COB vs. SMD LED Light Strips: Comparing the Light Direction

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Table of Contents

Introduction

LED (Light-emitting diode) light strips have grown in popularity recently. It is due to their energy efficiency, safeness, versatility, and ease of use. LED light strips are popular for task, accent, and general lighting. 

However, with so many options available, it can be tough to know which type of LED light strip to choose. Two of the most common types of LED light strips are COB and SMD LED light strips.

While both LEDs are popular, each light strip’s direction differs significantly. This article will explore the light direction of COB and SMD LED light strips. We will provide a comprehensive comparison of both types of LED as well.

We will also advise selecting the best type for a specific application in this article. Whether you are an LED light reseller or a DIY enthusiast, this article will definitely help you! Let’s get started.

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What are COB and SMD LED Light Strips?

COB (Chip-On-Board) LED light strips comprise many LED chips mounted onto a single board. The chips are arranged closely together to create a single lighting source. It makes them ideal for creating bright and powerful light beams in a specific direction. At the same time, the light produced from COB light strips is soft and not dazzling.

These LED chips are typically large. Hence, it allows greater light output and better heat dissipation. It also comes with high color rendering index (CRI). It means the light strips can accurately reproduce more natural colors to the human eye.

SMD (Surface-Mounted-Device) LED light strips comprise individual LEDs mounted onto the strip. These LEDs are placed at regular intervals along the board. It enables them to provide a more diffuse lighting effect.

These LED chips are much smaller. They allow for greater flexibility and customization of the lighting arrangement. So, SMD LED light strips can produce much light for their size and energy consumption.

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How are COB and SMD LED light strips produced?

Let’s take a look at the light source and light strip production process of both lights:

COB LED Light Strips

The LED chips are fixed directly on the PCB board on the welding pad of the lamp bead position. It is done with conductive glue and insulating glue in a linear arrangement. Then, the conduction performance of the LED chip is carried out. 

After the welding is completed, it is encapsulated with epoxy resin glue. Finally, COB light sources are directly applied to lamps without mounting and reflow processes.

SMD LED Light Strips

The LED chips are fixed on the pad of the lamp bead bracket. It is then welded with the same conduction performance as the COB package. The SMD LED must be patched before being fixed on the PCB board by reflow soldering. 

After the performance test, it is encapsulated with epoxy resin glue. Next, it will be split, cut, and taped before being transported to the screen factory and other processes.

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Choosing the Right Color Temperature for your LED Light Strips

Color temperature is a measurement of the color appearance of a light source in degrees Kelvin (K). The warmer or more yellow the light appears, the lower the Kelvin number. The cooler or bluer the light appears, the higher the Kelvin number.

When choosing the right color temperature for your LED light strips, it is important to consider the mood you want to create.

  1. Warm White (2700K – 3000K): 

Warm white LED light strips create a welcoming and relaxing environment. They emit a warm, inviting glow that can make people feel more comfortable.

  1. Neutral White (3500K – 4100K): 

Neutral white LED light strips are commonly used in offices, kitchens, and bathrooms. They produce a light that is neither overly warm nor overly cool.

  1. Cool White (5000K – 6500K): 

They are perfect for task lighting in garages, workshops, and factories. They generate a bright, crisp light similar to that of daylight.

The color temperature options of COB LED light strips are more limited than SMD LED. COB technology is typically used for higher-output and high-color-rendering applications. SMD LED light strips offer a wide range of color temperature options. It is often used in commercial lighting applications.

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Light Direction Comparison

COB LED light strips emit light from a single-point source. It makes the light direction of the light strips directional. This type of light is ideal for applications requiring focused lighting. Examples of applications are task lighting, accent lighting, and directional lighting.

COB LED light strips are also well known for their high luminosity. It makes them suitable for applications requiring bright lighting.

On the other hand, SMD LED light strips emit light in multiple directions. Thus, the light direction of the LED is diffuse. This type of light is perfect for applications requiring even and consistent lighting. For example, ambient lighting, backlighting, and decorative lighting.

