LED Troffers & LED Panels
Commercial Lighting for offices, schools, hospital and general spaces
Shop for dimmable color changing LED Panels as well as high output Panels with a 10 year warranty. Quick ship available. Troffer retrofits and replacements also available!
Our Commercial LED Panels and Troffers Lights are designed to replace existing fluorescent tube fixtures. DLC Qualified for rebate eligibility, our LED Troffers are edge lit for uniform light distribution without seeing any of the LEDs.
LED Panels and LED Troffers
The Definitive Guide
What Are Troffer Lights?
Troffer lighting is a terminology that is normally used to define indoor lighting fixtures that are mounted on a ceiling grid or within a ceiling. Because of the way they are installed, these lights are also called recessed troffer lights. A troffer can be square or rectangular in shape and usually fits into a dropped ceiling grid (2'x4', 2'x2', or 1’x4’). These lights are a staple of commercial and industrial lighting and are typically used in hospitals, offices, classrooms, and other workplaces. Troffer lights are usually recessed into the ceiling in a grid pattern to offer bright, even light. But some troffers allow for surface mounting.
For a long time, fluorescent troffers were used in drop ceilings. Many commercial applications contained troffer fixtures that were designed to accommodate regular fluorescent lamps such as T5, T8 or T12 bulbs. However, these light sources are inefficient and have many downsides. This is why LED troffers and panels quickly gained popularity from the moment they were introduced into the market. LED lighting fixtures that replace fluorescent troffers include LED troffers, troffer panels, LED troffer retrofit kits, LED flat panel retrofits, and LED tubes (which replace fluorescent tubes in existing light fixtures).
Why LED Troffers And LED Panels Are a Better Choice than Fluorescent Troffers
According to the United States Department of Energy, in 2010, 4 out of 5 lamps in business properties were fluorescents, and most of them were fitted in troffer fixtures. But the ever-progressing technology of LEDs poses a big challenge for fluorescent lamps. The Department of Energy estimates that between 2010 and 2012, the sales of LED troffers had increased from 40,000 pieces to almost 700,000 pieces. LEDs have revolutionized the lighting industry and currently, the sales of fluorescent troffers have become almost non-existent. The troffer lighting market is now the realm of LEDs.
LED troffers have become the top choice. Why is this?
To be very honest, the first LED troffers to be released to the market were decent, but they had their issues. First, their color rendering was lower than desired. Secondly, their light wasn’t always adequate. Thirdly, the light quality was negatively affected because they used Kelvin temperatures that were much more than most people preferred to work under. Another big deterrent was their high initial cost.
But as advancements in technology continued to be made, LED lighting improved to become the most high-performing, low-cost lighting. The Department of Energy estimates that LED troffers can offer energy savings of more than 75% compared to conventional fluorescent troffers.
The Shortcomings of Fluorescent Troffers
Very High Energy Costs
In any large application, energy costs usually have a big impact on the monthly operational budget. The lighting fixtures used can determine whether the energy costs are higher or lower each month. With this in mind, let's look at the energy usage of fluorescent lamps. A typical 4-foot fluorescent consumes approximately 28 to 40 watts of energy. In addition, most 2x4 troffers typically use many fluorescent lamps per fixture.
The bad news is that a 4-lamp fixture can use up to 160 watts of electricity. Let's put this in numbers you can easily understand. To maintain a single 2x4 fluorescent troffer every year, you will spend $84. This is the money you will spend on electricity alone. If your facility is huge and you have many troffers installed, it's very easy to see that you will spend a lot of money on electricity.
High Maintenance Costs
In addition to their high energy costs, fluorescent troffers can also have a negative impact on your bottom line with their high maintenance costs. You may not know it, but the cost of maintenance for fluorescent troffers is usually dependent on the usage of the lamps. These lamps are easily affected by extreme temperatures. For example, when they are used in very cold temperatures, their useful life will rapidly deteriorate. Fluorescent lamps can also be damaged by frequent on and off operations. Every time these lamps are switched on, the cathodes in the tubes degrade further.
When the lifespan of fluorescent troffers is affected by cold temperatures or constant on-and-off operations, the lamps have to be frequently replaced. While the rated life of fluorescent lamps is up to 30,000 hours, it can be a lot less. And for a standard office space or a classroom with many troffer fixtures, you can easily spend $2,952 in just three years in lamp replacement and labor costs to maintain your fluorescent troffer lights.
