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Building a rave costume? A Burning Man machine? Or maybe you just want to add a little light to your backyard, patio or home theater set up. Well then you’ll probably want LED lights, and that means you’ll probably need LED wire.
The best LED wires let you cut and shape them to meet your specifications, twisting and extending the wire as freely as you like. Whether you wrap them around a ledge, use it for cabinet lighting or to extend your car or speaker wires, these units offer easy connectivity and installation.
When buying LED wires, it’s important to know the difference between two distinct types: solid core and stranded. Each has their benefits and certain applications are more suited to one type of wire than the other. For general ease of use, solid core can mean less work when it comes to fastening, since stranded wire can often require a cap of some kind or soldering.
Regardless of wire construction, gauge is going to be the biggest factor when deciding on the best LED wire to buy. The jury is nearly unanimous in its decision that bigger is better – at least when it comes to wire. Dig into your brain for a second and try to find your sophomore physics class. Does Ohm’s Law ring any bells? Without getting too deep into the nitty gritty of physics equations, bigger wire means more surface area for electrons to pass. This in turn means lower resistance, and lower resistance means sustained voltage – Ohm’s Law. (Who said physics wasn’t applicable to everyday life?)
The standard measurement system for wire gauge is called the American Wire Gauge. This system though is a little counter-intuitive, as it is non-linear and logarithmic – fun right? Basically, the bigger the AWG number, the smaller the wire, and vice versa. When building a lighting system you’ll want to keep in mind the complexity of the system and the length of the run from power source to each light. Based on these factors you’ll be able to pick the best gauge wire for the job.
We’ve found solid 20 and 22 AWG wire options, which work for most systems that use single color LED lights. Here are three to get.
1. JACKYLED 22AWG LED Wire
This 22AWG LED wire has multiple applications, from wiring a set of grow lights for your herb garden to revamping an old lamp you found at the swap meet. JACKLED built the wire with exhaustive safety credentials, making it suitable for many environments.
The company says its LED wires are tested over a thousand times, to ensure durability. The plastic cover and copper wire both have a high melting point, so it won’t melt easily.
This wire measures just over 65 feet.
PROS: Acid and alkali-resistant, damp-proof, and flame-retardant; nice to know the wire is solid and safe.
CONS: Thin construction and smaller AWG gauge makes it best-suited for minor projects.
2. EvZ 20AWG LED Wire
EvZ’s LED wire is easy to use, durable, and at 20AWG, prevents excessive resistance. It’s more than capable of handling the load from your light strip while holding up to all conditions, from extreme cold to high heat.
The material is flame-retardant and won’t corrode. This wire measures 66 feet.
PROS: No soldering needed, simply cut and wrap the ends of the wire.
CONS: Doesn’t mention damp environment resistance. Some say wire took a little bit of time to strip.
3. KSMILE 22AWG LED Wire
Best suited for single color LED lights, this 20AWG LED wire is a big enough gauge to make sure that long runs of LEDs are powered appropriately.
This is a two-conductor cable with a red and black strand glued together.
The reliable copper wire is housed in a rugged plastic casing. The LED wire is great for everything from installing LED car lights to extending speaker wires.
PROS: Easy to strip and connect. No welding needing.
CONS: Might not be the most element-proof. Takes a minute to untangle.