COB LED vs CREE: Which Lighting Technology Is Better?

LEDs have pretty much become a marvel of video and viewing technology. With their ability to reduce emissions while also providing top-notch views and resolution, these screens are more than just revolutionary. They are the present and the future of viewing entertainment. 

Today, LEDs also come in varying formats and levels. All of these have their benefits and demerits, and being able to understand them will guide you. In this article, we’ll look into COB LEDs and CREE LEDs, as well as the differences between them.

What Is A COB LED Light?

In terms of displays, “COB” is an acronym for “Chip-On-Board.” These screens use light-emitting diodes, all of which are directly mounted on a single substrate to form just one array.  

For COB LEDs, you have a collection of single LED chips that are packed tightly together. There’s also the addition of a phosphor coating or a resin that helps to concentrate the light source to a single location and create a much stronger image. 

With their overall design, COB LEDs manage heat much better. They don’t get hot, and they can work for much longer without any residue. There are several other benefits, of course, which we will look into later. 

Structure & Design Of A COB LED 

Now that we know the COB light meaning, let’s go into what makes them unique. We already pointed out the major structure for COB LEDs – you have different chips that are mounted on a board, making for a unique arrangement system. That said, let’s take a quick look at the different components that make up this display format: 

Different LED Chips: 

Before anything, the most critical component of a COB LED is the LED chip. You have different chips – or dies, if you will – that are closely mounted on a board. Their job is to shine light when you strike an electric current. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the number of chips in a COB LED display. So, manufacturers tend to go with their discretion. 

The Substrate: 

Some call it “substrate,” others call it “board.” Whatever you call it, this is where the LED chips stand. For a substrate to be effective, you need to make it with a material that has optimal thermal conductivity. In fact, most manufacturers prefer to use metal cores of ceramics. 

With a quality substrate, a COB LED will be able to seamlessly manage heat and ensure that the screen works for long without degrading. 

Wire Bonding or Direct Attachment:

In a COB LED display, every chip is connected with a wire bonding mechanism to the substrate. Manufacturers use fine wires to connect both components, although there’s also the direct attachment method where the chips are placed directly without any wires. 

Material Coating: 

Like we pointed out, some manufacturers also use phosphor or a resin material to coat the entire structure. The coating helps to improve color tuning and the conversion of blue light into a much broader color spectrum. 

Bonds & Joints: 

Like  all other LEDs, COB LEDs also have to deal with a lot of electrical connections. Thankfully, solder joints and wire bonds help ensure that connections can be optimal as you handle direct attachments. 

Features & Characteristics Of COB LEDs

COB LEDs come with several characteristics that make them incredibly unique. Because of how they’re built, they easily stand out among the many variants of LED display screens. Some of these features include the following: 

  • Grade-A Light Output: When you ask “What is a COB LED and its major selling point?” this has to be it. Because their LED chips are arranged closely, COB LEDs shine brightly. Their light density and output is high, and they can also concentrate their light sources. 
  • Easy Managing Heat: Like we said, thermal management is one major benefit that you stand to gain from COB LEDs. Their design allows them to move heat out of their frame, and this means that they can work for long. 
  • Consistency In Light Delivery: Compared to most traditional LEDs, COB LEDs do better when it comes to distributing light across the display. As you can imagine, this means that illumination is much better. 
  • Sleek & Put-Together Design: The unique design of a COB LED means that it is quite compact. You can use it in different locations where you don’t have so much space, so you don’t have to worry about that. 
  • Color Rendering: Over the years, we’ve also seen technological advancements that will make it easier for COB LEDs to render color. In areas where you want to represent color accurately, these displays work very well.
  • Easy Personalization: A manufacturer might create a COB display with a set number of chips or modules, but you can also customize yours based on what you want. If you have specified lighting requirements, then you can personalize your display.
  • Control Over Lighting: If you’d like, you can also dim your COB LED light. Generally, it means that you can make adjustments to light intensity and save energy whenever you want.

What Is A CREE LED Light?

Next on the COB LED vs CREE debate, we have the CREE bulb or LED displays. 

