What is the Difference between SMD and COB LED Lights?

SMD stands for Surface Mounted Device and COB stands for Chip on Board. Light-emitting diode or LED for short has become highly popular. The Surface Mounted Device (SMB) was first introduced in 2008. Whereas, the COB LED technology has been available since 2010 in Guangzhou at the Canton Fair. The SMD has 3 diode chips.

These chips are of different colors such as Blue, Green and Red which helps create colored lights. The COB LED lights are either ceramic or aluminum.

What is an SMD LED Light?

SMD lights use SMT technology which mounts the LED chip onto a PCB. The PCB is built in a flat object, rectangular-shaped, and is what one sees as an SMD. One can see a tiny black point at the center of the SMD if you look closely in an SMB LED, it is the LED chip. The rear side of it has two metal points (cathode and anode) which are used for soldering with the circuit for the light.

The 5050 SMD has three metal points as there are three chips inside. The SMD Led has various types, namely, 5730, 5630, 5050, 3030, 3014 and 2835. Each of these is named as per the dimensions of the LED meaning it is based on the width and length. Before the COB was invented, the SMD 5050 and 3528 was used.

What is a COB LED?

The COB LED uses the new encapsulation technology. As compared to the SMD 5050: 3 chips or the 3528: 1 chip, the COB LED has multiple chips on the same printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB is on the substrate of the COB. The diode chips of the COB are arrayed in series/ or parallel which depends on the circuit. This substrate can either be ceramic or aluminum. If you are looking for a better thermal conductive performance, then, the ceramic type is what you need as it will guarantee a much lower LED working temperature.

The COB LED has two metal connection points, the cathode and anode. The COB has a much better thermal conductivity as compared to the SMD, due to the fact that it mounts chips directly to the substrate that has a huge cooling area. In order to have the COB size to be as little as possible, the circuit needs to be designed to shorten the chip’s distance.


COB LEDs come in different shapes which make it easier for them to be used for different fixtures. Whereas, SMD lights can only be used for limited fixtures, there are many advantages of using COB LED lights such as better thermal conductivity and lower production failure rates due to the unique design.

Deciding between SMD and COB LED lights depends on your needs. Both of the lights are being used for various applications. When choosing between the two, first know about which fixture, the light is being used for. LED lights have changed the entire lighting industry.

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