Spotless NEON Effect LED Strips, which is Best? Govee, BTF-Lighting, Alitove and more.April 6, 2023
LED strips have become the most popular way to install indirect accent lighting, and in those applications an LED strip with 60 LEDs or even 30 LEDs per meter can produce an even lighting effect with minimal hotspots. But what if you actually want to see the LED strip? I spent a little over $600 on 10 different types of “neon effect” spotless LED strips and we’re going to test their brightness, power draw, color saturation, uniformity, mounting options, and ease of use to figure out which one is the best for you.
For $39 for 5 meters, the least expensive LED strip I tested was this 12V RGB LED strip from BTF-Lighting. The BTF strip achieves a spotless look by using chip on board or COB LED technology to cram together a crazy 840 LEDs per meter. Sort of. In that number they are counting each red, green, and blue LED separately, so to keep things standardized I’m going to normalize that number to the way we normally talk about LED strip density, which is the number of RGB groups, which still gives it an impressive 280 LEDs per meter and 1400 LEDs per 5-meter strip. The BTF-Lighting strip is not individually addressable meaning the entire strip needs to be the same color, and it can’t make patterns within the strip. The BTF Lighting 12V strip doesn’t come with a controller or power supply and the strip is not waterproof. The strip is 10mm wide.
For testing I powered the BTF Lighting strip using a 12V, 10A power supply and controlled it with a Shelly RGBW2 Wi-Fi LED controller. On full brightness white, the 12V BTF Lighting strip consumed 39 watts and had a brightness of 260 lumens, and while the Shelly controller and power supply do have an idle energy consumption of around 0.4 watts with the LEDs off, non-addressable strips themselves do not have any standby power consumption.
Next, also for a price of $39 is an almost identical strip from BTF Lighting but this strip is 24V instead of 12V, which typically helps with voltage drop over long runs.
I powered this strip using a 24V, 10A power supply and controlled it with the same Shelly RGBW2 Wi-Fi LED controller. On full brightness white, the 24-volt BTF Lighting strip consumed 54 watts which is 15 more than the 12V strip but had a brightness of 518 lumens which is almost double the 12V brightness, and like the 12V strip, this non-addressable strip has no energy consumption when powered off.
Next for $40 is a 24V RGB Addressable COB LED strip from Pautix. The Pautix strip has a slightly lower LED density than the BTF Lighting strip at 210 LEDs per meter for a total of 1050 LEDs in the 5-meter strip. Unlike the previous two strips, the Pautix strip uses addressable LEDs, so different parts of the strip can light up in different colors, but I wouldn’t call these strips “individually” addressable since they are controlled in large banks that are 10cm long each, so this 5-meter strip has 50 controllable segments. The Pautix strip is not waterproof and didn’t come with a power supply or controller. The Pautix strip is 12mm wide.
I powered the Pautix strip with a 24V, 10A power supply and controlled it using a QuinLED DigUno running WLED software. On full brightness white, the Pautix strip consumed the most energy yet at 63 watts and had a brightness of 330 lumens. Addressable strips do consume energy in standby mode because the chips are always ready to receive color data, and I measured the Pautix strip idle power consumption at 6 watts with all the LEDs off.
Next for $50 is this 24V RGB-W COB LED strip from SuperlightingLED. By using a separate white LED chip, the Superlighting strip will produce a more pure looking white color while using less energy. The Superlighting LED strip has the same density as the BTF Lighting strip at 280 LEDs/m or 1400 LEDs per 5m strip, but actually has a slightly lower density of color LEDs due to the inclusion of the extra white LED channel. The Superlighting LED strip is non addressable, non-water proof, and didn’t come with a power supply or controller. The Superlighting strip is 12mm wide.
I powered the Superlighting strip with a 24V, 10A power supply and controlled it using a Shelly RGBW2 LED controller. On full brightness white using only the dedicated white LEDs, the Superlighting strip consumed only 21 watts and produced 192 lumens of warm white light, and when sending maximum power to all the LEDs in the strip, the Superlighting strip consumed 68 watts and put out 594 lumens making it the brightest yet.
Up next, we have the first variety of the 2nd type of spotless LED strip, which uses a completely different method for reducing or eliminating hotspots. Instead of increasing the number of LEDs, these strips use flexible silicone diffusers with a more traditional LED strip inside. The LED strip fires sideways into the silicone tubing increasing diffusion and increasing the spotless effect.
For $50, the first of these strips we’ll see is this 12V RGB Strip and diffuser from Lamomo. Unlike the other strips we’ve seen so far, the Lamomo comes with a 12V power supply and Bluetooth controller included in the price. The Lamomo strip has a much lower density than the other strips at 100 LEDs per meter or 500 per strip, but as I said, relies on the silicone diffuser and side firing orientation to make a spotless light source. The Lamomo strip is non-addressable, but Lamomo claims it is low heat, fully waterproof, and… fireproof? The LED diffuser is 5mm wide and 12mm tall and doesn’t come with double sided tape attached.
