LED Panel Light Fixtures: Everything you need to know

LED Panel Light Fixtures: Everything you need to know

  • ECO LED Staff

If you have been anywhere near a commercial lighting professional recently, chances are you have heard about LED Panel Lights. You might be wondering why they're talked about so much and what exactly is an LED Panel light?

An LED Panel light fixture is a type of light fixture installed in the ceiling of corporate offices. They are meant to blend in with a normal white ceiling and as such have a very bland minimal rectangular design. Their main purpose is to illuminate the office with a bright cast of light that is also uniform and even throughout the office space.

These LED fixtures are getting more and more popular as they are being installed in office spaces as replacements for old fluorescent panels. While the fluorescent panel's purpose was the same, The LED Panels offer the same advantage with much fewer of the downsides of CFL Bulbs.

Panel lights in general are offered in rectangular shapes of 2x4 ft, 2x2 ft, or 1x4 ft. From the end user's point of view, the design is just a wide lens a subdued lens with a thin white trim on the sides. They are definitely a case of function over fashion.

In the marketplace today, there are four different types of LED Panel lights

  1. LED Troffer Panel Lighting
  2. LED Surface Mounted Lights
  3. LED Flat Panel Lights
  4. Suspended LED Panel Lights

LED Troffer Panel Lights

An LED Troffer Panel light is a type of light fixture that is typically used in commercial and office spaces. It is designed to be installed inside a drop ceiling and features a rectangular or square shape like most panel light fixtures.

The key differentiator of the troffer panel light is its housing which is much deeper than other panel lights, as this housing will be hidden inside the ceiling and not visible to the end users of the space.

However, this is not all bad as the larger housing allows for more components to be installed inside and as a result, the end product offers a wide range of options. Among them, are selectable wattage, selectable color temperature, and potentially a better driver.

The ability to select wattage is a welcomed option for businesses that might need to buy in bulk and use the right fixture with the right wattage as needed. A selectable color temperature allows the business to change the light output to suit the type of ambiance ideal for each room.

These options are also great for contractors, installers, and suppliers who can reduce their inventory costs by carrying far fewer SKUs and still meet the needs of most of their clients. 

LED Flat Panel Lights

LED flat panel lights are a type of LED panel light that is becoming increasingly popular. Unlike the troffer panel lights, which tend to be boxier, these panels are slim and rectangular, which makes them more aesthetically pleasing. They also take up less space, which makes them ideal for areas where traditional Troffer panels would not fit. 

The slimmer profile is also a welcomed addition to contractors and suppliers as they are able to fit more products on the shelf or truck.

However, because of their slim profile, there are some trade-offs. The housing is smaller and tighter, meaning that there are fewer different components that can be included on the panel. This also means that there are fewer features available out of the box.

LED Surface Mounted Lights

Surface-mounted LED panels are a type of panel lighting that gets installed onto the ceiling instead of above it. They are a great option for lighting up your business if ceiling space is an issue. The key differentiator is that they protrude outside the ceiling and the outside trim is fully visible. Because they don't require extra space in the ceiling, they can fit in most places.

LED surface-mounted panels are an ideal choice if you're looking for an easy installation without having to do more elaborate work. After all, mounting a fixture onto a flat surface is much more pleasant than having to poke holes through a drop ceiling.

However, one of the major downsides with surface-mounted panels is that they don't look as nice as other LED panel lights since their trim sticks out of the ceiling and is visible from certain angles. As a result, though it may seem like a minor issue, it makes the room look much smaller when you have multiple panels sticking out of your ceiling.

To be fair, we must mention that most of the profile is still pretty slim and today most of the surface-mounted panel is actually an LED Flat Panel that is accompanied by an optional Surface mounting kit. In other words, you will rarely see a panel light that comes only as a surface mount.

LED Suspended Panel Lights

A Suspended LED Panel light is a type of LED lighting fixture that can be hung from the ceiling, either directly or by a chain or cord, providing not only downward but also upward illumination. They are typically white and rectangular but since they are clearly visible to everyone in the room, they tend to have sleeker styles and more design options.

As far as lighting goes, the key differentiator with suspended lighting is that they provide both downward and upward lighting known as Downlight/Uplight. The Uplight component sends an even distribution of light to the ceiling giving the room a more uniform look without any dark spots.

Although this sounds like a minor issue, this minor change makes a world of difference when it comes to providing employees with the ideal workspace to increase productivity, and minimize fatigue.

It's important to note that Suspended Lighting can't just fit in any space as it can interfere with everyone's view. Therefore you need to make sure that the ceiling is high enough to accommodate this look.

Why LED Panel Lights has replaced your old Fluorescent office panel lights

LED Panel lights were not always the first choice for office lighting, fluorescent office panel lights have reigned supreme as recently as the early to mid-2000s. There are a number of reasons why LED Panel fixtures have taken over.

They are more energy efficient and cost less long term.

Although LED Panels might cost slightly more than Fluorescent light panels, they make up for it in the long run as they cost much less to run, less to maintain, and are more reliable giving you great light output for the majority of their lifespan.

An equivalent fluorescent light that produces the same lumen output as an LED flat panel needs to draw more electrical power and as a result, costs more in terms of electricity bills. In addition, fluorescent lights tend to dim and fail much faster than LED flat panels which result in added expense not only in terms of the additional product cost but also the labor cost from a contractor or lost time for an employee who could be doing something more productive. Lastly, LED Flat panels will last somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 hours which is significantly more than CFL bulbs and it will do it without losing much of its efficiency.

They provide better lighting

Increasing productivity and reducing fatigue is of the utmost importance in the workspace, and companies can achieve these by providing better lighting in the office. For this reason, LED flat panels are just a much better option.

LED provides directional light which is more concentrated and able to be controlled and dispersed exactly where needed with the right diffuser. Fluorescent is much more of an ambient light and some of this light gets lost in unwanted places.

LED Flat Panels also offer a variety of color temperatures which can sometimes be selected on the panel itself. This means that the business is able to provide the right color temperature for the exact use case that it's needed

Lastly, LED flat panels tend to have a higher CRI than fluorescent lights, meaning that they more accurately represent the true colors of the items that are being looked at by the end users.

Lastly, LED flat panels tend to have a higher CRI than fluorescent lights, meaning that they more accurately represent the true colors of the items that are being looked at by the end users.

They are cheaper than they used to be

LED lighting was always a superior technology to CFL but the main reason why it did not take off earlier is that the initial cost did not justify the investment. It was harder for business owners to look at the long-term savings in running costs and maintenance especially since LED was not necessarily proven at the time.

This has changed for a variety of factors. LED Flat panel fixtures are cheaper to produce than they used to be, and as a result, are more attainable to the average business owner. Not to mention that there are a lot of incentives and rebates being provided by the government and utility companies to switch to more energy-efficient solutions like LED Panels.

Lastly, the average business owner is familiar with LED panels nowadays and has seen the positive impact that these light fixtures have provided on the workplace. Employees are used to the more pleasant environment and come to expect it as a result.


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