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Comparing RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGBCCT LED Strip Lights

Are you considering a vibrant color scheme for your modern home, office, or workspace? Navigating this choice might feel like diving into an overwhelming ocean of options and complexities. You’re faced with numerous choices when picking LED lights to achieve that premium ambiance. In this detailed guide, I’ll explain the differences between RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGBCCT LED Strip Lights.

Each of these terms, from RGB to RGBCCT, represents the color range of LED strip lights. Their unique diode combinations distinguish them. Notably, the variations of white differ among RGB, RGBW, and RGBWW. No other LED strips can mimic the multi-color versatility of RGBIC LED strips.

What are LED Strip Lights?

LED strip lights, or LED tape or ribbon, are flexible circuit boards populated by surface-mounted light-emitting diodes (SMD LEDs) and other components. They come in various lengths, colors, and brightness levels and can typically be cut at specific intervals to fit a desired space.

Here are some features and aspects of LED strip lights:

  1. Types of LEDs Used: The most common types of SMDs used in LED strips are SMD 3528 (where 35 and 28 denote the dimensions of the LED package) and SMD 5050. The 5050s are more significant and can be three times brighter than the 3528s.
  2. Colors & Varieties:
    • Single Color: Emit only one color when powered.
    • RGB (Red, Green, Blue): Combining these three primary colors can produce any color. Requires a controller to adjust and set the color.
    • RGBW: Adds a pure white LED to the RGB setup, allowing for more nuanced and varied lighting effects.
    • Tunable White: Allows you to adjust the color temperature of the white light, moving between warm and cool whites.
  3. Brightness: The brightness of an LED strip is measured in lumens per foot or meter. This can vary depending on the strip’s type and density of LEDs.
  4. Voltage: Common voltage levels for LED strips are 12V and 24V. It’s essential to use the correct voltage power supply.
  5. Cut Points: Most LED strips can be cut at specific intervals (usually marked) without damaging the rest of the strip. This allows for custom lengths.
  6. Adhesive Backing: Many LED strips have adhesive backing, making installation easy. Some may require additional mounting hardware, especially for long-term or outdoor facilities.
  7. Water Resistance: There are different levels of water-resistant LED strips. IP ratings, such as IP65 or IP67, denote the strip’s resistance to dust and water.
  8. Controllers & Dimmers: A controller or dimmer is required for strips that change color or brightness, ranging from simple handheld remotes to complex DMX or smart home systems.
  9. Applications: LED strip lights are used for various applications, from decorative home lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and architectural highlights to commercial signage, stage lighting, and more.

When purchasing LED strip lights, it’s essential to consider the desired brightness, color, length, and whether they’ll be used indoors or outdoors. Proper installation, including using the correct power supply and any necessary heat management, will ensure the longevity and safety of the lights.

What Do the Following Abbreviations Represent on LED Strips?

LED stands for ‘Light Emitting Diode’. These diodes are embedded in multiple chips and are densely positioned on the strip.

Each LED chip might contain one or multiple diodes. The color of these diodes is represented by the first letter(s) of the color’s name. Therefore, the abbreviations on the LED strip signify the hue of the light they produce. To comprehend LED colors more clearly, here are some key abbreviations:

RGB – Red, Green, Blue
W – White
WW – Warm White
CW – Cool White
CCT – Combines Cool White (CW) and Warm White (WW)
IC – Integrated Circuit (contains a standalone chip).
RGBA single three-channel LED chip with Red, Green, and Blue diodes
RGBWOne four-channel LED chip with Red, Green, Blue, and White diodes
RGBICA three-channel LED chip with Red, Green, and Blue plus a build-in independent Chip 
RGBWWOne four-channel chip with  Red, Green, Blue, and Warm White
RGBCCTFive-channel chip with Red, Green, Blue, Cold White, and Warm White

What is an RGB LED Strip?