You might not know this, but Cree is actually a company that produces lighting components. Based in North Carolina, this company manufactures lighting products which have become quite notable in the lighting community. 

Today, Cree produces LED chips, arrays, lighting systems, and much more. So, when you see a “CREE LED light,” you’re pretty much talking about a lighting product that uses a Cree bulb.

Today, Cree’s LED technologies are incorporated into different lighting fixtures that fit into different uses. This flexibility means that they are quite notable in the lighting industry, although they definitely have some strong competition. 

Unique Lighting Features For CREE LEDs

As we said, Cree has become a notable name in the lighting community. And, that is primarily because of some of these features that its lighting components have:

  • Improved Color Quality: With CREE light bulbs and LEDs, you get impressive levels of color quality and consistency. The LEDs illuminate objects vibrantly, and they allow you to optimize visual aesthetics to a considerable degree. 
  • They Last Long: Of course, you wouldn’t have a quality display option if it didn’t last long. Considering the amount you would have to pay to get a CREE LED, you should be able to rest assured that it’ll last quite long.  
  • Industry-Defining Technology: Over the years, we’ve seen some innovations when it comes to the technology and functionality of CREE LEDs. From optical control to product build and more, there’s a lot to look forward to when you get a CREE LED.
  • Targeted Distribution Of Light: LEDs made by Cree also go a long way to produce even light and distribute it. With this capability, the displays cut down on glare and provide consistency in illumination. 
  • Use In Different Settings: Flexibility is another notable feature of CREE LEDs. They can work in different lighting applications, and they do quite well to adapt to different environments. 
  • Compatibility With Smart Lighting: These days, we’re seeing innovations in smart lighting systems. You can step into your home and have the lights turn on automatically, and get displays running on their own. Cree automotive bulbs tend to work well in smart settings like these, ensuring that you have a much smoother experience and better value for your money. 

COB LED vs. CREE: Comparing Their Performance

Now that we’re familiar with both options, let’s look into the COB chip vs CREE LED and see how both options compare with each other. 

If you’re getting an LED display, the first thing you need to know is how it will perform as well as how its performance generally stacks up against other options. So, where do we stand when measuring COB LED vs CREE?

Luminosity & Brightness

Considering that they both stand for different areas of LED technology, you might not necessarily have a basis to compare COB LED vs CREE LED when it comes to brightness or luminosity. 

As we said, COB LEDs are specific packaging formats that involve taking different LED chips and packing them onto a single board. This arrangement allows the LEDs to achieve a higher level of lumen output, while also improving light density and concentrating light to a greater degree. 

On the flip side, CREE is a company that produces lighting components. Now, considering that CREE doesn’t produce COB LED products alone, it might be impossible to compare these two options in terms of brightness and luminosity. As we know, experts use “lumens” to measure the brightness of a LED display – and, different displays have their own lumen ratings based on factors like the LED design and even the type of electricity used to power the whole thing. 

So, when you’re considering brightness and luminosity, you really want to look at the product you’re working with itself. If your CREE vs COB LED product is uniform, or are  you comparing two products that aren’t necessarily related? Once you understand your basis for comparison, you can now put both products side by side. 

Ability To Render Color 

This is another pretty challenging basis for comparison. Both CREE LEDs and COB LEDs render color quite well, and they can easily create some really accurate, vibrant displays in general. 

Whenever experts make this comparison, they do so using the Color Rendering Index (CRI). CREE LEDs are known for offering high-quality color rendering, with many of the company’s products already having high CRI ratings. On the other hand, you will need to go a bit deeper for COB LEDs when trying to discover their ability to render color. 

Primarily, for COB LEDs, you need to consider the company making the product, as well as their design scheme. COB LEDs have different levels of color rendering, so be sure to ask your manufacturer for details on how they build their COB LEDs. 

Fortunately, you can count on us at NSE LED Cloud to create high-quality COB LEDs that can help to optimize color rendering as much as you want. If you’re looking for a LED that can easily rival those created by Cree, we’re your perfect source. 

Overall Display Functionality 

In general, comparing functionality for LED COB vs LED CREE will involve looking across different metrics. Both display variants are quite similar in what they do and how they perform, and they have strengths and weaknesses across the board. 

