RGB vs RGBIC Strip Lights – What’s the difference & which is better?
There are so many strip lights available on the market, and it can be confusing. RGB, RGBIC what does it all mean? If you are confused by the different types of LED strip lights, you’re in the right place. In this article we look at RGB and RGBIC strip lights and explain the differences between them, where to use them and more besides.
What Are RGB Strip Lights?
RGB lights are basically Red, Green and Blue lights which sounds pretty basic, RGB lights are strip lights made from red green and blue lights right? Well, sort of.
RGB is the process of rendering colours using red, green and blue. However, RGB has the potential to create more than 16 million colours in theory. The colour range is from 0-255 for each of the 3 colours red, green and blue which gives a sum total of 255 X 255 X 255 = 16,777,216 colours.
To be honest, RGB LED strip lights have difficulty producing some of the colours within that range. But they still have the potential to create 100s of colour choices.This is done by using 3-in-1 chips (red, green and blue) which can generate more than 16 million colours.
What Are RGBIC Strip Lights
RGBIC strip lights are the same Red, Green and Blue LED lights but with a built-in Independent Chip. It has the same 16,777,216 colour options as the RGB LED strip lights but the added Independent Chip has the ability to create a rainbow effect if required.
So far so good? We’ve now successfully described the difference between RGB and RGBIC LED strip lights and if they were the only options we could end this article right here. But, this is where things start to get interesting, keep reading to learn more.
What Are RGBW Strip Lights?
RGBW strip lights use a 4-in-1 chip which is made up from Red, Green, Blue and White. This adds an extra white chip into the colour mix. They have the same features as RGB strip lights but they can create a purer white tone and brighter colour.
What Are RGBWW LED Strip Lights?
These are the same as RGBW lights except for the intensity of the white tone. The letters stand for Red, Green, Blue, White and Warm white and to achieve this, they use a 5-in-1 chip. They can produce a softer, warm, yellowish white which many prefer for their bedrooms etc.
What Are RGBCCT LED Strip Lights
We know, it’s beginning to sound like we’re making things up here by just taking random letters of the alphabet. But we can assure you, we’re not. RGBCCT stands for Red, Green, Blue, Correlated Colour Temperature and means the colour temperature of the LED strip light can be changed from warm white to white.
This means RGBCCT is just another name for RGBWW and before you go thinking that’s cheating, here’s one final group of letters to think about.
What Are RGBCW LED Strip Lights?
RGBCW stands for Red, Green, Blue, Cold and Warm. These use a 5-in-1 chip and can control not only the colours, but also the warmth of the white light. They can create a cold light to imitiate daylight or a warm, soft light to create a warm, cosy feel.
RGBCW are incredibly bright and are used in many types of LED lights from LED strip lights, smart LED bulbs and colour changing lamps.
|RGB LED Strip Lights||RGBW LED Strip Lights||RGBIC LED Strip Lights|
|Chip||3-in-1||4-in-1||3-in-1 + Built-in Independent Chip|
What Are The Differences Between RGB And RGBIC Lights?
The main difference between RGB and RGBIC strip lights is that RGB lights can only be one colour at a time. Whereas the individual lights on a RGBIC strip can be different colours simultaneously.
Let’s look at the differences between RGB and RGBIC lights in more detail.
RGB LED Strip Lights Features
The features of RGB LED strip lights are;
- Can potentially create more than 16 million colours
They do struggle with some colours, but can create 100s of colours.
- Can be cut
If you need to fit a strip of LED strip lights into a defined space, RGB strips have markings on the back which indicate points at which they can be cut.
- Can only show one colour at a time
If one light in the strip is blue, then all of the lights in the strip are blue. The lights cannot alternate colours
RGBIC LED Strip Lights Features
The features of RGBIC LED strip lights are;
- Can potentially create more than 16 million colours
Just like RGB lights, RGBIC lights can create more than 16 million colour combinations.
- Can display alternating colours
The IC (Independent Control) chip allows the LED lights on the strip to display different colours at the same time.
