For many years neon signs have been very popular. They offer a bright burst of color to attract the eye of paying customers, they last a long time and are relatively low maintenance. In recent years though the rise of LED signs has overtaken neon signs in terms of popularity. To determine the reason behind their incredible growth you first have to understand the differences between the two.
Neon signs create light from the reaction of an inert gas which emits a fluorescent color as a result of the release of energy. This light comes in a hand crafted glass tube which is shaped into the letters or images necessary for the individual sign. LED signs use light-emitting diodes, essentially small light bulbs, placed close together to create the same text and images. Unlike traditional lightbulbs led signs do not have a filament and are far more efficient. Both signs can be effective in driving customers into your business if used properly, so how do you choose one?
There are a few key areas in which to compare LED and neon signs – power use, maintenance, purchase price, brightness, and safety. In terms of power use, the LED sign wins hands down. The LED needs just 24 volts of power while the neon bulbs require 15,000 volts. This means for larger signs there will be a substantial difference in running cost over a year. Maintenance for an LED sign is generally pretty minimal. Most LED signs can last about a decade before requiring replacement. Neon signs will require that the gases periodically be refilled, which will require a visit from a professional. Of course because neon signs have been around so much longer the availability of a technician for a neon sign is likely to be easier than one for an LED sign should it require attention.
The purchase price between the two is virtually identical. In some cases, for larger signs, there may be up to a 10% savings on an LED sign, but that is expected to change. As the use of LED signs continues to increase the cost is expected to decline making it an even more appealing option over neon signs in the future. Brightness can be tricky. LED signs are far brighter than neon and be seen from much further away, but many people feel that neon signs have a warmer, more aesthetically pleasing light. So there may not be a clear winner in terms of the quality of the light, it may come down more to personal preference.
Safety for signs does not necessarily mean safety to you personally, but more like safety for the environment. LED signs create very little heat and do not contain environmentally dangerous materials. Neon signs use high voltage and glass tubing that is prone to breaking. If the neon tube breaks, gases will be emitted to the environment and the tube will require special treatment for disposal.
Infinity Signs NW has years of sign experience and we’ve definitely come to recognize that LED signs are the way of the future. The lower cost, increased safety, and better reliability are turning more and more customers towards selecting LED signs for their business. We’re happy to talk with you about your specific sign needs and help you determine which option might be best for the future of your company.