You see them everywhere! Whether it's in the red light district or the coffee shop around the corner, neon neon signs have not only been in the entertainment industry for a century, but are now popular in the mainstream as well. Thanks to social media and Pinterest, colorful neon signage has become more popular than ever in recent years.
But did you know that it's often not neon at all that's glowing so colorfully? Nowadays, LED is actually being used more and more often for neon signage. But what's the difference? And which option is better? Don't worry, because we'll answer all your questions in this comparison of LED vs. neon made of glass.
What is the classic neon sign made of?
The neon sign, which was first used in 1912, is made of glass and inert gas. While in the beginning neon gas was actually used for this purpose, nowadays argon or krypton are more commonly used due to their more advantageous properties. To find out how neon signage has changed over the years and how it has managed to illuminate urban life around the world, check out our article on the history of neon signage.
To make a neon sign, glass tubes are blown into the appropriate shape. Gas is then filled into the neon tube and sealed. When electricity hits the gas, its UV light is converted into visible light with the help of a phosphor with which the glass tube is coated. This is a complex, labor-intensive process that justifies the high cost of a neon sign.
What is a LED neon sign?
Thanks to innovative LED technology, it is now possible to produce neon signs that look just like classic neon signs, but are far more efficient. To do this, numerous small LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are shaped into tubes and then installed on acrylic glass in the desired shape and color. This is done by hand and requires a lot of skill.
A neon sign made of LED is not made of glass, does not contain gas and or other fragile or toxic materials. Instead, acrylic, plastic and LED lights are used.
LED vs. glass neon - Which is better?
Now you know the difference between LED and neon in production and materials. But which of the two options is better for your business, office or living room at home? Now let's take a close look at the advantages and disadvantages of both neon signs.
LED vs. glass neon - Which option is more energy efficient?
A LED neon sign has 12 volts and consumes up to 90% less power than glass neon lamps due to the use of the latest technologies. Thus, it is much more energy efficient and power saving than its historical predecessor.
On the one hand, this saves money on electricity and accordingly allows every household to make a cool statement with a neon sign. On the other hand, it is also better for the environment.
Because of the low power consumption, the power supply and the actual neon sign heats up only minimally. Glass neon signs, on the other hand, can get very hot, which is often a safety hazard.
LED vs. glass neon - Which neon sign has the longer life?
In terms of service life, the LED neon sign can also score ahead of conventional neon. A NEONMONKI LED neon sign lasts up to 50,000 hours under ideal conditions. So you can enjoy the pleasant light and colorful design for about eight years if you turn it on for about 10 hours every day.
Neon signage, on the other hand, only lasts a maximum of 18,000 hours. The gas must be changed after only 10,000 hours. The neon's power loss is much greater than that of LEDs.
LED vs. glass neon - Which neon sign looks better?
LED signs shine brightly at any time of the day, while neon illuminated glass signs come into their own only at night. The LED light emits only to the front, while classic neon signs have the disadvantage that they also shine to the rear and the light is therefore reflected from the wall.
There are also differences in use. Neon lamps flicker when switched on and also during operation, while LED neon signs start immediately and light up without any problems.
Another advantage is that LED signs can be provided with a dimming function, which means that there are no limits to the design of your room light. Whether it's a functional lamp or indirect light, whether it's bright or a bit more rustic, you can always decide for yourself with the help of a remote control.
LED vs. glass neon - Other differences in the two options of illuminated signage
So far, it has been quite clearly stated that LED illuminated signs have far more advantages over the classic neon lamp from our point of view. But we have a few more points that speak for LED:
- Neon neon signs made of glass are very fragile due to the thin-walled tubes, and they are also heavier. This not only makes installation more difficult, but also increases delivery costs. The shatter resistance of LED neon signs is definitely a big advantage in terms of safety and longevity.
- Traditional neon signs are a lot deeper than LED neon signs. While including spacer and acrylic plate of our neon LED lights are only about 4 cm deep, the classic neon signs often come with a depth of up to 12 cm. LED neon signs therefore also save space and are guaranteed to look good in any room.
- LED signs are usually quite easy to install and maintain yourself. You can mount them on any wall and connect them to any power outlet. Neon signs, on the other hand, often require installation and maintenance by a specialist. However, depending on the size, you may also need a licensed electrical contractor to install your neon LED lamp.
- Neon lamps contain mercury. This is toxic and thus must be disposed of in hazardous waste. It also makes it dangerous to use in the presence of children and pets, which is why a glass neon sign should always be kept far away from children. You do not have this problem with the LED lamp. However, it must also be disposed of separately in the electrical waste.
- Neon fluorescent tubes hum and flicker, while LED lamps are quiet.
- And last but not least, the price-performance ratio of LED lamps is better compared to neon signs made of glass due to their production and materials. Also, during operation, LED signage has better efficiency, with up to 90% lower power consumption and virtually no maintenance costs compared to traditional glass neon signs.
However, we have to admit one advantage of neon signage made of glass: the nostalgia factor. The reason why neon signs are back in trend is that they remind us of the good old days or the trip to Asia or Las Vegas.
But LED neon signs can be created in all shapes and colors, so they come very close to the retro look. With our free neon lights configurator you can choose from numerous fonts, sizes and colors and immortalize your own saying in neon look.
Conclusion: Which neon sign is better - LED or neon?
The clear winner in the battle LED vs. neon is from our point of view quite clearly the LED neon sign. With it you save money, electricity, nerves and protect the environment. It shines during the day and at night and poses no safety risk. It is lighter, more resistant to breakage and quieter.
So what are you waiting for? Check out our store now for the perfect neon LED neon sign and beautify your home or business in no time. And if it's not what you have in mind, use our free configurator to create your own design, or send us a request with your logo, for example. You'll then receive a free simulation including a quote.