Neon Signage

Comparing Traditional & LED Neon Signage


When it comes to choosing between neon and LED neon, both options have compelling benefits. LED neon is generally a more practical option for most commercial applications. However, traditional neon uniquely appeals to intricate, artisanal designs or historic architectural environments.

If you’re considering the decision between LED neon and traditional neon for an upcoming project, connect with an ASI consultant today.

Benefit Comparison

LED Neon

1. Energy Efficiency
LED neon signs use significantly less energy than traditional neon signs. They are highly energy efficient, using up to 80% less electricity than conventional neon. 

2. Durability
LED light strips are highly durable and long-lasting. They have a longer lifespan than traditional neon signs and are less likely to break or become damaged. 

3. Safety
LED neon signs are safer as they do not produce heat or contain hazardous materials and gasses like traditional neon. In certain settings and installation locations, neon signage is more likely to shatter and thus may pose an added liability risk.

4. Cost
LED neon signs are less expensive to manufacture and install. When looking at long-term savings, LED neon signs have additional cost-savings like a longer lifespan, ease of service and increased energy efficiency.

Traditional Neon

1. Artistic Expression
Neon signs have a historical, artistic appeal and are often associated with craftsmanship. They offer a nostalgic and retro charm that can be desirable for certain applications.

2. Continuity
Neon signs produce a continuous line of light that allows for smooth transitions and intricate patterns without visible gaps or segmentation. LED neon typically shows slight segmentation.

3. Color Gradations
Neon signs can achieve subtle color gradations by using different gases or coatings within the glass tubes. This capability allows for more intricate color variations and effects that can be challenging to replicate with LED neon.

4. Intricacy
Traditional neon signs consist of glass tubes that can be formed into very thin lines and intricate shapes. The ability to bend and shape glass tubes allows for complex designs, curves, and delicate features that may be difficult to replicate with LED neon.

Historic Context

LED Neon

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were first invented by a team at General Electric’s research laboratory in 1962. Over the years, researchers and engineers made significant progress in improving LED performance, increasing brightness, expanding the color range, and enhancing energy efficiency. LEDs have revolutionized the efficiency of illumination – LEDs outperform all other lighting methods.

In signage, LED neon refers to a flexible LED strip that mimics the look of traditional neon. This solution, composed of small, individually controllable LEDs encased in silicone, has emerged as a viable and popular alternative to neon. LED neon will likely become even more widely used in the signage industry as LED capabilities progress.

Traditional Neon

After the discovery of neon, a noble gas that emits a bright glow when exposed to electricity, French engineer Georges Claude invented the first neon sign by placing glass tubes filled with neon gas in various shapes and letters. The tubes were then sealed with electrodes at both ends, and a high-voltage electrical current was passed through them, causing the gas to emit a bright, colorful light.

Neon signage resulted from advancements in electricity and lighting technology and quickly gained popularity, becoming a symbol of a new era. Often used in advertising, neon signs were seen as a way to attract customers and make businesses stand out. By the 1920s and 1930s, neon signs were a common sight in cities worldwide.

Overall, LED neon signs are the most practical and modern option between the two solutions. While traditional neon signs offer a unique aesthetic, LED neon signs will likely become even more sophisticated as technology advances. If you’re weighing the benefits of LED neon against traditional neon and would like to connect with an ASI consultant, please Request a Consultation to learn more.