Are All LED Panels The Same Quality?

October 27, 2023

Exploring the Differences in LED Panel Lights

LED light panels, are they all created equal? The simple answer is a resounding no. LED panels are complex systems with various components, and it’s the quality of these components that significantly impacts their performance, lifespan, and, of course, their price.

So let’s take a look into the intricacies of LED light panels’ construction, to help you understand the essential components and how they influence the performance and reliability of these products. Moreover, this knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions, especially when you encounter variations in prices while shopping for commercial LED panels.

Deconstructing a Typical LED Panel

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s break down the construction of a typical LED panel:

1. Aluminium Frame: The Backbone of Structural Integrity

The aluminium frame plays a crucial role in supporting the entire LED system, including the LED chips. It must be sturdy enough to prevent twisting and bending, ensuring structural integrity. Additionally, the frame acts as a heatsink, efficiently cooling the LED chips, extending their lifespan and reducing lumen depreciation (LM80/LM79).

2. Diffuser: Achieving Optimal Light Distribution

Diffusers are usually made from polystyrene, polycarbonate or acrylic. Polystyrene is often used in budget LED panels which turn yellow over time. Acrylic is the more expensive premium option but most quality yet affordable options on the market use polycarbonate which offers a good compromise on quality and costs without the yellowing.

A diffuser is designed to distribute light evenly and minimise glare so it’s a key component when choosing your LED panels. If you buy too cheap then you’ll find the colour will yellow and the light will look patchy too. To prioritise reliability, make sure you choose a panel which are tested by an Independent UK laboratory to ensure they meet Tp(a) or TP(b) requirements, minimising the risk of poor quality which could also lead to serious harm in the event of a fire.

TP(thermoplastics) must comply with BS 2782-0 standards in the event of a fire. Essentially this means the plastic doesn’t melt and drip immediately in the vent of a fire. Cheap panels with polystyrene diffusers will melt extremely quickly and therefore do not comply to British Standards.

3. Light Guide Plate (LGP): The Key to Even Light Distribution

The LGP plays a critical role in distributing light emitted by the LED chips across the panel. Cutting corners on the LGP’s quality can result in uneven light distribution and the development of a yellowish tint over time. Rest assured, our LED panels use high-quality LGPs made from acrylic that don’t exhibit this issue.

4. Reflective Paper: Ensuring Efficient Light Reflection

High-quality, highly reflective paper is essential for proper light distribution from the LGP to the diffuser. Inferior paper or improper fixing can lead to uneven light patterns across the panel, known as “wave light patterns.”

5. Back Plate: Enhancing Durability and Efficiency

The back plate acts as an additional heatsink, contributing to the longevity and efficiency of the LED chips. While some manufacturers use plastic back plates to cut costs, these are less effective at conducting heat. Improper sealing of the back plate can lead to light leakage, reducing total lumen output and efficiency.

6. LED Chip Set: Quality Matters

LED chips come in various quality levels, and not all suppliers are transparent about their chip sources. Our LED panels use LM-80 certified chips, which undergo testing to ensure their performance over time. This results in a chip lumen efficiency of 100 lumens per watt, offering energy savings and fewer required panels.

Some LED Panels are back lit rather than edge lit, so the quality of the LED matters. If one chip fails, it will be extremely noticeable on the panel surface where the light meets the diffuser. A noticable dark spot will be the result which will typically result in other chips failing.

7. PCB (Printed Circuit Board): Managing Heat and Current

The PCB holds the LED chips and conducts electrical current to them. Quality matters here too, as poor-quality PCBs may not effectively conduct heat away from the chips. High-quality LED panels use aluminium PCBs, ensuring efficient heat dissipation and prolonged LED chip life.

If you experience overheating or chip failure then these are the likely causes as to why and will often cause you headaches replacing the full unit and waiting for others to suffer the same premature failure.

8. LED Driver: The Heart of the System

The LED driver is a critical component; if it fails, the panel won’t light up. Some manufacturers opt for cost-saving measures, either designing their drivers or using cheap ones from obscure companies. For the best results, high-quality LED drivers from renowned manufacturers like, Tridonic, LIFUD and AGT are essential. We provide panels with a 5-year warranty driver, ensuring peace of mind.

In conclusion, not all LED light panel lights are created equal. Quality varies significantly among different components, affecting performance, reliability, and efficiency. By understanding these components, you can make informed decisions and choose high-quality LED panels that offer superior performance and longevity. Explore our full range today and, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our team.