What’s the Difference between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors?

Do you ever stand in front of your mirror and turn on the light, only to be disappointed because you can’t see yourself very well?

backlit mirror in a bathroom under title what's the difference between backlit mirrors and lighted mirrors?

If so, you may need a lighted mirror. But what’s the difference between backlit mirrors and lighted mirrors?

Read on to learn more!

Check: Review of Brightest Led Bathroom Mirror

How Are Lighted Mirrors and Backlit Mirrors the Same?

In a technical sense, I would say that both backlit and lighted mirrors share the same purposes. But here are some concrete things that make these two types of mirrors similar.

#1 Both Have Lighting Effects

Both backlit and lighted mirrors have lighting effects.

Backlit and lighted LED mirrors are equipped with LED bulbs [1]. The LED bulbs are responsible for the bright glow and illumination.

#2 Both Are Stylish and Fashionable

I always compare backlit and lighted mirrors to traditional, flat, cabinet mirrors. They’re a lot stylish.

They’re not dull and would usually have a touch sensor for the different functions. The same thing goes for lighted mirrors –they emit light to the front, which helps you see details better.

ALSO READ: Are LED Bathroom Mirrors Worth It?

#3 Both Are Packed With Features

These mirrors also have distinctive features that make them different from one another. These features include toggling of light quality, additional brightness levels, and magnification.

A beautiful backlit mirror

Some have multiple bathroom lighting options, as well as dimmability.

I love how it’s put up because I can see all details without leaning forward.

#4 Both Need Electricity

Lastly, these mirror types need electricity. Both have a power source, which can either be connected to a switch or hardwired to the house’s electrical system.

QUICK NOTE: You’ll find a portable vanity-lighted mirror equipped with a battery as an additional source of power.

These are the common factors between backlit and lighted mirrors. Now, let me discuss what each of them is for you to grasp each type of mirror independently quickly.

What is a Backlit Mirror?

A backlit mirror is a mirror with LED lights. The light or illumination comes from the back of the mirror and is designed to keep it a few inches from the wall.

Don’t confuse yourself because it’s pretty easy to understand. It’s self-explanatory. But what are the key components and applications and the pros and cons of backlit mirrors?

Key Components of Backlit Mirrors

A backlit bathroom mirror has five primary components. These are the mirror glass, the LED light bulbs, the power supply, the wall-mount frame, and circuitry.

Let’s take a closer and deeper look at these components:

A glass of the Mirror

The significant component is the glass or the mirror surface.

It’s usually made up of multiple layers of glass types such as the surface, a thin layer of metal, a coating for different resistances, and a back layer for interior protection.

LED Light Bulbs

backlit mirrors details

These bulbs emit light at the back part of the mirror.

It usually follows the shape of the glass surface to cover the entirety of the mirror.

Power Supply

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Backlit mirrors are equipped with a power supply, which is the component responsible for the light. Without power, then it’ll just be a regular wall-mounted mirror.

Wall-mount Frame

They also have a wall mount or the component that will serve as the attachment of the mirror to the wall.

Check out this video of the mounted backlit mirror.

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Circuitry

Last but not least is circuitry. It is the mirror part that connects the lights to the power source and holds all of them together.

What Backlit Mirrors Are Good For?

Backlit mirrors are a perfect additive to enhance the look of your bathroom. It can give it that 5-star look that you always wanted!

Like a vanity mirror, a backlit mirror is perfect for doing makeup and outfitting.

Advantages of Using Backlit Mirrors

There are a lot of benefits to using backlit mirrors.

There are no shadows that can create dark spots or conceal certain areas of my face.
The lighting is high quality and looks elegant.
It has multiple features and functionalities you can use
Quality lighting and reflections, thanks to the lighting effects

Dillraj L Bhatia, a Light Designer from DBEL Studio, says that LED backlit mirrors are décor pieces that can enhance the look and the environment of the space where it’s at.

“These mirrors are versatile interior décor pieces that can be used to uplift the space’s ambiance by adding a modern yet minimalist touch.”

Check out how cool this bathroom looks.

