Something a little different than what I normally post about: I want to bring your attention to an awesome light strip I found. These light strips come in an array of color temps, all are high CRI (90+) and they are pre-installed in an aluminum channel and made to be surface mounted and clicked together to form a long seamless string. Thus they come in 2’ and 1’ lengths. I have two setups right now in 3500k and 2700k.
These ClickBright LED Light Bars are great.
Around a bathroom vanity mirror, 3500k.
Installation, Setup, Controlling
Alright so with any type of lighting like this, this is typically the biggest barrier to entry. If you have to wire in a bunch of stuff, and buy LED strips, controllers, power supplies, and then channels — I mean I gave up. I have no time for that, they will look cleaner, but these are damn good.
Side mount on the bathroom vanity mirror.
These come in 12” or 24” segments, and each segment can be a complete unit on its own, or be ‘clicked’ into another to make it a continuous line. There is no gap in the LED/light coverage at the joints. It’s a solid bar. The LEDs are housed in an aluminum channel with a diffuser over the top.
All you do is buy the total length you want, click them all together (on the ground) and then use either the provided clips you screw on to the wall, or use mounting tape like I did — I’ve had no issues with 1.5” sections of mounting tape per segment. There’s very little heat coming off these and they are extremely light weight.
Angle mount around a closet mirror, stuck to a 45° cut of wood I painted white.
At the end of your run you get a wire connector, which then can go into many power options. The simplest of those options is connecting it to an AC/DC plug adapter and right into the outlet. If your outlet is switched, you are good to go. Or if you have very little care, you can always unplug and plug in the lights. But this gives you no control over the output, it will always be 100%. For the bathroom vanity, we did just this with a smart plug switch and off to the races.
There are two additional offerings from the company, which are in the form of a ‘smart’ controller through the Smart Life protocol, or an RF Dimmer switch. I bought both, the smart controller sucks and I got rid of it. It works, don’t get me wrong, but only with that app or Alexa. I couldn’t get it linked to HomeKit, so it was effectively useless to me. And the app was slow to load up.
Instead I installed the RF dimmer controller. This gives you a box you wire the lights into, and then into an AC adapter, plug in the lights (or hard wire if you know more about electrical work). From there you can choose the ‘desktop’ dimmer, or wall dimmer. I chose the wall dimmer and mounted mine to the wall, it runs off a 2032 battery, and I cut a small hole in the dry wall to fit it flush.
Click that dimmer for on, and turn to adjust the output. Double click it to get to 100% as a shortcut. This gives you a very normal feeling setup, however it comes unpaired from the box frequently when someone unplugs the lights for long periods of time. It pairs back up quickly, but you need access to the controller box at the end of the light bar — so keep that in mind if you are not hard wiring.
Which ever way you go, the RF dimmer switch is the smartest, followed by the roll your own smart switch with the outlet.
Ok, so once they are installed, they can look pretty clean. It’s all about hiding the wires. To handle angles/turns you have a jumper wire you can buy which come in varying lengths. I simply stuck the wire flat with mounting tape, it hides ok.
It’s very even light, but it is flood not spot. So it won’t extend far out from the mirror to a large area, but if you are closer up to it, then you are good. The CRI measures as over 94 on my reader. So great CRI.
The diffusion is very even, and the output is much higher than I expected. All around good. We have both 2700k, and 3500k — the 3500k looks much nicer than the 2700k, so I would say go with that generally. The 3500k mixes well with my 3000k lights in the bathroom. Only thing I would change is to not get the 2700k as they are not as bright as the 3500k.
Ok, so what the hell do I need this for and why? Well, I want more flattering light when looking in mirrors. The 3500k is around the bathroom vanity my wife uses for makeup. Which provides her with an excellently even, bright, and very high CRI light for applying makeup. She loves it.
The 2700k is at the sides of a large mirror in our closet, which helps to provide a fill light for us when we look in the mirror. My uses cases are not about trying to get accent lighting. They are about trying to get good high quality lighting where I need it. The bathroom setup is top notch, the closet is still a work in progress.
These are also not that expensive, but they are not cheap. For my vanity mirror setup, it was about $90. For a smaller mirror the cost goes down. So low cost but high quality everything else. These are stellar and they ship fast and are packaged up well.
My last tip: I test fit everything with the 3M command strips so I could easily pull them back off. Once I felt good about where they were and used them for a week plus, I switched to 3M VHB mounting tape and called it a day