- Can be synced to sound systems
As the music plays, the lights change colour in time to the beat of the song.
- Can be linked to the TV
This will allow the LED strip to display the same colour as the colours on the screen. This can create a great immersive quality.
- Far brighter than RGB LED lights
In some cases, RGBIC lights can be too bright even at minimum brightness. Not so good for using as nightlights for example.
- Can create many lighting effects
Due to the range of colours available and the way the colours can be used independently, the range of lighting effects is almost limitless.
- More expensive
RGBIC strip lights are almost twice as expensive as their RGB counterparts. However, this is in a direct comparison using lights from the same manufacturer.
- Cannot be cut
The IC chip is designed to control a set number of bulbs. If you cut the strip, you render them useless.
What Kind Of Effects Are Possible With RGBIC LED Lights?
There are many effects which can be created using RGBIC LED strip lights but here are a few of the more common but effective effects possible.
The flashing effect is displayed when the lights turn on and off in quick succession. The lights can flash in one colour or multiple colours.
This effect is achieved by turning neighbouring bulbs on and off at speed. It creates the illusion that a single light is moving along the strip. It is also possible to make it look as if different colour lights are moving along the strip at the same time.
This effect looks as if one single light is moving along the strip and is created by allowing just one section of the strip to shine at a time.
This refers to quick colour changes but unlike flashing, the lights don’t turn off between colour changes.
This effect looks as if different colours are moving along the strip at the same time and is achieved by different sections of the strip changing colour constantly.
What’s Better: RGB or RGBIC LED Lighting?
It really depends on what you want to use the lights for. If you’re looking for multiple colours and a more fun experience, then RGBIC will probably be your best choice. However, if you’re looking for a more customised project, RGB will probably suit you better. They can be cut to size, and are easier to connect extra lengths onto if needed.
RGB LED strip lights will work best for the underside of kitchen cabinets, or as nightlights.
RGBIC LED strip lights work best for party lights, gaming lights and Christmas display lights.
Which RGBIC Strip Light Is Best?
If you have decided a RGBIC LED strip light is the best choice for you, you now have to choose which RGBIC set to buy. The 2 main companies producing RGBIC LED strip lights are Govee and Philips. Let’s have a brief look at both and you can decide which suits you better.
Govee RGBIC LED Strip Lights
Govee has produced a number of different RGBIC strip lights, they all have the same technology, it’s their length and the way they’re controlled which makes them different. Below you will find each of the different Govee RGBIC strip lights along with a brief description.
Available in 2 lengths, 16.4 ft and 32.8 ft. Both are able to be controlled using Siri, Alexa, Google and various other apps (plus Bluetooth as well).
32.8 ft long (2 X 16.4 ft chains which can be connected together). Able to be controlled using the remote controller (which comes with it), the Govee app or Bluetooth.
65.6 ft long (2 X 32.8 ft chains which can be joined together). Able to be controlled using the Govee app, Bluetooth or the remote controller (supplied)
RGBIC is a Govee trademarked technology but that hasn’t stopped other manufacturers using similar terminology.
Philips Hue Gradient Lightstrip
This is an example of another brand which uses similar technology but cannot be advertised as RGBIC as that is trademarked to Govee. The Philips Gradient Lightstrip is available in 3 lengths (55 inches, 65 inches and 75 inches). It cannot be cut, however there are 3ft extensions available. It does cost considerably more than Govee RGBIC but it is an option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether RGBIC is better than RGB depends on what you want to use it for. RGBIC has an independent chip which allows the strip light to display a rainbow-like coloured lighting effect. Whereas RGB strip lights can only display one colour at a time. RGB would do better for lighting underneath kitchen cabinets or bedroom nightlights. Whereas RGBIC is better for outdoor displays, disco lighting or gaming.
RGBIC strip lights are way brighter than RGB strip lights. However, this can sometimes be a disadvantage, RGBIC are too bright for nightlights for example.
You cannot cut and reconnect RGBIC strip lights. The Independent chip is designed to control a set number of bulbs, if the strip is cut, it will not work.