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Edge Lit Panels vs Back Lit

Dec 23, 2021

If you are planning to transition from fluorescent troffer lights to LED panels, you probably have a few questions. One of the most common questions about commercial lighting upgrades is around the difference between edge lit LED panels and back lit panels.

The good news is, since you are upgrading to LEDs, you are already on the right path. An upgrade from traditional commercial lighting to LED lighting goes a long way in terms of eco-friendliness and energy bill savings—not to mention the improved quality of light. 

No matter the LED flat panel lights you choose, you will enjoy bright, uniform light and excellent energy efficiency. With no start up time, no irritating flickers and buzzing, and color rendering that makes your space look beautiful, you will be amazed at the difference high quality light makes in your space. 

TCP offers a wide variety of LED flat panels to fit any lighting project. Click here to shop them all. 

Differences Between Edge Lit Panels and Back Lit Panels

Edge lit and back lit LED flat panel lights are both more popular than ever when it comes to commercial and office lighting. Advanced LED technology allows for the manufacturing of extremely thin flat panel lights. Innovative designs open a world of options when it comes to lighting layouts. 

One of the most significant choices you will make when deciding on what kind of LED flat panel light you want is the choice between edge lit panels and back lit panels. Both options have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Below, we will dive into the details to help you make the best decision for your commercial space. 

Benefits of Edge Lit LED Panels

What are edge lit panels? Edge lit panel lights have a row of LEDs attached around the circumference of the panel. The LEDs shine horizontally into a light-guide plate. The light-guide plate then directs the light down toward the floor through a diffuser. 

You may also see edge lit panels referred to as side lit panels.

Pros:
  1. Sleek profile. Edge lit panels are incredibly slim, giving them aesthetic as well as functional appeal.
  2. Flexible installation options. Since these lights are so slim, it is possible to install them with a number of ceiling styles. These include standard drop ceiling installation as well as surface mounts and suspensions. 
Cons:
  1. Cost per fixture. Edge lit panels require more LEDs per light when compared to back lit fixtures. This means the cost per fixture is slightly higher, resulting in a higher overall energy bill.  

Benefits of Back Lit Panels

Unlike edge lit panels, back lit LED panels are made of an array of LEDs that shine vertically down from a horizontal plate through a diffuser. Back lit panels may also be known as direct lit panels.

Pros:
  1. Lightweight. Back lit panels have a minimalist design that is both lightweight and durable. This makes installation much less of a hassle.
  2. Cost effective. Compared to edge lit LED panels, the backlighting feature in these panels means they can put out more lumens with fewer LEDs. This lowers the cost per fixture by about 30%, without giving up brightness.
Cons:
  1. Deeper Profile. If you’re looking for a fixture that is incredibly thin, back lit panels may not be the best choice. That is because they require a deeper housing, which typically makes them about twice the thickness of edge lit alternatives. This makes them most suitable for drop ceiling applications.

Flat Panel Lighting from TCP 

Looking to upgrade your existing flat panel lights? Starting a new project from scratch? The lighting experts at TCP are ready to help transform your space with beautiful, durable, and energy efficient flat panel fixtures. 

Click here to shop flat panels from TCP. 

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