What Is the Difference Between LED Lighting WS2811 and WS2812?

difference between led lighting ws2811 and ws2812

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LED strips are becoming more popular in recent times. They are helpful, especially to illuminate areas or places that need intense lighting. You can use them anywhere to improve focus during tasks and enhance creativity. In short, there are many places to affix LED strips.

WS2811 and WS2812 are the ICs to look out for when buying an LED strip. WS2811 consumes a 12V high power. At the same time, WS2812 uses only 5V with a much lesser power consumption rate.

Of course, these are not the only differences between WS2811 and WS2812. I can list many more to help you make the right purchase. But I will explain some significant differences in simple words so that even an ordinary person can understand them!

difference between led lighting ws2811 and ws2812

Quick Look at the Differences Between WS2811 and WS2812

IC Placement:

As you can see in the above image, the placement and size of both ICs also vary. The WS2811 IC is an external component placed on the light bar. A component is placed on the light bar alone. Likewise, the WS2812 IC works as an internal component placed inside the lamp beads.


The effects offered by WS2811 and WS2812 are also different. The WS2811 IC controls three-light beads where the color changes in synchronization. Every 3 three-light beads are grouped together. So, you get a different color for each group of 3 light beads. But when it comes to an individual group, the color remains almost the same.

On the other hand, each light bead presents a different color in the WS2812 IC.

Number of ICs:

The number of ICs used in an LED strip also varies. There are around 60 LEDs in one meter of strip that uses WS2811 IC. So, there will be 60/3=20 ICs in total.

Likewise, there are 60 lamp beads with WS2812 IC. So, there will be 60 2812B ICs.


Each lamp bead contains 2812B. Thus, the WS2812 light bar costs more than WS2811.

So, are you looking to buy one of these LED strips but confused on how to go about it? Then my today’s guide is for you. Keep reading to figure out the significant differences between WS2811 and WS2812. Let’s dive in!


Overview of WS2811

WS2811 is an RGB LED strip. This strip usually includes 30 to 60 LEDs per meter.

While WS2811 is an RGB LED, it’s more than a “simple RGB Led strip.” It controls the LED strip using a WS2811 LED driver chip. These LED driver chips often come with the LED and control the intensity of the light.

It’s easy to control every single unit of the LEDs as long as you assign unique addresses to every LED driver chip you own. You can achieve this by using a microcontroller.

Pros of WS2811

  • WS2811 is easy-to-use, especially when handling lots of LED controls.
  • It runs at 12V. Well, this allows you to control many LEDs on a single strip.
  • Allows for the connection of long cables

Cons of WS2811

  • Each color is restricted to eight bits of data. Thus, it reduces the smoothness of the dimming curves.
  • It’s impossible to control the LEDs if they are not up to 3.
  • No data redundancy
  • It consumes a lot of power/energy because it runs at 12V.
  • More expensive
ws2811 (2)

Overview of WS2812

WS2812B is a set of control circuit and light-emitting circuit in one intelligent external control LED light source. Its appearance and a 5050LED lamp beads the same, each component that is a pixel.

Built-in IC lamp beads: The traditional driver IC is integrated into the 5050RGB lamp beads, and all lines are replaced by gold wires, which not only saves space and reduces the failure rate between pads, but also shortens the transmission distance, making the transmission speed faster and more stable.

It comes with a circuit meant for reshaping and amplifying signals. Also, it features a frequent control of current of up to 5 Voltage and an internal oscillator.  Moreover, there is also an option of 12V high voltage programmable constant current control part,  ensures a high degree of color consistency of the pixel light.

As a result, it ensures a consistent intensity of the light color. Also, the WS2812 comes with three pins, including data line, negative and positive.

With a voltage input of DC5v, the WS2812 can be used for a full-color panel and led decorative lighting.

This LED strip has an inbuilt Intelligent Control. That allows it to operate a one-wire interface communication. With one of your controller pins, you can power many LEDs.

For a strip that requires a 5V power, you don’t have an issue controlling it through a five voltage output. Suppose you want ESP8266 or Raspberry Pi to control your WS2812 LED strip. Then, it will help if you first use a logic level converter module to convert the data signal to 5V.

Pros of WS2812

  • WS2812 can control each unit of LED at a time.
  • Its control granularity level is 1 LED.
  • It doesn’t consume much power.
  • The brightness of the built-in IC lamp beads is higher than the usual lamp beads.
  • Good consistency of RGB tri-color chip in all beads.
  • Stable performance of built-in driver IC.
  • Rigid rubber packaging offers good protection against extrusion damage.
  • Quality assurance with affordable product price

Cons of WS2812

  • Increasing LEDs on the strip can cause a significant voltage drop. That’s because the WS2812 runs at 5 volts.

