COB LED vs SMD LED Lights: Which One is Better?


COB vs SMD LED Lights: Nowadays, almost everyone prefers LED lights over standard fluorescent lights. Why wouldn’t they? LED lights have longer lifespans and are more efficient. Plus, these lights are safer and feature lower maintenance costs.

However, what most people do not know is that not all LED lights are the same.

There are two kinds of LED lights: COB (chip on board) LED and SMD (surface mount diode) LED. They are typically found in led products such as led strips, led lights, and led-powered devices. Both of these LEDs offer unique advantages.

Let us tell you the differences between them.

What is COB LED?

Chip-on-Board, also known as “COB,” refers to the method of mounting a single bare LED chip in direct contact with a substrate (such as sapphire or silicon carbide) to generate LED arrays.

Since COB LED lights have one installed LED chip, all of the light’s LEDs are concentrated in a single place, requiring a larger cooling capacity. For this reason, a more oversized heat sink in the LED is used to dispel the heat. And in case you wanted to know what exactly a heat sink is, it is a heat exchanger that absorbs the heat generated by an LED module and distributes it into the surrounding air. The heat sink used in COB LEDs is made of aluminum.

Moreover, the chips in a COB LED light are closely packed together. The chips in this type of lighting are arranged in parallel form or a specific series depending on the printed circuit board (PCB). As a result, these lights have a panel-like appearance.

What is SMD LED?

SMD stands for surface-mounted device LEDs and is the most common LED in the market. The led chip for SMDs is attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) that is built on a flat rectangular object. The SMD LED is quite versatile. It is the LED typically used in filament lights, bulbs, and the notification light on phones.


An SMD LED light also produces a broader light beam, which means the light doesn’t need as large of a heat sink as a COB LED does.

Furthermore, these lights have frosted reflectors, allowing for equal light distribution and concealing the chip array inside the bulbs.

COB vs SMD LED Lights: What’s The Difference?

Now that you know what COB and SMD lights are, let us tell you some of the main differences between them and what unique advantages they present to the user.

Quality of Light

With SMD, the resulting light has a glare and is best used as a point light. This is mainly because the light is produced as a result of the attachment of multiple light sources.

COB, in contrast, will generate even and glare-free lighting. It emits a uniform and easily adjustable light beam. This is primarily because of its wide-angled beam. COB is best described as surface light.


The level of brightness greatly depends on the lumen output by the involved chips. An SMD LED applies 50 to 100 lumen per watt. On the other hand, a COB LED applies 80 lumens per watt at the lowest measure, which is higher than that of SMD. This makes lights with COB far brighter.


SMD and COB LEDs are both very energy efficient. However, keep in mind that energy efficiency varies depending on the number of lumens used. The higher the lumen number, the higher the energy efficiency.

The differences mentioned above are some of the main advantages each LED has. Here are a few others:


SMD LED lights

COB LED lights

Number of Diodes

Up to 3 diodes Contains multiple diodes, 9 or more


Its appearance is like a collection of small lights. They have a panel-like appearance

Color Temperature

The SMD’s color temperature ranges from primary red, green, and blue.


The output may also be modified to provide different color temperatures.

Only produces one color temperature.

Lumens Per Watt Ratio

As mentioned above, SMD produce a range of 50-100 lumens per watt

COB produce a higher output range of above 80 lumens per watt

Heat Sink Size

Smaller heat sink

Larger heat sink


The manufacturing and labor costs account for almost 15% of the material cost

The manufacturing and labor costs account for almost 10% of the material cost

The Takeaway

It’s a common misconception amongst people that all LEDs are the same. However, this is not true as there are two types of LEDs (COB and SMD), and they each have their own advantages. Both lights are dependable, produce strong light, and consume little energy.

The type of lighting you choose will be determined by a number of factors, including the light’s efficiency, brightness, cost-effectiveness, and application. So, choose which suits you best.

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