Can LED Lights be Powered by USB? Discover the Possibilities!

With the prevalence of environmentally friendly products in the market, you might be thinking about switching to LED lights. 

LED lights (also known as light-emitting diodes) use cool light generation technology that requires only a small amount of power to run, and are designed to be long-lasting and recyclable! 

Additionally, they also emit little heat compared to the more common incandescent bulbs, which release 90% of their energy as heat. 

Due to how versatile they are, you might be thinking of using LED lights in different situations. For example, being USB-powered would certainly make them even more convenient! 

Curious about the viability of USB charging? In this article, we’ll explore that and more, including: 

  • Convenience and portability of USB power 
  • The limitations of USB power lights
  • Compatibility concerns
  • Alternatives to USB for powering LED lights.

Let’s get straight into it!

Can LED Lights Be Powered By USB?

Yes! There are several occasions where USB charging has the advantage of simplicity and portability, which is why USB-powered LED lights are a feasible option.

However, there are some disadvantages to USB-chargeable LED lights as well, and depending on your needs, another option could suit you better. 

Understanding LED Lights and Their Power Requirements

LED lights transform electric energy into colorful lights that are powerful enough for illumination. 

They are low-energy (and low-cost) to run and specifically designed without any hazardous chemicals. What this means is that LED lights are highly recyclable!

When choosing your LED, it’s important to consider where and how you want to use it. There are three standard voltage options that each have their own use cases: 5V, 12V, and 24V. 

If you’re looking for lighting in internal areas, boats, gardens, or caravans, then the 5V is a great option. Bedrooms, kitchens, and driveways will benefit from 12V, but if you want something more consistent, you should look into getting 24V lights!

Evaluating the Limitations of USB Power for LED Lights

While it’s possible to charge LED lights with USB, there are some downfalls you need to be aware of. 

USB chargers are generally only able to charge 5V LED lights. This means you must consider the power requirements of the LED light for compatibility purposes. 

It’s also important to consider that 5V LED lights are not as bright as other types, and since the voltage is lower, there will be more fluctuations in the output. 

Another thing you need to know is that 5V lights aren’t as readily available as other alternatives, which means that it might take a bit of searching to find one that suits your needs.

Using USB to Power LED Lights 

Convenience and Portability of USB Power

USB-chargeable LED lights are incredibly straightforward to charge because you don’t need any special equipment — you can even use your phone charger! 

Here’s one immediate advantage: a USB smartphone charger minimizes the clutter that batteries and power banks can bring (we all have that drawer, right?). 

Another plus is that USB-powered LED lights are easy to install and maintain while also being a cheap and eco-friendly option. 

And because they’re incredibly safe, they pose virtually no risk of electrocution or fire – making them great even in areas frequented by kids!

To give you an idea of how versatile USB-powered LED lights are, you can even set them up as cheap, simple, and safe decorative light strips.

Limitations in Power Output for USB-Powered LED Lights

LED lights powered by USB may be convenient, but don’t expect them to shine as brightly as other options. 

That’s because USB only has a limited power output rated at a maximum of 5V, which means you can’t use it with LED lights that require a higher voltage.

If you’d like to use a 12V or 24V light, you’re better off using a dedicated power supply for better, more consistent results.

Compatibility Concerns with Different USB Devices

This is one of the biggest downsides of using USB-powered LED lights: they’re not compatible with all USB ports. 

The simple fact is that some USBs just don’t have enough power to charge your lights, especially if you have those with a higher voltage.

Not correctly researching your options could quickly render your purchase useless!

Alternatives to USB for Powering LED Lights 

Considering the limitations of USB lights, you should also include in your research other alternatives to USB! 

Depending on your environment and use case, some viable options include dedicated power supplies, batteries, and solar energy.

Dedicated Power Supplies for Optimal Performance

Your most reliable option for powering LED lights is using a dedicated power supply, which makes sure your device receives constant energy.

LEDs usually need a current-limiting device to prevent damage and keep them running safely for much longer, and being powered by a dedicated power supply allows your lights to shine optimally.

Battery-Powered LED Light Options

Battery-powered LEDs provide consistent lighting and are incredibly convenient because it doesn’t need an electrical outlet. This portability allows you to bring your LED with you while traveling.

A huge advantage of battery-powered LED lights is that they’re easy to install and don’t require much maintenance. Simply plug the batteries in and enjoy your lights until the battery runs out of juice!

Much like the USB-powered option, they’re also energy-efficient and environmentally friendly while not being reliant on power outlets, so they have an edge there over other alternatives!

Solar-Powered LED lights

If caring for the environment is one of your top priorities, solar-powered LED lights are the best option for you. As with other solar-powered devices, these lights use the photovoltaic effect to produce light.

These lights are also incredibly easy to install; all you need to do is attach them, and they’re good to go! 

Another advantage of solar-powered LED lights is that they have a long lifetime that lasts upwards of a thousand hours. They only begin to dim when they’re running out, making it easy to determine when they need to be replaced. 


LED lights are worth transitioning your home to for environmental and power-saving reasons, and taking the USB-powered route is just one of the many options you can explore!

However, because USB-powered LED lights can be prone to compatibility issues, difficult to obtain, and inconsistent in terms of light output, it may make them a little less appealing.

If you find that LED lights powered by USB don’t really meet your needs, trying out other excellent alternatives such as batteries and solar power might bring about better results!

John Bayly

John Bayly

John has dedicated his career to the lighting industry. Starting out as an interior designer with a specialism in lighting, he went on to found his own commercial lighting business. He now shares his expertise and passion for all things lighting with readers of