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How Exactly Do LED Neon & Glass Neon Lights Differ?

At Star Neon…

customers come to us looking for high-quality custom neon signs, and a question that often arises relates to the difference between glass neon lights and their LED counterparts. It’s one we regularly have to explain – something that prompted us to create this blog so that everyone can get the lowdown on how the two differ.

Whether you’re looking for neon light signs for your office or home, both glass and LED neon lights offer an impressive and striking look. That said, there are some fundamental differences that may influence your buying decision. Before any comparisons or recommendations are made, let’s take a closer look at each type of neon light in detail.

So, What Is a Neon Light?

Traditionally speaking, neon lights (which have been around since the early 20th century) are constructed from glass tubing, with shapes and words being expertly created by an expert tube bender over a fire. Once the desired shape is achieved, it goes through a high-voltage cleaning process before being filled with a range of noble (a.k.a inert) gases.

Despite being called neon signs, they often contain inert different gases – as the inclusion of each one will result in a different colour. For instance, neon will typically result in red light, whereas argon creates light blue colouring, with various inert gases used to create the desired hue. They include:

Whether you’re looking for neon light signs for your office or home, both glass and LED neon lights offer an impressive and striking look. That said, there are some fundamental differences that may influence your buying decision. Before any comparisons or recommendations are made, let’s take a closer look at each type of neon light in detail.

They include:

Helium

Nitrogen

Krypton

Oxygen

Xenon

Once filled, the glass tube is vacuum sealed and mounted on the desired surface, emitting 360-degree light in the intended tone. As each neon sign is typically manufactured from a single tube, it’s usually necessary to paint certain areas black in order to create separation between words & pictures.

So, What Is a Neon Light?

Once filled, the glass tube is vacuum sealed and mounted on the desired surface, emitting 360-degree light in the intended tone. As each neon sign is typically manufactured from a single tube, it’s usually necessary to paint certain areas black in order to create separation between words & pictures.

Longlasting

can last up to 15 years or more

Unmistakable aesthetic

there’s nothing quite as authentic

Warmer light

the light emitted is generally warmer vs LEDs

Warmer light

the light emitted is generally warmer vs LEDs

and the drawbacks…

Can be fragile

due to being made of glass

Can be expensive

compared to LEDs

Can be heavy

making signs difficult to move/transport

Can be noisy

with an audible hum usually heard

What About LED Neon Lights?

While LED lights themselves have been around since the early 1960s, LED neon lights and signs only became commercially popular in the last 15-20 years. Known currently as LED neon Flex technology, it’s an option that replicates what traditional neon lights provide but is achieved not with inert gas but with a strip that contains many small LED lights.

It’s well known that LEDs themselves only represent individual, small points of light, so how is the uniform glow that LED neon signs produce created? Well, the magic happens when these LED lights are encased in a coloured PVC or silicone layer that diffuses the light to mimic the softer light hues you’d get from a traditional neon tube.

Acrylic Backgrounds Only

As we mentioned earlier, the traditional glass neon lights UAE businesses & residents use can be installed on a variety of background materials or even directly onto a wall. However, that’s not the case with LEDs, as they can only ever be mounted on a coloured or transparent acrylic background. LED neon is limited, but only in this regard.

That said, they do offer an array of benefits

Typically less expensive

compared to traditional glass neon options

Much less visible wiring

in between letters and images

Brighter illumination

LEDs are usually brighter than standard glass neon

Silent running

no audible hum this time, folks!

Lightweight design

no glass means they’re much lighter & easy to move/transport

Less fragile

meaning much less likely to break when moved

Typically less expensive

compared to traditional glass neon options

Much less visible wiring

in between letters and images

As is the case with any type of product, there are some drawbacks

Shorter lifespan

lasts up to 2-3 years, depending on how often they are switched on

Less Authentic

for those wanting a traditional glass neon look (although they do still look very striking and impressive).

So, Which Is Best? LED Neon Signs or Glass Neon?

As we’ve seen, both glass and LED neon signs offer their own unique benefits. Let’s now bring both sets of pros and cons together to clearly highlight the most important takeaways

Pros of Glass Neon

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

Authentic aesthetic

Produces warmer light

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

Pros of LED Neon

Less expensive

Brighter Illumination

Silent Running

Lightweight design (Easy to transport)

No visible wiring

Pros of LED Neon

Less expensive

Brighter Illumination

Silent Running

Lightweight design (Easy to transport)

No visible wiring

Pros of Glass Neon

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

Authentic aesthetic

Produces warmer light

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

Longlasting (Up to 15 Years)

On the one hand, you have the traditional glass neon sign Dubai customers use to provide an authentic, warmly lit aesthetic, and that can represent the much more expensive option.

On the other, you have LED neon light signs that are super-economical in terms of energy use, inexpensive compared to glass, but offer only around 1/5th of the operational lifespan. So, which is best for your precise needs? The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer.

Factors such as the required look, budget and purpose will go a long way to determining the correct option. It could be that you’re looking for a striking piece of home wall art that requires the inimitable feel of traditional glass neon or that you want cost-effective, eye-catching neon signage for your business. The ideal solution for each may be different.

Meeting All of Your Neon Light Needs

At Star Neon, we offer the full range of custom neon signs for both indoor and outdoor settings, both for residential and commercial customers. We’re known as one of the most innovative signage manufacturers in the UAE, and our technicians have the talent and expertise required to make your vision a reality.

We hope that our blog has provided the clarity you needed with regard to the distinct differences between traditional glass, gas-filled neon lights and their LED counterparts. To find out more about this or what sets us apart from the competition, visit us today at www.starneonuae.com or to speak to us about your needs, call 50 316 2123.