SMD LED vs. COB LED: Which One Is Better?

LEDs have many uses in our lives. They are long-lasting and efficient. Now, we see these LEDs in almost every aspect of life. We further divide the LEDs into two types. These are COB and SMD. COB stands for “Chip on Board”. And SMD stands for “Surface Mounted Device.” 

In the below article, we are going to discuss both of them. We will highlight how both of these LEDs work. We will also discuss their features and manufacturing. We will compare their functions.

What Is COB LED?

cob led
cob led

It is one of the new advancements in the field of LEDs. It has many advantages over other types of LEDs.

There is a particular pattern of LED chips needed to create COB lights. These chips are closely packed together. Moreover, it has a base made of silicon carbide. Thus, we have a LED chip with excellent illumination, which is uniform. This feature makes it perfect for filmmakers. It is also quite helpful for photographers.

COB chips use nine or more diodes. Its contacts and circuit do not depend on the number of diodes. Actually, they always have one circuit and two contacts. It can generate brighter lighting when large chips are up to 250 lumens. Thus, it also gives a panel an aspect due to the design of its circuit. These are not useful in color-changing lights. It is because this LED uses only one circuit.

Basic Understanding Of COB Technology:

Of course, the actual lights would be the primary part of a COB LED lighting system. The “Chip On Board” (COB) indicates the concept that every unit consists of many LED chips. These chips are alongside one another on a surface made of ceramics or metal. LEDs are semiconductors that emit light photons.

There has been an idea that the amount of quality and battery runtime are opposite entities. If the brightness is more, the battery runtime will be short. The COB technology has changed this fact. COB LEDs can produce high brightness levels with low wattage.

What Is SMD LED?

smd led
smd led

SMD refers to Surface Mounted Devices. SMD is a technique for producing electric circuits. In this technique, the circuit boards have the components mounted on them. SMD LEDs are very small in size. It has no pins and leads. It is better handled by automated assembly machinery rather than a human. Due to the absence of the hemispherical epoxy casing, an SMD LED also offers a broad viewing angle.

The SMD LEDs can produce bright illumination with even less wattage. It is a type of LED that integrates three primary colors in one encapsulation. It uses the polarization process for the assembly of the circuit board. High-quality equipment is necessary for completing this process. It helps to overcome many problems. These include non-functional LEDs.

Basic Understanding Of SMD Technology:

SMD also works on LED technology. It has replaced the old technology. The old one used wire leads during manufacturing. In SMD technology, we perform the mounting on small minute devices. Thus, it occupies a small space. And we can easily use this technology in small electronic appliances.

We can have automated assembly of PCB using this technology. This technology enhances the device’s reliability, efficiency, and performance.

Key Differences Between The COB LED And The SMD LED:

Now, we will discuss some features that distinguish between these LED types. These features better help us to determine which one is better to use.

BrightnessMore brighter Less brighter
Quality of LightSurface lightPoint light
Color TemperatureCannot be changedCan be changed
CostLess expensiveMore expensive
Energy efficiencyMore efficientLess efficient

Energy Efficient:

Generally speaking, the COB lights provide us with better energy efficiency. The COB LED has a high production efficiency. Thus, it is an excellent choice for lighting performance needs.

But keep in mind both of these LEDs are highly energy efficient. They have better performance compared to filament bulbs. And that is why they have become a more popular choice than these bulbs.

With SMD and COB, the energy efficiency depends on the lumens used. When there are higher lumens, the energy efficiency is better. The efficiency is lower for SMD compared to COB.

Color And Color Temperature:

The next feature on our list is the color and color temperature. Concerning this, the SMD is better than COB. SMD provides us with a broader range of colors. The colour temperature is more adjustable for SMD.

There are three primary colors, RGB, used in SMD. We can practically display any color using these primary colors. SMD actually makes it easier to achieve any color. The SMD LED is also flexible for changing the color temperature.

But COB LED does not have this facility. You cannot change the color temperature and color. It has a design that allows the emission of only one color. But there is a blessing in disguise here. Due to the emission of only one color, it provides us with more stable lighting.

color temperature
color temperature

Quality Of Light:

Both of these technologies differ in the quality of light. It is primarily due to the different features that they have. The SMD and COB have a different number of diodes. These diodes affect the range and brightness of the light.

