Lighting terminology: what does it all mean?

Lighting terminology: what does it all mean?
Published On: 19th November 2019
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When you hear lighting terminology associated with LED lighting it can often be confusing and feel like it’s complicated for the sake of it. Words like CCT, COB, SMD, and RGB are complicated, but it really doesn’t need to be. At TLW we are all about making lighting simple and want to help with every question you could possibly have. That’s why we work continuously to create videos, FAQs, answer calls and write blogs to make lighting as easy to understand as possible.

So what do all these abbreviations stand for? How do they relate to LED lighting and what do you need to know about them? Here is a quick guide to help you crack the lighting terminology code!


COB LED lighting simply stands for chip-on-board. This means that the LED combines many small chips that are integrated into one large chip and bonded directly onto a substrate. This allows for increased heat dissipation which increases the life span of a fitting.

The key features of a COB LED light are:

  • Higher light levels with a uniformed appearance
  • Good levels of light dispersion
  • Increased stability and reliability
  • Improved heat management improves longevity


SMD stands for surface mounted diode. It is a technology in which the LEDs have been mounted to an aluminium substrate and enveloped in an epoxy resin. It is a self-contained surface-mount LED device designed either to function on its own or to plug into a compatible unit.

The key features of an SMD LED light are:

  • Offers a higher lumen output for lower energy consumption
  • Wider beam angle for increased spread of light
  • Longer lifespan than standard LEDs
  • Lower energy costs with a high level of performance



In VEW lighting products, CCT stands for changeable colour temperature. If a VEW light is classified as CCT it means that it can change colour temperature from anything between 3000 kelvins (warm white) and 6000 kelvins (daylight).

CCT VEW lighting comes in different forms. The first is a switchable CCT light. This is when a light has a switch on the back of the fitting with 3 settings: warm white, natural white and daylight. You can simply flick the switch to any of the 3 settings and the light’s colour temperature will change. You would then install the product in your chosen colour temperature. To see this in action, watch this video.

VEW lighting also comes in CCT colour temperature adjustable forms. This means that you can sync the lighting product up to a remote control, mobile app or wall-mounted switch and, at any time, select which colour temperature you’d like your lights to be. For an example of this, check out this video.


RGB simply stands for red, green and blue. An RGB product combines red, green and blue light to create every colour in the rainbow out of light. An RGB LED light can therefore be changed to any of these colours and also comes with relaxing modes and preset cycles that change between each colour.

To see an example of an RGB product, watch this video.


A VEW lighting product that comes with the KONNEX system simply means that it comes with an easy to use plug and play system. KONNEX is designed to alleviate stress and reduce installation times. This is because the KONNEX system allows you to connect the light fitting to the cables at the fitting itself. As a result you are able to put all the necessary cabling and wiring in place without adding the light fitting until the very end. You can thread the wiring through your cabinetry, up a wall or wherever the light is to be installed, and add the light fitting in later. Find out more about our Konnex system.


If a sensor is an IR sensor, this stands for infrared. This means that the sensor emits an infrared beam up to a certain distance away from itself that can detect motion. These can be used in 2 ways: as a door sensor or as a wave/swipe sensor.

When used as a door sensor, the product will detect when it is covered and turn the light off. If it is then uncovered, the light will turn on. This means that, when installed in a cupboard for example, the light will come on when the door opens as the sensor is no longer covered. When the door is closed, the sensor will turn the light off again, saving energy and money!

When used as a wave/swipe sensor, the product will detect movement within a close range around it. If motion is detected, the sensor will turn the light on. If motion is detected again, it will turn it off. This function simply acts in the same way as a switch, but instead of clicking a rocker up or down, you simply swipe or wave on and off.

To see our range of IR sensors, click here.


If a sensor is a PIR sensor, this stands for passive infrared, meaning that the sensor is activated when an object enters its field of view. It can also be called person in range, meaning that when a person or a moving object moves within the sensors detection range the lights will come on.

To see our range of PIR sensors, click here.

If you need more information on lighting terminology please can contact the TLW team on 01302 741941, visit our VEWtube channel for informative videos, or email us here

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