What’s the Difference between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors?

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

What’s the difference between backlit and lighted mirrors? Backlit and lighted mirrors are equipped with lights. The difference between the two is the placement of the lights in the mirror. Backlit mirrors are designed to have light bulbs behind the mirror. On the other hand, lighted mirrors are designed to have bulbs on top of or underneath the surface of the glass.

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 Jarmoluk from Pixabay

How are Backlit and Lighted Mirrors the Same?

Backlit and lighted mirrors are the same in the sense that they are both fitted out with lights that run on electricity. Moreover, they have the same lighting effect, and 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 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.

double bathroom mirror with light
Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

Lighting Effect

Backlit and lighted mirrors both illuminate the face 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.


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! For LED mirrors with Bluetooth connectivity, we recommend this stunning lighted makeup mirror. You can listen to your favorite music while getting reading for the day.

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 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 needs a 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.

What’s the Difference Between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

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 onto 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 onto 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 onto a wall.

Several lighted mirror models 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. Based on our research, this large backlit mirror is one of the most popular that you can purchase online. It can be used in the bathroom, living room, or anywhere in your house.

What is a Backlit Mirror?

The bulbs of the backlit mirrors are mounted at the back. The same light shines through the carefully etched shapes in the glass. The backlit design of these mirrors can incorporate a wider range of lighting shapes as compared to other types of mirrors. This allows unique designs and styles that can make your bathroom stand out.

Backlit mirrors that use LEDs provide a subtle and warm glow that will create a relaxing ambiance in any bathroom. It is the perfect source of lighting when it comes to shaving or putting on make-up. You can also check out this buying guide that we have shared that discusses thebest LED-backlit vanity mirrors. We have shared a review of the best products that you can choose from.

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 mirrors can also function as desk lamps, night lights, and ring lights for selfies, vlogs, and video calls, making them extremely versatile.

flat mounted mirror
Photo by Sanibell BV on Unsplash

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.

What is a Lighted Mirror?

Lighted mirrors combine lighting and mirror in one for a contemporary look. They come in a wide array of designs which makes them perfect for any bathroom. Lighted mirrors do not only add aesthetic value to your bathroom but make it functional and convenient as well. You can find lighted mirrors with various features which include Bluetooth speakers, dimmable lights, and even built-in televisions. These kinds of mirrors are functional, convenient, stylish, and ideal for all types of bathrooms. Are you looking for a lighted mirror for your bathroom? Take a look at this mounted lighted mirror. It is rechargeable and can be extended for ease of use.

What’s the Difference Between Backlit and Lighted Mirrors
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Why Should You Have a Backlit Mirror?

Backlit mirrors have many benefits. Aside from providing aesthetic design in the room, backlit mirrors also set the mood. They are a good source of light especially when it comes to putting on makeup. Backlit mirrors are also efficient and easy to install. The subtle lights that come from the outline of the mirror make it stand out and come off the wall. This creates a layer of depth that makes the bathroom more dramatic and interesting. Backlit mirrors are also powered by LED lights which use less energy and can last longer as compared to ordinary light bulbs.


Backlit mirrors can provide your bathroom with a neat and organized look. Hanging lights over the mirror can take up a lot of space, especially in bathrooms with low ceilings. If you want to have the same amount of light but do not want something hanging from the ceiling, choose backlit mirrors.

Good Source of Light

Another reason why you should use a backlit mirror is that it provides a good source of lighting. Because the lights are located at the back, they will not cast shadows on you. This is ideal for putting on makeup, styling your hair, or shaving because you can be able to see yourself clearly without any shadows.

square backlit mirror
Photo by Sanibell BV on Unsplash


Most backlit mirrors use LED lights rather than incandescent lights. Because of this, you can rest assured that the mirror uses less energy and can last for a long time. You can be able to save on your electric bills. If you want an efficient mirror, we recommend this backlit LED mirror for your bathroom. It is also waterproof and comes with an anti-fog feature.

