Which Is Better: Backlit, or Edge-Lit?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we get commissions for purchases made through such links, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

On the subject of illuminated mirrors, the question of which between a backlit and an edge-lit mirror is better usually comes up. It’s a really good question, albeit a tricky one. But we do love a challenge, so we’ll do our best to answer it in this article.

Which is better, backlit, or edge-lit? Both types of mirrors are illuminated, so your choice would depend on your needs, the space you want to put a mirror in, and your personal design preferences. Backlit and edge-lit mirrors both fulfill the primary purpose of providing good lighting, but one may be better than the other in certain scenarios.

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

Don’t worry, we’ll help you navigate through your options as we tackle this question. We’ll get right down to discussing which type may be better in particular situations and spaces. After that, we’ll check out their differences and the other characteristics of backlit and edge-lit mirrors. We’ll also give you a few tips on choosing the right mirror for your needs. Let’s go!

Which Is Better Backlit or Edge Lit

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

Backlit and Edge-Lit Mirrors: Which Is Better?

Backlit and edge-lit mirrors both fulfill the primary purpose of an illuminated mirror: to provide ample and well-balanced light for things that require a clear and even reflection. No mirror is better than the other in this regard. Both types of lighted mirrors also serve the purpose of providing extra lighting and adding aesthetic value to space.

Considering their differences, however, helps us determine which type would be a better choice in particular circumstances. We’ve come up with two deciding factors below.

Aesthetic Appeal

In terms of aesthetics and adding the wow factor to space, we’re voting for backlit mirrors as the better option. The effect that a backlit mirror produces is merely breathtaking. The space between the mirror and the wall, as well as the glow coming from behind the mirror, makes it look like the mirror is hovering in midair. If you’re looking to upgrade the look of a room, installing a backlit mirror is one of the best, if not the best thing you can do.


In terms of portability and multiple practical uses, however, an edge-lit mirror–in particular a lighted makeup mirror–is the clear winner. The small size makes it great for tight vanity areas, and there are lots of designs to choose from. There are edge-lit makeup mirrorsOpens in a new tab. you can tilt as you please to make it easier for you to put on makeup. Mirror portability is also essential if you’re always on the road or need to do some touch-ups on the go.

What Is the Difference Between Backlit and Edge-Lit Mirrors?

The difference between backlit and edge-lit mirrors is primarily where their LEDs are located. This variation in LED placement also results in differences in terms of design and versatility.

LED Placement

The LEDs in backlit mirrors are behind them, and the light is projected outward freely. In contrast, LEDs in edge-lit mirrors are installed around the edges and encased, so that the light passes only through a frosted or semi-opaque material that diffuses the light.


Backlit mirrors are designed, built, and installed in a manner that would allow the LEDs on the base to project light from behind the mirror unhindered. For the backlighting to have that mesmerizing effect, a backlit mirror needs to be mounted to a wall.

Edge-lit mirrors, on the other hand, don’t always need a wall behind them. This allows for a wider range of designs, from freestanding mirrors to more compact makeup mirrors that can be placed on top of a table.


Aside from providing users with a well-lighted reflection, both backlit and edge-lit mirrors serve a number of functions. These include being a decorative item and an additional source of light in the home.

However, edge-lit mirrors have the added advantage of not having to be attached to a wall. The smaller edge-lit mirror models are not only more compact but are versatile as well. These are mirrors you can move around easily and even fit in your bag when you go out. In addition, many edge-lit makeup mirrors can also function as bedside lamps and even ring lights. You can also check out this article that talks about the difference between backlit and lighted mirrors if you want to know more about the topic.

What Are Illuminated Mirrors?

Illuminated mirrors are mirrors that are designed and built to emit light. These mirrors are equipped with small light bulbs called light-emitting diodes or LEDs. Illuminated mirrors are also called lighted mirrors and LED mirrors. Lighted mirrors may be either backlit or edge-lit.

Backlit Mirrors

In an illuminated mirror, the lights may be installed on its base behind the mirror glass. This mirror is called a backlit mirror. In a backlit mirror, the size of the base is smaller than the mirror glass.  Because the light is projected from the base behind the mirror, it creates a glow around the edges of the mirror glass, producing a backlit effect.

