RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (2023)

It seems like there’s a new type of RGB that comes out every month. What used to be a simple choice between a few types of LED light is now an endless list full of options.

Are any of these RGB lights even different? We’re going to go over all of the details and make sure that oh, by the end of this article, you are an expert on RGB lighting.

RGB are your standard LED lights that are capable of producing over 16 million colors and a very limited type of white light. Other types of RGB LED lights (including RGB-W, RGB-WW, RGB-CW and more) have enhanced features built around an ability to create more nuanced shades of white light.

Keep reading to learn more about LED color science and all the different types of LED lights you can get for your smart home.

Table of Contents hide

1) Let’s Start With the Basics: What are Smart LED Light Strips?

2) Analogue and Digital LED Light Strips

3) Color Temperature 101

4) Different Types of RGB LED Light Strips

4.1) RGB

(Video) QuinLED: RGB, RGBW, RGBCW, RGBCCT LED strip, what does it all mean?

4.2) RGB-W

4.3) RGB-WW

4.4) RGB-CW

4.5) RGB-CCT

4.6) RGBIC

Let’s Start With the Basics: What are Smart LED Light Strips?

Smart LED light strips are one of the most interesting options when it comes to light in your home. These light strips allow you to truly customize how your home’s lighting looks.

Depending on the manufacturer, you can use smart LED light strips to do anything from under cabinet lighting to adding safety lighting to staircases and furniture at night:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (1)

Smart LED light strips can either be plugged into a conventional outlet or they can be connected together to run over longer distances. You can control these LED lights with an app on your phone just like you could any other smart LED light.

You may have seen me say “LED” a lot – this stands for light emitting diode, and it refers to small electronic components that can produce light. LEDs exist in many types of lighting, both smart and “dumb” lights:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (2)

However the way that the LEDs are configured are especially important for LED light strips, which is why we focus more on light strips in this article. You can read more about general smart light bulbs in my article which explores the three types of Hue light bulbs.

Before we talk about the different types of RGB lighting, we need to talk about the two main types of LED light strips.

(Video) RGB vs RGBWW vs RGBIC

Analogue and Digital LED Light Strips

There are two main types of LED light strips. These are known as analog and digital.

Analog light strips have one chip for the entire light strip. These LEDs are connected together in a series and they are all controlled as one. This type of LED light strip is typically more affordable, but it has a more limited range of lighting options. Since all of the lights have to be the same color at the same time, analog LED light strips can’t have more intricate lighting options.

Digital LED light strips are the other side of the equation. Each LED in these light strips has its own chip attached to it. This allows each LED to be independently controlled. This allows you to sequence lighting as well as have a much finer control over lighting effects and color options.

This concept is shown more in one of my YouTube videos, which covers the Philips Hue Lab formulas:

The last thing that we need to touch on before we can talk about the different types of RGB LED light strips is color temperature.

Color Temperature 101

Color temperature is how we measure the color of white light. Yes, we know, it sounds a little strange to talk about the different colors that white light can produce. However, once you see a color temperature chart you won’t be able to unsee it:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (3)

Color temperature is measured in kelvin. The color temperature scale goes from 1,000 to 10,000. 1,000 is somewhere around the color of light produced by a dim candle while 10,000 is a bright Blue Sky.

Different types of LED lights can produce a different color temperature of white light. There are even LED lights that can change the color temperature of white light that they produce:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (4)

These are particularly useful for photographers and videographers who need to have a fine-tuned control over their lighting.

Now, let’s take a look at the different types of RGB LEDs.

Different Types of RGB LED Light Strips

You’re in for a surprise if you thought there was only one type of RGB LED light. There’s actually a wide range of options when it comes to LED lights. You are a few of the most common types of RGB lights.


These are your bread-and-butter RGB lights. Each diode has the ability to generate red, green, or blue light. It can also generate different values of these lights at the same time. Your standard RGB diode will be able to produce around 16 million different colors.