As we said earlier, COB LEDs are mostly known for their unique design and ability to focus and concentrate light perfectly. With their unique design, the LEDs offer a much higher lumen output with optimal light density. They also do well to discharge heat from their builds, and this optimizes their efficiency and makes them last long. 

Finally, the uniform lighting is another key feature of these CREE COB LEDs. Since their chips are packed closely, they ensure that lighting is more consistent and that you can cut down on glare. 

On the flip side, CREE light bulbs have continued to make a name for themselves as a result of their innovation. They are reliable and can last incredibly long, and they also provide optimal lighting across different uses. 

In general, there’s not much of a basis for comparison here. Whatever you’re looking for, rest assured that COB LEDs and CREE LEDs are well-equipped to perform. As long as you have the right manufacturer for your COB LEDs, you shouldn’t have a problem with functionality. This is why you want to make sure that NSE LED Cloud is the company you go with. Our COB LEDs are the best in the business, and you’ll definitely get proper bang for your buck when you work with us. 

COB LED vs CREE: The Better Option For The Environment

Group of COB LED arrays on PCB board – small DOF

It might not be so easy to notice, but displays actually take a considerable toll on the environment. And, over the past few years, manufacturers have been doing their best to tweak their operations in order to cater to the needs of our ecosystem more. 

So, where do we stand here? How do you know that getting COB vs CREE LED headlights will in fact be good for the environment? 

The good news here is that both options are actually quite eco-friendly. With the chip-on-board technology, COB LEDs do well when it comes to thermal management, properly getting rid of excess heat and helping the environment in many ways. The lights also last longer as a result of this, meaning that you don’t have to change lights so often and can cut down on waste. 

Just as well, CREE light bulbs also have a reputation for being energy-efficient. They are especially adept at reducing overall energy consumption, thus cutting greenhouse emissions and achieving a smaller carbon footprint. 

When making a choice and considering environmental friendliness, here are a few things you want to keep in mind: 

  • How Long Will They Last?: First, look into your lighting option and how long it’ll last. The longer the display lasts, the less you have to make replacements. 
  • How Is It Made?: Just as well, you want to consider the general process that went into making the LED. Production methods have environmental impacts, and you want to make sure that your LED was made in a way that didn’t have much of one. This is one area where we at NSE LED Cloud have done exceptionally well over the years. 

In general, both options do quite well when it comes to energy efficiency. However, you want to consider some of these factors to ensure that your choice aligns with eco-friendly impacts.

COB LED vs CREE: Which Option Is More Cost-Effective?

There’s no doubt about it – when choosing an LED for pretty much anything, one major consideration for you will be the financials. You don’t want to end up spending over your budget, and it’ll be even worse if you spend so much and still don’t get value for your dollar. 

So, how does the LED CREE vs COB debate play out when you consider cost efficiency and affordability? 

Generally, COB LEDs can actually offer a comparative cost advantage in some specific scenarios. For instance, if you need a higher light output or you have minimal space, these LEDs would most likely be better for you. Their compact design and ability to still provide a high-lumen output means that you get to save a great deal of money from the jump. 

That said, a CREE flashlight also has a few tricks up their sleeve too. If you want longevity and overall functional quality, these LEDs can provide a bit of a benefit. They have a higher upfront cost, no doubt. But, when you consider the benefits that you stand to gain overall, there’s no doubt that they are quite advantageous.

So, which do you choose? Well, here are a few metrics that you might want to keep in mind when making a decision from a cost standpoint: 

  • Pay Now Or Save Later: Basically, you want to look into the initial cost of purchase for both options. Weigh this against the benefits you get and the potential for things like reduced savings over time to determine which will be more cost-effective. 
  • Maintenance Costs: Before making a purchase, ensure that you speak to the manufacturers about maintenance steps and what you might end up having to pay to keep your display in top condition. 
  • Efficiency Rating: You will also need to keep an eye on the general efficiency ratings for both options. Everything is on the table here – from energy efficiency to production efficiency and more. The goal is for you to make enough value for every dollar you spend, so be as meticulous as possible when conducting this comparison. 

