120 Volt LED Rope Light Review
Features, Installation Tips, Typical Specifications And Profiles

A 120 volt LED rope light gives you the
longest achievable runs and the brightest illumination in the rope light family. It will effortlessly light up a nook, a room, a place and even a large object. Going thru these points when planning for a job you will find helpful. Common questions answered.


Voltage, Current, Heat Output, Packaging
Other Features

Where to use it, Cutting, Controller Selection, Installation Tips
Tool, Sundries, Accessories Tips here.

Typical Specification

Typical Q & A
I want to switch from my old rope, but will I save? >>
I want fading, can I use a dimmer? >>

More LED Faq her

Voltage and Current Used
The 120 v type falls in the high voltage (or line voltage) category and shares features with the 240v type.

Heat Output
Contrary to popular belief a 120 Volt LED rope ligth DO generate heat, though markedly less than old incandescent ropes. The difference is that there is no loss of light going all over the place. This is because light from a LED unit comes in a VERY directed, narrow beam.

Comes in long reels (called spools) and short kits.

Other Features
These include color, fading over time, packaging, work life, and most energy efficient working mode. These aren't typical just for 120 Volt LED rope lights, but shared among all LED ropes.
I review them here.

Tools Guide, Sundries and Accessories Tips

Where to use it

A 120 Volt LED rope light is mainly used for direct and illumination type decorative lighting. In other words it will EVENLY light up a room, a place or a large object. Popular for deck, patio, game or pool room lighting. It can also make a playing nook very homely and inviting in your child's room.

Find  more usage tips on Rope Lighting Background Info page.

Rules Of Thumb
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  • For a LONGER application, use a longer spool and CUT to size.
  • For SHORTER applications, use shorter spools and CONNECT to size.
So start with measuring your job, then compare it to available spool length. What is long or short of course is relative to your job needs. But this Rule of Thumb usually works.:-)


Do NOT Cut Kits.
Cutting applies to spools and is easy, but where you cut is not arbitrary. ALWAYS count to cutting units.
Cut unit size is typically 18" - 54" (120 volt.)

NEVER Ever cut your 120 Volt LED rope light when plugged in, EVEN if you swear that power is cut off. High voltage LED rope lights only LOOK harmless, electricity is serious stuff. You can enjoy it - yes - but like in all good games, only when some rules are observed.

Join sections with a splice connector, but finish with end caps.
Selection of them based on the wire type of your rope. Usually minimum number of connectors (and often caps) is packaged with product. Buy a small EXTRA package even if the numbers look sufficient. Rule of thumb: some of them WILL go to waste. And you will get better on your next job.

If you want that elusive chasing pattern, don't forget your controller.
Note that any flashing pattern or frequent fading will also likely increase the working life or your rope light.

Installation Tip

Choose longer spools (usually 150') for deck or patio lighting. To decorate internal areas with nooks and corners - such as game room or the kids room - select shorter (usually 12-30') ones and connect with connectors to achieve the required length 

Tool Guide, Sundries and More Accessories Tips here.

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Typical Specifications

Spool length: max 150'-153' (foot) or about 45-47m in one commercial reel (some seem to allow extra to cover possible wastage.)
Maximum run achievable in one length: 900' approx 275m - about 6 reels connected.
(Note: Wattage used for maximum achievable length comes up to: 81.1 W)
But if you don't want to get ANY noticeable loss of brightness, I RECOMMEND not going over one third of that length (about 90m or 300 feet.)

LED unit (often called bulb) spacing: typically 1" (inch)
Watt per foot (W/ft): 0.47, 0.53 W/ft
Amperage Draw per foot(amps/ft): 0.004 amps/ft. (120V)

This is the shape you'll get when you cut thru your 120 Volt LED rope light (but NEVER, when plugged in - this is serious.) It is is measured in the number of wires the rope is built from. Typically it is 2 wires with a width of 1/2" (13mm.)

Find standard 120 Volt rope light profiles here.

For other typical profile sizes look up standard profiles under "Shapes and Components" on my separate rope lights page here.

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Typical Questions Answered

Q. Is there a real saving on running a high voltage 120 Volt LED rope light (or 240v) compared to a high voltage incandescent rope?

A. Yes, there is over a longer time, and it is the lower running cost. 

But if all you need is just complimentary decoration light you will save EVEN MORE if you don't buy a 120 LED rope light.
Select a 12 Volt LED rope light instead.

Q. I want fading, can I use a dimmer?

A. The short answer is no. While some say it is possible and gives you tested product, I don't recommend using an external dimmer. It could permanently damage your LEDs. (At any rate it will likely reduce the lifetime of your rope. So use it where you can easily replace when needed and NEVER underdrive your LED more than instructed with the dimmer.)

The long answer is that fading is fully possible when programmed with the controller you should select if you want your LEDs last.

Find answers to other commonly asked questions in my LED Faq.

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