I list every single different color that can be produced below…

(Video) RGB vs RGBW

Just kidding. The 16 million different color choices are often depicted through a color wheel within a smart light app:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (5)

That might sound like a lot, but there are limitations to your standard RGB light – three of which are explored below.

Limitation 1 – RGB and White Light

The most notable limitation is that these ‘RGB’ lights aren’t that good at producing white light. Your standard RGB LED strip can produce white light, but it’s a very limited and crude type of white light. This LED light produces this kind of white light by cranking up red, green, and blue lights all at the same time. This is much harsher than a dedicated white light would be able to produce.

RGB lights are also bad at producing pigment colors.

Limitation 2 – RGB LEDs and Pigment Colors

In the world of color science, there’s a subcategory of colors known as pigment colors. Brown and pink are two great examples of colors that appear only as pigments. A pigment color is achieved by creating a chemical that absorbs a particular wavelength of light and only lets one wavelength reflect back. A brown color pigment will absorb every wavelength of light besides those needed to create brown as a color.

RGB lights cannot produce color pigments.They might be able to produce colors that are similar to certain pigment colors. You can imagine a light magenta or a very light red that can get close to pink. However, certain colors like brown are almost impossible to achieve with RGB lighting alone.

There is another set of colors that RGB lights struggled to produce.

Limitation 3 – Outside the RGB Triangle

RGB lights operate in what is known as the color triangle. The triangle is made out of red, green, and blue with all of the intersecting points creating over 16 million different colors. However, there are colors that exist outside of this triangle.

There are different standards for the RGB colorspace. However, there are a few colors that typically fall outside of any given RGB triangle. These can include intensely bright greens, bright magentas, and different shades of cyan.

The standard RGB LED lights are going to struggle to produce these colors.

Now that we know all the basics of your standard RGB light, we can take a look at a few of the more specific kinds of RGB LED.


RGB-W is the basic step up from your standard smart lights.

There are two configurations for RGB-W. The first is taking the standard RGB LED and adding a white light emitting diode within the RGB node and the second is created by adding a separate white emitting diode that is connected into the LED light itself. Both approaches wind up having the same effect.

The RGB-W LED light is able to produce cleaner shades of white. These whites are more brilliant and have a more accurate color temperature. RGB-W lights tend to have very bright white’s that are above 5,000 Kelvin.

The addition of a white light emitting diode also improves the RGB colors. Colors will look brighter and more vibrant with the addition of the white light emitting diode. As an added bonus, transitioning between colors will appear almost seamless thanks to that additional white light diode.


We know what you’re thinking, the RGB-WW light has two white nodes instead of just one, right?

That’s not quite the case with RGB-WW LED lights. The naming convention here is just a little bit inconsistent.

(Video) LED Stripe Typen - Einfarbig vs CCT vs RGB vs RGBW vs RGB+CCT - DEUTSCH

RGB-WW lights have the same configuration as RGB-W lights. However, RGB-WW lights have a white light node that is capable of producing warmer shades of light. These white LED nodes produce color temperatures 5,000 Kelvin and lower.

This allows these LED lights to produce warmer shades of white. It also improves the RGB colorspace by making color light richer and giving it more texture.


Now we’re talking. The RGB-CW light gives us the best of every world when it comes to RGB LED lighting.

Unlike the RGB-WW light, the RGB-CW light has an acronym that actually makes sense. The CW in the name of this light stands for “cool / warm.”

This means that these RGB LED lights contain both a cool and a warm white LED node. What advantages does this give the smart home lighting enthusiast?

You’ll find that the RGB-CW lights are some of the best out there when it comes to light in your home. The big advantage here is that you can select the color temperature that you want your lights to be. While the other two types of LED lighting are locked into either cool or warm color temperatures, these lights can change their call the temperature anywhere along the Kelvin scale.

This is what Philips Hue’s lightstrips offer – they contain groups of three diodes: one is a three-in-one (RGB), the other is warm-white and the other is cool-white:

This allows you to turn on a bright blue sky color temperature during the day or switch to warmer colored lights when it’s time to relax in the evening.

