So you want to add under cabinet lighting to your kitchen, or perhaps add accent lighting to your deck or patio, but you’re not sure what kind of lighting to use, rope light or tape light. Both have their advantages, but which one works best for you?
Rope Light: Rope light is a great, versatile tool that’s used in many accent lighting applications. From adding a fun touch to your deck to adding a warm tone to restaurants, there’s not a whole lot you can’t do with rope light. While rope light offers tons of advantages, there’s a few things you should know. For starters, rope light can be tricky to maneuver in tight spaces (not to mention rope light can’t be bent at a 90-degree angle without breaking the wires inside) , and even the smallest diameter rope light can present challenges when it comes to concealment. Available in 12-volt, 24-volt, and 120-volt in LED and incandescent, these higher voltages give you the freedom to create virtually any lighting scheme you can imagine. With that being said, rope light can only be cut into certain sections, and the amount of these sections changes from size to size. Also, rope light gets hot, very hot, so this must be taken into consideration when deciding where to put your rope light. Rope light is generally more expensive, and it also does not offer the RGB (red, green, blue) option, therefore somewhat limiting your color options.
Tape Light: Tape light is sometimes called LED strip lights, and for a good reason. Tape light looks exactly the way it sounds: flat. The shape of tape light has some serious advantages. For one, due to its shape, it’s much easier to work with than rope light, and fits into tighter spaces much easier, too. Also, tape light is super easy to install, especially with L-shape connectors for 90-degree turns, since all you have to do is peel off the adhesive backing, and, that’s it. What’s more, LED tape light is cheaper than rope light and offers multiple colors, including RGB color changing tape light. So with all these positives, it certainly seems like tape lights don’t have many drawbacks. Well, there’s a couple, but the biggest is tape lights have a very limited run, 16-feet for a 24-volt strip to be exact. While this is perfect for those small projects, if you’re looking to light your whole kitchen, things could get messy because every section requires its own power source, and you’re going to be left with a wad of cables to power those sections.
Which is better? Well, neither one is outright better than the other. Both have their advantages over the other. However, both are suitable for damp locations, but they cannot be submerged. So the bottom line here is this: if you need to light 100 or so feet, rope light is the definite winner there, but if you’re looking to light small sections with quick, simple installation, then look at tape light.