LED panel lights are widely used as office lighting, classroom lighting, hospital lighting, and hotel lighting. They use SMD LEDs as a light source, combined with a light guide plate (LGP) and a diffuser plate, this ultra-thin design of the LED panel light can not only provide illumination but also add aesthetics to the space. Now, thanks to their high light performance and competitive price, LED panel lights are increasingly being used as the main alternative and replacement solution to the traditional fluorescent T5 and T8 grille lamps.

Types of LED Panel Lights

In terms of shape, there are four types of LED panel lights, including squares, rectangles, circles, and outer squares with inner circles. Generally, they have the same shape as the traditional grille light. In terms of size, panel lights typically have dimensions of 300*300mm, 300*600mm, 300*1200mm, 600*600mm, and 600*1200mm.

Different Sizes of LED Panel Lights

Their installation methods vary, including flat type (T-shaped keel), recessed (open hole), buckle-mounted type (triangular keel), suspension type, and ceiling-mounted type. As for the lighting methods, LED panel lights can be divided into Backlit panel lights and Edge-lit panel lights.

What is the Difference between Edge-lit and Back-lit LED Panel Lights?

1. Edgelit LED Panel Light

An edge-lit LED panel is made of a row of LEDs attached to the edge of the frame or circumference, shining horizontally into a light-guide plate (LGP). The LGP directs the light downwards, through a diffuser into the space below. Edge-lit panel lights are sometimes also known as side-lit panel lights. The main LGP materials are PS (Polystyrene), PC (Polycarbonate), and PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) acrylic materials.

Edgelit Panel Light Explosive View

The disadvantage of Edgelit Panel Lights

  • Low energy efficiency. As the LEDs are placed on the edge of the panel, the light that emits is guarded by a light guard plate that directs it downward. The edge-lighted efficiency is lower than the direct-lighted type, as a result of lower overall energy efficiency.
  • Require high-quality LGP. If LGP quality is not good, there will be phenomena such as bright in the middle and dark on both sides, or occur bright edge on the light-incoming side, or inconsistent brightness at different angles, which will affect the lighting quality.
  • Poor product reliability. Since the edge-lit panel materials such as light guide plate, reflective ink, and reflective film are always at a relatively high temperature, they are prone to age and turn yellow, resulting in a decrease in the light output efficiency and greatly shorten lamp life.
  • Higher price. The light guide plate is the core material of edge-light panels. Due to the addition of a light guide plate, the price is higher than backlit panel lights.

2. Backlit LED Panel Light

Backlit panels, also known as direct-lit panel lights. A back-lit LED panel light is made of an array of LEDs placed at the back of the frame instead of at the Edge. This placement makes LEDs shine vertically down through a diffuser into the space to be illuminated. As backlit led panels are directly lit downward and do not need to be directed, they do not require the light guide plate. So the risk of yellowing of LGP is absent because there is no need for one.

Backlit Panel Light Explosive View

The advantage of Backlit Panel Lights

  • High energy efficiency. The light emitted by the LED is directly lit through the diffuser plate and does not need to be directed, which improves the energy efficiency of the luminaire.
  • Lower cost. As the material of the light guide plate is not required, the total material cost is reduced. And the internal space is larger, which makes the design more flexible.
  • Lightweight. With the absence of a light guide plate, the weight of the panel lights is reduced. It’s safer to mount on a high ceiling.
  • High reliability. The performance of each used component and the material will determine the performance of the light fixture, the increase in components will reduce the reliability. For the backlit panel, as it does not include LGP, if you use a better quality diffuser plate, the light performance can be guaranteed.

The disadvantage of Backlit Panel Lights

The main disadvantage of the Backlit LED panel light is that it cannot be made too thin. There must be a certain distance between the LED light source and the diffuser plate, otherwise, the luminous point will be seen visually. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the thickness of the lamp, which will increase the cost of the lamp housing. Moreover, the increase in thickness increases the transmission path of light and reduces the light energy efficiency, which needs to be overcome. Because of the thickness, you cannot install it just anywhere. It has to be installed in a drop grid ceiling.

Since the array of LEDs is attached to the back plate, if the backplane uses a whole piece of aluminum board, the cost will be very high. If a strip-shaped aluminum board is used, fixing and positioning are other problems.

Where and How can LED Panel Lights be Used?

  • Drop Ceilings

The most common place to install LED flat panel lights is in drop ceilings. It is very easy and quick work to replace a T5/T8 fluorescent fixture in your drop ceiling, and installing an LED panel in a new drop ceiling is no more difficult than installing a fluorescent fixture.

  • Suspended/Hung from Ceiling or Overhead Beams

LED panel lights can be directly recessed from drop ceilings, as well as suspended from the ceiling. It’s equipped with wires that you can use to suspend your panel light from a ceiling or trusswork. This is the perfect solution for high ceilings, but you still want a closer light source. It can also look very striking and modern.

  • Surface Mounted to Horizontal Surfaces (Concrete Ceilings)

By using the accessory of the surface-mounted frame kit, LED panel lights can be mounted directly to the ceiling.

  • Surface Mounted to Vertical Surfaces (Like Walls)

You can also install the panel lights on walls to create a dramatic, almost window-like lighting effect. And dimmable panel lights allow you to control the brightness, they can be mounted behind shelves for unique display lighting.

