LED Neon Signs Versus Traditional Neon: What’s the Difference

LED Neon Signs Versus Traditional Neon: What’s the Difference

LED Neon Signs Versus Traditional Neon: What’s the Difference?

AUG 25, 2022

Traditional vs. LED Neon

Though StreetLyte LED neon signs are trendy, sleek, and modern, neon art is nothing new. The neon signs we know and love, with their bright, distinctive glow, were first introduced in 1910 by French inventor Georges Claude. Not only are they a popular feature in commercial settings, but also as decor pieces within people’s homes. They quickly became a star on social media which can be attributed to their attention-grasping nature, plus they make for a fantastic photo opportunity. They are a great addition to any business location, such as restaurants, bars, salons, concerts, events, and more! They capture the attention of customers and create brand awareness for years to come.

In addition to traditional neon signs, there are now modern alternatives that work just as well and are equally effective, but use different materials. LED lights utilize a different technology than neon lights, but they provide an equally striking visual effect. Today we will be looking at the difference between traditional and LED neon signs.

Traditional Neon Signs

Traditional neon signs utilize argon or neon gas to emit their glow. Neon signs are known for their bright colors and luminous glow, created by the presence of these gases. The gas is inserted into glass tubing that is shaped to make the design at hand.  

The final color of the sign depends on using the right gas in order to achieve your desired results. Traditional neon signs are labor-intensive to make and require skill, experience, and expensive materials. Bending glass and handling the gas requires proper training and takes many years to master to perfection. The intense labor and expertise required to make traditional neon signs make these pieces quite pricey!

LED Neon Signs

Modern manufacturing techniques have enabled the design and construction of LED-based neon lights that are indistinguishable from those made with the traditional glass tubing. Every StreetLyte sign is made of LED neon, as we think this is the best method out there for neon signage!

LED neon is not made from the same materials as traditional neon, but it creates the same effect while having a variety of advantages!

LED neon signs are created using a mixture of acrylic, plastic, and LED lights. Tons of tiny individual bulbs make up the LED lights in order for them to cast their iconic glow. Similar to traditional neon signs, LED neon signs require a lot of craftsmanship in their design and assembly. The LED lights are handcrafted just like traditional neon, and there are several different types of backings to choose from.

The end product is a glowing and illuminated look, without the use of neon and argon gases and the fragile glass tubing used in the creation of traditional neon signs. Now that we know the difference between LED and traditional neon, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each.

Power Consumption

LED neon signs use very little electricity, about the same as standard household light bulbs. Often consuming under 65 watts, they are definitely an eco-friendly lighting option. They are cheaper to buy and run, plus you'll be saving the planet using less power! In contrast, traditional neon uses almost 10 times the power consumption for a very similar lighting effect.


LED neon signs are cool to the touch, making them a much safer alternative to traditional neon which is hot to the touch. LED neon signs utilize plastic tubing, making them shockproof, unlike traditional neon which is made of fragile glass tubing making them easy to shatter and will leave mercury and particles of shattered glass everywhere if dropped. LED neon signs also emit no noise at all, while traditional neon makes a buzzing sound when in use.

Brightness and Appearance

LED signs can be clearly viewed in daylight, whereas traditional neon signs perform better at night when it is dark. LED neon signs are more legible from a distance while traditional neon signs might appear blurred to passersby.


Our LED neon signs require no maintenance besides the occasion dust with a feather duster! With traditional neon, a trained professional is required to attend to any maintenance issues, which often incurs further costs. Traditional neon requires cleaning of the glass tubes and will eventually lose all of the gas inside the tubes, meaning the gas must be replaced or alternatively the whole sign can be replaced.


Our LED Neon signs are simply hung like a painting and plugged in to illuminate. We supply our customers with a screw kit in order to securely mount their sign to the wall. Don’t want to drill into your walls? No problem, LED neon signs can also be hung using a few command strips on the back of the acrylic backboard. Traditional neon signs require an electrician to install, which further adds to the cost of the sign.


Price is a major factor for many buyers and LED neon signs are far less expensive than traditional neon signs. LED neon lights are much cheaper to buy to start with, but that is not where the savings stop. LED lights are also cheaper to power and maintain, making the overall cost of LED neon much cheaper in the long run than traditional neon which requires routine maintenance or replacements.

If you would like some help in designing the best LED neon sign for your needs, get in touch with us today!


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