This also gives you both benefits when it comes to how warm and cool lighting improves our RGB colored lights.


This is a different standard for RGB lighting that manages white light in a slightly different way to normal. It does this in two ways – via the LED configuration, and software management too.

In terms of the LEDs, they contains two white light emitting diodes with a color temperature range between 2,700K and 5,600K.

The “CCT” stands for “Correlated Color Temperature” and that just means you’ll be able to switch between two different color temperatures, and this is where the software management comes in.

Some cheaper RGBW smart lights have a separate control wheel for color and white, meaning that you sometimes need to choose your color, and then separately you can switch to manage the white color temperature:

RGB VS RGB-CCT vs RGBIC vs RGB-W vs... (Why So Many?!) - Smart Home Point (8)

RGB-CCT makes things more seamless by allowing you to choose a nice ‘bluey white’ or ‘solid’ yellow within the same color wheel, without worrying about managing the color and temperature separately.


The last kind of LED we are going to talk about on our list today is an interesting addition to the RGB LED world.

The RGBIC returns us to the world of consistent and understandable acronyms. The “IC” stands for “Independent Control.”

RGBIC LED lights have an independent control chip built right into the LED strip. This allows them to have a much finer control over their colors as well as special effects. The one big trade off these LED lights come with is that these led strips cannot be cut. Cutting these led strips would break the circuit of the independent control chip and cause the LED light to fail.

(Video) RGB oder RGBW-Tape? Wo ist der Unterschied dieser LED-Stripes?

RGBIC LED lights are a great option for people who are looking for a more dynamic and energetic LED lighting system.


What is the difference between RGB CCT and WW? ›

RGBCCT LED Strip Lights

CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) means that the color temperature of the led strip light can be adjusted to change between warm white and white. Thus, RGBWW strip light is another name of RGBCCT strip. Please go to the RGBWW strip light part whenever you want to get to know the features.

What is the difference between RGBW and RGB WW? ›

Whereas RGB+W defines LED diodes that provide cooler whites (above 5000 Kelvin on the color-temperature scale), RGB+WW makes use of warmer white LED diodes (lower than 5000 Kelvin) to produce "richer" color blends.

What is the difference between RGBIC and Rgbicww? ›

RGBW offers the same as RGB but with a dedicated white LED as well to ensure you get the best quality white illumination possible. RGBIC gives you the ability to change colours but you can take control of every LED individually, allowing for more dynamic lighting effects like chase, meteor, rainbow, etc

What is the difference between RGB RGBIC Rgbww? ›

With RGB, you get 16 million color-combining options. And the inclusion of extra white in RGBW and RGBWW adds more variations to these combinations. Yet, RGBIC is the most versatile color-adjusting option. You can control the color of each segment of an RGBIC LED strip.

What is W in RGB? ›

RGB+W (Red, Green, Blue + White) - Multicolor + White.

How many watts is RGB CCT? ›

Technical Specifications
Watt foot3.6 Watts/ft
Max Voltage24 VDC (Regulated/Class 2)
Amps/Roll2.5 Amps (5m Roll)
Max Current150mA/Foot (30.5cm)
Roll Size5m (16.4 ft)
9 more rows

What is the benefit of RGBW? ›

They use significantly less energy, last much longer and come in every color imaginable. RGBW LEDs are useful for setting colorful light accents to enhance your living spaces and, thanks to the additional diode, can as well illuminate rooms evenly with pure white light.

Should I get RGB or RGBW? ›

It is necessary to think about the application if you want to choose between RGB and RGBW. Using RGB is sufficient for colorful decorative lighting or secret light band is required. RGBW will be the right choice for task lighting that requires bright white.

What are the advantages of RGBW? ›

What Are The Advantages Of RGBW LED Strips? RGBW led strip light provide more color options because they can produce white light and colored light. This gives you more flexibility when lighting your space. RGBW light strip consume less power than RGB led strips and are more energy efficient.

