What is a LED Panel Light?

LED panel light is a high-end indoor lighting fixture. The light passes through the light guide plate with high transmittance to form a uniform plane luminous effect. Matching different accessories (clips, surface-mounted frame, or steel ropes) , these lights can be easily mounted on a range of surfaces, making them suitable for diverse applications.

LED panel structure:

1. Panel light aluminum frame
The frame is an important part of flat panel light, and the high-strength frame makes the panel light more durable. The lateral frame of the LED panel light is constructed from diverse materials, each exhibiting distinct heat dissipation capabilities. At present, the frame materials of panel lights mainly include aluminum alloy, steel, PC, A6063, aluminum-plastic, steel and other materials.

The most commonly used is the aluminum frame (small panel light, with a plastic shell), and it is divided into splicing and welding frames. The welding frame will be stronger and the price will be more expensive than the splicing frame. The general frame has a flat frame and step frame according to the style, and the price will be different. In addition, the weight of the frame will also affect the price.

2. LED light source
The type, brand, and quantity of LED chips will affect the light effect, and the luminous flux will also affect the price.nd quantity of LED chips will affect the light effect, and the luminous flux will also affect the price.

SMD2835 and SMD4014 are used a lot in panel lights, brand chips like HONGLI, SANAN, SAMSUNG, Lumileds (formerly Philips) are our first choice. The direct-lit panel light generally needs far fewer lamp beads than the side-emitting panel light because the light-emitting of the lamp beads is scattered by the optical lens.

3. LED light guide plate
The light guide plate is essential for edge-emitting panel lights. It refracts light, guiding it from parallel to perpendicular through the light-transmitting plate. Reflection via reflective paper directs the light to the panel light’s back. Efficiency depends on dot design and plate choice (transmittance), often PMMA, MAS, or PS, varying in cost.

PS and MAS will turn yellow due to long-term use. PS will probably last for two years, and MAS will last for three years. It also depends on the climate of the region. Generally speaking, it will be produced in hotter places. The yellowing time will be shorter. If you want a 5-year warranty or higher light efficiency, PMMA light guide plates are basically used. The size of the light guide plate used by various factories is generally in the range of 1.6-3.0mm, and the thicker the plate, the higher the price.

4. LED diffuser
The function of the diffuser plate is to evenly disperse the light of the light guide plate, and it can also play the role of blurring the dots. The materials used are mainly PC (polycarbonate plastic), acrylic, PS (polystyrene plastic), PP ( polypropylene plastic), etc. The price is from high to low, and PS and PP are used more.

The light transmittance of acrylic is 92%, PC is 88%, PS is about 80%. Acrylic boasts higher light transmittance and affordability, though it’s less resistant to aging. Comparatively, PC is pricier but excels in anti-aging properties. Diffuser plate thickness varies among manufacturers, with conventional options falling between 0.8mm-1.2mm and costing more. Direct light-emitting panel lights demand stronger diffuser intensity compared to side light-emitting types, often requiring a thicker design.

5. Reflective Paper
Reflect the residual light on the back of the light guide plate to improve the light efficiency, generally RW250.

6. Back cover
The most commonly used is the iron back cover, the thickness and weight are different, and the strength is different. Compared with the side-emitting panel light, the direct-lit panel light has a different style, and the back cover is thicker, and the direct-type back cover will be spray-coated, in addition to coloring for better reflection.

7. LED driver
The quality and price of the LED panel light power supply depend on the brand, voltage, isolation (isolation is safer), non-isolation, whether it is stroboscopic (it will affect whether the light of the lamp is stroboscopic when taking pictures under the mobile phone), functional requirements (such as dimming and color grading) and certification requirements will vary.

8. Installation parts
Suspension wires, mounting brackets, etc. are used to install and fix accessoriesounting brackets, etc. are used to install and fix accessories

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What types of panel lights are there?

Different areas or places often choose different styles and types of LED panel lights. LED panel lights can be divided into the following categories:

1. From the way of lighting

  • Led back-lit panel light is designed with a reasonable LED spacing by using the LED light-emitting angle, and with the diffuser plate and the height of the lamp to achieve the ideal light mixing effect. Emphasis on high brightness, 595*595 specifications can reach 4000lm, high light efficiency products, replace the traditional grille light panel. Thicker, usually more than 45mm thick. The light output is relatively uniform, and the brightness uniformity can reach more than 0.9. The process requirements are relatively simple.
  • Side-emitting panel lights use light guide plate tech, designed with dots aligning with LED chip arrangement for uniform brightness. They offer lower brightness (usually under 3000lm for 595*595 specs) suitable for low-ceiling spaces, with a slim profile (≤15mm). However, they may exhibit uneven surfaces and brightness variations (up to 0.85) if not handled carefully. Installation environments must maintain high cleanliness levels to prevent dust-related issues affecting yield rates.