Lighting Performance is Poor
The performance of fluorescent in troffer lighting applications usually varies, depending on the type of fluorescent lamps used. The most common fluorescent tubes for 2x2 and 2x4 troffer fixtures are T12 and T8. The performance of these two different fluorescent lamps is not the same. One big indicator of quality is the manufacturer of the lamps.
Based on our observations, we feel very confident saying that the major cause of performance issues in fluorescent troffers is the fact that each fixture utilizes multiple tubes. As individual tubes malfunction in the fixture, the performance of the fixture is greatly reduced – as well as the aesthetics.
They Contain Mercury - A Highly Dangerous Chemical
All fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of mercury inside them and this mercury is usually converted into mercury vapor when the lamps are switched on. The mercury is crucial to the lamps' ability to produce light. Mercury is a dangerous element and can have a negative impact on both humans and the environment.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, fluorescent lamps usually contain about 4 milligrams of mercury. This is without a doubt the most alarming thing about fluorescent troffers. While mercury is not toxic as long as it remains inside the bulbs, if a bulb breaks or is not disposed of properly and mercury is released into the air, it can harm the brain, kidneys, lungs, heart, and the immune system of humans and animals who are exposed to it.
They Have Many Limitations
When compared to LED troffer lights, fluorescent troffers have numerous limitations. For starters, not all fluorescent lamps are dimmable. If you need dimmable lamps, you must buy those that have been specially designed to work with dimmers. If you happen to use non-dimmable fluorescent lamps with dimmers, they may cause the lamps to burn out prematurely, costing you more money as you'll have to get new lamps. Since most fluorescent lamps are not dimmable, if the lighting performance requirements in your application happen to change, you will not be able to adapt.
Fluorescent lamps also have the tendency to generate a buzzing sound when they are switched on, especially those that use magnetic ballasts – as the ballasts are mainly the cause of the buzzing. These lamps also produce flickering light which can be the cause of headaches and eye strain.
Another downside of fluorescent lamps is that they produce ultraviolet radiation when they are switched on. High exposure to UV radiation can be the cause of different medical conditions. And when the flickering light is paired with the UV radiation, it can negatively affect people who are very sensitive to light.
Types of LED Troffers
Edge Lit LED Panels
Edge lit panels typically have LEDs fitted around their perimeters. These light fixtures produce light in such a way that it is aimed at the center of the panel and then downwards to the even surface at the diffuser or the lens. Because of the way the panels are designed, they produce extremely even illumination across. Generally, edge lit panels are incredibly thin – as thin is 0.5 inches. However, they draw a little bit more electricity than direct lit panels for the same light (lumen) output. They are usually more costly.
LED troffers are specially designed to replace old fluorescent troffers with more efficient and durable lighting. The troffers are usually recessed into the ceiling and offer more lumens with less wattage consumption, ensuring you save money without having to compromise on light output. LED troffers come in different configurations and include lensed units, volumetric style units, and architectural grade fixtures that feature indirect distribution. LED troffers with traditional configurations have even lenses, louvers, or open alternatives to make perfect replacements for the fluorescent troffers that are already installed. For every fluorescent troffer that is currently in use, there is an LED troffer equivalent on the market.
LED Flat Panels
These light fixtures have a unique, sleek thin profile and do not look like lensed recessed troffers. They are designed to offer comparable light distribution as traditional troffers when they are fitted in the grids of drop ceilings. The lumen output of LED troffer flat panels is much better than that of standard fluorescent troffers. There are two types of LED flat panels that directly replace fluorescent troffers.
Direct Lit LED Panels
Troffer Retrofit Kits
1. LED Flat Panel Retrofit
LED flat panel retrofit kits offer an economical solution to upgrade existing lighting fixtures to LED technology. These retrofit kits can be retrofitted into many of the existing troffers in not more than 15 minutes. Retrofit flat panel kits allow you to easily upgrade your old fluorescent light fixtures to energy-efficient LED lighting that offers glare-free, even illumination across the surface of a lamp. The LED retrofit flat panel is usually installed in an existing fluorescent fixture as it can fit below the existing tube and ballast.
