This article is a guide for any one who is interested in knowing about the different types of LED’s available in the market. This can be considered as a general informational guide on LED and a buying guide for hobbyists as well.  One important challenge I faced while writing this guide was to incorporate consumer LED’s and professional/hobbyist LED’s into a single article. Let your comments say if I have been successful in this attempt.

Over the years semiconductor technology has advanced to bigger heights. The result is what we see around us in the form of smart gadgets. LED or Light Emitting Devices have also been a part of this revolution as any LED is a semiconductor. Now we have LED’s which give better illumination with low power consumption. These LED’s have better life span too. Certainly these advancements have lived upto influence  the shapes,sizes & even the format of circuit in which an LED can be mounted. So that’s quiet exciting!

Miniature LED’s

These are the one’s you see almost everyday in your life as indicators in mobile phones, television sets and a range of digital devices. They are usually available in market on a predefined,standard size & shape. This is to ensure its compatibility to different circuit boards. Different companies manufacture these LED’s in 5V and 12V ranges. They come in a “ready to fit” mode which can mounted on circuit boards directly. Usually they don’t need support of any additional cooling systems like a heat sink.

High Power LED

These LED’s are the result of advancements in semiconductor technology. As the name hints, these LED’s are known for its high output. They are capable of producing light output with higher luminous intensity. High power LED’s come in different shapes & sizes. A common example of high power LED in daily use is “LED strips” that are used light walls & room interiors. A picture of the same (an LED strip) is shown below. High power LED’s has very high heat dissipation. These LED’s need to mounted along with a cooling system (usually a heat sink).

A note on LED Strips

LED strips are a classic example of high power LED’s put together into a commercial product. In this product, high power LED’s are mounted onto a super flexible circuit board. They usually come with an adhesive sticker on its back that the strip can be pasted on to surfaces like walls or wood. LED strips are used for decorative purposes.

Application Specific LED (AS-LED)

These are LED’s which are manufactured for a particular application in mind. Some examples are digital billboards, public displays, bi color & tri color LED’s. There are many other examples, which I can talk about.  A picture of the LED based digital display is shown below.

A bi color LEDis two diodes mounted on a single frame. It has 2 pins in which one is common. The common can be anode or cathode. A picture of bi color LED is shown below. This LED can produce 2 colors at different times. They are mounted in such a fashion that one diode will turn on for forward bias and the other will turn on for reverse bias.

A tri color LED is similar to bi color LED. It is 2 diodes mounted on a single frame with 3 pins.Another type of LED’s in practical use are RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LED’s.



  1. Sugreeva

    I need LED tube light raw materials so please let me know if you have 10 watts to 25watts LED tube light rawmaterials

  2. Nice article but you can give more depth to this by adding other types of leds such like mid range,high power etc.

  3. V. Hari Hara Prasad

    The article is slightly lacking some details, as it is useful for the freshers. So, the additional technical details and cost/ source of availability should have been added. For example, the shown time/ calendar display board’s availability. Of course, Google search is there, but, we expected the details.
    Thanks for the information provided.

  4. davids614


    I find that the “Flexi-strip” LED is very useful, it can be cut into small strips of 3 LED’s and still run at 12 volts as a limiting resistor is incorporated in the design, they do tend to run hot but, by adding a further current limiting resistor such as a 1K 1/4 watt, will take the heat out of the equation, with a barely noticeable difference in light output.



  5. Frank Bushnell

    You have said that miniature LEDs come in 5V & 12V ranges, but these ranges are additional to the ordinary coloured (~2V) and white (~3.3V) LEDs bought by most hobbyists.

    You should mention that all ordinary LEDs need a resistor in series to avoid instant burnout.
    (The exception being some LED torches which use the battery’s internal resistance to limit the current.)

    You have said that LED strips are made from high power LEDs, but they are actually made from low power ordinary or SMD LEDs.
    (They may have a high power requirement only because of the high number of LEDs.)

    You are confused about bi colour LEDs. Some (two pin) give two colours depending on supply polarity. Others (three pin including common) can light either or both colours at the same time.

    RGB LEDs have four pins, not three.

    The article ends without showing the promised pictures of am LED strip or bicolour LED, and gives the impression that pages two and three are missing.

  6. Thank’s for these info, keep us always inform in the new technologies ,Also let have more explanation on power mosfet and PWM control circuitries.
    Thks & regards
    Safoor ramjan

  7. There is a minor problem with the following text:

    “A bi color LEDis two diodes mounted on a single frame. It has 2 pins in which one is common. The common can be anode or cathode.”

    Bicolour leds can be either two pin, in which case the colour will depend on the polarity across the pins.

    OR it can be three pins, one pin being common to both leds and it can be either common cathode or common anode.