Testing showed that the Lamomo draws 60 watts on full brightness white and I measured the brightness at just 35 lumens which shows that a significant amount of light is blocked by the LED diffuser. Using the included power supply and controller, the standby power was 0.9 watts with no lights on.
Also, for $50 Lamomo makes another variety of spotless LED strip, but this one is a 24V RGB addressable strip. Like the non-addressable Lamomo, this one comes with a power supply and controller, though this one uses an infrared remote instead of Bluetooth control. The LED Diffuser is 17.5mm tall and 8mm wide and doesn’t come with double sided tape for mounting.
Like the COB addressable LEDs, this strip is also not fully individually addressable and is instead controlled in 10 cm segments for a total of 50 segments per 5m strip. This strip is also the least dense of any of the strips that I tested at just 60 LEDs per meter or 300 LEDs per 5m strip. Lamomo does say that this strip is IP65 waterproof but doesn’t make the same fireproof claim.
In my testing the Lamomo addressable strip drew 36 watts on full brightness white and output just 13 lumens. In standby mode the Lamomo addressable strip and controller drew 1.8 watts.
Sticking with the silicone diffusers but bumping up the LED density significantly is this $54 12V RGB addressable strip from Aclorol which claims to have 540 LEDs or 108 LEDs per meter. Each addressable segment of the Aclorol strip is 5.5cm long for a total of 90 controllable segments in the 5m strip, and like the addressable Lamomo strip, the Aclorol is IP65 waterproof, but unlike the Lamomo, the Aclorol doesn’t come with a power supply or controller. The Aclorol strip is 6mm wide and 12mm tall.
Because the Aclorol is an addressable strip, I used a 12V, 10A power supply and a QuinLED DigUno controller with WLED to control it. Set to full brightness white on the entire strip, the Aclorol drew 60 watts and had a brightness of 91 lumens, and with the power off the Aclorol strip had 1 watt of idle consumption.
After that, for $65 is a very similar strip from Alitove except the Alitove has a slightly larger black diffuser. The Alitove strip is 12V RGB addressable with 108 LEDs/m for 540 LEDs per strip. Each addressable segment of the Alitove is 5.5cm for a total of 90 segments in the whole strip. The Alitove is also IP65 waterproof and doesn’t come with a controller or power supply. The Alitove strip is 6mm wide and 16mm tall.
I powered the Alitove with the same 12V, 10A power supply and DigUno that I used with the Aclorol strip and measured about the same amount of power at 59 watts but a brightness of only 18 lumens which is 5 times less than the Aclorol and in standby mode the Alitove strip had the same 1 watt idle power.
Next for $70 is our most expensive COB LED strip, the TOP XCDZ 12V addressable strip with 240 LEDs/m for a total of 1200 LEDs per strip. Each controllable segment of the XCDZ is 5cm for a total of 100 segments in the whole strip, which is the most yet. The XCDZ doesn’t come with a controller or power supply, and the XCDZ is also not waterproof. The strip itself is 12mm wide.
I powered the XCDZ with a 12V, 10A power supply and used a QuinLED DigUno controller with WLED to control it. I measured the XCDZ on full brightness white at 57 watts and a very respectable 424 lumens. The XCDZ had a standby power consumption of 1.4 watts with no LEDs lit up.
Last the most expensive LED strip that I tested was the $100 Govee RGBIC neon rope which is a 24V addressable LED strip and silicone diffuser with a density of 84 LEDs per meter for a total of 420 LEDs in the 5-meter strip. Each addressable segment in the Govee strip is 11cm for a total of 45 segments, but in the app the strip is only broken into 15 controllable segments, so you can only see the 45 segments during animations. The Govee neon rope comes with a power supply and Wi-Fi controller, and Govee specifically points out that the strip itself is waterproof, but the power supply and controller are not. The Govee diffuser is relatively large compared to the other strips at 17mm tall and 10mm wide.
Using the included power supply and controller I measured the Govee’s power draw at 76 watts on full brightness white which produced 57 lumens, and standby power consumption with no lights on was significantly higher than the rest of the strips at 11 watts.
You can see that the brightness of the COB LED strips was quite a bit higher than the silicone diffuser type with the Superlighting 24V RGBW strip putting out the most lumens at 594 when using every LED while the BTF Lighting 24V RGB strip put out a respectable 518 lumens. In contrast, the brightest silicone diffuser strip was the Aclorol with over 5x less light output at 91 lumens and the dimmest strip was the Lamomo 24V addressable strip producing just 13 lumens.