Why can't you cut RGBIC lights? ›

2) RGBIC strip lights cannot be connectable or cut because the LEDs are controlled by individual IC chip. The strip light will stop working or the performance will be affected if you cut it.

Are Govee lights the best? ›

Overall, the Govee RGBIC LED Strip Lights are a fantastic choice for anyone looking to add some color and personality to their home lighting setup. With easy control options and endless customization possibilities, these strips are sure to impress.

What is the max length of RGBIC? ›

Product detailsProduct details. Festive RGBIC Lighting: Choose from 72 scene modes and 16 million colors to decorate house with govee permanent outdoor lights for every occasion. It is recommended that the total length after adding extension lights should not exceed 147.6ft/45m.

Is RGBW worth it? ›


If you intend to have the lights set to white at any time, then the RGBW version is worth the additional cost. Because LED colour-change control products are all geared up for RGBW strips anyway, the cost to cost to switch from RGB to RGBW is usually very minimal (less than 10% cost increase per project).

Can RGBIC be cut? ›

RGBIC strip lights cannot be connectable or cut because the LEDs are controlled by individual IC chip. The strip light will stop working or the performance will be affected if you cut it.

Does RGBIC have warm white? ›

We offer a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase for Govee RGBIC Warm White Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Smart Outdoor String Lights. Create warm, inviting outdoor vibes for special moments.

Does W mean brightness? ›

Watt is a unit that expresses electric power. For example, a 60 W bulb uses more electricity than a 6.3 W bulb. The wattage is not a unit of brightness; it shows how much electric power is consumed.

What is W in color? ›

White. #ffffff. #ffffff. rgb(255,255,255) 0, 0, 0, 0.

What is the difference between RGB and Rgbic LED lights? ›

What is the difference between RGB strip lights and RGBIC strip lights? Compared to RGB strip lights, the RGBIC strip lights have an added color chasing mode, and with a unique built-in IC chip, the RGBIC strip lights are able to display multi-colors at one time like a rainbow or aurora. But RGBIC lights cannot be cut.

Does CCT affect lumens? ›

Lumens measure the total calculated brightness, or output, of a light. While the CCT of a light has a slight effect on the lumen output—around 5% difference—it's not considered a major factor in brightness.

What is CCT of 4000K? ›

CCT is defined in degrees Kelvin where a Warm light is around 2700K moving to Neutral White at around 4000K to Cool white, 5000K or more.

What does 5 CCT mean in lighting? ›

Color temperature defines the color appearance of a white LED. CCT is defined in degrees Kelvin; a warm light is around 2700K, moving to neutral white at around 4000K, and to cool white, at 5000K or more.

How many colors are in RGBW? ›

As we know, a color has 256 levels (0~255). So the wall washer light composed of red, green and blue colors (RGB) can display 2563=16,777,216 kinds of colors. The wall washer light composed of red, green, blue and white colors (RGBW) can display 2564=4,294,967,296 kinds of colors.

How many wires for RGBW? ›

- RGBW strip lighting needs 5 conductor wire (RGB 4-conductor wire will not work with the RGBW strip lights).

Why is RGB lighting so popular? ›

“The advantage [of RGB] being that rather than just being set to one color from the factory, you get 16.8 million colors to choose from, so it's really up to your own imagination. Then, through software, you can then specify those colors per key, in zones or per game or application.

Which is better Hex or RGB? ›

There is no informational difference between RGB and HEX colors; they are simply different ways of communicating the same thing – a red, green, and blue color value.

Is RGB better for print or digital? ›

Both RGB and CMYK are modes for mixing color in graphic design. As a quick reference, the RGB color mode is best for digital work, while CMYK is used for print products.

Why is RGB better for digital? ›

The RGB color mode is most used in digital technologies because it has more color capabilities than CMYK. CMYK can only create 70% of the colors that RGB can make. On digital applications such as Photoshop, the RGB color mode allows you to get more accurate colors.

