Aloft LED sign on top of building by national signs, a sign company in houston, texas.

LED Signs vs Neon Signs: How to Make The Right Choice for Your Business

You know your business needs a sign. But how do you choose the right one? It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the jargon. The two leading sign options in the industry are LED and neon signs. This simply refers to the type of illumination a sign uses. Neon signs have been used for over a century, while LED signs are clearly the wave of the future. Don’t get sidetracked by confusing jargon or slick sales techniques. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between the two.

LED Signs vs. Neon Signs: What’s the Difference?

Neon lights are named for their use of neon in a glass tube. The neon creates a chemical reaction that produces a glow familiar to anyone who’s ever driven downtown at night. The tubes are fragile and easily broken, but today’s neon lights typically have protective features that secure the tubes and prevent breakage. Neon lights demand a lot of power to produce the chemical reaction that builds these lights’ characteristic glow.

LED lights use tiny strings of light called light-emitting diodes. These lights project light in one direction, creating a clear and crisp beam of color. LED lights are inherently efficient, requiring significantly less power than comparable neon lights. Today’s LED signs can replication different colors and intensities similar to neon.

An Objective Comparison of LED and Neon Signs

Most businesses now choose LED lights because of the cost savings and energy efficiency. If you plan to build a large light display, you can save lots of money by choosing LED. For most signs, however, the cost savings are minimal.

This means that for most businesses, other considerations will come into play. Consider the following factors:

  • Reuse and customization: Once a neon tube is filled, the tube can’t be changed. So neon light displays are less customizable. Some LED signs can cange color with a remote control, making them ideal for seasonal displays or for businesses that like variety in their signage.
  • Investment costs: LEDs tend to cost about 10% less than neon lighting. For most businesses, this is a small difference. When you factor in maintenance and energy savings, however, LED lights are the clear victor. They require less costly maintenance and use less energy, potentially saving you money over time. That’s doubly true if you have a large or complex sign.
  • Maintenance: LED lighting lasts a long time and will rarely need to be periodically replaced. If it is required the process is relatively straightforward. Neon lights require more costly maintenance. A professional must replace the tubing. Otherwise, sign quality diminishes and the sign eventually goes out altogether.
  • Light brightness and Aesthetic considerations: Neon signs produce a warm, hazy glow. For many, this look is appealing and nostalgic. The light of LED bulbs is clearer, brighter, and crisper, making them an ideal choice for businesses that want to ensure their sign is easy to read. Recent product advancements include LED boarder tubing that looks very similar to neon lighting. For large scale applications, this may be ideal.

Choosing the Right Sign for Your Business

Like so much else about running your business, the choice between LED signs vs. neon signs is a highly personal one. There’s no right option, and no guarantee that either sign will make you money or change the way you do business. No matter which option you choose, ask lots of questions so you know what you’re getting, and at what price.

National Signs: A Leader in LED

National Signs specializes in energy-efficient LED signs. We understand that a sign’s aesthetic reveals much about a business. Signs send subtle emotional cues that can affect the way a customer feels about your company before they even walk through your doors. We’ll work with you to craft a sign that perfectly captures the spirit of your business. Like a vintage, neon look? You might be surprised to see what we can do with LED! And unlike neon signs, our LED signs can more easily change as your business evolves and grows.

Check out our gallery to see the huge variety of looks a National Signs LED sign can offer.