The Ultimate Neon vs LED Lights Comparison


Neon light, as the core element of advertising lighting and architectural nightscape, has always attracted people’s attention with its dazzling light.

Due to the rapid development of LED technology at the end of the last century, quickly led to the transformation and upgrading of traditional neon lights.

This makes the traditional material neon lights gradually disappear, at present can still be seen in a small number of occasions of them.

As a professional manufacturer in the field of lighting along the way, we have witnessed the whole process of upgrading from traditional neon to LED neon.

Therefore, we think it is necessary to elaborate the similarities and differences between these 2 types of products, so that you can appreciate their charm and as an important basis for purchasing reference.

Light-emitting Method

Traditional neon light: usually consists of a glass tube, electrodes and internal filling gas. It is a kind of cold cathode glow discharge tube, its light-emitting principle is filled with dilute neon gas or other rare gases in the glass tube, through the current to stimulate the gas molecules to emit light.

LED Neon Light: It is used to simulate the effect of traditional neon lights by using LED emitting diodes as the light source. The construction is LED beads soldered on a flexible PCB board, and then using silicone or PVC as the housing.

Product NamePrincipleStructureCharacteristics
Glass tube neon lightHigh Voltage Gas DischargeGlass tube, Electrode,Filling GasHigh energy consumption and maintenance costs
LED Neon LightLED (Light Emitting Diode)LED,flexible PCB,SiliconeLong life, low energy consumption and maintenance, easy installation,

Visual Effect

Traditional neon signs are formed by hot bending glass tubes, which are beautifully shaped and have an extremely classic effect. Therefore, in some historical districts or cultural attractions, their unique appearance becomes an indispensable decorative element. But in terms of color, brightness and dynamic change is relatively single.

neon light
neon sign light

LED neon signs are more colorful in visual effect. They can realize the free switching and combination of multiple colors, brightness and flashing modes through intelligent control such as DMX system.

LED neon light
led neon light

Energy Consumption

Conventional neon has a power density of 50 watts/meter, so each meter of neon will consume about 50 watts of electricity when it is working.

A conventional LED neon rope light with 122 SMD2835 beads, for example, is usually around 8-10 watts/meter, so energy consumption can be reduced by a factor of 10 with LED neon signs.

Material and Process Costs

Traditional neon lights use glass tubes, electrodes and inert gases and other materials, especially high-quality glass tubes and electrodes are very high cost of materials. While LED neon lights only need lamp beads flexible PCB and silicone products, the material cost is relatively low.

Production Process of Traditional Neon Light

On the other hand, the production process of traditional neon lights mainly includes the steps of glass tube molding, sealing electrodes, bombardment degassing, inert gas charging and sealing vent aging.

Among them, glass tube molding is an important part of the production process, which requires the staff to burn, bake and bend the straight glass tube into the required shape according to the outline of the pattern or text through the special fire head. This step requires a high level of skill from the technicians, as poor technique may lead to problems such as unevenness at the turn, too thick or too thin, and wrinkles on the inside of the tube.

The next step is to seal the electrodes, i.e., to connect the bent and shaped lamp to the electrodes and vent holes in a specific way. This step requires that the interface should not be too thin or too thick, otherwise it may lead to slow air leakage or conduction problems.

Boom degassing is another key step, the purpose is to remove harmful impurity gases inside the glass tube, if the temperature of the bombardment degassing is not enough or too high, it will affect the quality of the lamp. After completing these steps, the neon lamp also needs to be filled with appropriate inert gases and aged to complete the neon light.

Neon tube of glass
neon tube

LED Neon Light Production Process

Neon LED light production process is relatively simple, mainly involved in the packaging of LED lamp beads and welding on flexible circuit boards.

The LED lamp beads packaging technology is mature, high production efficiency. And in the flexible PCB welding SMD lamp beads this process has long been used in the SMD machine to achieve automated operation, so its production costs are relatively low.

LED neon lights carving
LED neon strip
LED neon tube


Traditional neon lights are manufactured with harmful elements such as mercury, heavy metals such as lead and non-metallic substances such as arsenic, all of which can pollute the environment and jeopardize human health.

LED neon lights, on the other hand, are made of environmentally friendly materials that contain no harmful substances and consume very little energy. Therefore, LED neon lights have a huge advantage in environmental pollution and energy consumption issues.

Traditional Neon vs LED Neon

LED Neon has significant advantages in terms of visual effect, production cost, maintenance cost, low energy consumption and sustainability. There is no doubt that LED neon signs are the perfect replacement for traditional neon lights.

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