COB LED – Is It A Better Lighting Option than Other Standard LEDs?

COB LED - Is It A Better Lighting Option than Other Standard LEDs

You probably have upgraded the lights in your home to LEDs, and rightfully so. The enhanced usability, adaptability and energy efficiency make LED lights the go-to lighting solution for today. Moreover, LED lights are popular in the lighting industry because they consume less energy, yet last 25 times longer than standard incandescent lights. There are two main types of LED lights – COB and SMD LED lights, both of which provide high-quality lighting, great versatility and high energy efficiency. As the latest technology in the LED industry, COB LED has many prominent advantages over other LED lighting options. Therefore, it makes sense for us to have a more comprehensive introduction on COB LED in this article. Let’s read now.

What is COB LED?

As the most recent and innovative LED technology, COB LEDs offer a number of notable advantages over previous LED PCB technologies. COB or Chip-on-Board essentially refers to the arrangement of LED chips that are closely packed and in direct contact with the silicon carbide or sapphire substrate. The resulting excellent uniformity of illumination makes COB LEDs the go-to choice for filmmakers and photographers.
Typically, COB chips feature nine or more diodes with only two contacts and one circuit, irrespective of the number of diodes. The use of multiple diodes allows for higher lumen density and higher light intensity and uniformity. And its straightforward circuit design makes COB LED lights look like a panel. Additionally, COB LED technology allows for minimal footprint and energy consumption while maintaining constant light output.

How long can COB LEDs last?

The lifespan of a COB LED mainly depends on two factors – the way it is used and the amount of heat it is exposed to. Based on an average person using them for 12 hours a day, COB LEDs have an average rated lifetime of 50,000 hours minimum.

Why are COB LEDs so important when using battery power?

When building a battery-powered lighting system, you may need to strike a balance between high lumen output (i.e, brightness) and the duration of runtime via battery operation. Generally speaking, the more high-quality illumination desired, the shorter the run time (given the same size of the battery). However, with the advent of COB technology, this trade-off has become much less of a concern. This is because even COB LEDs with low power can produce exceedingly high-quality, ultra-bright light. As a result, we can use a more tiny and lightweight lithium-ion battery pack to power a COB LED-based lighting system for extended periods of time.

COB LED VS SMD LED- their similarities and differences

COB LED VS SMD LED- their similarities and differences

What are the similarities between COB LED and SMD LED?

COB LED lights and SMD LED lights are essentially the same being LEDs but with some differences as well. In this section, we will first look at some of their similarities as follows:

  • Both SMD and COB LED lights have very simple circuit designs.
  • Both SMD and COB chips have two or more diodes on the same substrate.
  • These two lights both contain two contacts and one circuit.
  • They both produce bright light with high efficacy – COB LED lights have an efficacy of over 80 lumens per watt. However, SMB LED lights create a light output of 50 to 100 lumens per watt.
  • Energy efficiency – With a higher lumen-watt ratio, they both exhibit lower energy consumption.
  • Cost-effectiveness – Although they have higher initial costs, they can both bring about substantial cost savings in the long run. This is because they hardly require any maintenance or replacement costs during their lifespan of 50,000 hours.
  • They both accommodate for heavy-duty industrial applications such as spotlights, floodlights, high bay lights, and among others.

How does COB LED differentiate from SMD LED?

Circuit design

In terms of the number of diodes, COB LEDs have more diodes on the same surface than SMD LEDs.


COB LED lights appear more like a panel, whereas SMD LED lights are a collection of many tiny lights.

Multi-color or single-color application

SMD LED lights have three basic colors – red, green and blue. With these, they can virtually create any hue on the spectrum by adjusting the output level. Conversely, since there are only two contacts and one circuitry, we cannot employ COB LED lights to create color-changing lights or bulbs. They require multi-channel modifications to achieve multi-color effects. Therefore, COB LEDs work well for single-color applications, but not for more versatile applications.

Quality of light produced

When it comes to the quality of light, there is a significant difference between SMD and COB LEDs. This is because the number of diodes that they use differs. SMD LED lights feature some glare and are ideal for use as a point light. As for COB LED lights, however, they can emit an even and glare-free light. They provide a light beam that is homogeneous and easily modified. With the wide-angle beam, COB LEDs serve as a better light source. Given this feature, we can utilize COB LEDs to create surface lights.

Energy efficiency

Another major difference between COB and SMD LED lights is the use of energy. COB technology is noted for higher heat efficiency and lumen/watt ratios. This is closely related to the design of COB LEDs and the cooling ceramic substrate. Previously, heavy-duty technology like floodlights and spotlights was not standardized, which required multiple LED sources to provide high lumen output. But now, the use of COB technology makes it possible to yield a large amount of lumens with less energy. SMD chips can produce 50 to 100 lumens per watt, while COB chips have a higher output range with a minimum of 80 lumens per watt. COB LEDs can fit in a variety of bulbs and the applications such as a point-and-shoot camera and the flash of your phone.

