DIP – Dual In-line Package
SMD – Surface Mounted Device
COB – Chip On Board
DIP. As soon as LED is mentioned, that is what most people picture in their heads and this is simply because up until recently, it was the only common LED type available. DIPs in general are not as easy to manipulate during the manufacturing process, therefore, there is not a huge amount of versatility. For instance the above example is rated at 1 Watt. At 1 Watt, it is mostly used for ambient lighting or decoration, and not for functional lighting. It is also worth noting that a DIP’s beam angle is 38°, which will not cover huge areas and instead will focus all its power into specific areas.
SMD LEDs have become rather common in the past few years. Unlike DIPs, SMDs can be made to different sizes. The above image has 5050 SMDs (5mm x 5mm), however there are other variants (3528, 5014 etc.) which can produce more or less power. Generally speaking, SMDs tend to have a higher light output compared to DIPs, but a lower output compared to COBs. This light output can appear less however, due to the wide beam angle (120°).
COB LEDs are by far the most versatile LED type at the moment. A COB is comprised of multiple chips within one large “wafer”. This allows a larger light output and a more even spread of light. Just like the SMD, COBs have a 120° beam angle, allowing a larger area to be covered, and therefore ideal for functional lighting.
Hi-power LEDs are in a way, the “bigger brother” of the DIPs. In general, DIPs require 20/21 diodes to hit 1 Watt. A single Hi-Power LED is 1 Watt and coupled with the 38° beam angle, it can generate a very intense light output. Hi-Power LEDs are ideal for highlighting certain areas for both functional purposes and decoration. They are commonly used in wall washers and uplighters for this reason.
There are other types of LED available and new technology is developed everyday, but for now, we have covered the 4 main types.
Please Note: All beam angles are measured from a flat surface. LEDs in spotlights may have a slightly different beam angle due to the shape of the bulb, therefore it may be wise to check the beam angle on the product page before purchasing.