2. From an installation ways

  • Recessed LED panel light. This is the most basic and conventional panel light, and the market demand is the largest. Mainly installed on the ceiling, it blends well with the building.
  • Surface-mounted LED panel light. It is suitable for installation in places where it is not easy to install holes, such as the top of the cement ceiling. Conventional side-emitting panel lights are usually used with independent surface-mounted conversion frames. The back-illuminated panel light can choose an integrated surface-mounted lamp body.
  • Suspension-mounted LED panel light. With a wire hanging rope, the panel light can be used as a hanging wire for installation.

3. From functional choices

  • Dimmable LED panel light. It is mainly matched with a dimming LED driver (change the driver of the LED panel light to a dimming LED driver, and it can become a dimming LED panel light). There are three conventional dimming solutions: Triac dimmable, 0/1-10V dimmable, and DALI dimmable. You can refer to this blog to understand the difference between Triac dimmable/0-10V and DALI dimmable solution.
  • Waterproof LED panel light. It generally adopts a special lamp structure, and at the same time adds a waterproof rubber ring, and is equipped with a waterproof outlet connector and power supply to prevent moisture from entering the interior of the lamp body. The waterproof led panel lights are generally IP44, IP54, IP65, and IP68. Usually suitable for special places such as toilets, toilets, laboratories, bathrooms, etc.
waterproof led panel lights

What wattages and dimensions do panel lights have?

we have a versite panel lights with different wattage and size, choose the one you need from our wide range.

Dimension300×300mm (ftx1ft)600x300mm(1×2 led panel light )600x600mm(2×2ft)1200x300mm (4ftx1ft)1200x600mm (4ftx2ft)
Wattages18W 20W 24W24W 30W30W 36W 40W 45W 48W 60W30W 36W 40W 45W 48W50W 60W 80W 96W 120W

Note 1: Backlit panel light will be available to do higher wattages than edge-lit panel light in the same sizes.

Note 2: The other special dimension such as 1200x150mm, 1200x200mm, and 1200x1200mm can be customized.

How does the led panel light work?

Structurally, positive light-emitting LED panel lights are different from side-emitting LED panel lights, and their light-emitting working principles are also different.

Edge-lit LED panel lights working principle

It mainly includes a frame, diffuser plate, light guide plate, light bar, reflective film, back plate, and other components. The light of the LED chips enters the interior of the light guide plate from the light-emitting surface, and the light hits the reflective point of the light guide plate and then exits downward, and is irradiated from the light-emitting surface of the lamp. The light that does not reach the reflective point will be reflected back through the reflective film so that the LED Most of the light from the led chips is converted into lightly used for lighting. The quality of the light guide plate is an important criterion to measure the quality of the side-emitting panel light.

Back-Lit Panel light working principle

The structure of the direct type (Back-lit) panel light mainly includes a frame, a diffuser plate, a light bar (including an aluminum substrate, lamp beads, a lens, a back cover, etc.)

The light of LED chips is scattered by the lens and reflected from the back cover and emitted from the light-emitting surface of the lamp. It does not need to be refracted by the light guide plate and is directly illuminated.

Led Panel Application

LED panel lights have become a versatile lighting solution for various settings due to their efficiency, versatility, and aesthetic appeal; LED panel lights are mainly used in:

  • Ceiling (replacing the original grille lights);
  • Walls (not only for lighting purposes but also for artistic expression);
  • Decorations (pursuing the combination of practicality and art, convenient and simple installation);
  • Others (can also be used in other places, such as train boxes or large mobile cars, counters, etc.)

The key places like Office Spaces ,Commercial Areas ,Educational Institutions, Healthcare Facilities, Residential Spaces ,Parking Garages and so on, Led panel light can be seen almost everywhere in our life.

What are the common quality problems of panel lights?

1.Dark areas appear around the panel lights
This phenomenon generally occurs in side-emitting panel lights, because the thickness of the light guide plate is not enough, please replace the thicker light guide plate such as 2.0T, and 3.0T.

2.Yellow light appears around the panel light frame
This also often occurs in side-emitting panel lights, because the distance between the light guide plate and the side lamp beads is too close during the production process. The distance between the lamp beads and the light guide plate needs to be adjusted. Of course, it may also be the quality problem of the LED lamp bead itself, which needs to be replaced with a better-LED lamp bead.

3.The middle part of the panel light turns yellow
This is one of the main aspects of the current quality problems of side-emitting panel lights. For this question, please refer to the blog “why led lights yellow changing”.

4.Water ripples appear
The reflective film in the side-emitting panel light is generally made of PE material, and some low-end suppliers often use foam reflective film to reduce costs, which will deform during prolonged heating. resulting in the appearance of water ripples.

