What’s the Difference Between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors?

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As we checked out various mirrors online, we got curious about what makes backlit mirrors different from lighted mirrors. We did some in-depth probing and found something interesting.

What’s the difference between backlit and lighted mirrors? Backlit and lighted mirrors are technically the same in that they’re both equipped with lights, but they differ primarily in terms of where these lights are placed on the mirror. Backlit mirrors have the light bulbs behind the mirror, whereas lighted mirrors have the bulbs on top of or just underneath the glass surface.

This article does not contain any product recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing backlit mirrors, here’s our buying guide with products.

But this isn’t the only difference between these two types of illuminated mirrors. To better understand these differences, we first need to take a look at their similarities. We will also discuss which type of illuminated mirror would be better than the other, so keep reading!

What’s the Difference Between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors

Image by Michal JarmolukOpens in a new tab. from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

How Are Backlit and Lighted Mirrors the Same?

Backlit and lighted mirrors are the same in that they are both fitted out with lights that run on electricity. They also have the same lighting effect, features, as well as practical and decorative functions. Here’s a closer look at these similarities.

Use of Lights

Backlit and lighted mirrors are both installed with light-emitting diodes or LEDs. These LED bulbs are what make these mirrors light up. This is why backlit and lighted mirrors both fall in the category of illuminated mirrors.

Need for Electrical Energy

The lights that are installed in backlit and lighted mirrors require electricity to function. This means that both types of illuminated mirrors need to be connected to a power supply in order for the lights to work.

However, it should be noted that both mirror types can also be used even if they are not connected to a source of electrical energy. In this instance, they would simply be like regular mirrors.

Lighting Effect

Backlit and lighted mirrors both illuminate the faceOpens in a new tab. with a diffuse, even light and provide ample lighting for grooming tasks. The soft glow from these mirrors is subtle yet sufficient. It’s bright enough for a well-lit reflection but not too bright that it casts harsh shadows on the face.

Features

Different types of LED mirrors may share similar features. These include a demisting or defogging function, dimmable lights, motion or touch sensors, color temperature adjustment settings, and even Bluetooth connectivity!

Practical Functions

Mirrors with LED lights serve the same practical functions, foremost of which is lighting the front of your face evenly as you look into the mirror. Backlit and lighted mirrors provide a soft and balanced front lighting that’s necessary for a successful grooming routine.

Another practical use for these mirrors is as a light source. LED mirrors can provide the primary lighting for small bathrooms, additional lighting for larger areas, and mood lighting for bedrooms.

Decorative Purposes

Backlit and lighted mirrors are also decorative and can add a modern, sophisticated feel to any space. The stylish look of illuminated mirrors makes them an absolute must-have in every bathroom or vanity corner that is in need of a little design upgrade. Both mirrors also help give the illusion of a bigger and brighter area, making them ideal for small spaces.

How Are Backlit and Lighted Mirrors Different?

The main difference between backlit and lighted mirrors has to do with where their LED lights are placed. Because of this, they may also differ in terms of design and appearance. This primary difference also allows for one type of illuminated mirror to be more portable and versatile than the other. Let’s discuss this further.

Placement of Lights

Backlit mirrors have their lights placed behind them. The strip of LED lights is mounted around a base that also serves to keep the mirror glass a few inches away from the wall. In a technical sense, a backlit mirror is a type of lighted mirror.

However, the term “lighted” mirror usually refers to an illuminated mirror where the LED lights project light from the front of the mirror, as opposed to from the back. This is the primary difference between these two illuminated mirrors.

Design and Appearance

Because of the difference in LED placement, there is also a difference in the design and appearance of backlit and lighted mirrors. In backlit mirrors, you will be able to see the glow of light coming from behind the mirror. Backlit mirrors are always mounted on to a wall to achieve the full backlit effect.

Some backlit mirrors are also designed in such a way that a portion of the top, bottom, left, and right edges are etched or stripped of the reflective coating and instead frosted over. This leaves a well-defined border around the edges of the mirror. When the LEDs are turned on, the light from behind the mirror passes through the frosted border of the mirror. This gives the mirror a front-lit effect in addition to the backlighting.

Lighted mirrors, on the other hand, are always front-lit. Some lighted mirror models have their lights mounted within the base of the mirror. We say within, not around, as with backlit models. In these lighted mirrors where the lights are installed within the base, the mirror surfaces also feature etchings that allow the light to pass through.