WS2811 Vs WS2812 – What are the Major Difference?

1) Power Consumption

While the WS2811 LED strip runs at 12V, the WS2812 LED strip uses 5V. As you can see, the WS2811 contains more LEDs than the other. Thus, it often results in some voltage drop through the LED strip.

There will be lower voltage at some of the LEDs present at the edge of the strip. If the voltage drop is much, the LEDs at the far end of the strip may not exude glow as they should.

A WS2812 LED strip, on the other hand, operates at 5 volts. It can experience a voltage drop from 5 volts to 3 volts. From all indications, this voltage drop is much.

While choosing between WS2811 and WS2812 LED strips, keep their power functions in mind. Then, settle for the most suitable. Nevertheless, LED strip lights are energy saving, no matter which one you use!

2) LEDs Controlled

Instead of controlling one LED, the WS2811 contains a combination of 3 LEDs at a time. It means that 3 LEDs is the granularity level, and you mustn’t go below it. That’s the way to control them. 

For WS2812, you can only control 1 LED at a time.

Ideally, choosing the number of LEDs controlled depends on your preference. The granularity level of WS2812 is 1 LED. If that’s what you want, you should go for it instead of WS2811, which has 3 LEDs.

3) Features

A) Integrated Circuit

When it comes to Integrated Circuits (IC), WS2811 features an external circuit. It means that the LED strip requires a constant power source to continue running. Without this, the LED strip will experience a high increase, causing a considerable change in its working.

An exponential increase in current can go on until it gets to the biggest, and the LED might die out. The current source for the external circuit can be a standalone device, i.e., an LED driver. Also, getting a resistor of 100mA at 3V works for low power strips.

Likewise, the WS2812 comes with an inbuilt integrated circuit. You don’t need to buy an additional power source as it already comes with it.

B) Voltage

The WS2811 operates at DC12v. It is a lower voltage, especially when compared to other line voltages. Using it is much safer for people who want to experiment with the 12v LED strips.

Unlike line voltage systems, the possibility of seeing loud bangs or sparks in the WS2811 system is low. Further, the WS2812 features a DC5v series that needs low input voltages. It uses a single led, which you can customize to any form you want.

C) Color

Both WS2811 and WS2812 feature Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colors. Bringing these three colors in one unit can create and produce different colors.

RGB colors are more powerful than halogen, energy-saving, and incandescent bulbs. Because of their low energy usage, both strips can last longer and produce several beautiful colors that you can imagine.

The RGB colors available in WS2812 and WS2811 are super vibrant yet don’t produce less heat. Note that LED strip lights can overheat if you don’t use them properly.

D) Pins

Both led strips have positive, negative, and single data line pins. Out of these three pins, an LED strip uses power and ground pins to receive power. The data pin is helpful to communicate with the controller.

ws2811 ws2812b

What to Look Out for When Buying a High-Quality WS2811 or WS2812 LED Strip?

Making the right decision during your purchase is essential. It saves you from wasting time, energy, and money. So, here I will explain how to identify suitable LED strips.

1) Look for the Brightness

How bright do you want your led strips to be? Knowing the ideal answer to this question can serve as a game-changer as it allows you to shop with confidence.

While it can be hard to decide on the brightness of a led bulb, you can try to consider a few factors. Some of these are temperature, lumens, and color; they all determine the final output of the bulb. Well, you can consult a lighting professional to assist you in your selection.

I will suggest buying WS2811 if you want more brightness.

2) Resistors

Most low-quality, poor LED strips have small resistors to ensure an excellent luminous effect. Remember, it further strains the LED chips, causing their lifespan to shorten.

So, choosing high-quality LED strips’ resistors is much better as they last longer. You also get an excellent luminous result.

ws2811 ws2812b ws2813

Final Thoughts!

In summary, choosing between a WS2811 and WS2812 LED strip depends on your purpose. So, the WS2811 is ideal for those who want to use and control a longer LED strip. That’s because it comes with 3 LEDs.

Likewise, the WS2812 has 1 LED, making it a better option if you prefer shorter led strips. Also, the WS2811 LED features a 12v power rate, which means that it consumes a lot of power, unlike its counterpart. The WS2812 LED strips need a 5v power, which is not so high.

Are you developing an LED-based project using WS2811 or WS2812? Then, it will help if you bookmark this guide for future reference. I hope this helpful guide can help you make better purchasing decisions whenever you decide to shop again!

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