Buying smart LED strip lights can be an unexpectedly difficult task. On the Govee website alone, there are 5 different products listed under “indoor strip lights.” And this doesn’t include different length options. And they are all called Strip Lights! The difference between them is that some are RGB strips, and some are RGBIC strips. But what does that mean?
RGB strip lights can only be one color at a time. The individual bulbs on an RGBIC light strip can be different colors at the same time. RGB strips can be cut while RGBIC strips cannot. RGBIC strips are brighter. RGBIC strip lights are a trademark product from Govee. But do you need them?
RGB strips and RGBIC strips both have distinct advantages. They also both have some disadvantages. You have to be aware of both pros and cons to choose the right option. In this article, I discuss the differences between the two types of strip light. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision.
- What Are RGB And RGBIC Strip Lights?
- 10 Lighting effects with addressable light strips (explained).
- Do I need an RGBIC strip light?
- Which RGBIC strip lights should I buy?
- Home Streamliner’s Take
What Are RGB And RGBIC Strip Lights?
RGB stands for red, green, and blue. The LED bulbs on an RGB light strip can only shine in one color at a time. For example, all the lights will be blue at once, or all the lights will be green at once. RGBIC strip lights can shine in many different colors at the same time. This is because they have a special chip. The terminology gets a little confusing though.
An RGBIC strip light is a light strip from Govee. RGBIC light strips have an IC chip on them, which stands for independent control. Govee has trademarked the IC (independent control) chip technology on these strips.
Honestly, they could have picked another name. This one could cause a lot of confusion because the term IC chip is actually already taken.
The term IC chip has been used in electronics for decades. It stands for Integrated Circuit.
An Integrated Circuit is an electronic circuit that is built into a small silicon square. An IC chip combines many transistors (and capacitors, resistors, and diodes) in a single chip. There are many different shapes and sizes of Integrated Circuit chips. They are used in all sorts of electronic devices, from computers to modems.
In fact, many LED light strips have integrated circuit chips on them. These allow light strips to be addressable. This means that the different LED lamps on the strip can shine different colors at the same time.
You don’t need to worry about integrated circuit chips unless you want to join two addressable strips. If the two strips have different IC chips, you won’t be able to connect them successfully.
The IC (independent control) chip in RGBIC strip lights can create many light effects. This is what it was designed for.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are the differences between RGB and RGBIC strip lights.
1. RGB Strip Lights Can Be Cut, RGBIC Strip Lights Cannot.
The IC (independent control) chip on the RGBIC strip light is programmed to control a set number of bulbs. If the strip is cut, it will no longer function. So you are limited in where you can place an RGBIC strip light.
RGB strip lights, on the other hand, have markings on the back that show where you should cut them. This is a definite advantage because you can fit a strip light into more spaces.
2. RGBIC Strip Lights Can Create More Lighting Effects Than RGB Strip Lights
The IC (independent control) chip on the RGBIC strip allows the LEDs on the strip to shine different colors. For example, one section of the strip can be pink while the other section can be blue. This can create many cool lighting effects.
One popular way of using this feature is by connecting the strip light to your sound system. As you play music, the lights change color in response to the vibrations.
You can also link an RGBIC strip light to your TV so that the strip shines in the same colors as on your screen. If the strip is stuck to the back of your TV, this creates a cool effect on the wall behind your TV.
All the LEDs on a non-addressable RGB strip light will shine the same color at the same time. This limits RGB strip lights in terms of potential effects.
You should take note that you also get addressable RGB strip lights. This means that sections of the strip can shine in different colors at the same time. This is not the exact same technology as the Govee IC (independent control) chip. But the effects can be very similar.
3. RGBIC Light Strips Are Brighter Than RGB Strips.
RGB light strips are not necessarily dull. At maximum brightness, they are usually more than sufficient for your needs.
But RGBIC light strips are ultra bright. They may be too bright for some uses. For example, even at the minimum brightness, they are too bright to be used as a night light.
4. RGBIC Light Strips Are More Expensive Than RGB Strips – Usually.
When comparing light strips from the same brand, an RGBIC light strip will be more expensive.
The 16.4 ft Govee RGBIC strip light costs around $40, while the RGB equivalent costs about $25. The difference isn’t huge, though it may add up if you want to buy multiple strips.
Then again, Govee light strips are known for being affordable.
The Philips Hue Lightstrip, which is RGB, costs about twice as much as the Govee RGBIC strip.
The cost difference is thus relative, depending on which brands you are comparing.
