 24V mode respectively.

    led strip cut unit 12V LED strip vs 24v

    12V strips make an excellent lighting solution for projects with tight corners that need illumination. Since they can be cut to any length you require, 12V strips offer versatility that few other products can match.

    7. Application Range

    Most electrical systems rely on 12 V DC supplies, due to its widespread usage in lighting projects at bars, restaurants, and hotels, etc. 24V is typically employed when available as well.


    A 12V power source is ideal for smaller applications, including cars and boats powered by 12V batteries. They're flexible and cuttable lengths are shorter compared with 24V systems.


    24V can be an ideal solution when running longer strips or high-lumen output lights, as they work well on surfaces that don't require tight spaces.

    8. Power Supply

    To keep both 12V and 24-volt designs operational, they require power supplies of various kinds - these options can be found online as well as locally.

    led strip light power supply

    9. Common Questions and Their Responses (FAQs)

     No. A 12v LED strip won't light up if a 24v LED strip is connected to your project. RGB LED tape may show faint red glow if connected together; 12v strips connected to 24V power sources become even more dangerous due to overheating within seconds, potentially even leading to fire hazards if left connected for too long.

    Final Thoughts

    There are a few differences between 12V and 24V LED strips; both can serve many functions and applications. A good lighting plan will assist in making informed decisions when purchasing these lighting strips.

    Lightstec offers premium LED strip lights at competitive prices. We have been providing premium lighting products for over 17 years.

    At LED Lighting Experts, we know LEDs inside out. As one of the premier LED manufacturers, we guarantee 100% customer satisfaction with every order placed with us.

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