SMD LED light strips are also known for their versatility. They are available in a wide range of colors and can be used for various purposes.

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Advantages

Below are the advantages of the COB LED light strips:

  1. Higher brightness:
    COB LED light strips have a higher brightness output than SMD LED light strips. COB LED chips emit light from a single point. They produce a more concentrated and powerful light beam.
  2. Better durability:
    COB LED light strips are more durable than SMD LED light strips. COB LED chips are directly mounted onto a circuit board. They are less susceptible to damage from vibration or impact.

Below are the advantages of the SMD LED light strips:

  1. Higher efficiency:
    SMD LED light strips are more efficient than COB LED light strips. They consume less power and produce less heat. Hence, they can last longer.
  2. More options for brightness and color:
    SMD LED light strips come in a broader range of brightness and color options than COB LED light strips. It allows for greater customization and flexibility in lighting designs.
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Disadvantages

Here are some drawbacks of COB LED light strips:

  1. Limited color options:
    COB LED light strips have limited color options compared to SMD LED light strips. They often come in warm white or cool white color only.
  2. Limited dimming options: COB LED light strips frequently have limited dimming options. It can be a disadvantage for customers who prefer complete control over their LED’s brightness.

Here are some drawbacks of SMD LED light strips:

  1. Limited beam angle:
    SMD LED light strips have a limited beam angle than COB LED light strips. SMD LED light strips emit light at a 120-degree angle. It can result in uneven lighting and shadows.
  2. Uneven lighting:
    SMD LED can have uneven brightness or color temperature across the strip. This results in an inconsistent lighting effect. Some areas of the strip may appear brighter or dimmer than others.

Top Applications of COB and SMD LED Light Strips

COB LED light strips can emit light in a highly directional manner. They are an excellent choice for applications where focused lighting is required.

Here are some top applications of COB LED light strips:

  1. Landscape lighting:
    COB LED light strips are suitable for landscape lighting. Directional lighting is necessary to highlight specific features, such as trees or sculptures.
  2. Security lighting:
    COB LED light strips are also used for security lighting. They provide highly focused lighting to detect intruders in specific areas.

In comparison, SMD LED light strips can transmit light in different directions. Thus, they are perfect for a variety of lighting applications.

Here are some top applications of SMD LED light strips:

  1. Cove lighting:
    SMD LED light strips are usually used for cove lighting. It entails installing light strips in a recessed area. They are being installed in a ceiling cove or under a cabinet.
  2. Task lighting:
    SMD LED light strips are used for task lighting requiring focused lighting. For instance, SMD LED light strips can provide targeted lighting for reading.
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COB vs. SMD LED Light Strips: Which One to Go For When Comparing the Light Direction?

Choosing between COB and SMD LED light strips all comes down to your lighting needs. 

Similarities

Both lights are energy-saving and long-lasting. We’ll discuss their similarities below:

SimilaritiesCOB and SME LED Light Strips
Light SourceLED lights
FlexibilityFlexible to use, cut, and connect
LengthGenerally 5m a roll.Customizable to other lengths.
Board width4mm5mm6mm8mm10mm12mm15mm20mm
Waterproof Level of the Light StripsIP20IP44IP65IP67IP68
PCB ColorWhite and black.Some SMD LED light strips use yellow color.
Light ColorWhite lightMonochromatic light (Red, yellow, blue, green, purple, and pink)Dichromatic light (CCT)Trichromatic light (RGB)Four-color light (RGBW)Five-color light (RGB+CCT)
PackagingInner packing: Anti-static bag.Outer box: Carton.
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Differences

Let’s look at their differences so you make a better decision:

