When it comes to illuminated signage for your business, you have three main choices: neon, fluorescent, or LED. Both neon and fluorescent signs have a long history and have proven themselves reliable, yet lately LEDs have gained attention for their colorful and creative displays.
So, what type of sign should you choose? Well, although a city street lit with the warm glow of neon certainly has a nostalgic appeal, we think LED is the lighting of the future. Consider these benefits to see if it’s right for your business.
1. Long Life
Quality LEDs can last as long as 50,000 to 100,000 hours, which is a full 3 to 6 years longer than fluorescent and neon. Not only do they outlast other bulbs, but because they don’t have any gases that can leak out and cause dimness, they also maintain a better level of brightness throughout their lifespans.
2. Eye-catching Brightness
One of the main things distinguishing LED signs apart from other signs is their striking brightness. LED technology is unique in that it produces a brilliant, yet clear light that is easy to read both close up and from a distance. Also, it stands out boldly in the night and is even intense enough to see when the sun’s shining. This means that no matter what time of day, and regardless of whether your customers are walking or driving past, they can get a clear impression of your sign’s message or logo.
3. Better Appearance (more impressive to customers)
If you’ve ever owned a neon or fluorescent sign, you know it can sometimes feel like a constant battle keeping the sign fully lit and with consistent brightness. Inevitably it seems like one or more lights always needs replacing or is dimmer than the rest of the sign. This can pose a problem, since a dim, or half-lit sign sends a poor message about your business, and leads customers to believe you’re not conscientious.
LEDs eliminate much of this problem, because their long life and efficient technology keeps them illuminated far longer and more uniform than traditional lights.
4. Environmentally Friendly
Typical LED signs use only around 10 watts of power, which is around 80% less energy than neon systems. This lower power requirement results in less strain on the environment, helps you adhere to stricter energy standards, and makes a significant reduction in your lighting costs. Also, unlike neon and fluorescent lights, LEDs don’t have any toxic gases like mercury or argon and are “cleanly” recycled.
Furthermore, LEDs put off much less heat than other bulbs, so if your sign is indoors, you don’t have to worry about it warming up your rooms and driving up the air conditioning bill.
5. Low Maintenance
Considering their long lifespans, even brightness, and efficiency, it’s easy to understand why LED signs have far fewer maintenance demands than other systems. LEDs don’t contain any gasses or glass tubes, (which often leak or break), they’re easy to clean (no hot or fragile tubes to deal with), and they essentially never burn out. They work well in outdoor applications and don’t need significant protection from the elements (unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs). However, there are “waterproof” LED systems for extremely wet or humid areas.
Ultimately, their simplicity and ruggedness make them a breeze to install and a headache free investment.
As mentioned, LEDs don’t have any tubes, which means manufacturers can make them much thinner in size. For instance, a basic neon sign is usually 3- to 5-inches thick, whereas a LED sign can be as little as 1-inch thick. This smaller size often results in lower shipping and installation costs, and a smaller footprint is also helpful if you’re working in a tight space or want to have less weight on your business’ windows or walls.
7. Greater Signage Options
With LEDs you can use virtually any combination of lights and create all types of movement, digital flashes, color changes, and animations. This versatility is simply not possible with neon and fluorescent signs. LEDs are composed of multiple, separate lights (not long glass tubes) and can be programmed to flash, fade, or light up independently. This flexibility makes it possible to show off your business’ distinctive logo or to display any other type of attention-grabbing image.
LED and neon signs are fairly comparable in price, so your ultimate decision will likely come down to what you want to get from your sign. If you’re looking for a sign to stand out from the crowd and get noticed — all while saving you energy and maintenance — there’s nothing that can top LED.