RGB vs aRGB LED Lighting: A Short FAQ for Beginners

With many different RGB technologies available, we thought we would compare RGB vs aRGB lighting and answer some frequently asked questions.
by Andy Cresswell -
RGB vs aRGB LED Lighting: A Short FAQ for Beginners

It might be a little confusing if you’re new to LED lighting with different terms being thrown around such as RGB, aRGB, WS2811b or even maybe SK6812. With all of this seemingly different and alien terminology being used, it can be hard to know where to start.

So, what are the differences between RGB and aRGB lighting? And, what are all of these different types of led lighting strips and protocols?

To kick-start this comparison between RGB and a-RGB lighting, we are going to start with the most frequently asked questions to clear up any potential confusion.

You may also like: The Complete RGB Guide & FAQ for Gamers

What is RGB lighting?

RGB lighting is a lighting technology that uses red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to create a wide range of colours by mixing these primary colours. RGB lighting is commonly used in mood lighting applications such as under-cabinet lighting, accent lighting, and backlighting. The colours produced by RGB lighting can be controlled using a remote or a smartphone app, allowing you to change the colour and brightness of your lighting as desired.

What is aRGB lighting?

Addressable RGB (aRGB) lighting is a type of RGB lighting that is more advanced and flexible. It is referred to as “addressable” because each individual LED in an aRGB lighting strip can be controlled and programmed independently. This means that you can create complex lighting patterns, animations, and even interactive effects with aRGB lighting.

In an earlier article, I explored WLED which is a free application for your phone (and Arduino-based LED controller) that enables you to both control static colours and set hundreds of preloaded animations.

What are the differences between RGB and addressable RGB?

The biggest and only difference between RGB and aRGB led strips is that on one you can only set static single colours, on the other – addressable RGB, you are able to program each LED separately. This means you can display complex animations and effects.

Addressable RGB products can do everything regular RGB led strips can with the added benefit of granular control over each LED such as displaying the iconic animated RGB rainbow.

Can I plug an RGB device into an aRGB header?

No, unfortunately, RGB and addressable RGB are not interchangeable lighting protocols. This means that you cannot plug an RGB device into an aRGB header. The same is true in reverse meaning, you can’t plug and addressable device into an RGB header.

Avatar for Andy Cresswell
Andy Cresswell

PerformancePSU Editor

Andy is the Founder & Editor of PerformancePSU with over 25 years of experience building custom PCs, watercooling and overclocking. When his thirst for more speed is under control, he is a programmer and father of one.
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