The choice of drivers available on the market is really huge. The purpose of each driver is to turn on and off the LED strips connected with them. What’s more, LED drivers can help you get a consistent lighting experience or give you more control over your lighting, depending on which product you decide to choose. Which drivers should you consider buying? We gave you some ideas below!


What exactly is a driver?

An LED driver is a device that regulates the power which is used to “drive” runs of LED strips. Drivers transform mains voltage alternating current to a lower voltage. Nevertheless, they also transform main voltage current to a direct current which LEDs require. Their output has to be adjusted according to the LED tape’s electrical properties – it changes as it heats up. Devices regulate the power supplied to the LEDs in order to maintain a constant DC voltage of either 12V or 24V.

When it comes to the constant-voltage power supply, it is nothing but a power circuit which controls the output voltage to the constant level. Such a driver supplies a constant voltage, no matter what the load is. 

Why is it worth calculating the power of the LED supply?

First of all – compatibility is the key. This is something crucial when choosing the right LED driver. If you use the wrong driver, it can even end up with failure and damage the used components. It is important to avoid incorrectly chosen power supplies as they are likely to need replacing after a short time. If you calculate the power of the LED supply properly, you won’t have to shoulder the additional costs of new drivers.

Don’t let the poorly matched LED power supply be a reason for irritation. Luckily, you can easily recognise wrongly selected power supplies dedicated for LED tapes by monitoring their function. If you touch the LED driver, and you feel that it’s boiling, it is definitely too weak for your LED strip. In such a case, just select a more powerful LED driver. Consider several technical parameters.

What voltage?

As you already know, LED strips typically operate at either 12V or 24V, with the specific voltage requirement stated in the product’s specifications. Make sure that you choose the right power supply with the same output voltage that the strip requires.

We do not recommend running a 12V LED strip with a 24V power supply. If you do this, your LEDs will be brighter in a shorter time, but the higher voltage will burn the strip out after some time. It’s not worth the risk. If the situation was reversed, and if you wanted to run 24V tape with a 12V power supply – your LEDs won’t light up at all.

What wattage?

The amount of power that LED strips consume is not always the same. It varies depending on the length of the tape. The wattage of one strip is the amount of power that the strip consumes per metre. If you want to know how many wattages exactly your run of strip needs, you should multiply the wattage of the strip by the number of metres that you’re running. Only after figuring out the wattage of the tape’s run, you are able to choose a suitable LED power supply. We strongly recommend buying a power supply with a wattage capability not less than ten percent higher than the wattage the LED strip needs to ensure a longer lifespan. 

Do you need a water-resistant LED driver?

Despite appearances, water-resistant LED drivers are necessary not only for outdoor use. You will also need them in your bathroom or kitchen, if you want to install the highest quality LED strip lights there. Pay attention to IP ratings on the equipment’s packaging. You will see “IP65” on splash-proof drivers, which are perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. In turn, if you want to use your LEDs outside, you will need an IP67 waterproof LED driver. Summing up, there are both indoor and outdoor water-resistant LED drivers available on the market. Choose the one that you need. 

Dimmable or non-dimmable driver?

If you would like to have more control over your lighting—choose a dimmable LED driver for your LED lights. Drivers with dimming capabilities reduce the amount of power that is supplied to the LED. It might be interesting for you that there are two types of dimmable drivers – ELV drivers and TRIAC drivers. However, it’s also worth knowing that if you need a more consistent lighting experience, non-dimmable LED drivers can also be a good option.

Summary—which LED drivers do you need?

Taking all these things into account, we recommend running 12V LED tape with a 12V LED driver, and running 24V LED strip with 24V LED power supply. We also recommend picking LED drivers with high IP ratings, if you want to use them, for example, in your garden (but also in your kitchen and bathroom).

We suggest choosing dimmable LED power supplies, if you want to control the brightness of your LED strips a bit more. The final piece of advice: make sure your LED drivers are well-tailored to your actual needs and preferences!