2. LED Troffer Retrofit Kit
LED troffer retrofit kits are designed to offer maximum improvement with minimum effort. These units can be installed in less than 10 minutes and upgrade outdated fluorescent lights to premium LED lighting in record time. For lighting applications where removing old troffers or opening the ceiling plenum is not an option, these light fixtures provide unparalleled ease of installation. They quickly replace the outdated optics and appearance of existing fluorescent troffers with the unmatched energy savings, higher-quality light, and natural-looking light for which LED lights are known.
LED troffer retrofit kits offer a modern look and have a high color rendering index. They provide balanced illumination in a host of lumen and color temperature packages. For projects that require a blend of new fixtures and retrofits, our LED troffer retrofit kits are perfect. They look almost indistinguishable from the new LED troffer units. They offer a seamless visual experience across an entire facility. LED troffer retrofit kits provide the right solution and meet the needs of a variety of applications – whether it's high-efficiency, affordability, color quality, or upgrades flexibility options.
Some of the LED troffer retrofit kits sold by My LED Lighting Guide are dimmable and allow you to control the light output whenever you want. The units are usually rated for a very long lamp life and you will go for many years without needing to replace or maintain them once they are in place.
3. LED Tube to Replace Fluorescent Tube in Existing Fixture
Selecting the proper LED replacements for fluorescent troffers can be quite hard because there are many products and installation options available on the market. But due to the increasing consumer demand for energy-efficient, high-quality LED retrofit units, which is driven by recent industry changes and the Energy Independence and Security Act (which was passed by congress in the year 2007 and instituted strict energy standards on the consumption of energy).
For business owners and facility managers looking for energy efficient lighting solutions to replace problematic fluorescent lamps, LED fluorescent replacements tubes offer a good solution. These tubes can efficiently replace T8, T10, and T12 fluorescent tubes in existing lighting fixtures. They have the same bi-pin configuration of fluorescent lamps so what electricians usually do is remove or bypass the existing fluorescent ballasts and send the electricity directly to the LED drivers or LED tubes to power the LED lamps.
There are three types of LED fluorescent replacement tubes: the first type usually replaces the existing fluorescent tube. The second type calls for wiring to the main voltage and bypassing the existing fluorescent ballast. The third LED fluorescent replacement tube requires removing the current ballast and replacing it. While it is more labor-intensive to replace fluorescent tubes with the first and the second LED replacement tubes, the light fixtures considerably lower energy consumption. The third option is the most energy-efficient as the existing fluorescent tube and ballast are gotten rid of.
LED fluorescent replacement tubes can be used in a myriad of environments which call for troffer lighting: offices, hospitals, interior spaces, educational institutions, and much more. These light sources have a minimum lamp life of 50,000 hours. In addition, they do not flicker or hum like fluorescent lamps and their light output can be dimmed up to 100%.
Considerations When Replacing Fluorescent Troffers with LED Troffers and Panels
Luminous Flux (Lumens)
When choosing the most energy-efficient bulb, shopping by lumens is much more important than shopping by watts. It is also an important thing to consider when converting to LED lighting as matching the lumens produced by the existing light fixture to those of the LED fixture often yields excellent results.
Wattage usually measures the quantity of energy required by a light source for it to produce light. Lumens on the other hand, measure the quantity of light produced. What this means is that the more lumens a light fixture has, the brighter the light it will produce. In days gone by, the efficiency of light fixtures was measured by the watts as high wattage light fixtures typically produced very bright light. But watts are not a measure of efficiency for LED lighting, lumens and luminous efficacy are.
The lumens produced by a light fixture can be used to determine which LED replacement lamps are the best. Fixture lumens are used to compare two different light fixtures in terms of light output. These lumens make up the total amount of light generated by a light fixture (including the losses from the optics, ballast/driver, and the housing). If you want to find the lumen output of an existing lighting fixture, all you have to do is look at its make and model as the information is usually printed on the lamp itself. When you get this information, you can do a quick internet search to check the lumen output data.
Nothing has a bigger impact on energy savings more than luminous efficacy. So, what is luminous efficacy? In simple terms, luminous efficacy shows how efficiently a light source converts electricity into light and is measured in lumens per watt. The luminous efficacy can also be obtained by dividing the lumens delivered by the wattage.