COB LED vs CREE: Applications & Uses

When making a choice between the COB LED vs CREE LED grow light, it might also help you to choose an option that aligns with your reeds and what you’re trying to achieve. If a specific option is better suited for a particular function, then there’s not much of a need to choose the other one. 

So, what applications do we see in which both products shine in particular? 

Major Uses Of COB LEDs

  • General Illumination: You can see COB LEDs work in different lighting applications. As long as you need a high lumen output, it’s right there for you. 
  • Commercial Lighting: Malls, office spaces, retail stores, and more will definitely need proper lighting. Thankfully, COB LEDs are perfect in these settings. 
  • Illuminating Cars: We’ve seen instances where vehicle manufacturers used COB LEDs to improve the lighting on their products. Whether it’s headlights or fog clearance, COB LED is quite impressive. 
  • Spotlights: One of the major qualities we’ve hammered on for COB LEDs is that they can effectively concentrate lighting to one location. This makes them perfect for making headlights, which need a lot of focused lighting. 

Where CREE LEDs Work Best

  • Residential & Commercial Lighting: Like COB LEDs, we also see a lot of use for these LEDs in general lighting scenarios. Whether at home or in commercial scenarios, they do quite well. 
  • Architectural Displays: For highlighting architectural structures and features, CREE LEDs lend their impressive brightness perfectly. 
  • Bespoke Uses: You can also find a CREE flashlight being used in areas where you need impressive color rendering and consistent lighting. Retail stores, museums, and more are just a few examples of places that rely heavily on these LEDs.

COB LED vs CREE: Which Should You Choose?

So, it all comes down to the major question – which do you go for in the COB LED vs CREE LED bulbs debate? At the end of the day, you have a lot to consider here. But, this checklist should help you sift through it all.

When You Should Consider COB LEDs: 

  • If You Need High Lumen Output: For situations where the biggest requirement will be concentrated lighting and intense illumination, then there’s no question about it – COB LEDs are perfect. 
  • You Don’t Have So Much Space: COB LEDs are also perfect for situations where you need to conserve space as much as possible. They’re small and compact, so they don’t take so much. 
  • You Have General Lighting Needs: Regardless of the setting, COB LEDs are ready to work. 

When Do You NEED CREE LEDs? 

  • If You Value Quality: These LEDs essentially provide high-quality components and are very reliable. You can easily capitalize on that. 
  • You Need High Color Rendering: You might also skew a bit towards CREE LED bulbs if you need proper color rendering. So, if you run an art gallery or a retail store, these LEDs are quite ideal for you. 

A Few Other Things To Note: 

  • Consider Your Budget: Hey, look; no matter what, you have to make sure you can afford when you’re going for. So, if you find a LED option that works based on your available budget, stick with it. 
  • Does It Look Pretty?: As it is with everything that concerns illumination, you also need to consider the aesthetics of your setting. Does a COB LED fit the environment better? Or is it CREE LED bulbs? Make your findings and go with the best option. 
  • Specific Use Requirements: Different situations require different illumination factors. So, be sensitive to the needs of your specific application and choose the option that goes with either. 


At the end of the day, COB LEDs and CREE LEDs are both high-quality products that can significantly help with your illumination needs. As long as you get one that fits your application, you should be good to go. 

If you need further clarification, feel free to reach out to us at NSE LED Cloud. We’ll be more than happy to help you out with any recommendations or clarifications. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for me to use a CREE light in place of a COB LED?

In general, yes. These products can be interchanged as they serve very similar purposes. However, we recommend that you take some time to review your requirements before going forward so you know which option works best for you. 

Are COB LEDs brighter than CREE LEDS?

Purely, COB LEDs tend to achieve higher luminous intensity than CREE LEDs. However, this doesn’t inherently make them better than CREE LEDs. As we outlined earlier, it is important for you to understand your requirements when making a choice to avoid making a mistake. 

Do COB LEDs get hot? 

Heat is a major issue that many bulbs and lighting sources tend to face. However, COB LEDs have managed to overcome this challenge with the use of internal cooling structures that allow them to dissipate heat and achieve higher levels of control. This is one of the major reasons why they are so advantageous. 

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