An RGB LED strip is a type of lighting product consisting of multiple LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) arranged in a ribbon or a line. The acronym “RGB” stands for Red, Green, and Blue, the three primary light colors. By varying the intensity of each color, an RGB LED can produce a wide range of colors, including white, when all three colors are at full power.

Here are some key characteristics and features of RGB LED strips:

  1. Flexible PCB: RGB LED strips are usually mounted on a flexible printed circuit board (PCB), allowing the strip to be bent and shaped to fit different applications.
  2. Variety of Lengths: They can be sold in various lengths and often cut at specific intervals (marked on the strip) without damaging the rest.
  3. Color Mixing: By adjusting the intensity of the red, green, and blue LEDs, you can create virtually any color. This is often done using a controller or a remote.
  4. Controllers: To change the colors, brightness, or dynamic effects (like flashing or fading) of an RGB LED strip, a controller is typically used. Some advanced controllers allow for programmability and integration with home automation systems.
  5. Powering: RGB LED strips require a power source, typically a 12V or 24V DC adapter. The power requirement will depend on the length and type of the LED strip.
  6. Applications: They are popular in decorative lighting for homes, parties, displays, and commercial settings. They can create ambient lighting, backlighting, task lighting, and more.
  7. RGB vs. RGBW: There’s also an RGBW version, which includes an additional white LED. This allows for better white light variations and a broader range of color mixing.
  8. Adhesive Backing: Many RGB LED strips come with an adhesive backing, making it easy to stick them to surfaces.
  9. Waterproof Versions: Some RGB LED strips are waterproof or water-resistant, allowing them to be used in outdoor settings or areas where they might be exposed to moisture.

RGB LED strips have gained immense popularity due to their versatility, ease of use, and aesthetic appeal to various environments. These strips offer a colorful and customizable lighting solution for home decor, event lighting, or commercial displays.

What is an RGBW LED Strip?

An RGBW LED strip is a type of LED light strip that can produce a wide range of colors by mixing red (R), green (G), blue (B), and white (W) light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Here’s a breakdown:

  1. RGB: This stands for Red, Green, and Blue. By adjusting the intensity of these three colors, you can create almost any color in the spectrum. Combining these three primary colors at full power produces white, but this white tends to have a colder, more artificial appearance.
  2. W (White): Including a dedicated white LED allows for the generation of pure, warm white light, which can be especially important for applications like home lighting, where a natural-looking white glow is often preferred.

The advantages of RGBW LED strips over standard RGB strips include:

  • Better White Tones: With a dedicated white LED, you can achieve more accurate white tones than RGB combinations.
  • Greater Color Range: In addition to improved white light quality, including a white LED can allow for a broader range of pastel colors when mixed with the RGB LEDs.
  • Versatility: Suitable for both colorful ambient lighting and more functional white lighting, making it perfect for various applications.

When controlling an RGBW LED strip, you typically need a controller that can handle the four channels (R, G, B, W) separately. This gives you the flexibility to set the intensity of each color to achieve the desired hue, saturation, and brightness.

What is an RGBIC LED Strip?

RGBIC integrates a 3-in-1 RGB LED alongside a distinct independent chip. While it parallels RGB and RGBW in terms of color diversity, what sets RGBIC apart is its ability to display several colors on one strip simultaneously. This feature results in a mesmerizing rainbow transition, a capability beyond RGB and RGBW strips.

What is an RGBWW LED Strip?

RGBWW LED strips embed five diodes within a chip, representing red, green, blue, white, and warm white LEDs. Alternatively, it can merge a 3-in-1 RGB chip with two distinct white and warm white LED chips.

The primary distinction between RGBW and RGBWW lies in their white shades. While RGBW radiates a crisp white hue, the warm white in RGBWW infuses a subtle yellowish tint, evoking a warm and inviting ambiance.

What is an RGBCCT LED Strip?

RGBCCT refers to a type of LED strip with Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) capabilities. This feature allows shifting between cold white (CW) and warm white (WW) hues. RGBCCT comprises a 5-in-1 LED chip: three diodes for RGB colors and two dedicated to white tones (cold and friendly).

