Signage can be a make or break factor in the success of your business. The two main technologies you would need to choose between is neon, which is usually based on fluorescence technology and LED, or light emitting diode
So what’s the difference?
Possibly the most notable difference is in energy efficiency. LED signs and lighting require much less power than neon. This implies lower energy costs, as well as sustainability for the environment. The high-efficiency is a result of most of the energy being used is converted to light, not heat, and so there is less wasted energy. The lower power usage also makes LED signs safe and cool to the touch. Further, they do not contain and leak out toxic gases such as argon and mercury, like neon does. Neon signs slowly leak gas out over time, which is why you sometimes see neon signs flickering, or have part of the sign not working.
2. Space requirements
While this may not matter for some businesses, for others the space signs take up factors into choice. LED signs are about a quarter of the thickness of neon signs. Because neon signs are more bulky, they tend to be a little wide and taller. The biggest difference though is in the depth. LED signs are only about an inch thick, while neon will probably be about three to five inches deep because of the glass tubing that has to extend away from the backing. The thinness of LED signs implies a lighter weight, which can make easier to ship and stall.
LED does not emit as much light as neon, although it’s is very clear and east to read from a distance, even in direct sunlight. However, the lower degree of lighting affectivity can detract from its appeal in being used in a primary lighting system, whereas neon could be more efficient in this aspect. However, light from LED’s are warmer and softer, and give an atmospheric and vintage feel.
LED signs require very little maintenance. There are no gases leaked or glass tubes that go faulty. LED signs are highly durable, even if left on 24/7. Neon signs eventually run out of all the neon inside the glass tubes, which means you have to replace the gas by taking it to professional neon sign manufacturer or simply buy a new sign. However, this process might only take ten or more years to happen. Another benefit of LED signs is that they are easier to clean than neon signs because there are no tubes to clean off (and those tubes get hot!).
Initially, LED signs are only about ten percent less expensive than neon signs. This isn’t such a great disparity, but the difference in costs becomes greater once you factor in the energy efficiency, durability and less required maintenance of LED signs.
Neon signs are available in a variety of colours and can flash on and off, but LED signs offer more animation options than their neon sign counterparts, because they are made out of many separate lights, instead of a continuous glass tube. LED is relatively new technology and there are many innovative advancements that you can make use of. For instance there are LED’s that can double up as wall cladding for buildings, moving array technology that can show live action signs.
What you choose to use ultimately depends on what you would need the signage for, however. LED and neon have different areas they’re ideal in. For instance, neon makes for beautiful stunning secondary lighting installations in ceiling coves and wall washes. Whereas LED’s are great for interior and exterior decor, such as accent lighting, back lighting and festive lighting.