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LED Chips Explained

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When choosing LED tape light there are a number of factors to consider, and selecting the right LED chip is very important. Along with selecting the right colour, wattage and length for you, you may find that some manufacturers include information such as SMD5050. This is telling you the style of LED chip used within the tape and gives you a better idea of the type and size of the diode. SMD simply stands for Surface Mount Diode which is a thin flat chip soldered to the circuit board which creates a light strip. You may sometimes find the letters are not included, but the numbers usually are. These are important and actually, tell you the size of the chip itself. For example, SMD5050 would mean that the chip itself is 5 x 5mm.
The three most common LED chip types:  
LED Chip Width(mm) Length(mm)
2835 2.8 3.5
3528 3.5 2.8
5050 5 5

LED Chip Types

2835 vs 3528 Chip

The real 'OG' 3528 chip is the most common LED chip used when it comes to strip lighting. It is made up of a single diode chip and more often than not a round lens that covers the surface. LED tape using this style of chip usually works best for accent lighting such as backlighting your shelving or TV. It's the least bright of the three chips, but this will sometimes work in your favour where a soft glow of light is required.
Much like the 3528 chip, the 2835 is the same in size but far more advanced. It benefits from an increased surface area and better heat sinks. Heat sinks are very important when it comes to LED lighting as superior heat sinks allow for 2 to 3 times more light! Better heat dissipation also allows the LEDs to work more efficiently and for longer meaning lower energy usage and no need for constant replacements. It's one of the brightest chips when it comes to LED strip lighting and is the ideal selection in areas such as offices and public spaces.

The 5050 LED Chip

The largest of the three is the 5050 chip. Its size allows for 3 diodes per chip which creates millions of different colour variations and higher light output. Being larger in size and a more complex style of chip, it does produce more heat than the 3528 and can prove more difficult to include a higher number of LEDs per metre. Mainly used for RGB strip lighting, tapes with this style of LED chip are commonly used in the kitchen for colour changing lighting underneath cabinets.

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