LED Neon vs Glass Neon

You can’t visit downtown Nashville and not see custom neon signs everywhere. Many are true, custom glass-blown neon signs, but some are the newer, more economic LED neon signs. While both custom neon signs look very similar, there are some fundamental differences between the LED neon and traditional neon signage.

Can you identify which one below is glass neon and which one is LED neon?

LED Neon vs Glass Neon

The first pic (A) is a LED Neon sign and (B) is traditional glass neon sign.

Differences in LED Neon vs Glass Neon

There are differences between LED Neon and Glass Neon. To help understand what the LED/glass neon differences are, we’ve broken them down below: 


Glass Neon Signs

LED Neon Signs

AestheticsNothing can quite compare with the retro look of neon signs. Look no further than most of neon signs lining Broadway in NashvilleAlthough they look very similar to real neon signs and can even fool the casual bystander, the LED neon color is more concentrated and doesn’t quite have that same retro glow
CompositionHandblown glass with a specific gas for each color mounted on a variety of surfaces depending on usageLED lit in flex tubing typically mounted on an acrylic sheet
CostSince neon signs are made from handblown glass by a professional artisan, a high-quality neon sign can be pricey depending on size and complexityMuch more economical than traditional neon
MaintenanceMinimal maintenance. Electrical repairs are reasonable. However, if glass breaks, repairs can be costly.Minimal maintenance and more resilient to external forces.
IlluminationNo issues indoors; however, could face illumination issues outside in cold temperatures depending on neon colorFull intensity regardless of color or climate.
ColorsSix different gases (neon, helium argon, krypton, mercury vapor, and xenon) create traditional neon colors and those gases can be mixed to produce about 50 different colors; glass tubes can also be coloredOver 4.4 million colors
LongevityAlthough glass neon signs are fragile, if professionally crafted, encased, and installed, they can last about 10 yearsLED Neon is extremely durable in all climates and will last for decades with extremely low power consumption


At the end of the day, it really depends on the visual you want, the budget allocated, and the overall application and use of the neon sign. If you can answer those questions, we can point you in the direction you need to go. 

I do have to confess that 95% of our clients end up choosing LED neon simply because of the cost, low maintenance, low energy consumption, and visual appeal. However, don’t count glass out as it still has its rustic appeal and purpose. Just look down Broadway in Nashville and you’ll see why.

If you’re interesting in having the LED neon vs Glass Neon conversation, please contact us today and let’s chat!


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