What is the difference between COB LED and SMD LED?

COB LEDs & SMD LEDs: A brief overview.

For indoor growers, LED lights have become by far the best option to be considered. This is because of the various advantages that LEDs provides. One of the major advantage is that LED grow lights is that these lights emit a wide spectrum of lights and these lights are not expensive as compared to other grow lights with full spectrum like sulfur plasma grow light etc.
The LED (light emitting diodes) are majorly available in 4 types in market. A planter can choose the type as per his requirements. Every light has its own unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. The major types are

  1. DIP LED lights (Dual in-line package)
  2. SMD LED lights (surface mounted device)
  3. COB LED lights (chip on board)
  4. MCOB LED lights (multiple chips on board)
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DIP LED Lights – Dual in-line package LED lights are one of the oldest type of LED lights. It was made of two parallel pins that were connected from one end and a chip inserted in a hard plastic that was placed on the connecting pin side. They were quite famous at that time as they were durable and emitted bright lights. But those lights emitted only four lumens per LED. These lights are not much used now for growing indoor plants.

SMD LED Lights – Surface mounted device LED is a type of light that has surface mount technology. These lights have wide range of usages. They are used in LED lamp lights, street lights, indoor décor lights etc. These lights can change colour, it has three colour diodes– red green and blue diodes. Hence with these colours any colour output can be generated. SMD LEDs have better lumens than DIP LEDs. There is a process of soldering which is done directly on the circuit board. If not soldering, the SMD chips ate mounted on circuit board. The SMD LED is an advance version of LED. DIP LED can produce only 4 lumens per LED, but SMDs can produce up to 50 – 100 lumens per watt.

COB LED Lights – Chips on board LEDs are the latest types of LED lights that are being used. The usage of these lights is quite versatile. Since they produce large number of lumens lights in very small amount of energy used, they are used in smaller devices like a flash light in cameras etc. These lights contain multiple diodes (usually 9 diodes) in a single board or surface. These lights can not change colour diodes.

MCOB LED lights – Multiple chips on board are the newer upgraded version of COB lights. These lights are highly efficient as they produce large amount of light, with less heat generation. These lights have multiple chips in a single surface using diode technology. The CRI (Colour rendering index) is quite high in these lights and they generate high number of lumens consuming less energy.

Advantages of SMD (surface mounted device) LED lights and COB (chip on board) LED lights.
Advantages of SMD (surface mount device) LED –
It uses low energy or voltage and give brighter and illuminated output. These lights emit large amount of light in less energy consumption. The large amount of light output is good for large grow size area.
These lights have many other usages like, Indoor house lights, bathroom, kitchen lights. They are also available in string lights. Since they emit large amount of light and emit less heat, so they are a very good option for indoor plantations as well.
These lights are available in various sizes and options. Hence a grower can customise and get the kind of SMD light required.
SMD light can produce Red, Blue and green lights. This enhances the colour spectrum of the lights. Hence making it a better option for indoor growers.

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Advantages of COB (chip on board) LED lights –

These lights have more number of diodes as compare to SMD lights. Hence from a small amount of energy or watt it generates higher amount of energy.
Since these lights can produce higher amount of light from smaller space, these lights are efficiently used in flash lights of a camera or mobile phone
These lights generate higher lumen lights in less watt. Also, the heat generation is very less as compared to other lights. This aspect makes it very appropriate for indoor plantation as it would not require separate cooling agents.

Disadvantages of SMD (surface mounted device) LED lights and COB (chip on board) LED lights.

These lights can not be used for large grow areas or bigger area. SMD LEDs are not suitable for Higher voltages or higher power consumption usages.
The maintenance cost and manual prototype cost is higher. These lights are available anywhere in market but once installed, their maintenance may go higher and may increase to overall yield cost.
These lights are not as robust as DIP LED lights. SMD lights are not meant to have a longer life.
As compared to COB (chip on board) LED lights, they have less lumens emitted.

Disadvantages of COB (chip on board) LED lights.

These lights do not emit different colours as compared to SMD lights. It output comes in a single colour. Hence, chip on board LED lights cannot be used as colour changing bulbs like SMD lights.


LEDs have been a very good option for indoor growers. With advancement in LEDs like SMD technology and COB technology, it has just added to its advantages. Both SMD and COB are very good options to go for and both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Hence before choosing the lights its important to ascertain the requirement.
On one hand SMD lights have colour changing options in bulbs and tube light fittings. And on the other hand, COB has better luminous light generation in less energy consumption as compared to SMD lights.
Technology and energy consumption wise cultivators can opt for Chip on board technology, as it has good luminous per watt output. But if growers want different colour changing option, they must choose SMD LED lights.

Thanks for reading.

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