I also calculated each strip’s efficiency by dividing the brightness by the power draw and the BTF Lighting 24V strip came out on top with 9.6 lumens per watt compared to the brightest silicone diffuser strip, the Aclorol at just 1.5 lumens per watt, and interestingly the least efficient strip was the Alitove which is almost identical to the Aclorol except for a slightly larger black diffuser which only output 18 lumens on full brightness white while consuming 58 watts for an efficiency of 0.3 lumens per watt.
However for these strips it’s not just light output that’s important since they are also advertised as having a spotless neon effect, so during my testing I gave each strip a spotless score with 1 being very visible spots to 10 being completely spotless.
The worst performing strip with a spotless score of 5 was a silicone diffuser strip, the Lamomo 24V addressable strip, which not only had terrible brightness and efficiency, but also had clearly visible LED hotspots due to its low 60 LED/m density.
However, the two best performers were also silicone diffuser strips, the Lamomo 12V strip and the Alitove addressable strip both scored a perfect 10 and had zero visible hotspots. Of the two, the Lamomo 12V strip had double the light output at 36 lumens vs 18 on the Alitove.
For the COB LEDs, the TOP XCDZ strip had a score of 8.5 due to its high LED density, but if I was looking directly at the strip I could still make out individual LEDs since the RGB LEDs are placed on the strip in a line instead of a cluster like a traditional LED package.
The Superlighting RGBW COB LED strip also performed very well when using both the white and color channels, but with only the white LEDS on the gap between each white LED was clearly visible. For the most spotless look on white I’d recommend setting the color channels to at least 30% to fill in the gaps. I gave the Superlighting strip a spotless score of 6 for only the white channel, 7 for only the color channels, and 8.5 with the white and color channels combined.
So while the COB LEDs didn’t have a perfect spotless score, it’s also important to remember that since they aren’t using a silicone diffuser their brightness is over 10x higher with the TOP XCDZ putting out 424 lumens and the Superlighting RGBW strip producing 594 lumens in its most spotless configuration.
The next set of measurements were for color saturation, because in addition to measuring white brightness I also measured the lumen output for red, green, and blue. Under normal circumstances we would expect the white output to be equal to the red, green, and blue outputs added together with maybe a slight reduction based on voltage drop, but for strips that include their own controller, those companies may try to boost the brightness of individual colors by adding a bit of light from the other LEDs, which can result in washed out, less saturated colors.
For instance, we can see that the Govee strip’s individual colors add up to 182% of the white brightness, and comparing the red Govee strip to the rest you can tell that it has less saturation in order to try to boost the brightness, and the same trend is even more visible in the pure green color, but the pure blue has full saturation, likely because out of the 3 color LEDs blue has the highest lumen output and doesn’t need to be boosted.
The same pattern can be seen to a lesser extent with the Lamomo 12 and 24V strips which also use their own controllers.
The best color saturation came from the 24V BTF Lighting non addressable strip, followed closely by the Superlighting RGBW strip and in third was the TOP XCDZ. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to judge color accuracy and saturation in the Alitove strip because the individual colors were just too dim, but they did seem relatively accurate from what I could tell.
I also looked at color uniformity, meaning how close the color was at one end of the strip to the color at the other end. This type of discoloration is caused because as the electricity travels down the strip the voltage gets less and less due to resistance of the copper traces which is called voltage drop.
Six of the ten strips had no visible difference in color between the beginning of the strip and the end, but the Govee had a very slight difference in the last 10% of the strip, and the Lamomo 12V, Alitove 12V, and Aclorol 12V all started losing color accuracy around the last 25-30%. Fortunately the Alitove and Aclorol have wiring at both ends of the strip so you can solve this issue by connecting a 12V power source to the opposite side, but the Lamomo 12V is sealed on the end making power injection impossible.
For the strips that can be daisy chained together for longer lengths I measured the voltage drop at the end of the strip and found that, as expected, the 24V strips had the least voltage drop and can therefore handle a longer run without color inaccuracies, with the Superlighting 24V RGBW strip performing by far the best with just 0.2V of drop with only the dedicated white LEDs lit, and amazingly only 0.8V of drop with all the LEDs at maximum brightness indicating high quality large copper traces within the strip.
Another big difference between the two types of strips is how they can be bent around corners. Typical LED strips can only bend forward or backward in relation to the light source, so when going around a 90 degree corner the easiest solution that doesn’t involve cutting the strip is to make a loop, but since the silicone tubing style uses side firing LEDs they actually bend left and right in relation to the light source which makes it easier to make shapes and designs.
As far as the malleability of the silicone diffusers, I found that the Govee, Alitove, and Aclorol were all extremely easy to bend and, although probably not recommended, could be folded 180 degrees without destroying the strip. The Lamomo 12V strip was also malleable, but couldn’t quite make a 180 degree turn, while the Lamomo 24V strip was thick, rigid and hard to work with.
