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What Is a Wraparound Light Fixture?

Wraparound fixtures have a diffuser lens that “wraps” around the light source, as implied by their name. Thanks to their design, wrap fixtures emit plenty of light towards the sides, and not only downwards. This creates a uniform lighting effect, which is useful in commercial spaces like offices and retail stores. Wraparound fixtures use fluorescent or LED lamps, and the most common sizes are 2’, 4’ and 8’.

Wrap lights are surface-mounted, which simplifies their installation and maintenance. The fixture is completely exposed, making it easy to clean, and the wrap lens can be easily removed if you need to replace the lamps inside. 

  • Replacements are rarely needed when using LED wrap lights, which typically last for 50,000 hours or more. 

  • If you are currently using wraparound fixtures with fluorescent tubes, you can replace them with compatible LED tubes.

The lens used by wraparound fixtures also prevents glare, since the light output is distributed uniformly in all directions. Other fixture types have open designs where the lamps are directly visible, and they cause visual discomfort after some time. Glare prevention is very important in places like offices, where occupants stay inside for many hours each day.

Types of Wraparound Fixtures

All wraparound fixtures have the same basic configuration, but their length and width can vary.

Depending on the manufacturer and product line, wraparound fixtures may also be available in different widths. For example, the LBL wrap light from Lithonia is 10” wide, while the FMLWL wrap light is only 5-1/2” wide.

There are both fluorescent and LED wrap lights, and LED versions normally offer energy savings of over 40%. Even when compared with T5 wraparound fixtures, the most efficient among fluorescent options, LEDs still achieve savings of over 25%. If you already have fluorescent wrap lights, they can be retrofitted with compatible LED tubes.


What Are the Advantages of LED Wraparound Fixtures?

Wraparound fixtures in general (LED and fluorescent) have the following benefits, especially when used in commercial locations.

  • Wrap lights are surface-mounted, which makes them easy to install and service.

  • They are available in many lengths and widths, allowing their use in multiple spaces.

  • The wraparound lens creates a uniform lighting effect, while preventing glare.

  • Lamps can be easily accessed if they must be replaced.

If you purchase LED wrap lights, the also offer the following advantages:

  • Superior efficiency, saving 40% or more compared with fluorescent tubes.

  • LED wrap lights are often rated for 50,000 hours or more, while fluorescent tubes typically need a replacement in less than 20,000 hours.

  • LEDs offer better compatibility with dimmers and other lighting controls.

  • LEDs are free of mercury and other hazardous materials, and they will not shatter upon impact like fluorescent tubes or HID lamps.

  • LEDs operate at lower temperature, which benefits air conditioning systems.

How To Install Wraparound Fixtures

A key feature of wrap lights is their easy installation, which saves time and labor. They are surface-mounted on ceilings, similar to strip lights, and their lens can be easily removed if you need to replace lamps or ballasts. Existing wrap lights with fluorescent tubes can be upgraded with equivalent LED tubes - but you must make sure there are compatible:

  • Some LED tubes are ballast-compatible, which means they can be installed directly.

  • Other LED tubes are designed for direct connection to the power supply without a ballast. In this case, you must rewire the fixture accordingly, bypassing the ballast.

Many components of wraparound lights can be removed and replaced with ease, which contributes to their durability - you only need to change the damaged part, and not the entire fixture. For example, you can purchase a new 4 ft replacement wraparound lens if the existing one is damaged by an impact.

Wraparound fixtures are normally mounted on surfaces, but there may be installation options depending on the manufacturer and applications. For example, some wrap light models can be attached to grid ceilings using T-bar clips, or they can be suspended from chains like shop lights.

Wrap lights are very adaptable and durable, but they must be used in the right applications to ensure a long service life. Although they are covered by a lens, they lack the hermetic seal found in vapour tight fixtures. Wrap lights are designed for the ambient conditions of commercial spaces, but not for outdoor locations or harsh industrial environments.


Common Accessories for Wraparound Fixtures

Wraparound fixtures are often combined with accessories that improve their performance in commercial settings:

Occupancy sensors can switch wrap lights automatically, based on occupancy. This ensures they only stay on when needed, saving electricity - LED wrap lights become even more efficient with occupancy sensors.

Dimmer switches can reduce the brightness of wraparound fixtures when their full lighting output is not needed. This feature is very useful in commercial spaces that combine natural and artificial lighting.

Battery packs can keep wrap lights and other fixtures on when the power is interrupted, giving time to restore the electricity supply, or to evacuate the area if necessary. If LED fixtures are used, they can run longer with batteries thanks to their low power consumption.

LED wraparound lights have better compatibility with lighting controls, compared with fluorescent versions. LEDs can be switched more easily, while fluorescent tubes may flicker, and repeated switching will shorten their service life. Also, dimmer options for fluorescent lighting are extremely limited, while there are many options available for LEDs.