Neon Vs LED Signs: Which Is Better?

 In Business

Between neon vs LED signs, which is a better option? Neon and LEDs are some of the most common business signs that you can invest in today. Both have bright lights and can produce attractive colors. But do you know which one should you get?

Both neon and LED signs offer advantages in different categories. For example, LED signs are more energy-efficient than neon signs. But if you prefer a business sign with a longer life span, neon signs are a better option.


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Neon and LED signs are both eye-catching. Still, one is a better option than the other, depending on the category. Do you need a cheaper sign or a brighter one? Do you prefer an energy-efficient business sign? We’ve made a comparison between neon vs. LED signs for your quick reference.

What Are Neon Signs?

Neon signs are a type of light bulb that is incredibly durable and efficient. It is almost similar to fluorescent light. They’re built of heated and bent long fluorescent gas-discharge tubes in various forms and lettering.

Custom neon signs have been around from the 1920s to the 1960s. But with the emergence of LED technology, they became obsolete in the 1990s. You can see neon signs in blue, yellow, green, violet, and white, as well as some of the softer pink tint. 

The mixture of argon gas with a drop of mercury creates those colors. When an electric current passes through the tube’s electrodes, the atoms begin to light.

Advantages of Neon Signs

  • Longer Lifespan – The neon signs can last for an extended period. The neon sign’s gas can last up to 15 years before replacing it.
  • Temperature Resistance – Neon signs can resist high and low temperatures from snow, rain, and sun. High-quality neon signs don’t overheat.
  • Various Color Options – Neon signs give you a lot of color options. You can design almost all colors and shades.
  • Compatible With Other Materials – You can combine neon signs with other elements like plastic and glass. It is because of the neon’s low heating temperature.

Disadvantages of Neon Signs

  • Electrical Parts May Not Last – The electrical parts of neon signs, like the transformer, will last shorter. So, always invest in a better quality transformer.
  • More Expensive – The size and complexity of your design will determine the cost of the neon business sign. However, a neon sign will be more expensive than an LED sign.
  • Cost More To Run – Running neon lights is more costly than running LED signage. A typical LED sign will cost around $80 per year to operate, but a distinctive neon sign will cost about $228 per year. It is just a comparison, but the price would differ depending on usage and electrical price changes.

What Are LED Signs?

LED is an acronym for “light-emitting diode,” which refers to a device that emits light. These little individual Light Emitting Diodes are close together in a thick plastic backing that can be bent into your chosen shape. You can even get it trimmed to the length that you need for your business sign.

Advantages Of LED Signs

  • Energy Efficient – LED signs consume far less energy than standard incandescent lights, up to 75 percent less. In addition, they consume less energy than neon signs.
  • Cheaper Price – More LED business signs are about 10% cheaper to design and purchase than neon signs.
  • Versatility in Use – It’s impossible to change a neon sign once you have installed it. But you can change LED displays as often as needed with whatever messages you like.
  • Power Usage – LED displays utilize 5 to 10 times less energy than a neon sign, resulting in significant long-term cost savings.
  • Maintenance – You must regularly replenish neon tubes’ gasses, which is best left to an (expensive) specialist. Fortunately, LED signs don’t need it, which makes them low-maintenance.

Disadvantages To LED Signs

  • Not as Bright – Neon signs have more lumens per watt than LED signs. But it is not as vibrant as neon signs.
  • Don’t Cut Through Fog – Traditional neon signs will cut through the fog better than LED signage.

Neon Vs. LED Signs – Which Is Better?

So, let’s get to the main points. First, let’s take a look at a more in-depth examination of the distinctions between neon and LED signs. Then, identify the best option between neon vs. LED signs.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Price

The initial costs of neon and LED lights are almost similar, but LED signs are less expensive. Still, the cost of both neon and LEDs vary based on the size and design you select. So when it comes to the cost difference between LED and neon signs, it all relies on the amount of light you want to use.

For large outdoor displays, LED is around 10% less expensive than neon signs. But it would help if you considered whether the cost savings are worthwhile.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Power Usage

Although custom neon signs have lately lowered their power usage, they still utilize a higher voltage than LED signs. As a result, LED lights consume less secondary power than neon lights, making them the most energy-efficient lighting or signage alternative.

Large neon displays can require up to 15,000 volts to operate, but LEDs only require 24 volts. So if you’re considering a huge outdoor show and are debating between LED and neon, LEDs could save you a lot of money in the long run.

The actual cost of running neon and LED lighting for a company sign or small light display is similar. Thus, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. It’s also worth noting that energy efficiency is determined by amperage, and a standard neon sign uses less than 1 amp.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Maintenance

LED signage requires essentially little maintenance and has significantly lower operating expenses. However, neon signs are more challenging to maintain, especially in colder climates where ice and snow are an issue. In addition, maintenance concerns require the attention of a knowledgeable specialist, which might add to the expense.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Safety

Since neon signs employ high voltage and genuine glass tubing, there is always the risk of shattering, necessitating special disposal procedures. On the other hand, LEDs are shockproof and produce very little heat, making them entirely safe for use. LED signage is also free of harmful components like mercury and phosphor.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Brightness

LED signs produce a cooler and less appealing light than neon signage. On the other hand, neon signs are brighter and can be seen from further away.

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Accessibility

Neon signs are available in various colors, and you can design them in a variety of ways. They are dependable and can work around the clock to better assist your company. 

Neon Vs. LED Signs: Curb Appeal

The light that neon signs emit is warm and friendly, which is why they have remained so popular with companies worldwide. The neon light alone conjures up images of old-school glitz and grandeur. On the other hand, LED lights are brilliant yet might appear cold, stiff, and harsh to the eyes.

Here are more outdoor business signs for your business.

Neon Vs. LED Signs – Which Is Best?

The key to choosing between neon vs. LED signs is determining their function. Neon signs are an excellent alternative if your business has a retro vibe and you want original signage but aren’t concerned about the expense. However, custom neon signs is the best option if you want your signs to be outside and have a neon effect without the high cost.

Choosing which type of sign you want is a big decision. We have expert business sign designers and installers if you’re having a hard time. We have the expertise, cutting-edge equipment, and years of experience to make designing a new sign for your business a snap.


Sam’s Signs

16719 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94578, United States

(510) 481-1700