Other lighted models have their lights installed directly around the borders of the mirror surface, effectively framing the mirror from the front and projecting light straight on to your face.

Portability and Versatility

Because backlit mirrors need to be attached to a wall for the backlit effect to work, they are not portable. In contrast, lighted mirrors don’t always have to be placed on a wall. While lighted mirrors do look fantastic on a wall, they have also been designed to be smaller, more compact, and work on their own without being mounted on to a wall.

There are several lighted mirror models that are portable and run on batteries. These are often referred to as vanity mirrors as they’re meant to be placed on your vanity and help you make putting makeup easier and more convenient. Some portable LED mirrors are rechargeable and can even be folded, making them perfect for travel.

✅ Video – LED Bathroom Mirror with Touch Sensor and Demister Pad Unboxing and Setup

This video shows the unboxing and setup of an illuminated mirror. The mirror is backlit, having a strip of LED lights running around the base behind the mirror. The border of the mirror is also etched, allowing the glow from the lights to go through the frosted glass and giving it a front-lit effect. The video also features the mirror’s touch sensor and demister functions.

Which Is Better, a Backlit Mirror, or a Lighted Mirror?

The similarities and differences between a backlit mirror and a lighted mirror give them qualities that make one type more ideal in certain situations than the other. Let’s consider those situations now.

When a Backlit Mirror Is Better

Backlit mirrors, because of where their lights are placed, have that stunning and sophisticated look. The glow from behind these mirrors frames them wonderfully, providing a classy atmosphere and elegant appeal. Backlit mirrors also appear as if they’re floating away from the wall behind them, and this is an effect that front-lighted mirrors can’t achieve.

Therefore, a backlit mirror is better if you want to have this effect in your bathroom, bedroom, or any part of your home that would benefit from an illuminated mirror.

When a Lighted Mirror Is Better

If you want to have a makeup mirror you can put on your desk or bring with you on your travels, then a smaller mirror with a front-lighted build is better. Portable lighted makeup mirrorsOpens in a new tab. can also function as a desk lamp, night light, and ring light for selfies, vlogs, and video calls, making them extremely versatile.

Both types of mirrors can vastly improve the experience of applying makeup or simply admiring your reflection. We believe that different types of illuminated mirrors exist because people have different needs and preferences. This is why we encourage you to explore all the myriad options to see which models would be ideal for you. You can also check out this article titled, which is better, backlit, or edge-lit? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic to help you find the right mirror for your home.

Related Questions

Do backlit mirrors provide enough light?

Yes, the light that comes from backlit mirrors is enough to allow you to see your reflection clearly. The lighting is also balanced, which means all of the parts of your face are illuminated evenly. The lighting from backlit mirrors is soft and not severe, so it doesn’t cast unflattering shadows on your face. You can check out this article that discusses if the backlit mirror provides enough light for more information.

Are backlit mirrors good for makeup?

Backlit mirrors are great for makeup. Not only do backlit mirrors give off ample and even light, but they also emit a glow that is closest to natural light. This warm white light is ideal for makeup application and puts you in the best light possible. We have also written this article that talks about backlit mirrors and if they are good for makeup. You can check it out for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Are lighted bathroom mirrors worth it?

Lighted bathroom mirrors are definitely worth the purchase. The LED lights used in the mirrors are durable and last for many years. Lighted mirrors enable you to do your personal grooming with ease, plus they make a bathroom look stunning. It’s a great addition to any space as well, not just the bathroom. For more information about the topic, you can check out this article about LEDmirrors and if they are worth it.

Conclusion

We’ve reached the end of our discussion about the difference between backlit and lighted mirrors. First, we explained the aspects where backlit and lighted mirrors are similar and where they differ. The main difference between these types of illuminated mirrors is where their light bulbs are placed. This then factors into how these mirrors are designed.

We also weighed in on which type would be better in certain situations. Both options are great for personal grooming, but illuminated mirrors with their lights facing you have an added advantage: these can be made into smaller, more portable mirrors you can place on your desk or put in your bag.

But hey, you don’t have to choose just one. You can always have different types and designs of LED illuminated mirrors to meet your needs and lifestyle preferences. You can be sure to find a few that fit the bill!

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