Are Edge-Lit Panels or Backlit Panels Better for Your Space?

If you are looking to upgrade your company’s suspended ceiling lighting to LED panel lights, but are not sure what to choose, then you aren’t alone. There are a lot of options out there. But choosing LED lighting means you are off to a great start towards energy efficiency! When it comes to LED ceiling panels, the next major choice you’ll need to make is: Edge-Lit Panels vs. Backlit Panels.

The key difference between Edge-Lit and Backlit panels is where the LEDs are located and the way that light disperses from each fixture. But what does that mean for you? Let’s dig a little deeper…

Edge Lit

As the name implies, this type of suspended ceiling LED panel light has LEDs that are placed on the edge of the frame. Light emits from either side and is dispersed through the panel’s lens.


Slim Profile – Measuring as thin as half an inch gives these slim panels a sleek appearance.

Flexible Install Options – They can be installed in standard drop ceilings but—thanks to that ultra-thin frame—they can also be surface mounted to ceilings or walls, as well as suspended using junction box or cable-mounting kits.


More LEDs Needed – When compared to backlit designs, edge-lit panels require more LEDs to emit the same level of lumens, raising the cost per fixture.


Instead of illuminating indirectly, like edge-lit panels, LED backlit panel lights have LEDs lined up on the back of the frame. The LEDs point downward, shining light directly through the lens.


Lightweight – The minimalist, but durable, design of these panels makes them lightweight, so installing overhead in drop ceilings is easier to manage.

More Affordable – When compared to edge-lit LED panels, the backlit design of these lights requires fewer LEDs, lowering the cost per fixture (by about 30%) without sacrificing quality. 


Deeper Profile – Backlit panels require deeper housing, making then about twice as thick as edge-lit alternatives. Because of this, they are only intended to be installed in drop ceilings.

Application Examples

Below are two application photos; one with an edge-lit LED panel light installed and the other with backlit panel lights. The backlit panels have a strong downward light output and affordability, while the edge-lit panels disperse the light more and are more versatile when it comes to installation options

Edge-Lit Panel Example

Backlit Panel Example

Upgrading Your Panel Lights

Now that you know the key differences between backlit and edge-lit options, you can pick whichever suspended ceiling LED panel light works best for your office, retail store, healthcare facility, or other commercial building. You can learn more about the best lighting for your application by reaching out to our team of experts at the contact info below!

Call: 215.355.7200 | Text: 267.266.8330 | Email: