WS2812B vs APA102

Views: 0     Author: Zayn     Publish Time: 2022-12-15      Origin:

LED strips can add some extra appeal to your projects, but it's hard to choose a suitable one from the kinds of LED strip lights. Especially when you want a multi-color addressable LED strip light.  Do you know the difference between APA102 and WS2812B? Don't worry if you don't know. This article will help you organize your thoughts. Let's introduce their differences to you. At the end of this article, you'll be able to pick the best option for your project.

What is the difference between WS2812B LED strip and APA102 LED strip?

ws2812b vs apa102

The performance of APA102 is similar to that of WS2812B. The differences are their chips and output terminals. APA102 has a data channel and a clock channel, and its performance is more stable. Its PWM frequency speed is much better than that of WS2812B. Large projects still need to use APA102 or SK9822 LED strips, especially for visual persistence project.

Although there are data channels and clock channels on APA102 addressable LED strips, but the LED chips sometimes have problems. When one LED of the strip is broken, other LEDs will be affected. The APA102 uses SPI while the WS2812B uses their well known proprietary protocol. WS2812B has more libraries than APA102, and WS2812B is better known in the community and widely used. The APA102 SPI protocol is faster and the PWM frequency is faster. APA102 adopts standard SPI interface (with independent data line and clock signal line) to control, and does not require specific time requirements, making APA102 easy to control. Another function of APA102 is an additional 5-bit brightness control register, which allows the brightness of each pixel to be adjusted independently of its color, they come in a special package with better heat dissipation. But the WS2812B wins at an affordable price if you're building something like a video display device. Therefore, many people would prefer the WS2812B as it is better known and supported.

In terms of application, APA102 and WS2812B also have different application ranges. APA102 is often used in Telecommunication, office automation, home appliances, industrial equipment, while WS2812B is often used in indoor and outdoor LED video or irregular screen, PWM signal generator, LCD TV back lighting, LED decorative lighting.

Table-1: WS2812B VS APA102




PWM Resolution

8-Bit (256 levels)

8-bit (256 levels)

PWM Frequency




RGB 5050 Pixel

RGB 5050 or 2020(Dotstar Micro) Pixel

Data Rate

800Kbps Type



Uses standard 1.25uS bit time

Best type available in many cases




WS2812B LED Strip

At present, the WS2812B digital LED strip is one of the most well-known light strips. It is an intelligent control built-in light strip that integrates the control circuit and RGB chip, and opened to the public a few years ago. They are also working on a simple library for Arduino based controllers. Compared with its predecessor, the biggest advantage of the WS2812B LED chip is that it includes all the components required by the LED chip itself. Since their introduction, they have quickly become the most affordable LED chips available, and this is a 5V chip. WS2812B LED strip is undoubtedly a good choice for who those who pursue high-quality and cheap LED strips.

It can be 30LEDs/M, 60LEDs/M, 144LEDs/m, and the printed circuit boards are normally black and white. One Pixel with One LED, each LED can be cut. The details are as follows, please check the specifications. 144led WS2812B Suntech(1).pdf

sws2812b led strip light

(WS2812B LED Strip Light)

APA 102 LED Strip

Another SPI-based chip, which looks promising, has a similar package to the WS2812, but with faster data transfers. APA102 pixel LED strip adopts two standard SPI protocols, one clock line and one data line. Each LED has two inputs and two outputs and can be daisy-chained. At first glance, this may seem like a waste, but has the advantage that it can be supported by a standard micro-controller peripheral and does not have much impact on timing changes. In addition, data can be transferred at any clock frequency. I can control the LED with a 4 MHz SPI clock without any problems. APA102C can do a lot of stripping, please check our APA102 LED strips, you will find the right product for you.

This LED has a very high PWM frequency. Due to the higher update rate of the SPI interface, these are better for visualization applications than the WS2812.

Also, instead of a non-clock chip consisting of three wires (+,-, data), it uses a 4-wire protocol (+,-, clock, data). APA102 also has the advantage of adjustable brightness and adjustable chromatography. The APA102 is also the brightest LED, so if you want more light output then this might be just what you need.It can be made into SMD2020 APA102C and SMD5050 APA102C for your choice. SMD2020 APA102C led strip has 200leds/m, 288leds/m, SMD2020 APA102C led strip has 72leds/PC, 227cm length customized. The details are as follows, please check the specifications. Apa102-super-led-specifications.pdf

apa102 led strip

(APA102 LED Strip Light)

What are the similarities between ws2812b and apa102?

1. Both WS2812B LED strip and APA102 LED strip are 5V chips with built-in ICs.

2. At the same time, these two products have intelligent reverse connection protection, and the reverse connection of the power supply will not cause damage to the IC.

3. The control lines and the LEDs share a single power supply.

4. The control circuit is combined with the RGB chip in the package of 5050 components, which realizes the complete control of the pixels. (The component types of  APA102 are 2020 and 5050)

5. The built-in signal shaping circuit can shape the waveform and send it to the next driver to ensure that the waveform will not be distorted.


If you need high quality LED strip, welcome to contact us. Suntechleds can provide customers with a variety of LED strips to meet customer needs. Our team can provide the most suitable LED strip for your project.

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