5.LED panel lights flicker
The main reasons for flickering are as follows: 1. The power supply is broken; 2. The power supply does not match the current and power parameters of the lamp bead, 3. The lamp bead is damaged

How do I choose a ceiling panel light?

To choose the right LED panel lights, you need to understand the important parameters related to panel lights. as follows:

Lighting mode:Edge-lit or backlit panel light. The positive light-emitting panel has high lighting efficiency, no risk of yellowing, and the price is cheaper than the side light. High-end side-emitting panel lights are generally expensive and suitable for use in high-end places, while low-end side-emitting panel lights often have yellowing and dead lights. So, we recommend buying positive emitting panel lights.

Dimensions and power:The standard size of panel lights is 1200×300mm, 300×300mm, 300×600mm,600×600mm 600×1200mm. Power: 9W 12W 18W 21W 22W 24W 36W 48W 72W 85W 90W. For general home lighting, such as kitchens, bathrooms, study rooms, living rooms, etc., small-sized and low-power panel lights can be used.

For example, 3-8 square meters, with 300*300 specifications, the general power is about 10w. and 8-15 square meters, 300*600 specifications can be used, and the general power is about 18w-20w.

In commercial lighting places, the space is often larger, whether a large size such as 2×2 led panel light, 4×1 or 4×2 led light panel is used, it can provide more brightness.

Lumens:The higher the luminous efficacy output, the more energy-saving and energy-saving, and the fewer lamps are used in the same project. Now LED technology can keep the actual output of panel lights at a minimum of 100lm/W, and a maximum of 150-170lm/W.

Power Factor:The energy consumption of LED is only 1/10 of incandescent lamps and 1/4 of energy-saving lamps. The service life can reach more than 100,000 hours, and the maximum power factor is 1, indicating that the load is purely resistive, and the power transmission only has active power, no reactive power, and the utilization rate is the highest.

The power factor of LED lights depends on the LED driver. At present, the efficiency of qualified LED drivers is generally above 85%. In reality, the power of 3W, 5W, 7W, 9W, 12W, and 15W LED lights with small wattage is generally not affected. The factor requirements are high, generally between 0.5-0.65, and the power factor of large wattage will be higher. Many people think that the higher the power factor, the more efficient the power supply. Of course, under the same wattage, the higher the power factor, the better.

UGR:Glare creates a bright sensation in the visual field that the human eye cannot adapt to, and may cause disgust, discomfort, or even loss of vision. Excessive brightness in a certain part of the field of view or excessive brightness changes before and after. Glare is one of the important causes of visual fatigue. The lower the glare value, the more comfortable the LED panel light will be. Some special places, such as school classrooms, generally require the use of Anti-glare LED panel lights with UGR<19 or lower.

Lifetime:The life of the LED light is theoretically at least 50000Hrs, so if the LED panel light works for 12 hours a day, it should be able to use for 11 years. The longer the durability, the greater the cost savings.

Led driver brand:Judging from our years of production and sales experience, LED driver largely determines the final lifespan of an LED panel light. Poor quality LED panel lights often use low-end LED drivers (mostly non-isolated drivers). In terms of quality, brand driver > ordinary isolated driver > non-isolated driver. The high-end quality LED panel light driver generally adopts the isolation scheme. If the price is within the acceptable range, try to use high-end brand drivers.

Price Highest HighestMiddle  MiddleMiddle 
Warranty 3/5Years 3/5Years 3/5Years 3/5Years 3/5Years
Well-known LED panel light driver brands

How to install LED panel lights?

Totally 4 different installation ways for led ceiling panel lights as follows: (You can check the step drawing or download the guide PDF file)

Recessed led panel lights

This installation method is often used in offices, shops, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. It is also the most common installation method. First, remove a ceiling, put the LED panel light driver on the ceiling next to it, then connect the power cord, and then put it on Panel lights are sufficient, and the installation method is relatively simple.

Suspension flat panel led light

You need to prepare a set of steel ropes first, Hang the lighting from the ceiling with steel ropes. First fix the 4 hanging wire bases on the lighting fixture on the roof, then tie the 4 hanging wires to the LED panel light, connect the light’s driving power cord, and pull the wire to adjust the height of the panel light. The installation method is more flexible

Surface-mounted led panel light

Use screws to fix 3sides of the frame onto proof, then connect the led driver, insert the Led light panels into frames, and finally, screw the last frame.

Clip installation

Generally, these are clips-led ceiling panel lights, it looks like recessed led downlights. Then the installation way is the same.

Hello, customers

My name is Ricky Wang, I’m the business manager of GRNLED. I have been in LED lights industry for more than 10 year. Feel free to contact us. I’m happy to provide you the best service and products.

Email:  info@grnled.com | WeChat: ledfixture

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