Neon signs have a lot of cultural significance due to its past as well as the unique visual quality they provide. When you think of them, you envision motels, bars, hotels, and casinos. It represents a big city lifestyle and takes you to a completely different world where you can just go and have a great time. However, there is also a downside to them.
Traditional neon signs can get very expensive if you want a unique visual look and require a lot of maintenance. A partially lit neon sign can potentially bring more harm to your business than not having any fancy signage at all. Why? Because it either makes the customer feel like you don’t care about your business or they assume that your business isn’t doing well.
Both of the above assumptions will result in them not entering the building and going right to your competition. Fortunately, with the advent of technology and great innovation, there is a great alternative to traditional neon signs.
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What is an Alternative to Neon Signs?
One of the best alternatives to traditional neon signs are neon LED flexible strips. These utilize light-emitting diodes that are placed closed to one another to create a visual flair as well as a consistent source of light.
Most LEDs also come with a polymer jacket covering for protection against external damage. They are also far superior when it comes to energy consumption and maintenance costs making them ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.
Traditional neon lights on the other hand come with a mixture of inert gases (neon, argon, etc) enclosed in a glass tubing and a transformer for powering it up. The mixture of gases provides an intense glow as well as beautiful colored lighting but it also leads to potential issues.
The gases when infused with voltage cause the temperature to rise which may end up destroying the tubing. Voltage fluctuations and irregular maintenance can also cause the transformer to malfunction.
Related article: How Do Neon Signs Burnout?
LED neon signs do come with certain issues as well, but they are far more manageable than traditional neon signs.
What Are the Differences Between Traditional Neon Flexible Strip Lights and LED Signs?
There are many key differences between a traditional neon sign and an LED one. Here are some of them:
Traditional neon lights are superior when it comes to the intensity of the colored light and feature a bright sparkling light. Although the colors are more vivid, the luminosity is not high in traditional neon lights. The more colors it has, the more it appears to be dim due to the phosphor covering.
LED neon lights offer far superior luminosity but are not as vivid when it comes to colored light. You can also change the brightness of the LED strips using remote controllers as well as color, color temperature, and hue.
So, for a little less color intensity, you get better luminosity and customizability with LED neon signs.
Traditional neon lights require a good amount of voltage to produce illumination as it utilizes inert gases. Due to this, they will use up a significant amount of power to get their trademark colored lighting quality. The electricity also needs to be a steady stream for it to work as fluctuations and sudden large drops can end up damaging the lights.
LED neon lights require very little electricity and can withstand small fluctuations for a certain amount of time making them ideal when it comes to running costs. This also makes them safer.
Cost and Lifespan
For both signs, size is a very important component. The larger the size, the more expensive the signage will be. However, at equal sizes, LED neon signs usually end up being nearly 10 percent more inexpensive than traditional neon signs.
This might vary of course depending on design and features but it’s usually around the 10 percent mark. When it comes to lifespan, LED neon light strips last up to 30,000 hours whereas traditional neon lights last only up to 10,000 hours.
Ease of installation is defined by not only the process of installation but also any potential issues that might appear due to the make of the materials used.
Traditional neon lights utilize glass tubing which is quite fragile. The process of installation is more complicated here as you have to be very careful not to crack or break the tubing.
Flexible LED neon strips, however, are easier to install and can be bent easily. They also don’t contain any gases, so you don’t have to worry about getting exposed to it if it ever breaks.
Maintenance Cost and Complications
Another area where flexible LED neon strips shine is in their running costs. Traditional neon lights require regular maintenance to ensure all the parts are working properly and to catch issues before it becomes more damaging. They are also more prone to external damage from weather and dust.
Neon LED strips, however, already come with a protective coating and don’t require regular maintenance. Therefore, the upkeep costs are almost negligible when compared to traditional neon lights.
Useful Features of LED Neon Signs
Here are some of the useful features of LED neon signs:
- Lasts Longer – Some LED neon signs last 25 times longer than incandescent lights and 3 times longer than traditional neon lights.
- Good Visibility– LED lights not only look good at night but are also very visible during the daytime. They might not have the same visual quality but in terms of general visibility, they are very efficient.
- Versatility – LED lighting can be retrofitted into other types of signage to make them more efficient.
- Water Resistance – LED neon lights have a protective coating and are more resistant to water making them ideal for external use.
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Although LED neon signs come with many unique features and advantages compared to traditional neon signs, at the end of the day, the decision will mostly rest on your purpose.
If you don’t require a retro-ish ambiance and are willing to compromise on the authentic neon signage visual, LED flexible neon lights are a great alternative to go for.