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5V vs 12V

Usually one of the first questions is which one should I buy?

In general 12V pixels are more popular than 5V.

In a longer answer we need to understand how a pixel works.

Pixels come in 2 main types of voltage in our hobby. The 5V and 12V version. It is always a debate on which one is better. To be honest they both have their advantages. 

All pixels actually run on 5 volt DC power. The way a 12 volt pixel works is by reducing the 12 volt power down to 5 volts by adding either resistors or regulators to the chipboard. The 5 volt power is then used to power the pixel LEDs. The 12 volt from the wire then continues down the strand as 12V power to the next pixel.



Here is a 12V Regulated pixel.

This is why you'll see 5 volt pixel looks like it is missing items on the chipboard. It is only because if you are running 5 volt power already it doesn't need to be reduced to power the pixel.

This is a picture of a 5v pixel board. Notice it doesn't have as many components of the previously pictured 12v pixels.


Here are some pros and cons of both.

5 Volt Pixels:



Less Components


You must power inject more often

Not as readily available


12 volt Pixels


Can run more pixels with less power injection

More Readily Available


More expensive