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What Are the Best LED Chips for Tape Light?

What Are the Best LED Chips for Tape Light?

When you’re ready to backlight your TV or accent those natural wood ceiling beams, you turn to LED tape light to get the job done. Amid choices like the length and color, you may stumble across a phrase similar to this: SMD5050. Sometimes located in the manufacturer’s part number, this phrase is a simple way to tell you more about the LEDs and how you might consider using them.

What Does 2835, 3528 and 5050 Mean?

The letters “SMD” mean “Surface Mounted Diode,” a fancy way of saying an LED that doesn’t have any wire leads and instead is a flat chip soldered to the thin circuit board, creating a light strip. The letters aren’t always present but the numbers following them are more important. The 4-digit number tells you the width and length of each LED chip in the strip. The most common sizes are 2835, 3528, and 5050. For example, “SMD3528” would indicate the chips are 3.5 millimeters wide and 2.8 millimeters long.

LED Chip Type Width (mm) Length (mm)
2835 2.8 3.5
3528 3.5 2.8
5050 5.0 5.0

Why Does the Type of LED Chips Matter?

The type of the LED chip will also give you a frame of reference for the lumen output and best application of your LED strip lights. It should be noted that while LED chips are cool to the touch, they still output some heat which can affect performance. The 3528 chip is the original and most common LED chip used, composed of a single diode per chip and sometimes a round lens covering. Unless there are a large number of these chips per foot, say 600 in total per 16-foot spool, they are also the least bright and best for accent lighting like backlighting your TV.

The larger 5050 LED chip uniquely contains 3 diodes per chip. Sometimes called the “tri-chip,” the 3 diodes allow for millions of color variations along with more light output. However, this chip gives off more heat than a 3528 chip and coupled with the larger size, it can be harder to place more chips on a spool to increase the light. A single colored strip of 5050 chips could be used for task lighting under your kitchen cabinets but it’s more often used for color-changing RGB LED strip lights.

The same shape and size as the 3528 chip, currently most advanced type is the 2835 LED chip. In a nutshell, this chip is a re-engineered 3528 chip with an increased light-emitting surface area and better heat sinks which allows 2 to 3 times more light output than the 3528 chip. Easier heat dissipation allows the chips to work more efficiently and last longer with a lower production cost, making the 2835 chip excel from a cost versus performance viewpoint. The 2835 chip is BRIGHT with enough potential lumen output to rival traditional lighting like linear fluorescents tubes. You can confidently use LED tape light with this kind of chip for task lighting in public spaces like offices.

Which Type of LED Chips Does 1000Bulbs.com Have?


All of our single color LED tape lights have 2835 LED chips for the brightest light output. This includes our blacklight blue LED tape light and our waterproof strip lights. Our color-changing RGB LED tape light uses 5050 LED chips to ensure you can choose whatever color your heart (or the remote used to control it) desires.  

Are you ready to add some LED tape light to your home or business? Or you do need more advice? Call 1-800-624-4488 to speak with our dedicated staff for lighting solutions and to get started on your next project.

1000Bulbs.com Partners with Texas Motor Speedway

1000Bulbs.com Partners with Texas Motor Speedway

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