Using SMD technology, the light produced has a glare to it. This light is ideal when we use it as a point light. It is because the light produced results from coupling many light sources.

Using COB technology, we will have a glare-free, even light. The COB creates a light beam. This light beam is uniform and easy to alter. It is better because it produces a wide-angle beam angle. Hence, we can better describe it as surface light.

Manufacturing Cost:

We know that various devices use COB and SMD technologies. The price of these devices will vary. It depends on the labor cost and manufacturing cost.

For SMD, the production cost is higher. For example, we compare labor, material, and manufacturing processes. This comparison shows that the SMD is more expensive than the COB. It is because SMD results in 15% of the material cost. And the COB results for 10% of the material cost. It shows that the latter can save you about 5%. But keep in mind these are general calculations. However, it is a fact that SMD is expensive compared to COB.


LED technology produces brighter lights. These lights are preferable nowadays to filament bulbs. But among the COB and SMD, the brightness varies. It is also due to the difference in the lumens.

For COB, we have at least 80 lumens per watt. And for SMD, it can be from 50 to 100 lumens per watt. Hence, COB lights are more luminous and better.

Manufacturing Process:

Both of these LEDs have different manufacturing processes. For SMD, we use insulating glue and conductive glue. We use these glues to attach the chips. The chips get fixed on the pad. It is then welded so that it has a firm hold. This pad is present in the lamp holder. After this, we do a performance test. This test ensures that everything is smooth. After the performance test, we coat it with epoxy resin.

For COB, the chips are directly attached to the PCB. It also has a performance test and is then coated with epoxy resin.


The COB and SMD offer us different types of applications. These SMD lights are better for:

  • Signage
  • Lighting business premises
  • Clubs
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Retail shops

COB technology has different fields of applications. Generally speaking, they would better serve industrial sectors and security purposes. The beam that COB lights produce and their brightness make them suitable for these purposes. Before deciding which technology is best for you, you should consider all the factors.

accent lighting
accent lighting

Which LED Is More Applicable?

LED lights have invaded almost every aspect of our daily life. To understand the difference between SMD and COB, we take two examples.


COB LED lights are most prevalent in the case of photography. We now know that COB LED has a wide-angle beam. Due to this, they produce luminous uniformity. This feature makes it the favorite for photographers and filmmakers.

Architectural Lighting:

In the case of general lighting, we prefer SMD LEDs. For example, for diffused panel lights, there is a frosted diffuser. It covers the lighting source. So we use SMD LEDs.

Whereas for complex lighting applications, we prefer COB LED. In the case of architectural lighting, we need better beam angles. So we use COB LED. It is also suitable for aesthetically pleasing events.

architectural lighting
architectural lighting

Which LED Is Brighter And Better?

Three factors determine which LED is better. These are the following:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Energy efficiency
  • Brightness


First, consider that LED lights are more economical than other bulbs. Due to their longer lifespan, energy efficiency, and brightness, they are more popular. And when it comes to COB and SMD LEDs, the former is more cost-effective.

Energy Efficiency:

Again, it is a fact that LED lights are more energy-saving than any other bulbs. Between these two, this feature relies on the lumens used. When there are higher lumens used, there is more energy efficiency.


When we talk about lights, the first thing that comes to mind is their brightness. The COB LED is brighter. It is because it works on a higher lumen compared to SMD LED.

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What Are The Similarities Between COB LED And SMD LED?

We have discussed the vital differentiating points between these two technologies. But, of course, they are both LED technologies. They have many similarities between them. Let us go through these similarities briefly:

  • The chips of both these technologies have many diodes present on their surfaces.
  • The chips of both these technologies have two contacts and 1 circuit.
  • Though they vary in amount, both of these are brighter and energy-saving.
  • Both of these use LED technology.
  • Both of these LEDs have simple designs and long lifespans.
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Regarding displays or lights, LED technology is superior to others. They are better in terms of long lifespan, energy efficiency, and brightness. That’s why we recommend that you prefer LED lights over other bulbs.

Nonetheless, COB LED exceeds its counterpart in many essential features. But it all depends on the purpose for which you are looking at the LED.

This post has shared a basic understanding of SMD and COB LED technologies. On what points do they differ from each other? What similarities do COB LED and SMD LED have? Which one is more suitable for your business? After reading this article, we hope you can easily decide which LED technology suits you.

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