LED channels go by many names, including aluminum extrusion, aluminum channel, aluminum profiles, or LED extrusions. They function as a type of housing for LED strip lights. LED channels provide a way to protect the light fixtures as well as to display them in a clean and polished way. Aluminum LED light extrusion can also help disperse heat and assist with thermal management.
These channels feature a ‘U’ shape to hold the strip light. They can work along with a diffuser which snaps onto the channel. The diffuser helps diffuse light and improve the light distribution. Without the diffuser, you can see more of the individual LEDs which appear like dots of light and the light may cause more indirect glare as well. However, some find these differences barely noticeable.
The combination of a channel and diffuser gives the light a more polished look than the basic appearance of the tape light. They can also protect the light from dirt, dust, and debris as well as provide some protection against impact.
While they don’t require one, LED tape lights can benefit from an LED channel diffuser. Diffusers evenly diffuse the light and help eliminate lighting hotspots. They can also create a finished and complete look for the strip light when combined with a channel or aluminum extrusion.
Diffusers come in a few different styles, including clear, frosted, and milky or opal. A clear diffuser cover cannot diffuse the light, but they can protect the strip light without reducing brightness. They work well if you want a complete and finished look for the light fixtures without changing the appearance of the light.
Frosted lenses diffuse the light evenly and soften the harshness of the light. They can also help reduce the glare. While you may still notice hotspots of light, the light output appears more diffused than a clear diffuser.
Milk or opal diffusers give the light a softer, more diffused appearance. They appear more opaque than a frosted lens and help eliminate lighting hotspots with maximum light diffusion. They also help eliminate reflection.