Fluorescent lamps have an average luminous efficacy of 50 to 100 lumens per watt. But one important thing you must take into consideration is that fluorescent lamps, just like high intensity discharge lamps, need ballasts to work. Ballasts draw approximately 15% of the electricity fluorescent bulbs draw. For instance, if you use 400-watt fluorescent troffers in your application, the ballast of each single lamp will draw 60 watts of electricity. So, in essence, every single troffer will consume 460 watts of electricity.
But LED troffers are very different. For example, a 125-watt troffer panel sold by My LED Lighting Guide draws very little electricity and produces 5,000 lumens. And since high-quality LED bulbs have the L70 rating – which means they only lose 70% of their lumens during their lifetimes – a single troffer panel installed in your application will continue to produce 3,500 lumens for its entire lifetime.
The Useful Life
One of the biggest benefits of LED lighting is its very long lifetime. Because LEDs have no moving parts or filaments that are breakable, they are able to produce light for much longer than fluorescent lamps. The truth of the matter is that the light output of all light sources (high intensity discharge lamps, fluorescents, and even LEDs) decreases over time. The amount of light produced by a light source at a certain time in the future is usually referred to as lumen maintenance factor (LLMF). For LEDs, their lifetime is defined as the amount of time it takes until their light output – or lumen maintenance – reaches 70% of the initial output. This is known as the L70 rating.
To put it differently, LED lights do not experience instant burnout as conventional light sources do. What happens is that they gradually dim down. Lighting designers must take this into account when planning a lighting installation. The light levels must meet the recommended minimum lux value until the LEDs get to the end of their lifetime. Most lighting experts usually install more luminaires to ensure that the minimum lux levels are always met. In fact, the luminaire industry has equalized L70=50,000. This corresponds to a lumen maintenance factor of 0.7, so long as the life expectancy of the lighting installation is set to a similar amount of hours.
Some of our LED troffers have a better lumen degradation rate than others. After 50,000 hours of operation, they don't just retain 70% of their lumens; they retain 80% or more.
UL, ETL, and DLC Listing
One of the best ways to maximize your expenditure on lighting is to buy lighting fixtures that are perfect for the space and are also energy-efficient and economically beneficial. But as much as you may want to save money on lighting something that should be on your mind is that the light fixtures you buy must be certified and approved for your specific application.
Different regulatory bodies for lighting products have put rules in place that pertain to safety standards and working conditions for commercial applications. It is in your best interest to buy lighting products that have been certified and approved by these bodies. There are three major certifications you should look for when buying LED troffer lights.
Just about every person recognizes the tiny "UL" logo that's on very many products in residential and commercial spaces. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, which is an organization that has been testing and certifying products for consumer safety since 1894. Underwriters Laboratories is a not-for-profit, third-party organization that has no financial interest in the products it evaluates, which means that customers can be confident that the seal of approval is not a sales ploy but a genuine indication of a product's operational safety.
To ensure that the products it approves provide continuous safety, UL continues testing products even after the initial ratings have been given. UL representatives plan unannounced visits to product manufacturers from time to time and evaluate already listed products to check whether safety standards are being maintained. If listed items are found to no longer comply with the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories, their listing is revoked.
ETL (Intertek Testing Services) was started by Thomas Edison in 1896 but those days it was known as the lamp testing bureau. The division was later renamed to Electrical Testing Laboratories and expanded to cover testing for Standards for Safety for different electronics components and products.
ETL is a part of Intertek Testing Laboratories and is an OSHA (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) – NRTL. The ETL mark shows that a product complies with North American safety standards. The mark is accepted as proof of product compliance to the set industry standards by code officials as well as Authorities Having Jurisdiction in the United States and Canada.
DLC stands for Design Lights Consortium. If a lighting product is certified by DLC, it has a high level of energy-efficiency. The program was launched in 1998 and provided regional certification for the Mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the United States. It was established to determine the difference between high-quality lighting products and energy-efficient lighting products. But unlike Energy Star which certifies products across the board, DLC only certifies commercial lighting products.
