What Does SMD Stand for in LED Lights? What is the Difference Between SMD and LED?

Lighting is one of the biggest developments in the modern world. It’s allowed us to extend the day, and remain productive well through the night. And not too long ago, it allowed us to have brightness with much less heat generated and energy consumed through the development of a high-density LED strip.

LEDs revolutionized modern lighting by producing little heat and bright light, as well as offering unbeatable customizability. As such, LEDs have become the most popular lighting option in the 20th century, they remain the leading lighting solution most homeowners and designers choose for their lighting projects.

Since the first LED was sold back in the 1960s, LED has had the opportunity to upgrade its technology. One of such upgrades is the discovery and sale of surface-mounted diodes (SMDs), with most LEDs available today being SMDs.

Not only are SMDs brighter than traditional LEDs, but they’re also more energy-efficient and more affordable, hence most LED lights and strip lights sold today are SMDs.

Is the LED you’re using an SMD? Should you buy an SMD type of LED? Learn more about SMD and find out how it differs from traditional LED to help you decide which type of lighting best suits your needs and which one you should spend your money on.

What Does SMD Stand for in LED Lights?

As mentioned above, SMD stands for a surface-mounted device. SMDs refer to electronic components that are soldered onto a printed circuit board (PCB). It’s a type of technology that aims to save space—an incredibly important feature as modern devices continue to shrink in size.

When it comes to LED lights, SMD means Surface Mounted Diode. Unlike traditional LED diodes with their long leads, the diodes in SMD are in the form of chips and have little to no leads.

While the diodes used in typical LEDs are mounted onto the PCB via through-hole technology (THT), leads from the LED are inserted into drilled holes in the PCB, the LED chips used in SMDs are soldered flat against it.

As a result, more LED chips with lower power requirements can be clustered together, resulting in less space taken up, as well as increased energy efficiency, wider beam, and longer lifespan!

What is the Difference Between SMD and LED?

Light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that converts electric current into light. The diode consists of two terminals or leads, a cation and an anion, which allow for electricity to flow from one to another in one direction.

As electricity flows from one lead to the other, the electric current is transformed into photons through electroluminescence, producing light without generating much heat.

Meanwhile, SMD or surface-mounted diode is a special type of LED that uses surface-mounted technology to save space. SMDs use LED chips instead of diodes with long leads. These chips are soldered onto the PCB. And because the LED chips are made of semiconductive layers, electricity can flow freely instead of unidirectionally to produce light.

The lack of long leads allows LED chips to save space. By using LED chips instead of diodes, LED chips can be clustered together. As LED chips are clustered together, brighter light output can be achieved despite using lower power LED chips. 

Traditional LEDs

While traditional LEDs use three to four high-powered LED chips with 25 to 40-degree beam angles to create one light, SMDs are powered by five or smaller LED chips with 20-degree beam angles per chip clustered together.

The proximity between LED chips allows their individual light output to combine, resulting in brighter lighting overall. The result is brighter lighting with lower power consumption from SMDs. Though each LED chip used in SMD LEDs have lower beam angles and consume less power, their strategic position allows them to have brighter as well as wider beam of lighting.

And because each LED chip consumes lower power, they tend to last longer than typical LEDs, making them energy efficient, as well as a durable choice, of lighting!

For these reasons, most high-density LED strips make use of SMDs. With more low-power LED chips along the same strip, one can achieve brighter lighting while still keeping the overall cost relatively low.

Should I Get SMD or LED?

When shopping for an LED lamp or light strip, it’s important to consider how you’re going to use it, besides how much it costs and how much electricity it consumes.

Though SMD LEDs are an upgrade to your typical LED, providing brighter lighting and wider beam, consuming less energy, lasting longer, and costing less, they are not always the better choice.

The biggest difference in the use of SMDs and LEDs lies in the brightness they produce. LED on its own is already much brighter than incandescent lighting. However, the new technology used in SMDs allows them to shine even brighter.

Such may be helpful for store displays or outdoor night lights, where brightness is valued. But brighter is not always better. This is especially true for indoor spaces that require dim lighting or downlight. For these uses, it’s better to opt for typical LEDs with bigger gaps between each diode. 

Where Can I Buy Quality SMD and LED?

Upgrade your lighting today by switching to SMD or LED. Whether you need the brightest lighting possible or lights that are highly customizable—we got you covered!

At Hitlights, we have a wide range of LED lighting solutions. Whether you’re in the market for low density or high density LED strip lights, white LEDs, or RGB LEDs, we have just the product for you.

Not to mention, we offer our LED strip lights in various voltages, lengths, and IP ratings. Surely, you can find just the right lighting for your project.

Check out our high-quality LED lights. With our UL-listed products having up to six years of warranty, and our hassle-free return system, we ensure that your shopping experience at Hitlights is always 100% satisfactory!

To learn more about our high-density LED strip, fill out our online form or contact us at 855-768-4135 at HitLights today!