10 Lighting effects with addressable light strips (explained).
There are many different effects you can achieve with addressable lighting strips. These effects can also be created with RGBIC lights.
A flashing effect occurs when lights turn on and off quickly. Lights can flash in different colors or the same color.
If you would like to find out How To Make Your Smart Lights Flash and all the cool things you can do, see this in-depth article.
A chasing effect is achieved by adjacent light bulbs turning on and off quickly. It creates the illusion that the light is moving along the strip. You can make it look like different light colors are moving along a strip continuously.
A jumping effect refers to quick changes in color. Unlike when flashing, the light does not turn off between color changes.
4. Horse racing effect
In lighting, a horse racing effect is when a light strip shines in many different colors at the same time. It looks like the colors are moving along the strip. This is because the different sections of the strip keep changing color.
For example, section 1 may be green, section 2 yellow, section 3 orange, section 4 pink, and section 5 blue. In a few seconds, section 1 may be purple, section 2 green, section 3 yellow, section 4 orange, and section 5 pink.
There are different versions of the horse racing effect:
5. Clockwise horse racing
The colors look as if they are moving clockwise.
6. Counterclockwise horse racing
The colors look as if they are moving counter-clockwise.
7. Monochrome horse racing
The strip is one color and then a second color moves in, replacing the first color.
8. Single chasing from head to tail
In this effect, only one section of lights shines at a time. The rest of the strip does not shine. So it looks like a single light is moving along the strip.
9. Other effects
You can also simulate effects like flowing water and lightning.
Do I need an RGBIC strip light?
In most cases, RGBIC strip light is unnecessary. However, if you love bright, colorful lighting effects, it may be for you. If you want to buy a strip light for underneath your kitchen cabinet or as a night light, don’t buy an RGBIC strip. If you only want to use the strip light to illuminate a surface, RGBIC is overkill.
But if you want to create a party scene, or are into colorful effects in your gaming room, RGBIC is for you. The bright colors will make you happy.
RGBIC lights may also be a good option for holiday lighting. The chasing effect in particular can create a beautiful Christmas atmosphere.
Just make sure that you buy an outdoor version of the strip lights if you want to hang them up outside.
Which RGBIC strip lights should I buy?
If you have decided that RGBIC strip lights are the right choice for you, you have a few options.
RGBIC Strip Lights from Govee:
Govee has produced several different indoor RGBIC strip lights. The technology is the same in all of them. They differ in their length and how they are controlled.
Here is a short description of the different Govee RGBIC strip light models:
H6144: 16.4 ft long. Can be controlled using Alexa, Google, Siri (and other apps), and Bluetooth Phone Control. Costs about $40.
H6144: 32.8 ft long. Can be controlled using Alexa, Google, Siri (and other apps), and Bluetooth Phone Control. Costs about $60.
H6147: 65.6 ft long (comes in two chains that can be connected in the middle). Can be controlled using the Govee app, the control box, or via Bluetooth with a remote. Costs about $66.
H6146: 32.8 ft long (comes in two 16.4 ft chains that can be connected in the middle). Can be controlled using the Govee app, the control box, or via Bluetooth with a remote. Costs about $50.
As I mentioned above, RGBIC is a Govee trademarked technology. That being said, there are a few RGBIC products that are sold on Amazon from other brands.
The Multicolor Kasa Smart Light Strip is advertised on Amazon as an RGBIC light strip. However, this is incorrect. This strip has addressable color zones, but it can also be cut. On the Kasa Smart website, the light strip is not advertised as RGBIC.
Minger RGBIC Strip Lights have RGBIC technology. The Minger brand is actually owned by Govee, so it makes sense that they make use of this technology.
The Lepro MagicColor LED Strip Lights have RGBIC technology. But they cannot be controlled with an app on your phone.
Alternatives to the Govee RGBIC Light strip
Other brands have produced similar strip lights with addressable LEDs. These are not advertised as RGBIC light strips, but you can achieve many of the same effects.
The Gradient Lightstrip is available in 55 inches, 65 inches, and 75 inches. Based on the length, it costs from $200 to $240. It cannot be cut.
Honestly, for that price, I would stay away from this option.
Home Streamliner’s Take
I would be lying if I said that bright flashing or chasing color lights are my thing. I’m a lot more partial to a soft, warm white light in my home.
But each to their own, and if bright colors and flashing lights are your thing, an RGBIC strip light was made for you!
I would stick to the Govee light strips if possible. Their affordability eliminates all other contenders in my opinion.
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