@villagehomestores If Alice designed her current wonderland bath it would 100% have #backlit LED #mirrors #aliceinwonderland #led #ledlights #bathroomremodel ♬ Alice in Wonderland – Joanna Wang

Disadvantages of Using Backlit Mirrors

In contrast to what you’ll get from them, there are a couple of disadvantages and drawbacks to using them:

They’re more complex to install than traditional mirrors. This is because of the electrical wiring and the power source they need
Backlit mirrors need maintenance for the bulbs and lights
They are usually more expensive than standard or traditional mirrors
A backlit mirror is not a portable mirror –they’ll need a wall for mounting

Here’s a video from Geek Street as they unbox and set up the Demister pad backlit mirror. They also enumerated a couple of Demister functions and features, too!

What is a Lighted Mirror?

lighted mirrors at a beauty palour

Lighted mirrors are mirrors that are equipped with LED lights.

There’s a variety of mirrors under this category of illuminated mirrors. Namely Hollywood mirrors (vanity mirrors), backlit mirrors, makeup mirrors, and edge-lit mirrors.

Esther Dormer, Interior Designer and Founder at Esther Dormer, says that with mirrors alone, there are endless opportunities for design and style. What more for lighted mirrors?

“Opportunities with mirrors are endless due to the number of styles they come in. They can reflect light, and they’re great focal points at ends of narrow spaces.”

Key Components of Lighted Mirrors

Since backlit mirrors are subsets of lighted mirrors, the components are typically the same. They include the mirror glass, the power supply, the LED bulbs, the mirror support, and circuitry.

Glass Mirror

Of course, this is the component where you see your reflection. It’s also where the LED lights of the mirror are placed and positioned.

That brings me to the next major component, which is…

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs are the components that emit light from the mirror.

led bulbs on a lited mirror

They’re installed on the mirror’s surface to give better and more direct lighting.

Power Supply

Lighted mirrors also have a power supply that powers the mirror up.

Mirror Support

Backlit mirrors have wall-mount frames, while lighted mirrors have a wider range of supports.

The support of lighted mirrors isn’t always in the form of wall mounts. They can be stands, extendable arms, etc.

Circuitry

Lighted mirrors are also equipped with circuitry to make the LED bulbs light or glow up. These wirings bring the command from the switch to the bulbs and light them up, turn them off, or change intensity.

 

What Lighted Mirrors Are Good For

Lighted mirrors are perfect for the bathroom, your walk-in closet, bedroom, and makeup room.

They are best for applying makeup, checking your outfit, or if you need to see minute details.

Check out this cool makeup video with lighted mirrors.

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Thanks to their many features and natural light options, I consider them the best light source for my makeup application! I don’t even need other lights when doing my makeup!

In my personal experience, I thought that most lighted mirrors are edge-lit mirrors because the soft glow of light emanates from their edges. But no, it’s not always like that!

Not all lighted mirrors have LED bulbs installed on the edges. Some have it along with the frame of the mirror.

Advantages of Using Lighted Mirrors

Part of the benefits and advantages of lighted mirrors are:

You can control the brightness of the mirror
There are multiple settings. You can get natural sunlight, white light, daylight to cool color temperatures [2], and other colored lighting settings depending on the mirror
They have dimmable lights or an option where you can dim them and can save you from paying high energy bills.
Can have 1X magnification, a 10X magnification attachment, while others have up to 15X magnification!
It offers a well-lit reflection because of the intensity of the front lighting.

Here is an awesome video of lighted mirrors.

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Disadvantages of Using Lighted Mirrors

As I always say, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. There are a couple of drawbacks to using lighted mirrors, too, and they include:

Not all lighted mirrors have excellent reflection levels. This is compared to high-quality traditional mirrors that can guarantee good reflection
It’s not easy to replace lighted mirrors you have installed on the wall
The touch sensor, the lighting options, as well as other features are prone to malfunction

Check out this video from Keshia J. as she installs her new bathroom-lighted LED mirror! She says it’s perfect for overhead lighting, and it glows so brightly!

But, here are the differences between the two.

What’s the Difference Between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors?

The differences and distinctions between lighted mirrors and backlit mirrors are many. In terms of design and style, placement of the lights, and portability and versatility.

Here’s a quick table that outlines the differences between a backlit mirror and a lighted mirror.