Why Choose LED Panel Lights for Office Space?

Good office lighting creates a comfortable atmosphere in a functional way. Whether it’s in an office or workplace, a good standard of lighting is essential for promoting a healthy and proactive working environment. Thanks to the excellent lighting performance and contemporary design, LED panel lights are becoming increasingly popular in office lighting applications.

  • Perfect Replacement for Fluorescent Lamps

Flat panel lights are designed to replace existing fluorescent T5 grille lamps. If you’re remodeling an office space in which the ceiling is with traditional fluorescent light fixtures, LED panel lights can directly replace them without any extra work of re-wiring or ceiling cutting. Save installation time and save money.

  • Substantial Light Coverage

Compared to other forms of lighting, LED panel lights produce substantial light coverage without being too bright or glare-y, they distribute light evenly in every corner. No more gaping dark holes in the office from the accent lighting. Instead, you can illuminate the entire space, and people can work in a bright and relaxing environment.

  • Energy Saving

LED panels consume less amount of energy — which can save you a lot of money in terms of electricity bills. Compared to traditional lamps such as fluorescent bulbs, LED lights consume approximately 20% of the energy consumption to produce the same or improved quality of lighting. Less power, but brighter.

  • Long Lifespan

Particularly, LED lights have a long lifetime of up to 50,000 hours or even more, which is almost five times longer than the average life of compact fluorescent lights and around 30 times longer than that of incandescent bulbs – guaranteeing a long life and a much less frequent need for replacement.

  • NO Flickering

Flickering lighting can have serious effects on the health of employees. This can lead to strain in the eyes and other forms of degeneration, as well as causing a headache. For employees working in such an environment can lead to downtime and a lack of productivity. If an employee can’t even focus their eyes on a screen because it triggers pain then there’s a serious problem. Quality LED panel lights provide no flickering and uniform soft light and can actually help reduce headaches or eye strain due to their lighting output similarity to natural light.

  • Produce Less Heat

Ceiling panel lights are popular to use in offices because they have a low operating temperature, unlike traditional sources of light. The heat emitted by traditional bulbs dissipates within the office environment, raising the temperature, and making the work environment uncomfortable for employees. Using LED panels can remove the discomfort and the increased energy expenditure from the extra air conditioning, and the additional burden on the electricity bills.

How to Choose a Good LED Panel Light for Office?

When it comes to choosing a good panel light for office lighting, we will look at 6 aspects.

1. Power Factor

If the power factor of led panel light is low, it means that the power supply and circuit design are not good, which will greatly reduce the life span of LEDs. The LED panel light is powered by constant current, but it is not ruled out that some products are powered by voltage drivers, which accelerate the light decay of LED panels. In this regard, we can test it with a tool called “power factor meter”. Generally, the power factor of LED panel lights is required to be above 0.85. If the PF is lower than 0.5, then it’s considered as e a substandard product. Because not only does it have a short lifespan, but the actual power consumption is about twice as high as the nominal value.

2. Luminous Efficiency

The higher the luminous efficiency, the higher the brightness. If two panel lights are with the same brightness, the smaller power consumption type is the most energy-saving light. Normally the panel light luminous efficiency should be at least 100lm/w, so it can serve the general lighting purpose for the space of offices, supermarkets, and so on.

3. Heat Dissipation and Configuration

If the heat dissipation is bad, the lamp beads keep working at high temperatures condition, its service life will be greatly reduced. Generally, the main materials used for heat dissipation include copper, aluminum, and PC. Among them, copper is with the best conducted heat performance,  aluminum comes second, and PC conduct heat is the least. Currently, aluminum is the most popular heat sink material, especially the inserted aluminum has the best heat dissipation effect.

In addition, high-quality LED flat panel light generally has an integrated design body and is made of anti-oxidation aluminum alloy material, the special finish allows them to be used in any humid environment and avoid problems such as rust and leakage.

4. LEDs brand and quality. 

The quality of LEDs depends on the chip quality and packaging technology. LED chip quality determines the brightness and light decay of the LED lamp bead. Good lamp beads not only have high luminance but also have low light decay. The best LED chip brands included CREE, PHILIPS, OSRAM, NICHIA, BRIDGELUX, etc.

5. Power Supply

LED power supply made of aluminum alloy is better than that of engineering plastic. Not only does an aluminum-made power supply has good heat dissipation, but also can effectively protect the internal components of the luminaire from loosening and crushing during the transportation and use of the luminaire, and can effectively reduce the failure rate of the LED driver.

6. Light Performance

While ensuring the quality of LED panel lights, we also need to look at the two design priorities of health, eye protection, and flexibility. Since LED panel lights are widely used in office applications, to avoid people getting headaches or eye strain, a good LED panel light should have a lower UGR (<19) and flicker-free design. Edgelit panel lights are with 120-degree beam angle, light distribution is even and without dark spots, the panel lights should prevent staff from visual fatigue and improve work efficiency.

About Luminouslite

Luminouslite is a professional LED Panel Light manufacturer in China, we produce high-quality panel light series that is suitable for recessed, hanging, and surface-mounted installation. Whether you need Edgelit panels, Backlit panels, or need CCT adjustable panel light with lower UGR, we have options for you to choose from. Contact us now to get a free quote.