SMD VS COB LED: what are their differences

LED lights come in a variety of types. Among them COB and SMD LED gain great popularity. And here comes the question, SMD VS COB LED, what are the differences?

Key difference in manufacture

SMD LED, which is short for Surface Mounted Device LED, is the most common LED in the market. The LED chip is a versatile electronic component that is permanently fused to a printed circuit board. It is applied to light bulbs and string lights, as well as your phone's notification light.

SMD LED chips are available in a variety of sizes. For example, one of the SMD chips, the SMD LED 5050 is 5mm wide while the SMD 3528 has a width of 3.5mm. As you can see, SMD chips are compact, practically identical to the flat, square computer chip architecture.

SMD LED construction

*SMD LED construction

What is LED COB? COB, or "Chip on Board" technology, is a recent advancement in LED lighting that allows for more effective energy use. As for COB manufacturing, it has several diodes on the same surface as SMD chip does. However, the distinction between them is that COB LED has more diodes.

Typically, COB chips feature 9 or more diodes. No matter how many diodes, they have only one circuit and two contacts, resulting in a panel-like look of COB LED lights.

COB LED construction

*COB LED construction

Other differences in characteristics

1. Brightness

When SMD VS COB LED in brightness, it also distinguishes. The level of brightness highly depends on the lumen output by the involved chips. Generally speaking, compared to other light sources, LED lights are capable of illuminating with brighter light, a result of higher lumen. But among different types of LED, the lumen differs.

For example, SMD, it applies 50 to 100 lumen per watt, while the lowest measure of COB is 80 lumen per watt, higher than that of SMD. Therefore, lights with COB are brighter.

2. Energy efficiency

In general, working with LED lights ensures great energy efficiency. This is why, in comparison to filament bulbs, they are gaining popularity and becoming the most favored light source.

With this in mind, you can assured that both SMD and COB LEDs will be extremely energy efficient. But pay attention that the energy efficiency varies according to the lumens used. The higher the lumen measures, the greater the energy efficiency is.

3. Color temperature

Color TemperatureSMD is more adaptable and offers a wider range of options when it comes to color and color temperature. It is easier to get a varied color since different primary colors can be used. When you wish to adjust the color temperature, it also works. A red, green, or blue diode could be included in the chip. You can already make practically any color with these three diodes by altering the output level.

As for the COB, however, the ability to modify the colors and color temperature is limited. It is designed to emit only one color and temperature of light. But as a result, it offers more stable lighting.

4. Quality of light

When it comes to the quality of light, it is also different when SMD VS COB LED. This is primarily due to the fact that they each use different numbers of diodes, which influences the brightness and range of lighting.

When it comes to SMD LED lights, the resulting light has a glare to it and is ideal to be utilized as a point light, a result of the attachment of multiple light sources.

COB, on the other hand, will emit a uniform and glare-free light. It produces a light beam that is homogeneous and easy to modify. This is primarily because of its wide-angle beam, which makes it a better light source. Therefore, you can DIY LED COB as surface light.

5. Cost

The cost of getting devices built with these different technologies differs. They are both strongly dependent on manufacturing costs, which are distinct.

When compared to its counterpart, SMD has a greater production cost. For example, SMD is more expensive than COB when comparing the labor and manufacturing process to the material cost.

Generally, the cost of SMD accounts for 15% of the total material cost. As for COB, labor and production costs contribute for 10% of the material cost for. This demonstrates that chip on board LED saves you roughly 5% on manufacturing costs.

Table: differences to consider when decide which to use


Color temperature




50 to 100 lumen per watt


Surface light

5% less


80 lumen per watt


Point light


When to use: the difference determines

LED lights play an important part in our daily life, especially in photography and architectural lighting. When having a purchase, SMD VS COB LED, which is more suitable? Let’s have a look.


In most cases, LED COB bulbs are wildly used in professional video light manufacturers. As we know, COB lights features luminous uniformity because of its wide beam angle, making it preferable among photographers and filmmakers.

The COLBOR CL100-M is a video light with 100W COB LED. It provides stable in single color temperature, enabling you to spend less time adjusting the setting. Moreover, it is incredibly light so that you can use it for mobile filming without burden. The high CRI COB LED helps you show objects in natural colors.

[If you are looking for video conference light, check the article Tips to set up video conference light for good looking.]

COB light for photography COLBOR CL60


In architectural lighting, COB chips are utilized in more complex lighting applications to provide better beam angles and more aesthetically pleasing fixtures. However, SMD LED are utilized in more general lighting fixtures like diffused panel lights, which have a frosted diffuser covering the light source.


The differences in SMD VS COB LED are various such as brightness, color temperature, manufacture cost. Meanwhile, they are suitable for different applications. Just have an understanding of them and you will get an ideal LED light for video shooting and other uses.