Easy to Install

Backlit mirrors are easy to install. You can simply hang them over your vanity cabinet. Large mirrors that take up a wide space on your wall may need professional installation. This is because the mirror is heavy and needs to be secured on the wall.

Creates an Ambiance

Backlit mirrors provide a relaxing and spa-like ambiance to your bathroom. Instead of lighting candles while taking a bath, you can use the lights that come from the mirror.

round mirrors mounted on wall
Photo by Mark Chan on Unsplash

Why Should You Have a Lighted Mirror?

Lighted mirrors can provide extra light for bathrooms that do not have natural lighting. This is especially true for isolated bathrooms that do not have any windows. Lighted mirrors work in many ways. Some are designed to have lights on the top which offer a glow over a wide area. While not everyone needs a lighted mirror, it can provide a lot of benefits to the bathroom.

Excellent Lighting

To make your daily bathroom routine easier, you can install lighted mirrors. High-quality lighted mirrors can provide adequate light to a dark bathroom to make shaving and make-up application easier. This lighted vanity mirror is a good choice to have excellent lighting for the bathroom. It is dimmable so you can adjust the level of lighting to what you prefer.

Design and Style

Another advantage that you can get from a lighted mirror is that it can make your bathroom more attractive. There are many designs and styles of lighted mirrors which makes it easy for you to choose one that suits the theme of your bathroom. You can even choose a design that will make the mirror a centerpiece of your bathroom.


Lighted mirrors come with a wide array of features that you can choose from. These features include timed lighting; colored lighting, Bluetooth, and some can even play music. Some designs have frames around the mirror to make it look more stylish. If you want something unique and interesting, you can check out this color changing lighted mirror. You can hang the mirror over the door. It makes an interesting decor for your bedroom.


If you are planning to sell your house, installing a lighted mirror can be able to increase its value. Such small changes to your bathroom will have a surprising value increase. It can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your home.

Energy Saving

Lighted mirrors that use high-quality LEDs can lessen your energy bills. It can also provide a usage time of about 50,000 hours which is almost equivalent to ten years of being turned on. LED lighted mirrors are long-lasting and durable.

Pros and Cons of Lighted Mirrors

Like many other products, lighted mirrors have their advantages as well as disadvantages. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of lighted mirrors below.


Lighted mirrors can add value to your home by providing a modern look that is also functional. This type of mirror also has LED lights which consume less energy as compared to other light bulbs and allow you to save on your energy bills.

Moreover, light comes from all around the mirror so you will get a clear vision of your reflection without any shadows. The illumination that is provided by a lighted mirror makes it perfect for applying make-up. Some have dimmable lights that you can control to create the ideal lighting for your needs.

round mirrors with frames
Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash


Backlit mirrors also have some disadvantages. For instance, if you do not carefully check the light quality of the mirror before purchasing, you will find out later that it creates an unpleasant lighting environment for your bathroom. After setting up the mirror, a light replacement can be difficult.

Moreover, the sensors sometimes show a problem when you try to save your adjustments. See to it that you carefully check the mirror before purchasing to avoid these issues.

✅ Video – LED Mirror | How to install | Review

House Stuff shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to install an LED mirror in the bathroom. A review is also shared about the kind of mirror that is purchased. Check out the video below for ideas, and tips, and to find out more about LED mirrors.

Are Backlit Mirrors any Good?

Backlit mirrors are a good choice for your bathroom because the lights are behind the mirrors which creates a subtle and useful glow. LED-backlit mirrors are energy-saving and can last longer as compared to other light bulbs. Furthermore, backlit mirrors are also equipped with features that make them more functional and convenient. Some even have speakers and can play music via Bluetooth.

Do Backlit Mirrors Provide Enough Light?

The light that comes from backlit mirrors is enough to allow you to see your reflection. 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.

Is it Worth it to Purchase Lighted Bathroom Mirrors?

Lighted bathroom mirrors are worth it. The mirrors use LED lights that are not only durable but can last for a long time. They illuminate the bathroom making your everyday task easier. For more information about the topic, you can check out this article about LED mirrors and if they are worth it.


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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