There’s no denying that aesthetics matter when you’re building a killer gaming PC, and one of the best ways to add some bling is with RGB lighting. There are many ways to add RGB to your rig, but a great place to start is by adding one of the best PC LED strips that we’ve picked out here.
There are many options out there, from fancy addressable RGB strips to budget-friendly non-addressable options. Regardless of what you’re looking for, our list should have you covered. Time to shed some light on the matter.
Our Picks for Best PC LED Strips
Phanteks’ NEON Digital-RGB LED Strip sets itself apart from the pack with its remarkably smooth color gradients. Phanteks achieves this by combining a high LED count and a built-in diffuser that helps smooth out the colors even more. It looks great, and we think it’s one of the best RGB strips for PC.
The NEON Digital-RGB LED Strip connects to your computer via your motherboard’s 5-volt addressable RGB (ARGB) header. You can also connect these strips to the RGB controller on Digital-RGB-equipped Phanteks cases such as the P400a Digital.
Phanteks’ NEON LED strips support all the major RGB control programs from motherboard manufacturers. So you get support for ASUS’ Aura Sync, Razer’s Chroma, Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion, MSI’s Mystic Light Sync, and ASRock’s Polychrome Sync.
There is, however, one particular caveat you should be aware of: the NEON Digital-RGB LED Strip will only work in rainbow mode with MSI’s Mystic Light Sync. You’ll need an ASUS or Gigabyte board to have complete control over the NEON Digital-RGB strips.
Phanteks includes three different types of mounting brackets with each NEON LED strip. You get 90-degree, 180-degree, and flat mounts, along with 3M adhesive tape to attach them to your PC case. Note that the LED strips themselves aren’t magnetic, so you’ll need to mount those brackets to install the Phanteks NEON strips.
If you want to create smooth color gradients and fancy patterns, the Phanteks NEON Digital-RGB LED Strip lights should be at the top of your list.
Deepcool’s RGB 200 Pro LED may lack the high LED count and diffused lighting of the Phanteks, but Deepcool makes up for it with more versatile mounting and better software support.
Deepcool RGB 200 Pro LED strips are mounted either magnetically or with double-sided tape, making them perfect regardless of your PC case. On the software side, Deepcool’s offering fully supports all motherboards’ RGB control software, including MSI Mystic Light.
So if you have an MSI board and want addressable RGB lighting, we’d recommend this Deepcool kit over the Phanteks product.
The Deepcool RGB 200 Pro strips can also sync with other Deepcool or Gamer Storm ARGB devices, as long as they also operate on 5 volts. These include case fans like the Deepcool RF120 and AIO CPU coolers such as the Castle 240EX.
Deepcool’s RGB 200 Pro is a solid addressable option if you want to avoid the hassle of adding a dedicated RGB controller to your case. Yes, 12 LEDs per strip is low compared to Phanteks’ NEON RGB strips, but it should be enough for anything except the most complex lighting schemes.
NZXT is a name that’s almost synonymous with RGB lighting. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we’ve included the company’s Hue 2 LED strips in our list of the best RGB strips for PC.
Unlike the previous two LED strip lights on our list, NZXT’s HUE 2 LED strips are powered and controlled by a proprietary NZXT controller. So you’ll need to factor in the extra cost of the NZXT RGB & Fan Controller if you’re interested in the Hue 2 LED Strip.
The extra cost does come with some benefits, though. For one, NZXT’s controller supports two independent RGB channels of up to 40 LEDs each. This means that you’ll be able to develop some pretty complex lighting schemes since the two channels can be set to their own colors or lighting patterns.
The NZXT RGB & Fan Controller also supports three RGB fans, making it perfect for controlling NZXT’s Aer 2 fans for a full PC lighting setup.
And that’s the biggest reason you might find the extra cost of the controller a price worth paying. Combined with the company’s CAM software, it opens up a whole lighting ecosystem that you can control with one piece of software.
We wouldn’t recommend the NZXT Hue 2 strips on their own. However, if you’re already using other NZXT parts or plan to get some soon, these are a must-have. We just wish they had more LEDs.
Addressable RGB is cool and all, but what if you’re on a budget or just want something simple? In that case, Airgoo’s RGB LED strip kit might be right up your alley.
The core appeal of the RGB350 kit, beyond its budget-friendly price, is that it will work regardless of whether your motherboard has the proper RGB header as it comes with its own controller. It also comes with a wireless remote that you choose colors and lighting modes with.
Airgoo’s RGB LED controller features 19 different dynamic lighting modes at five different cycle speeds. These modes include the common breathing, fading, and flashing modes. You also have 20 different color options with 10 brightness steps to choose from.
You can also plug in the RGB LED strips directly into your motherboard’s 12-volt RGB header if you don’t want to use the controller. If that’s your plan, we suggest saving some money and buying standalone LED strips without the controller and remote.
Airgoo’s RGB LED strips can be controlled by the standard array of RGB control software except for Razer Chroma. So if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Razer user, check out the Deepcool RGB350 instead.
