High Voltage owner JON MILNE sheds light
on the uses and advantages of LED tape

UNTIL RECENTLY, LED tape was used for little more than mood lighting, but technology means it’s now suitable for high-end commercial situations. Most of the tape I sell is at the higher end, and for good reason: it’s worth the extra money.

It offers greater voltage, for starters. The more expensive tape is 24v, compared to the cheaper stuff which is 12v. On 24v, you can run up to 20 metres off a single transformer, compared to just 10m with 12v tape.

So, if you have a very large area to light then go with 24v, because you’ll get much longer runs of uninterrupted light, which is more pleasing on the eye.

High-end LED tape also has a high CRI value. This stands for Colour Rendering Index, and it’s a measure of how truly colours are rendered under artificial light. CRI runs from 0-100, with 100 being equivalent to natural daylight.

The 24v tape I sell has a CRI of 90, whereas standard tape has a value of 80.

While a CRI of 80 is acceptable for most domestic uses, it doesn’t cut it for many commercial situations.

Examples include:
— Design and photography   Here, you need environments in which corporate colours and skin tones are rendered accurately under artificial light.
Fashion stores   Clothes shops don’t want people buying blue clothes, only to get outside and find that they’re white.
Grocers and restaurants   No one will buy, or eat, greens that look turquoise, which is how low-CRI lighting makes them look.

So, the rule of thumb on LED tape is, 12v is fine for all but the highest-spec domestic use. For commercial use, though, 24v is nearly always the way to go.

Top-end LED tape is a must for commercial environments, such as clothes shops, food outlets and photography studios, because the light is pure, and so does not alter the colour of anything on which it falls.