Unless you are a diehard Film Noire fan, the controversy over LED vs neon signs in Miami does not affect you. Of course, if you are new to ordering signage for your business, you may be confused about the best light source for your markers. To make the process just a bit easier for you, our graphic artists and design technicians have put together this FAQ discussing the LED and neon question.
Q: Is it true that neon tubes contain mercury?
A: Yes, it is. Except red neon tubes, all others contain varying amounts of mercury. Since there is no uniform code for their manufacture, officials at NEWMOA warn that it is possible for each tube to contain between 250mg and about 600mg of mercury. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a mercury-free alternative.
Q: Are LEDs really the best choice for modern illumination needs?
A: Yes, they are. At this time, municipalities use them in traffic and streetlights. In business, they illuminate stadiums and billboards. Within the signage industry, LEDs provide lighting for backlit lobby signs, box cabinets and channel letters.
Q: Which light source is less maintenance intense?
A: Neon tubes require the services of a professional to refill their gases. Since this is a specialized task, you need to find a technician who has the expertise and equipment necessary to perform it. LEDs have no such maintenance issues. When they reach the ends of their useful lives, our technicians come out and simply replace them.
Q: Which light is brighter?
A: LEDs are brighter than neon tubes. This characteristic has endeared the technology to retailers who rely on illuminated signage even during the day to catch the attention of passersby.
Q: Which lasts longer, LEDs or neon tubes?
A: Assuming that the neon tubes display excellent workmanship, you should be able to get about 30,000 hours of illumination out of them. This equates to about three and a half years. LEDs come in at about 50,000 hours of lighting, which translates into almost six years. Newest models may even reach 100,000 hours, which puts their longevity at about 11.41 years.
Q: Which illumination solution is more versatile?
A: Indoor LED signs feature depths of one or two inches. Compare this to neon tubes that frequently measure three or more inches in depth. When you are ordering a backlit lobby sign or an indoor light box cabinet for a marketing message, a neon display simply will not do. By the way, did you know that you can create color changes and the illusion of movement with LEDs? Since each diode is a separate entity, you can program its on and off cycle individually. Gas-filled neon tubes simply cannot achieve this level of flexibility.
We hope that we have put to rest the controversy that pits LED vs neon signs. In Miami, members of the local business community entrust their signage lighting needs to our professionals. Contact us today for additional information on LEDs, how to use them to their fullest potential, and how to get started on your project.