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Rope Light vs Tape Light: Which is better?

Rope Light vs Tape Light: Which is better?

In our previous article, Rope Light vs. Tape Light: A Breakdown, we discussed both forms of light and debated which is better. Given that we frequently receive this customer question we’ve provided a side-by-side comparison to outline this battle royale. Depending on application and placement, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to each strand of light.

Where Should I Use Rope Light and Tape Light?

In order to choose the best option, you must first decide where and how the light strand will be used. Both rope and tape light have their pros and cons but in certain circumstances one may be favorable over the other. We've complied a few brief lists in order to provide an in-depth comparison. 

Application Rope Light Tape Light
Indoor Rated Yes Yes
Outdoor Rated Yes* Yes*
Round Corners Yes No
90-degree Corners Yes** Yes
Voltage Rating 120V/12V 12V/24V
Repairable Yes*** Yes

*Low moisture applications but cannot be fully submersed in water.
**Requires cutting rope light and incorporating a corner or T-connector.
***Requires cutting, splicing, and sealing different segments of rope light.

Before dedicating yourself to either one, consider where you would like to use it. While both may be used outdoors, it’s vital that the proper safety precautions are taken to avoid electrical shock and shorts. “Will there be moisture, humidity, sun exposure?” All questions to determine the best possible fit. Rope light is more popularly used for outdoor applications, while tape light is used for indoor applications like accent lights for stairways, hard to reach spaces, displays, or cabinet shelves. Select where you should use LED tape lighting to add that extra oomph to rooms like your kitchen.

What is the Maximum Run Length for Rope and Tape Light?

Without the proper amount of energy, both might have the tendency to fail or operate undesirably dim. Both rope light and tape light have their limitations before the dreaded voltage drop becomes an issue. The "max run," refers to the maximum length of rope/tape light that can be wired to a single power source before any electrical issues or power loss occur.

Max Run LED Rope Light Incandescent Rope Light LED Tape Light
12 Volt 16 ft. 16 ft. 16 ft.
24 Volt N/A N/A 16 ft.
120 Volt 150 ft. 150 ft. N/A

Note: With additional drivers/power supplies, addition runs can be integrated for rope/tape lights.

In terms of sheer length, rope light has the upper hand when it comes to installations that require a long solid strand of light. A rope light rectifier for 2-wire 3/8 inch rope light or a rope light rectifier for 2-wire ½ inch rope light can also be integrated to increase the run length to 1100 ft. Even though regular home owners don’t intend to light three and a half football fields with light, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the option.

What Effects do Rope and Tape Light Offer?

From our favorite cult classics to our beloved Sci-Fi films, it's a known fact that special effects make nearly everything better and this is also true for rope and tape light. Unlike a mood ring, an RGB controller, can control the color of your tape light at the push of a button. Although if you wanted a bit of pizzazz a 1/2 inch LED rope light dimming controller combined with chasing rope light offers a few dazzling functions which include chasing, flashing, and static illumination.

Effect Rope Light Tape Light
Dimmable Yes Yes
Color Changing No Yes
Chasing Yes No
Twinkling Yes No
Strobe Yes Yes

Note: Not all versions of rope and tape light are rated for the preceding effects.

With a number of effect possibilities at its exposal, tape light seems to have won this round. Although, on the off chance you want to throw an impromptu disco party, both rope light and tape light have you covered.

Is Rope Light or Tape Light Easier to Install?

A simple installation may be the best type of installation. If you’re an adventurous DIY person, managing a 150-foot spool of rope light and cutting the strands shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand, strands of tape light can be purchased in increments ranging from 16 ft. to 4 in. and don’t require cutting, splicing, or soldering. Even though both can typically be mounted outdoors, make sure the power supplies and power cords aren’t near water to avoid potential hazards. In regards to mounting, installing rope light outdoors can be easily accomplished by wrapping it around a guard, fence, or railing but would require mounting clips for straight-lined applications. Tape light, on the other hand, with the assistance of its adhesive backing installs in a breeze.

Do you stand with #teamropelight or #teamtapelight? Show us which super hero has your vote in this game of lighting loyalty in the comments section below. As always you can keep in touch with us or read our geeky lighting jokes and articles via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

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