The organization qualifies commercial LED lamps, retrofit kits, and linear replacement lamps. DLC then works with utility companies in the United States and Canada to assimilate DLC listed products in rebate and incentive programs. The important thing to note here is that DLC qualification applies to LED tubes and fixtures, which the Energy Star label does not cover. Most utility companies only give rebates for DLC rated lighting products as they play an important role in creating a LED conversion project that makes financial sense.
Color Temperature (Correlated Color Temperature)
If you often buy lighting products, you've probably seen the color temperature listed in the lighting specifications. But what is the meaning of color temperature? To be very honest, the term color temperature is a misnomer because light does not have a temperature in the actual sense. In technical terms, it means the color of the light produced by a black body radiator at matching temperatures using the Kelvin scale.Most of the lights used in commercial spaces have a color temperature between 4000K and 6000K. Lamps with a color temperature in the range 2700K to 3500K produce warm white light, while those with a color temperature range between 3500K and 4100K produce neutral white light. The higher the Kelvin temperature, the whiter the light will be.
Color temperature is a very important performance characteristic to look at when examining bulbs because it determines the mood of the space you illuminate and can influence work performance and safety. To maintain aesthetics and productivity, it is recommended that you use LED troffers with a similar correlated color temperature as the existing fluorescent troffers.
Most commercial fluorescent troffers have a color temperature in the range of 3000K to 4000K. Unless the lighting survey of the application suggests that lights with a different color temperature should be used, do not get LED troffers with a lower or a higher correlated color temperature than that of the existing fluorescent lamps.
Long LED Panel Life Starts with Good Design and Engineering
Commercial LED flat panel lighting is the perfect example of good design. The nature of the ceiling fixture includes a large aluminum fixture to which LED strips are attached to. The flat panel fixture itself becomes one large heat sink, and in the world of LED, large heat sinks become the friend of long life. The design also allows for the attachment of an external driver on the outside or top of the fixture, removing the driver from the heat source.
You should easily see 100,000 hours of life from our troffer ceiling lights since the design is done well. While this solution is more expensive than a tube replacement, the long life makes it an option you should consider. With new edge lit designs and uniform light distributions, office lighting can be dramatically improved.
Capacity to Work with Lighting Controls
The usage of lighting controls in applications that use troffer lights can offer a myriad of benefits. These include energy savings, lower maintenance costs, compliance with energy codes, and a reduction in light pollution. One of the best things about LED products is that most of them are dimmable. However, it is important to note that there's a variety of dimming performance among products. One of the best ways to ensure that you choose the best dimmers for your LED troffer lights is to use compatibility tables that are usually provided by dimmer manufacturers or light fixtures manufacturers.
The tables are usually provided online and you can access them before purchasing the dimmers. When you choose dimmers and LED products that are manufactured to be compatible, the probability of system compatibility improves. It is worth noting that finding a LED product that is compatible with an existing dimmer is usually more difficult. If it is possible, be sure to test out how the LED troffers you are interested in pair with dimmers to ensure functionality before you make a full commitment. Some of the drivers also include the 0-10V dimming option.
A wireless control unit can be attached to the commercial LED Panel lighting fixtures and control to dim each individual light. For the facility manager who is trying to address the needs of his office staff (too bright or not bright enough), this allows for custom light conditions from every installed light. LED troffer lights can also be paired with other intelligent lighting controls and configured to offer low power or high power illumination and to turn on and off automatically as soon as motion is detected. Intelligent lighting controls provide a lot of flexibility and offer different communication channels for network control. For example, LED RGBW troffer lights can be wirelessly or remote controlled by DMX controllers to give different or similar lighting effects for a variety of environments.
My LED Lighting Guide offer 3 color options for LED Panels, 3000K, 4000K and 5000K. The most common for commercial spaces is 4000K. 5000K works well in scientific environments while 4000K is ideal in office locations like cube farms and outside offices. 4000K is a little warmer and less harsh than 5000K. Our technicians are able to work with you to determine the best lighting color temperature fit when upgrading to a LED troffer retrofit kit or full troffer panel lighting replacement.
LED Troffer Warranties
One thing that clearly proves the quality of LED troffer lights is their warranty. Theoretically, every LED light has a long lifespan and is virtually maintenance free. But the truth of the matter is that this is not always true – because LED products are made by different manufacturers. The quality of LED lights usually becomes evident in demanding lighting environments. The best way to ensure you avoid buying low-quality LED troffers is to choose those with a long warranty and are made by a reputable manufacturer. If you buy a LED product from a reputable manufacturer and it malfunctions while the warranty is still valid, the manufacturer will honor the warranty.