Last, let’s talk ease of use and features. When it comes to LED strips, Govee is the king of easy to use. The Govee strips come with a power supply, controller, mounting hardware, instructions, and an easy to use app. I feel confident that any person could install and use the Govee strips without an issue. Similarly, but for a lot less money, the Lamomo 12V strip came with mounting hardware, a high-quality power supply, a controller with on device buttons, an infrared remote, and a phone app, making it really easy to get setup and working.
Unfortunately, the Lamomo 24V strip came with a low-quality power supply and a controller that can only work with an infrared remote with a bunch of unlabeled mystery buttons that make random patterns and colors making the individually addressable aspect of the strip pretty worthless.
The rest of the strips will require you to buy your own power supply and choose your own controller, which can ultimately give you more options and higher quality parts, but it does come with an added level of difficulty that some people might not be comfortable with. I personally use the Shelly RGBW2 whenever I need to control non-addressable LEDs, and a DigUno or DigQuad with WLED when I am setting up addressable strips, and I’ve got links for those below as well as some good quality power supplies that I’ve used.
So which strip is the best for you? Let’s start with the silicone diffuser lights. If you want to make a design on your wall the value of the Lamomo 12V strip is hard to argue with. For under $50 you get a power supply, Bluetooth controller, remote, and a thin easy to bend strip that has a near perfect spotless effect, good color saturation and decent brightness. My only issue with the Lamomo 12V strip was that there was some color inaccuracy at the end of the strip compared to the beginning, so if you are bending the strip around to have the ends together there may be a slight difference in color and brightness.
If you’re looking to buy your own controller and power supply, the Aclorol silicone diffuser strips are the best option for wall art, but I’d recommend connecting power at both ends of the strip to avoid color inaccuracy due to the voltage drop. Also be aware that while the spotless effect is pretty good, it’s not as perfect as the Lamomo 12V strip or the Alitove, which I can’t recommend simply because of how inefficient it is.
As for the COB led strips, the clear winner for me was the Superlighting RGBW LED strip which had great color saturation, super high efficiency, a very good spotless effect when using all channels, and of course the dedicated white LED channel which gives a much more pleasing white output than you get using RGB. If you want an addressable strip, the Top XCDZ was the best performer with the best spotless effect, highest LED density, most addressable segments, and very good color saturation.
And just for fun, I decided to make one super strip to rule them all. By using the 24V BTF Lighting RGB strip and an add-on Muzata side firing silicone diffuser you can get a very bright, extremely well diffused strip for a total of $70 if you’re willing to do a little more assembly and DIY.
For reference, adding the silicone side firing diffuser decreased the full white brightness from 518 lumens to 98 lumens which is a 5x reduction, but even with that brightness reduction it still makes this DIY solution the brightest and most efficient of all the silicone diffuser options, and it is completely spotless at any brightness. In fact, I think this might be the only option I reviewed that doesn’t have any downsides other than price and needing to put it together yourself, although I do have some concerns about longevity due to the inability to dissipate heat through the silicone tubing.
Links to everything you saw in this video are below, and as always there are no sponsored reviews on this channel and I bought everything you’ve seen today with my own money. However, the links below are affiliate links, so if you appreciate the time, effort, and money that it takes me to make these videos I’d appreciate it if you could use those links since I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.
Thank you so much to my awesome Patrons over at Patreon for your continued support of my channel, and if you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links below. If you enjoyed this video consider subscribing to my channel, and as always, thanks for watching The Hook Up.
BEST value all in one silicone diffuser
Lamomo 12V: https://amzn.to/40YkXys
BEST addressable strip with silicone diffuser
Aclorol 12V: https://amzn.to/438H9Yr
BEST Non-addressable COB LED strip
SuperlightingLED RGBW: https://amzn.to/3m5QBLz
BEST Addressable COB LED Strip
COB LED + Silicone Diffuser DIY Combo
24V BTF Lighting RGB Non-addressable COB: https://amzn.to/3nQN9ow
Muzata silicone 10mm side firing diffuser: https://amzn.to/4139QnJ
Other good options
Govee RGBIC Neon Strip: https://amzn.to/3m9QMW0
12V BTF Lighting: https://amzn.to/3Kj0YDT
Pautix 24V Addressable: https://amzn.to/3zzlOtw
Recommended Power Supplies and Controller
12V power supply: https://amzn.to/3UgtF8W
24V power supply: https://amzn.to/3UhbrUA
Non-Addressable LED Controller (Shelly RGBW2): https://amzn.to/4186q3g
Addressable LED Controller (DigUno): https://shop.allnetchina.cn/collections/quinled/products/quinled-dig-uno-v3r7-digital-led-controller
Alitove Addressable Silicone Diffuser: https://amzn.to/3UirWjA
Lamomo 24V Addressable Kit: https://amzn.to/3ZKK0DN
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