Size of the heat sink

The heat sinks in SMD LED lights are small, while COB LED lights feature larger heat sinks for fast heat dissipation.

Manufacturing cost

The manufacturing cost of building devices using these two technologies varies. SMD technology is higher in manufacturing costs as compared to its counterpart. For SMD, its labor and manufacturing costs account for 15% of the total material cost, while COB contributes 10%. This demonstrates that COB LED would bring you savings on manufacturing costs of about 5%.

Advantages of COB LEDs

Advantages of COB LEDs

Above we’ve discussed the similarities and differences between SMD and COB LEDs. So let’s further understand why people prefer COB LEDs.

Small size and compactness

COB LED lights are more compact and easier to carry around due to their small chip size. A COB LED contains multiple light sources within a limited light-emitting zone. This results in a significant increase in lumen output per square inch.

Better lighting effect

COB LED lights produce bright, high-quality light to present a better lighting effect. Since it incorporates multiple diodes, it can generate a lot of light. And it can always provide a strong and consistent flow of light, resulting in uniform, glare-free lighting.

Higher heat efficiency and lumen per watt ratio

With their simple design, COB LED lights are featured with enhanced heat efficiency and lumen-per-watt ratio. They are able to produce over 80 lumens per watt while using less energy.

Better thermal performance

To energize the multiple diode chips housed in it, COB LED uses a single circuit with only two contacts. As a consequence, fewer components are required for each LED chip to operate properly. Additionally, the elimination of the standard LED chip structure packaging can reduce the heat generated by each chip.

Disadvantages of COB LEDs

Limited color options – Currently, COB LEDs can only provide a limited range of color options. They may include red, blue, green, cool white, neutral white and warm white.
Well-engineered external power supply – To avoid damage to the diodes, it requires not only a large current capacity, but also steady current and voltage.
A large heatsink for heat dissipation – Due to the design structure of COB LEDs, they require greater cooling, so a large heatsink is essential. To avoid destroying the diodes due to overheating, the heating element should be put in place. COB LEDs emit highly focused light waves from a limited zone, resulting in a considerable amount of heat.
Manufacturing cost – Due to the high defect rate and more materials required, the manufacturing cost of COB LEDs is much higher than SMD LEDs.
Low repairability – COB LED lights are not easy to repair due to their modular design. In case a single diode in the COB is damaged due to mechanical failure, you have to replace all the COB LEDs with new ones. SMD LEDs, on the other hand, if one LED fails, it doesn’t affect the rest of the LEDs. You simply need to change it, and then the light will return to proper operation.

Multiple uses of COB LED lighting

Multiple uses of COB LED lighting

COB LEDs encompass a wide range of applications, from residential to industrial utility, with some of them being:

  • Although COB LEDs can be used for high-output general lighting, they are primarily used as solid-state lighting (SSL) substitutes for street lights, high bay lights, downlights, and metal-halide lamps with higher output.
  • With the wide-angle beam, COB LEDs are suitable for use in living rooms and halls as a bright, high-quality lighting source.
  • It often requires the use of COB LED lights with higher lumens in places such as playgrounds, gardens and large stadiums during nighttime.
  • Additional use cases include basic illumination for passageways and corridors, substitutes for fluorescent lighting, LED strips, track lights, downlights, spotlights, the phone’s camera flash, etc.


Due to the many advantages of COB LEDs over other standard LEDs, their lighting applications are increasingly growing. It’s hard for designers not to consider them for a variety of lighting applications because: they have a higher lumen output because they can cram more LEDs into a small area; they can efficiently transfer the heat from the diodes to the heatsink; with a more straightforward construction, they have a lower failure rate; they also have a lower light loss and wider viewing angle. MOKOLight has a wide range of high-quality COB LED lights with ultra-brightness and less power, while providing a high-quality beam of light. To find out more details, please consult our sales experts or simply visit our website at

Written by ——
Adelyn Ward
Adelyn Ward
Master of Science; professional electronic engineer with over 7 years of experience in electronic design and engineering projects; proven expertise of LED manufacturing processes, capable of communicating intricate ideas to a broad range of audiences. Reach Me Now>>
Adelyn Ward
Adelyn Ward
Master of Science; professional electronic engineer with over 7 years of experience in electronic design and engineering projects; proven expertise of LED manufacturing processes, capable of communicating intricate ideas to a broad range of audiences. Reach Me Now>>
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