The perception of white light changes at various temperatures. The RGBCCT strip can fine-tune this color temperature, allowing users to select the most suitable white shade.

Incorporating CCT into RGB facilitates transitions from a warm, yellowish hue to a cooler, bluish-white. If customizable white illumination is what you’re after, then RGBCCT LED strips are the top pick.

RGB vs. RGBW: A Comparison

Critical distinctions between RGB and RGBW include:

  • RGB features a tri-color chip with red, green, and blue diodes. On the other hand, RGBW boasts a 4-in-1 chip, blending RGB with an additional white diode.
  • RGB LED strips utilize the three fundamental colors, boasting roughly 16 million shade combinations. The added white diode in RGBW enriches the color blending possibilities.
  • Price-wise, RGB tends to be more budget-friendly than RGBW. This price difference mainly stems from the added white diode in the RGBW setup.
  • The white light rendered by RGB isn’t genuinely pure. In contrast, RGBW provides a more genuine white shade.

Considering the above contrasts, RGB strips might be the better option if budget is your primary concern. However, for a more authentic white light, RGBW is the preferred choice.

RGBW vs. RGBWW: Understanding the Differences

  1. RGBW boasts four diodes on a single chip, whereas RGBWW houses five.
  2. While RGBW incorporates just one white diode, RGBWW features a white and a warm white diode.
  3. RGBW delivers a pristine white illumination, while RGBWW’s white has a warmer, yellowish hue.
  4. Regarding cost, RGBW comes out as the more affordable option when pitted against the slightly pricier RGBWW.

In summary, those are the key distinctions between RGBW and RGBWW.

RGB vs. RGBIC: A Comparative Analysis

  1. RGB LED strips are built with 3-in-1 LED chips, while RGBIC strips combine these 3-in-1 RGB LEDs with an additional independent control chip.
  2. RGBIC strips are known for their flowing multi-color effects, creating a segmented rainbow display using red, green, and blue colors. In contrast, RGB displays a consistent color across the entire strip.
  3. While RGBIC enables segment-specific color control, RGB maintains a uniform color throughout, not allowing for segmented color variations.
  4. Creativity abounds with RGBIC, offering a richer palette of lighting combinations in contrast to RGB.
  5. Though RGBIC comes at a premium price, it’s justified by its enhanced color and control capabilities.

If you’re eyeing a more intricate lighting experience, RGBIC is your go-to. However, if budget constraints are a concern, RGB remains a viable option.

Comparing RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGBCCT LED Strip Lights

We’ll dive into a detailed comparison of RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGBCCT options-

Number of Diodes/chip353+ build-in IC5
Light IntensityBrightUltra-BrightUltra-BrightUltra-BrightUltra-Bright
Color ShiftingSingleSingleSingleMultipleSingle

Choosing the Right LED Strip Light: RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, or RGBCCT?

Selecting the perfect LED strip for your lighting needs might seem challenging. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your choices:

Budget Considerations

For those mindful of cost, RGB LED strips are a great pick. They offer a spectrum of 16 million shades, combining red, green, and blue. Although RGB can produce white light, for a more authentic white, consider RGBW. It’s also more affordable than RGBWW. However, RGBCCT delivers versatile white shade options if budget isn’t a constraint.

Preferred White Shade

The shade of white light you desire plays a role in your decision. If pure white is what you’re after, RGBW fits the bill. But for a more prosperous, yellow-toned warm white, RGBWW is the go-to choice, adding warmth to any space.

Versatility in White Tones

For those who want adjustable white shades, RGBCCT stands out. It grants the flexibility to toggle between warm and cool white shades, merging the functionalities of RGB, RGBW, and RGBWW. But, remember, its advanced capabilities come at a higher price.

Dynamic Color Options

While RGB offers a staggering 16 million color possibilities, adding white in RGBW and RGBWW broadens the spectrum. However, RGBIC steals the show in versatility. It allows segment-by-segment color control, enabling a multi-colored experience in a single strip.