Factors and ComponentsBacklit MirrorsLighted Mirrors
Styles, Designs, and AppearancesBacklit mirrors usually project the idea of sophistication, elegance, and design.  Lighted mirrors usually aim for functionality and have moderate styles compared to backlit mirrors.
Light Placement/LightingThe lights on backlit mirrors are at the back of the surface. The idea is to make them look like they’re separated from the wall.Lighted mirrors have LED bulbs on the surface or front part of the mirror.
Positioning and PlacementBacklit mirrors are usually mounted on the wall.Lighted mirrors are versatile. They can be mounted to the wall, placed on a table or countertop, or portable!
FunctionalitiesBacklit mirrors function just like regular mirrors. They only have illumination at the back.Lighted mirrors are used to project better lighting and higher-quality reflection to users.

They Have Different Styles, Designs, and Appearances

An elegant round lighted mirror under title What's the Difference Between Backlit And Lighted Mirrors

Backlit mirrors have the effect of being separated from the wall because of the backlighting, and they’ll typically be seen mounted on the wall.

The lights are at the back of the mirror surface, and they usually project a sophisticated and elegant appearance.

Lighted mirrors, on the contrary, have the design that the lights are on the surface of the mirror.

Their appearance would be like a regular or smart vanity mirror, and the goal is to emit bright light to the user.

They lean more on the purpose of functionality, ensuring that the user can see their reflections better and clearer.

The Placement of Lights is Different

When the term lighted mirror is used, it’s just normal for everyone to imagine that it has a front-lit effect. In most cases, that’s true.

However, you should never forget that backlit mirrors belong to the category of lighted mirrors, too.

The lights are placed and positioned at the back of the mirror’s glass for backlit mirrors. Lighted mirrors, typically branded as edge-lit mirrors, have the lights on the front (mirror’s edge).

I had a lighted mirror with lights at the front and the back. But the shine was brighter on the front, and it has a well-defined border and was not wall mounted.

They Have Different Portability Capabilities and Positioning

Another difference that LED-backlit mirrors have with LED mirrors is how they’re positioned.

Since the lights of the backlit mirrors are at the backside, they need to be mounted to the wall. That’s the purpose of their lights at the rear of the glass.

lit mirror with bulbs on the front side under title What's the Difference Between Backlit And Lighted Mirrors

Mirrors with lights on the front side of the edge aren’t required to be wall-mounted.

They’ll look good when mounted on the wall, but there’s a wide array of sizes for these lighted makeup mirrors.

There are portable LED mirrors, Bluetooth-enabled makeup mirrors, battery-powered beauty mirrors, etc.

Functionalities and Purposes

While they’re both mirrors and are ideally used for reflections, they do not have the same functionalities and purposes.

Backlit mirrors are typically used in bathrooms to create that they’re floating or separated from the wall. Some have front lights and high light intensities, but most won’t.

Check out this cool backlit mirror with different lighting.

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On the other hand, lighted mirrors are designed to give a bright light to show a better reflection. They’re made to emit bright light compared to backlit mirrors, which have most of the lights at the back.

These are the distinctions between backlit and lighted mirrors.

FAQs

Here are some other frequently asked questions about the differences between a lighted mirror and a backlit mirror.

Do Backlit Mirrors Provide Enough Light?

Yes, backlit mirrors can give off just the light you need for a standard or traditional mirror. However, they’re not bright enough if you’re looking for bright front illuminations.

Are Backlit Mirrors Better Than Front-Lit Mirrors?

No, they’re not better than front-lit mirrors simply because they have different purposes. Backlit mirrors function just like standard mirrors. They’re just energy-efficient and more fashionable than regular mirrors. On the other hand, lighted or front-lit mirrors are made to provide enough light to see the subtlest and littlest of details on the face or skin.

Do You Now Know How to Distinguish Them?

So, what’s the difference between backlit and lighted mirrors?

The main difference is that a backlit mirror has a light source behind it while a lighted mirror has a light source in front of it.

Backlit mirrors are better at lighting up an entire room, whereas lighted mirrors are better for providing task lighting.

If you’re looking for a new mirror for your home, consider both options to see which would work best for your needs. Thanks for reading!

A round backlit mirror under title What's the Difference Between Backlit And Lighted Mirrors

Resources:

1. Energy Star. Learn About LED Lighting. Energystar.gov. Published 2019. https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs

2. Color Differences of LED Lighting – 2.7K, 3K, 4.3K, 5K, 6K. www.vleds.com. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://www.vleds.com/led-color-temperature-differences

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