rope lights: everything you need to know

Tip 1. The Difference Between the Rope Lighting and LED Strip Lighting

rope lights strip lights

Rope Lights vs LED Light Strip

The lighting industry is growing fast, the new styles of lights keep on popping up and are sometimes confusing. Many people still don't know the difference between rope lights and LED strip lights. So let's take a look at the basics of rope lighting.

Rope lights have a long history. Usually it is a long flexible tube made of clear material. Inside this tube a lot of light sources are placed. In the past incandescent bulbs were used while today light emitting diodes (LED) are the most popular choice. Rope lights are most generally used for decorative purposes since the light stream they generate is usually very low and, in fact, insufficient for being a sole source of indoor or outdoor lighting.

Because rope lights are flexible and have 360 degree viewing angles they are most commonly used for wrapping around trees and also creating different luminous signs. Thus such lights are No 1 choice for outdoor holiday lighting and for creating commercial signboards.

LED string lights are relatively new style of lighting comparing to the rope lights. They are made of strip with an adhesive tape on one side and a number of light emitting diodes on the other. They have a flat shape and can be more easily installed in different thin spaces than rope lights. In this way LED strip lights are more often used for indoor lighting projects such as under cabinet lighting, behind the TV set lighting, bathroom and shower lighting, indoor garden lighting, architectural design lighting, and even be a single source of ceiling lighting. LED strip lights are generally a much more powerful lighting source than rope lights, however they obviously consume more electric energy.

Tip 2. Using a Dimmer with Rope Lights


A few years ago only incandescent rope lights were dimmable. There are 12 V incandescent rope lights which should be used with magnetic dimmers or dimmable transformers, and 120 V incandescent rope lights which can be connected to the regular wall dimmer. The good news are that during the last years the LED lighting industry had vastly developed and now you can find dimmable LED rope lights in local stores or online marketplaces. Remember that you'll need a transformer to connect to the dimmable LED rope lights.

Tip 3. Rope Lights are Moisture Resistant

Waterproof Rope Lights

Waterproof Rope Lights on Amazon

Yes, generally rope lights are made of water resistant materials such as plastic, epoxy, or other waterproof substances, and thus are splash-proof and can be used for outdoor lighting. But pay special attention to the fact that the rope light must be uncut. The long uncut rope lights can be used for wrapping trees, lighting the footways, veranda, or porch. But if your exterior design project requires cutting the rope light, don't forget to isolate all the connections with waterproof materials. Yet even if you isolate all the connections well, you'll anyways void a UL listing after cutting the rope light.

Tip 4. Opt for Solar Rope Lights for Outdoor Lighting

You can go with solar rope lights in order to save electric energy (and to cut your electricity bills of course) unless you live in the North in a shadowy place. It's always a great idea to decorate your garden or the house exterior with solar rope lights for holidays or any other festivities, however solar rope lights can be used also on a regular basis. Most often these lights are used for wrapping around trees, to backlight footways, to wrap around deck railings, to line the roof of the house, etc. They are powered by solar energy so you'll need to think on where to place the solar panel. Needless to say that there is no sense in placing it in a shaded area. Luckily solar panels are usually detachable and can be mounted some distance away from the rope light itself. So it is better to determine the sunny place where you'll install the solar panel and remember about it while shopping for rope lights.

Solar Rope Lights Solar Rope Lights

Solar Rope Lights - compare prices

Generally LED bulbs are used for rope lights because they consume considerably less power than incandescent bulbs. This is obviously very important since solar panels do not generate as much electricity as the traditional power sources. LEDs won't drain the stored power from the batteries quickly thus letting the lighting stay on all night long.

Another benefit of the light emitting diodes is their tiny size comparing to the incandescent bulbs. The lighting source must be small to fit into the clear tube and LEDs are perfect for this task. They are smaller, brighter and more energy-saving than the traditional bulbs making them the best choice for solar rope lights.

Take into consideration that the extremely bad weather may hurt or totally destroy your solar LED rope lighting despite the fact that it is splash-proof. In case of a very bad weather like storms or severe frosts, think about taking your solar rope lights down and keeping them in a safe dry place until the weather is good again.

Tip 5. Color Changing LED rope lights

Multicolored LED rope light

Multicolored LED rope light on Amazon

Creating beautiful light and color shows in your garden, on trailer or boat is easy nowadays since you can use multicolor rope lights. They are cost- and energy-effective and easy to install. Shop for the products with all the mounting hardware included so you'll never need to worry about the installation. Multicolor LED rope lights usually come with a remote or in-line control. They can change colors and produce various fading or flashing effects so you'll be able to personalize your light show as you like.

The most apparent use is Christmas decorations, however such lights can be used for the parties, festivities and celebrations, as well as for decorating the outdoor spaces on a regular basis. They might be great for decorating the footpath, fence, patio, deck railings, roof, trees, pool and the other places limited only by your creativity. The color changing LED rope lights will definitely make the exterior of your house more attractive for visitors and passers-by.

Tip 6. Neon LED Rope Lights

LED Neon Rope Light is a wonderful alternate for traditional neon lighting. It is easy to install because of its flexible rubber construction. It can produce a bright neon light and is much more energy-efficient than the traditional neon light.

The old conventional neon lights had a lot of drawbacks such as frequent flickering, burning out, heating, buzzing, creating RF interference and emitting harmful UV radiation. And if the neon tubes broke they spread a very dangerous mercury vapor. Luckily now we have a great alternative to these outdated tubes. LED neon rope lights are free from all of these flaws and if it is not enough, they can reduce electricity consumption up to 50% comparing to the outmoded neon lights.

The old neon lights must be produced to a certain shape while the new LED rope lights are flexible and the user can give them any shape he or she needs. This is convenient and cost-saving since you have no need to order the fixed shaped personalized design and can create anything you wish by yourself.

LED neon rope lights do not require specific skills for connection to the power line. All you need is to connect the rope light to the provided power cable and plug this cord into a regular 120VAC outlet. The typical neon LED rope light have a lifespan of 50,000 hours which means years and years of trouble-free operation with steady color and brightness.

Tip 7. Battery Operated Rope Lights

If you don't need a bright light and prefer not to mess around with electrical lines, consider battery powered rope LED lights. This type of rope lighting is also useful for the spaces which are far away from the outlet, e.g. alleyway, porch, roof, or plants in the garden. Get benefits from such a freedom to backlight almost everything you desire from nice d├ęcor to beautiful crafts, from special events to habitual trees and greenery.

Tip 8. Opt for LED Rope Christmas Lights

At Christmas time we love to decorate literally everything with ornaments, garlands and, of course, lights. One of the greatest ideas is to use LED rope Christmas lights. It is an unpretentious and affordable way of creating event or accent lighting. The properly chosen rope LED light can form a remarkable presentation either inside or outside the house, lighting your celebration up beautifully.

Rope Christmas Lights Rope Christmas Lights

Rope Christmas Lights - compare prices

Outdoor rope LED Christmas lights are just right to wrap around trees and line your garden footways, roof, and patio edges. Remember that the quality of LED lights can seriously vary, so make sure you opt for a high-quality product from an established manufacturer. In this way your new LED Christmas rope lights will last for years and won't let you down even if the weather is cold.



Solar Garden Lights

Smart Solar Garden Lighting Solutions

When you are starting to decorate your garden, you need to decide on lighting at first. Solar lights can be easily installed all over your garden, and you won't have to worry about electric cables