DifferencesCOB LED Light StripsSMD LED Light Strips
Type of LightA strong and focused beam of light is emitted in a single direction.More diffuse light is emitted in multiple directions.
Lighting EffectHigh luminous efficacy and high intensity.
It has the continuity of fluorescent glue coating, and the distance between chips is relatively small. Hence, the light emitted is soft and in a line.
Widespread and more diffuse light output.
Made of several LED beads, the distance between beads is larger. Hence, you can see several light spots after lighting up.
Production Efficiency and CostHigher production efficiency saves 5% of the labor, lowering production fees.Lower production efficiency hence incurs higher costs. The labor and manufacturing costs of traditional SMD lamp beads account for about 15% of the material cost.
Luminous Efficacy90 – 100lm/WRanging from 30 – 200lm/W
Beam AngleGenerally at 120°. It cannot be equipped with a lens.Generally at 120°. It can be equipped with a lens to produce angles of 30°, 45°, 60°, and other angles.
Number of Light Beads320led/m384led/m 400led/m 480led/m 528led/m 608led/m 640led/m 720led/m840led/m From 30led/m to 600 led/m:30led/m60led/m66led/m72led/m90led/m120led/m140led/m144led/m180led/m210led/m240led/m300led/m308led/m480led/m600led/m
ProgrammabilityNot supported. Only support normal color change.Compatible with various ICs, including External IC and LED built-in IC. 
Support all major programming, including SPI and DMX512.
CustomizationDifficult to support customizationSupport customization for:Number of lamp beadsLight effectIndicatorSDCMBendable – S typeColor changingDimmabilityProgrammabilityElectricity current consistencyVoltage consistency
Color Rendering IndexTypically RA90RA80/RA90/RA95/RA98
Color ConsistencyThe number of COB chips of the same length is more. Hence, the color consistency seen by the naked eye is high.At the same price, the color consistency of SMD is very good.
The color consistency will be relatively poor for low-priced SMD light strips.
Luminous UniformityMore uniform, basically no dark areas.There will be a little dark spotarea, but it does not affect the glow effect.
System Thermal ResistanceLower system thermal resistance, resulting in longer LED lifespan.
The system’s thermal resistance is chip – solid crystal glue – aluminum material.
Higher system thermal resistance. 
The system’s thermal resistance is: chip – solid crystal adhesive solder joint – solder paste – copper foil – insulating layer – aluminum material.
Heat DissipationThe heat is directly transmitted to the circuit board. Hence, the heat dissipation efficiency is higher, and the light attenuation is smaller.
Lights with many chips, high current, high power, and high heat generation should consider auxiliary cooling.
The chip is packaged in the led bracket housing. The heat dissipation must be conducted to the flexible circuit board through the bracket. Hence, the heat dissipation path is relatively complicated.
The number of lamp beads can be adjusted. A higher number of lamp beads should considerauxiliary cooling. 
Protection Against ColdCan work at -25°-45° temperatureCan work at -20°-40° temperature
MaintenanceIf the chip is damaged, the whole set of chips needs to be replaced. The chip is small in size, causing more difficulty in labor work.
It is easy to break after bending, so try to avoid bending.
If the lamp bead is damaged, the lamp bead can be replaced separately.
Type of ApplicationPerfect for applications that require concentrated lightingSuitable for general lighting purposes

The decision between COB and SMD LED light strips are based on several factors. The factors include desired lighting effect, power consumption, and type of application used. 

From here, you can make an informed decision to meet your lighting requirements. You can also refer to our articles to learn some amazing bedroom lighting ideas.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when comparing COB vs. SMD LED light strips, it is crucial to consider the light direction and your specific lighting needs. COB LED light strips are suitable for applications requiring concentrated lighting. They emit light in a single direction. In contrast, SMD LED light strips suit applications requiring diffuse lighting. They emit light in multiple directions.

LED light companies should know the differences between them. Then, you’ll be able to provide the best solutions for your customers. I hope this article provides all you need to differentiate COB LED and SMD LED light strips.

With years of experience in the lighting sector, we could guide you in choosing LED light strips. We offer a range of high-quality COB and SMD LED light strips to cater to the diverse needs of our customers. Our team also manages the production, packaging, inspection, and after-sales service for you. Don’t hesitate and contact us to get your one-stop LED solution!

Contact US

Phone Numbers

0086-020-87495605

Email

info@darklessled.com

Address

No.111,Baiyun Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong, China.

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