Flat Panels vs. Volumetric

Wed Jun 12, 2019

When you look at recessed commercial lighting, the troffer has reigned supreme for decades. The troffer allowed for several options of light distribution through special lenses or body types. Initially, in a troffer, you had a body housing with a ballast(s) and lamp(s) installed, then a lens for diffusion. This basic troffer thrived for years and years. The way light is distributed out of a luminaire can vary depending on the shape of the body housing, the shape and material of the diffuser, or even the orientation of the light source. LED technology has advanced very rapidly in the last decade, which has allowed more design flexibility that wasn’t there previously. As a result, we have seen a surge of luminaires that not only have better aesthetics but also higher efficiencies.


Pros and Cons

Below we will look at two very prominent luminaires on the market right now, the volumetric troffer and the LED flat panel.

Volumetric Troffer





  • More efficient than parabolic troffers

  • No glare or shadows on surfaces

  • Fills vertical wall space

  • Architectural aesthetics

  • Available in single or dual lens



  • Not as efficient as flat panels

  • Higher cost



LED Flat Panel



  • More efficient than volumetrics and troffers

  • Sleek and modern

  • Slim and lightweight

  • Easy installation

  • Shipping and storage benefits

  • Edge to edge diffusion

  • Maintenance free

  • Excellent ROI from energy savings



  • Thickness makes them susceptible to damages



Both the volumetric troffer and the LED flat panel can be used in multiple application spaces including:

  • Office, school, medical, retail, and food service