Can you make white with RGB LED? ›

In additive color mixing, red, green and blue light combine to make white light.

Can you get white from RGB lights? ›

RGB LEDs can produce white light by mixing the primary red, green and blue lights together in theory. But the mixture includes blending and diffusion of colors, creating factitious white light. This kind of white light seems to be covered with fog.

What is RGBIC Pro? ›

RGBIC Pro Wi-Fi Smart Color-Changing LED Strip Light with Bluetooth®

Can RGBIC be one color? ›

RGBIC light strips (IC stands for “Independent Control”) can display more than one color at a time, unlike RGB lights, which show only one color.

Are Govee lights trimmable? ›

Cuttable and Connectable: Customize the length to design your ideal lighting atmosphere. Govee M1 can be cut off 6.56ft at most or be connected up to 32.8ft. Follow the Cutting and Splicing Guidance or videos to ensure the LED strip lights function.

Is Govee or Philips better? ›

The Govee app is perfectly functional, but lacks the polish and sense of quality offered by Philips hue. You are best using the Govee app to set the bulbs up, then hand over control to whichever smart home system you prefer.

Who are Govee competitors? ›

govee.com's top 5 competitors in April 2023 are: diysmarthomehub.com, rtings.com, ilytmi.com, manuals. plus, and more.

Is Govee Chinese? ›

A: Our company and factory are based in Shenzhen, China. Need any help, please contact us to support@govee.com.

Is Govee RGBIC waterproof? ›

Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights, Smart RGBIC Outdoor Lights with 73 Scene Modes, 100ft with 72 LED Eaves Lights IP67 Waterproof for Party, Game Day, Daily Lighting, Work with Alexa, Google Assistant.

What is the maximum length of Govee Glide? ›

Its lights can also be mounted to your wall in the form of the Govee Glide, a series of six-foot-long tubes containing a total of 57 independent color LED zones.

How long is Govee RGBIC 16? ›

Voltage‎12 Volts
Wattage‎24 watts
Item Weight‎472 Grams
Item Dimensions LxWxH6.89 x 6.69 x 2.56 inches
22 more rows

What are the cons of RGB? ›

RGB Cons
  • Not the industry standard — more common in web design than printing.
  • Not everyone will work with RGB images.
  • Relies somewhat on light, which printing does not provide like a computer monitor does.
  • Might be a slight color shift from screen to printing.
May 8, 2017

Is RGB better than white light? ›

LED lamps with diodes emitting pure white light only have the great advantage of a significantly higher light output compared to lamps with RGB modules. This means, first of all, that these lamps have a higher brightness, which is expressed in a correspondingly higher number of lumens.

What is the difference between flow series and RGBW? ›

In summary, the main differences between RGB, RGBW, and Flow Series lighting systems lie in their color capabilities and features. While RGB and RGBW offer the ability to produce a wide range of colors, Flow Series offers pre-programmed lighting effects for added convenience and customization options.

Can you cut monster LED lights? ›

Q: Can I cut this LED Light Strip? A1: Yes. If desired, you can cut the light strip to shorter lengths by cutting on the designated scissors marks. However, once cut, the strip will no longer be water resistant or covered under warranty.

Can you reuse Govee LED lights? ›

Yes, you can remove and restick LED strip lights from one place to another. They are not like the usual lights that need permanent fixtures. You can reuse strip lights when you move from old house to new house.

Can you cut keep smile LED lights? ›

(Note:Before sticking the light strip, please confirm its position,Avoid secondary pasting) Cuttable and linkable: You can customize the length of the LED lights, cutting every 3 LEDs along the cutting mark.

What is the warmest white light? ›

Colour Temperature
KelvinsType of LampColour
3000kWarm White
4000kCFL and LED - WhiteCool White
6000-7000kCool Daylight
5 more rows

What is the warmest white LED? ›

The lower the Kelvin value, the warmer the light. The higher the Kelvin value, the cooler the white (in terms of colour not heat). So 2400k is a very warm white, 2700k is an extra warm white, and 3000k is the least warm of warm whites.

