3528 And 5050 LED StripsThe Surface-Mounted Diodes (SMDs) used by single colour LED strip lights are manufactured to two specifications. In order to distinguish between them, the designations 3528 and 5050 are used.

But what do these numbers mean and how do they differ from one another?

The numbers are actually a code which refers to the physical dimension (length and width) of each individual SMD.

  • The 3528 measures 3.5mm by 2.8mm.
  • The 5050 measures 5mm by 5mm.

For the sake of simplicity, it’s better to think of the 3528 as a "small" chip and the 5050 as a "large" chip.

Apart from the size, the other main difference between the two types of SMD is the amount and intensity in lumens of light they emit.

As might be expected, the larger of the two chips delivers more light due to its greater surface area and vice versa.

For the very same reason, 5050 chips consume more power than 3528 chips.

When it comes to choosing one type of chip over the other, the matter is slightly complicated by the fact that neither is necessarily better than the other.

In general, LED strip lights that use 3528 SMDs feature more LEDs per metre, while those that use 5050 SMDs have less, but those they do have are brighter.

Currently, the standard for 3528 is either 60 or 120 LEDs per metre, with a light output of 400 and 800 lumens respectively.

The 5050 strip features either 30 or 60 LEDs per metre, emitting 510 and 1020 lumens respectively.

It's also worth remembering that a strip light with a large number of smaller LEDs spaced closely together generates a more concentrated, intense light than a strip with a small number of large LEDs spaced further apart.

Generally speaking, it’s better to use smaller LEDs for decorative lighting, such as wall grazing and accenting, as their nuanced light tends to be more directional.

LED strip lights with larger LEDs are better suited to functional lighting or illuminating an area, such as a kitchen worktop, as the light they emit is spread over a greater area, creating a type of wash effect.

If you’re still in any way unsure about the type of strip light you need, you’re more than welcome to ring and have a chat with one of our customer service advisors.  The number to call is 0116 321 4120.

You can also send us an e-mail enquiry to cs@wled.co.uk if you prefer.