Airgoo includes two strips in the package, along with a 20-inch extension cable. You can daisy-chain multiple RGB light strips together, although the company recommends a maximum of four. If the 16-inch length works for you, Airgoo’s RGB light strips are a great option for the buget-minded.
Deepcool’s RGB350 RGB LED kit is a solid alternative for those of you shopping for a budget-friendly non-addressable RGB kit.
The Deepcool RGB350 kit supports 16 different colors, including white. You can also choose from four color cycling modes: flash, strobe, fade, and smooth. The first two modes cycle between three colors, while the latter two transition between seven.
Compared to the Airgoo kit, Deepcool’s RGB350 does lose out slightly in terms of lighting modes and colors. But you do get longer LED strips, which may come in handy if you’re lighting up a full-tower case.
The Deepcool RGB350 can also connect to your motherboard via its 12-volt RGB header. This will let you control the colors through software. The RGB350 works with the standard array of RGB control software from ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, and Razer.
We consider the Airgoo and Deepcool RGB kits to be roughly on par, and choosing between them will depend on factors such as strip length, preferred RGB software, and the other components in your system.
The Deepcool RGB350 can connect to other Deepcool or Gamer Storm RGB products for synchronized lighting effects, so if you’re using those we’d definitely recommend the RGB350 over the Airgoo.
If you’re not opposed to a bit of DIY, Alitove’s WS2812B addressable RGB LED strip is an interesting alternative option to pre-cut LED strips. Each 16.4-foot spool comes with 300 LEDs, making for an above-average LED density once you cut it up into more common lengths.
For example, a 20-inch strip will have 30 LEDs, which is significantly higher than the other LED strips on our list. This is a solid alternative if you’re after smooth color gradients as long as you’re willing to put in the extra work to get it going.
Beyond having to cut your own strips, you’ll also need to add a controller and power supply if you want to use the WS2812B. You can program your own controller with an Arduino or buy pre-programmed controllers like this one that would save you the effort.
The Alitove WS2812B LED strip isn’t the most elegant solution on this list, especially since you need an external power brick to power it. But the LED density is impressive, and it’s decent value if you consider how much you’re actually getting.
After all, 16.4 feet should be more than enough to light up the biggest full-tower case with enough left over to light your desk too. If you’re looking to light up more than just your rig, the Alitove WS2812B might just be the most cost-effective solution.
Before You Buy
Buying a PC RGB LED strip might seem like a simple task, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you commit to a set.
Addressable vs. Non-Addressable RGB
First off, you should understand the differences between addressable and non-addressable RGB and decide which you want.
Addressable RGB (or ARGB) means that each LED (whether in an LED strip, fan, or another PC peripheral) can be controlled individually. So, for example, you’ll be able to set the color and brightness of each LED on a strip independently of the others if it’s an addressable RGB LED strip.
On the other hand, non-addressable RGB peripherals only allow you to apply one color or brightness value to all of the LED lights at once. You can still set the brightness and color of the LEDs, but it’ll be the same across the whole strip or fan.
ARGB LED strips will let you go crazy with colors:
On the other hand, non-addressable RGB strips lend themselves better to more subdued lighting schemes:
Nothing’s stopping you from combining both types of RGB in the same rig. However, they connect to different headers that aren’t interchangeable, and that’s what we’re going to discuss next.
RGB Controllers and Headers
RGB LED strips will connect either to your motherboard or to a dedicated controller. The latter is pretty straightforward, as the kit will either come with it or be designed for a specific controller from the same manufacturer. A good example is the NZXT Hue 2 LED strips on our list, which are designed to only work with NZXT’s own RGB and fan controller.
Controller-based RGB LED kits have the best compatibility, as they don’t rely on your motherboard’s RGB headers. If you’re using a motherboard that doesn’t have the correct RGB header (or doesn’t have any at all), you should go for an RGB LED strip with its own controller.
If you don’t want to deal with an RGB controller’s extra wiring, you’ll want to get RGB strips that connect directly to your motherboard. If you’re going to go down this route, you need to know that addressable and non-addressable RGB strips connect to different RGB headers.
Addressable RGB strips connect to 5-volt, three-pin headers, while non-addressable strips connect to 12-volt, four-pin headers. Unfortunately, they’re not interchangeable. If you only have four-pin headers, you’ll have to either stick to non-addressable RGB LED strips or go with a controller-based solution.
RGB headers on an ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F GAMING. Source: ASUS
Each of the major gaming motherboard manufacturers uses its own RGB control software. So whether it’s an LED strip light or a case fan, make sure the product you’re buying supports your motherboard’s RGB software before purchasing.
There aren’t many better ways to spruce up your gaming rig than with one of the best PC LED strips on our list here. They’re affordable and easy to set up and can be the difference between a boring rig and an eye-catching one.
Whether you want to go for a full-on rainbow or prefer more subtle lighting, there’s a PC RGB lighting kit out there for you. But why stop at LED strip lights? There’s a whole world of RGB out there, so check out our PC RGB lighting guide for the full low-down.