Edge-Lit Mirrors

The bulbs may also be installed beneath the glass or at the sides of the mirror and the light is projected through a frosted part of the glass or through a semi-opaque material. This is then called an edge-lit mirror or a front-lit mirror. In these mirrors the light bulbs are encased so there is no backlighting effect.

When the LEDs in illuminated mirrors are turned on, they diffuse a soft light that may vary from warm white light to a cooler white, depending on the model and customer preferences.

How Do Lighted Mirrors Work?

The LEDs in lighted mirrors are configured into a lighting system that is connected to a power supply. Lighted mirrors work by conducting electricity through the LED lights and allowing the illumination from the lights to fall evenly on objects around it.

The light coming from illuminated mirrors is a soft and indirect kind of light. This effect is similar to using a diffuser for a camera flash unit. Without a diffuser, a camera flash may make faces and objects too bright, shiny, or washed out. With a diffuser, the resulting image looks more evenly exposed, and people don’t look like they had been rudely awakened in the middle of a good night’s sleep.

A lighted mirror works in the same way. By giving off diffuse lighting, it puts people in the best light possible whenever they stand in front of it. Having a well-lighted reflection makes grooming and taking photos easier and more enjoyable. You can also check out this article about how backlit mirrors work for more information.

✅ Video – Top 5: Best Makeup Mirror 2020

The video below showcases five vanity makeup mirror models. The mirrors are edge-lit or have lights running along or near their edges. The video shows one advantage that edge-lit mirrors have over backlit ones: edge-lit mirrors can be designed to be more portable, as they don’t need a wall to be mounted on.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Illuminated Mirror

When choosing an illuminated mirror, it’s essential to consider what you need the mirror for, where you are planning to put it, and how you feel about its design, functions, and other features.


Do you need a bathroom mirrorOpens in a new tab. for your skincare routine? Or are you only looking to replace a tattered wall hanging with a lighted mirror? Do you need a full-length mirror or something more compact? Considering your needs carefully help you choose the right illuminated mirror for you.


Where do you want to put the mirror? The bathroom, the living room, the bedroom? Location is also essential when you’re choosing a lighted mirror. You’ll want to place it in an area where it would be of the most use. It also helps you identify which mirror models would be a good fit in terms of size, design, as well as features such as dimmable lights and color temperature settings.


Even if a particular mirror model meets your needs and space requirements, if you don’t like it for some reason, you won’t be able to enjoy it as you should. It is why it’s also important to consider your personal preferences. Perhaps you’re looking for a mirror with a different shape or something that appeals to your sense of style. Don’t hesitate to shop around until you find The One.

Related Questions

Are lighted bathroom mirrors worth it?

Lighted bathroom mirrors offer great value, so yes, they’re worth it. Lighted mirrors provide a good source of illumination for everyday grooming routines, make bathrooms more attractive and elegant, and lower the consumption of energy. Lighted bathroom mirrors put you and your home in the best light. You can also check out this article about LED bathroom mirrors and if they are any good for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

What is the best light-up mirror?

The best light-up mirror would be a model that serves your particular needs and appeals to your taste. For instance, if you are looking for a small makeup mirror you can bring along with you on trips, the best light-up mirror would be a battery-powered one that you can fold to fit in your bag.

Is LED lighting good for applying makeup?

LED lighting is the next best thing to natural light when it comes to applying makeup. It’s also great for choosing which clothes to wear, as it shows colors more accurately. Some LED mirror models have dimmable lighting, which allows you to adjust the brightness so you can see the effect of your makeup in variable light. We have also written this article titled, are LED mirrors good for makeup? Check out the article for the answer to this question.


So, which is better, backlit, or edge-lit? As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer to that question. Both types of lighted mirrors are equally good at giving you a well-lit reflection and making a space look more appealing, but one may be more suitable than the other in particular situations. It’s all up to you. Consider your needs and preferences. You can certainly choose to have both types at home if you want, because why not?

Recent Content