This article is a part of RS Recommends, an editorial series reviewing products in music and entertainment. Items are independently selected; Penske Media may earn a commission from purchases made from our links.
You’ve already decked out your your home entertainment setup with a set of speakers, a subwoofer and a big-screen TV. To really take it up a notch though, you’ll want to accessorize. The first step: picking up a set of LED strip lights.
These lightweight, flexible strips contain dozens of tiny bulbs, and can be hung under your entertainment console, around a cabinet or even behind your TV and speakers to make your home theater system pop. They can even be hung around the ceilings or along the floor to provide accent lighting. Unlike regular lightbulbs, which are tied to a lightbulb holder and the shape of a lamp, rack or sconce, these light strips can be cut up and linked to fit any size object.
Use one strip to accent the lighting on your gaming TV, or connect a couple strips together to illuminate the entire room. Instead of relying on one large bulb for lighting, LED strip lights use a number of tiny “bulbs” that work together to light up a space.
These strip lights come in especially handy if your ceiling or walls aren’t wired for lamps or rack lighting. All you need is access to a power outlet and a little bit of tape to hold the light strips down. You won’t even need an electrician.
The best part: these strip lights are adjustable (they can be easily trimmed), don’t take up a ton of space and offer a ton of fun features too, like changing colors and the ability to sync to your music, making for an interactive lighting experience. Imagine playing an RPG game where the strip lights match the intensity of the action, or watching a concert with a light show customized to the beat.
Just don’t confuse these with string lights or Christmas lights — those are meant to be seen and to make a statement, whereas these strip lights are meant to sit behind a TV or under a cabinet for more subtle, discreet lighting. Turn them up when you really want to create a vibe, and then switch them off when you want them to go dark and tucked out of the way. LED strip lights give you plenty of options to upgrade and update your space.
1. Govee Smart WiFi LED Strip Lights
This all-in-one kit comes with a 16.4 foot-long light strip, power adapter, WiFi controller, 3M adhesive tape and five fixing clips. The light strip features super bright 5050 LED bulbs that are long-lasting and reliable.
What we like: sync the lights to WiFi and control them using your phone or using your voice via Alexa or Google Home. Download the Govee app and turn your lights on or off even when you’re not at home.
Need more of a vibe? The lights change color too, and can be set on a timer to turn on at a certain color at a certain time (say, when you want something more subtle at night).
For a truly immersive home viewing experience, affix the lights near your TV and speakers. The light strip can sync to any music playing nearby and “dance” along to the beat, making your shows and music really “pop” both sonically and visually.
PROS: A ton of customizable features, fast set-up and easy pairing with your connected devices.
CONS: Some users experienced a bit of lag time between changing a setting on the app and having the lights respond.
2. L8star LED Strip Lights
Great for parties and home entertainment setups, these strip lights pack a ton of customizable features in a slim, discreet package.
The set includes 150 RGB LED bulbs, a 16.4 foot LED Strip, a remote control receiver, a remote control, an AC/DC adapter and a user manual.
The 24-key remote control offers a variety of ways to personalize your lighting settings, from adjusting the brightness (anywhere from 1% to 100%) to setting more than 20 light show patterns in motion (think: flashing, strobes, etc.). You can also choose from 15 pre-set light modes, from relaxation to romance, with the lights dimming and brightening accordingly.
As with the other models on our list, these lights will also sync to your music to react to the beat.
PROS: L8star’s “Memory Function” remembers what your lighting setup was like before you turned the power off and will automatically default back to that setting when the lights are turned back on.
CONS: For Android phones, the music will sync from any music app, but for iPhone users, it only can sync to music from iTunes.
3. DAYBETTER LED Strip Lights
With long lifespan and low power, this is a great starter strip that works well in the kitchen, bedroom, garage or around your home entertainment system.
What we like: the 44-key remote control lets you set light patterns, colors and effects, but you can also adjust how quickly the effects change (I.e. slow, quick, automatic).
The strip lights have an IP20-rating, which means they’re hold up to accidental contact with heavy objects, but they aren’t waterproof (the second number denotes the amount of protection from liquids).
This set comes with a 16.4 foot LED strip, a 12V power supply, IR box controller and 44 key remote controller.
PROS: Get a replacement strip or full refund within 18 months if the bulbs stop working.
CONS: The lights aren’t as bright as some of the other options on this list.