What is the warmest LED color? ›

The majority of LEDs are produced to be either 2700k, 2800k, 3000k, 4000k or 5000k. 2700-3000k being warm, 4000-5000k being cool.

What does CCT color mean? ›

What does correlated color temperature, CCT, mean? Color temperature defines the color appearance of a white LED. CCT is defined in degrees Kelvin; a warm light is around 2700K, moving to neutral white at around 4000K, and to cool white, at 5000K or more.

What does CCT mean on a light bulb? ›

CRI stands for color rendering index (CRI), CCT stands for correlated color temperature (known simply as color temperature for many lights).

What are the two types of RGB? ›

RGB lighting
  • Classic RGB: a LED strip with triple diodes (red, green and blue on one diode). ...
  • RGB+W: A LED strip with triple diodes (red, green and blue on one diode) and a separate white diode for pure white light. ...
  • RGBW: A LED strip with quadruple diodes (red, green, blue and white on one diode).

What are the different types of RGB LED controllers? ›

There are two fundamental types of RGB LED controllers: wired and wireless.

What is the best color temperature for parking lots? ›

Correlated Color temperature

The range of CCT from 3500k to 5000k is suitable for most of parking lots. It is natural white light that makes people feel more comfortable.

What is the best color for indoor lighting? ›

Warm Light Colors

2700K color temperature bulbs are standard for bedrooms and living rooms to create a cozy atmosphere. Move up to “soft white” 3000K color temperature or higher for areas that require more visual tasks like the kitchen, home office, laundry room and bathroom.

Is CCT the same as lumens? ›

Lumens measure the total calculated brightness, or output, of a light. While the CCT of a light has a slight effect on the lumen output—around 5% difference—it's not considered a major factor in brightness.

What is the CCT value of daylight? ›

Daylight has a spectrum similar to that of a black body with a correlated color temperature of 6500 K (D65 viewing standard) or 5500 K (daylight-balanced photographic film standard).

What is the importance of CCT lighting? ›

One benefit of CCT lighting is that it can mimic each day's natural light starting with cooler temperatures ideal for mornings to wake you up and warmer temperature useful for evenings to create a calmer atmosphere before bedtime.

What is the difference between 4000K and 5000K CCT? ›

4000K vs 5000K Lighting – Comparison & Differences

4,000K Lights have a slightly warm color tone while 5,000K Lights have neutral white with a hint of blue. Beyond 5,000K, the blue tint dominates the light and hence, we do not recommend going above 5,000K for reading or working for long hours.

Why do computers use RGB and not RYB? ›

For an additive system, light is created directly. This means that the primary colors of the most effective additive color system are simply red, green, and blue (RGB). This is why most computer screens, from iPods to televisions, contain a grid of little red-, green-, and blue-emitting light sources.

What are the 3 primary colors RGB? ›

The RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color wheel represents the 3 light sources used to produce colors on a TV or computer screen. Primary colors are Red, Green, and Blue.

Why do printers use CMYK instead of RGB? ›

Conclusion: CMYK Produces Superior Color in Printing

In conclusion, CMYK is the industry standard for printing because of the science behind the color space and the substrate. Ink on paper must use the CMYK color space to achieve the optimum results by creating an unlimited number and shades of color.

What are the two types of LED configurations? ›

Two types of LEDs are available, a lamp type (leaded) and a chip type (surface mount).

How many types of RGB lights are there? ›

there are two kinds of RGB LEDs: common cathode and common anode RGB LEDs; you generate different colors by adjusting the brightness of each of the three LEDs of the RGB LED; to adjust the brightness of each LED, you use a PWM signal.

How many types of LED colors are there? ›

Commonly available colors of LED are red, green, blue, yellow, amber and white. The light from red, blue and green colors can be easily combined to produce white light with limited brightness. The working voltage of red, green, amber and yellow colors is around 1.8 volts.


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