LED Neon Sign VS Traditional Neon Sign

Neon signs have been popular since the early 1900s as a way of advertising and drawing customers into businesses around the clock. They are popular not only in commercial settings but also as decorative displays and artwork in people’s homes. In recent years, neon signs have seen a resurgence in popularity. A big part of this resurgence is down to the popularity of social media and people looking to capture images of themselves and stand out. Neon signs are a great way to add to this opportunity to commercial settings such as restaurants, coffee shops, music events or concerts, trade shows, and other events.
Today there are also alternatives to traditional neon that work just as well and are as visually effective but use different materials. In this article we will take a look at the difference between neon signs and LED neon lights.
It is important to know the differences between the two styles when you are shopping for a neon sign online.
Deciding which one to choose for your neon sign depends on a number of factors. There are differences in cost, differences in which will last longer, and which will give you the best value for your budget.

Traditional neon signs

Traditional neon signs are made using neon or argon gas. This gas creates the bright colors and luminous glow neon signs are known for. Traditional neon signs are made by inserting the gas into glass tubing that is shaped to make the words or patterns required for the sign.
The final colour of the sign depends on using the right gas to achieve the look you want. Making a traditional neon sign is a labor-intensive process that requires skill, experience, and more expensive materials.
For example, contouring and bending glass into the desired shape is a skill that takes many years to master to perfection. Handling the gas also needs proper training, so these costs are passed on to the buyer.

LED Neon

Modern manufacturing techniques and technologies have made it possible to emulate the design, look and feel, and style of traditional neon lights using LED lighting.
While LED neon is not made from the same materials as traditional neon signs it creates the same effect with a number of advantages over the traditional neon lights.
LED neon signs offer a high-quality alternative option and, in many cases, a better option than traditional neon.
LED neon signs are created using a mixture of acrylic, plastic, and LED lights. LED lights are made up of lots of tiny individual bulbs. Just like with traditional neon signs there is a lot of craft involved in the design, production, and assembly of LED neon lights. The LED neon signs are still assembled by hand, and there are a few different types of backing available to choose from.
The end result is a bright and illuminated look, without the use of neon or argon gas, or the fragile glass used in traditional neon. Now that we know what LED neon lights are compared to traditional neon lights, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.


LED signs offer an advantage in daytime because they can be clearly seen, whereas traditional neon signs work better at night when it is dark. LED neon signs also offer better clarity and are easier to read from a distance while neon signs can look blurred from a distance.


Price is a big factor for many buyers and LED neon signs are less expensive than similar traditional neon signs. Even though LED neon lights are cheaper to buy to start with, that is not where the savings stop. LED lights are also cheaper to run and maintain making the overall cost of LED neon much cheaper in the long run than traditional neon.

Space usage

Traditional neon signs are typically much thicker than the thinner designs that can be created with LED lights today. The main difference between the two styles when it comes to size and space usage is the depth of the sign because the traditional neon glass tubes need to extend away from the backing making them between 3 and 5 inches deep. In comparison, an LED sign is only 1 inch thick.
Both LED neon and Traditional neon signs can be created in almost any size so it can be made to fit your windows or walls.


Traditional neon lights mainly offer the flickering on-off style or turning on and off of different parts of the sign-making it animate. LED neon signs offer more variation in animation because they are made up of many more tiny lights that can be manipulated.


LED neon signs last up to 100,000 hours, even if left on 24/7 and are virtually maintenance-free. Neon signs require cleaning of the glass tubes and will eventually lose all of the gas inside the tubes. This means the gas must be replaced or alternatively the whole sign can be replaced.

Shipping and installation

LED signs are lighter and thinner than traditional neon signs so therefore they are also much cheaper to ship. Another difference is that they are less fragile than the traditional glass versions so there are less problems with breakages during transport. Because LED signs are lighter and thinner than traditional neon they are also very easy to install. It’s as simple as hanging a picture and plugging in a lamp.
Traditional neon signs require a professional to be installed and come with a very complicated setup when LED neon signs come with a normal power supply and plug to a classic outlet.


LED signs are known for being very eco-friendly using just a few watts of power.
In fact, LED neon lights use a range of around 6-10 times less power than traditional neon signs. LED neon signs emit much less heat and stay cool enough to touch, unlike neon gas signs. Because they are low power they are cheaper to run and use less electricity. Gasses leaked from traditional neon lights include mercury and argon which can be toxic, this is not only bad for the environment but it can also leave parts of the sign flickering or not working.
It’s clear that LED neon signs offer a number of advantages over traditional neon including better buying and running costs, less negative impact on the environment, and more design options.  
If you would like some help in designing the best LED neon light for your needs, get in touch with us today!