Use this guide to decide on the best LED strip for your needs.

Selecting the Right LED Strip Controller: A Guide to RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGB-CCT Options

The LED strip controller plays an essential role in your LED strip setup. This component acts as the strip’s switch, dictating its color changes and dimming capabilities.

With a plethora of LED strip controllers available, here’s a breakdown of some popular choices:

RF LED Controller

Utilizing radio frequencies, RF LED controllers are operated with a remote. These controllers are a top pick for those seeking cost-effective solutions.

IR LED Controller

These controllers leverage infrared rays to command LED strips within a 1-15ft range. When opting for an IR LED controller, it’s vital to be mindful of its compelling content.

Tunable White LED Controller

Control the hue of white light with this controller by adjusting the color temperature. For instance, a 2700K setting emits a warm white glow, while settings above 5000k create a more relaxed tone. This controller is your best bet if varied white shades are a priority.

Programmable LED Controller

Offering a high degree of customization, programmable LED controllers allow users to blend red, green, and blue to craft their preferred colors.

DMX 512 Controller

A top choice for grand-scale installations, the DMX 512 controller can synchronize LED color changes with music. Are you witnessing lighting effects during concerts? That’s the DMX 512 in action. It’s also suitable for pairing with your TV or monitor.

0-10V LED Controller

This analog controller adjusts LED intensity by varying voltage. Set the controller to 0 volts for minimal brightness or 10V for maximum luminance.

Wi-Fi LED Controller

For convenience, the Wi-Fi LED controller is unparalleled. Just link the Wi-Fi connector to your LED strip, and you’ll have the power to control your lights via your smartphone.

Bluetooth LED Controller

Compatible with all LED strips, these controllers can be paired with your device, allowing you to govern your lighting effortlessly through your phone.

Determine your desired effects when picking a controller for your RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, or RGB-CCT LED Strip. For versatile color options, the programmable LED controller stands out. However, for extensive setups, the DMX 512 controller, albeit a tad intricate, can be a fit even for smaller projects. Tunable white LED controllers are recommended for those keen on varied white hues. Lastly, if you’re on a budget, RF and IR LED controllers remain excellent choices.

Connecting an LED Strip Light to a Power Supply: A Simple Guide

Before diving into the process, gather the necessary tools and materials:

Essentials for the Task:

  • Wires (Red and black)
  • LED power adapter
  • Soldering tool
  • Cone connectors for wires
  • Power connector

Once you’re ready with the essentials, follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: First and foremost, verify that the voltage of the LED strip and the power supply match. For instance, if the strip operates at 12V, ensure your power adapter is also rated for 12V.

Step 2: Attach the LED strip’s positive terminal to a red wire and the negative terminal to a black wire. Secure these connections using your soldering tool.

Step 3: Connect the red wire from the LED strip to the power adapter’s red wire. Do the same for the black wires. For these connections, cone wire connectors come in handy.

Step 4: Link the power connector to the opposite end of the adapter. Turn on the power, and enjoy the illuminating glow of your LED strip!

With these steps, your LED strip should be successfully powered up!


RGB stands out as the foundational LED strip in contrast to advanced versions like RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, and RGBCCT. Though essential, it’s cost-effective and presents countless color combinations. RGBW is tailored for a pure white illumination, while RGBWW leans towards a warm white hue. If you desire flexibility in white color temperatures, RGBCCT is ideal.

RGBIC takes versatility up a notch, allowing individual LED color control. For those seeking diverse color transformation abilities, RGBIC stands unrivaled.

At MyLikeLed, we take pride in crafting top-notch LED strips and LED neon flex. Each product undergoes rigorous testing in state-of-the-art labs to guarantee supreme quality. Additionally, we provide personalization for our LED range. Reach out to MyLikeLed for premier LED strip lights in RGB, RGBW, RGBIC, RGBWW, or RGBCCT variants!


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