When checking the warranty, do not only check the warranty for the LED head, also check the warranty for the LED driver. LED heads usually have a 10-year warranty while LED drivers have a 5-year warranty. Be sure to get LED troffer lights with a 5-year minimum product warranty. Most manufacturers claim that their lamps have a useful life of 50,000 hours (can work for 11.4 years when they operate for 12 hours a day). Go through the warranty terms carefully and be sure to store any packaging you will need in case the light fixtures fail within the warranty period.
Benefits of LED Troffers
The United States Department of Energy estimates that LED troffer replacements help save up to 80% on energy costs compared to fluorescent troffers. The rated life of LEDs is typically 50,000 hours and can go up to 100,000 hours, depending on the quality of the troffers.
Because LED troffer lights have a longer lifespan than fluorescent troffers, they lower lighting maintenance costs significantly.
LED troffers can be exactly what you need to reduce the electricity consumption of your building or facility.
Let's look at the wattage for both fluorescent and LED troffers. A 2x4 fluorescent troffer, which is used in many applications, can use up to 160 watts – a single fixture. However, a LED troffer that replaces a 160-watt fluorescent troffer only uses 30-50 watts. This means that if you replace fluorescent troffers with LED troffers, you can enjoy a 50-80% reduction in cost savings.
Since we want you to have a better understanding of how much you'll save when you get rid of your fluorescent troffers, let us put it in dollars. By converting your lighting to LED, you may save up to $81 for every fixture (every year) on energy costs alone. If you have a large facility with many fluorescent lights installed, there’s no doubt that you will save a lot of money.
New generation LED troffers have lighting controls integrated or built-in emergency backup to make your job easy. And the good news is that the price of LED troffers has gradually gone down over time. As of 2018, basic LED troffers and flat panels were being sold at prices very similar to those of fluorescent troffers.
Better Lighting Performance
While lowering energy costs and maintenance costs is crucial to keeping organizations efficient, it is very important to make sure that the performance of the lighting is not compromised. LEDs produce higher quality light and they are in a class of their own. LED troffers to distribute light very differently compared to fluorescent troffers and provide a more even foot candle on the ground below. In addition, their optics can be varied so as to meet foot candle requirements from virtually any height.
Another important thing worth noting is that LED troffers come in a wide range of color temperatures: from warm to cool (including 3000K, 3500K, 4100K, 5000K, and 6500K). Some LED troffers are available in RGBW. This means that they produce red, green, blue, and white light. RGBW troffers can be controlled wirelessly or remote controlled from a distance.
The high correlated color temperature of LED troffers also gives end users the ability to choose a specific look for any given space. LED lights also have a high color rendering index which ensures that people working under the LED troffers are able to clearly see whatever they are working on.
Another great benefit of LED troffers is that they work excellently with dimmers. This feature is of great benefit to end users because they are able to change the operating conditions of the lights after their LED conversion project. They can adjust the LEDs to fit the specific usage needs of individual rooms without compromising the functionality of the lights themselves.
As we earlier mentioned, only fluorescent lamps that have been specially manufactured to work with dimmers do so. Pairing fluorescent troffers with dimmers when they do not have the ability to work with dimmers may not only affect their functionality, it may present a serious fire hazard.
Choose the Best LED Troffers for Your Application
When looking for LED troffer lights that will be perfect for your property, there are many ways to go about it.
The most important thing you need to do is narrow down your search. You can do this by choosing the light fixtures that best suit your space – in regards to sizing and mount. Once you have narrowed down your search and have identified the right models for your application, the next step is to choose LED troffers with a style that matches the overall style of your application.
Since voltages range between 120 and 480 volts, you should find the right hardware for your lighting system. Troffer lights normally have varying quantities of lamps, which means you can get the right amount of lighting for any application – whether you want to light up a large warehouse floor or a small office hallway. LED troffers provide even, powerful lighting in any amount of space and are a popular choice for many industrial and commercial applications. The powerful light they provide does not cause eye fatigue or eye strain and ensures every inch of space is illuminated without glare.