Neon Lights VS Led Neon Lights: What’s the Difference - gindestarled

Neon Lights VS Led Neon Lights: What’s the Difference

Vertical bending 16x16mm led neon flex linear lights
The lighting industry is steadily growing and becoming more innovative with the introduction of new technology that offers different lighting solutions. With this, determining the right lighting option for your needs may prove to be a challenge. We’ll help make this easier by expounding more on neon lights and Led neon lights. Here’s everything you need to know:

Table of Contents

What are Neon Lights

Neon lights sign
Neon lights consist of glass tubes that contain rare neon gas or other gases. The other gases used in neon lights include: helium, argon, krypton and can be combined to work together to produce bright glowing lights.

These gases are used to emit light through the glass tube or bulb. The gases are kept under low pressure to aid in producing light for your neon signs.

How Neon Lights Work

Neon lights produce very reliable lighting for different signs applicable in various industries. Neon gas is the most preferred gas in these lights because it is easier to stabilize and work with.

Features of Neon gas

Neon gas
Source: Wikipedia
Neon gas features atoms that have a filled electron shell ensuring that the atoms don’t react with each other. The neon gas is encased in a glass tube or bulb that has electrodes on either side.

How Light is Produced

Neon gas produces light after undergoing a few steps. They include:

Ionization of Electrons

When electricity is introduced in the right voltage, the atoms in the neon gas release electrons that are separated and ionized.

Note that these electrons depend on kinetic energy to successfully separate from the atoms.

Paying attention to your electricity voltage will give you the necessary kinetic energy.

The Attraction of Charged Atoms

The positively charged atoms are then attracted to the negative terminal while the electrons are directed toward the positive terminal. This results in a complete electric circuit.

Neon lights use both direct current ( DC) which only lights up one electrode and alternate current (AC) which lights up both electrodes.

Energy Transfer

To produce the light you see, the process involved is quite easy to understand. Atoms in the glass tube hit each other as they move around which results in a transfer of energy. Some of the electrons that escape the bond with the atoms gain a higher energy state.

Release of Energy

For them to release the energy, they do this by producing light. The light produced may come in different colors depending on the energy being released and any other additional elements in the glass tube.

If neon is the only gas being used then it will produce a reddish-orange light. To produce other colors, the use of a different gas or mixture of gases will be employed. These noble gases feature different colors and characteristics.

For instance, argon lights up in a blue color, krypton in green, and helium in pink. This gives you a variety of color options for your neon lights and signs.

What are Led Neon Lights

Led neon lights are becoming the go-to lighting solution because they are easy to install and are very energy efficient. These lights come in a strip featuring light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

They come in different sizes, types, strengths, and colors which means the results will also be different. The led neon lights come in different forms including led rope lights, led strip lights, and also lights that have been formed into a certain shape or letter.

Led neon lights serve as a great lighting option especially when you’re looking for a sign. They are a perfect option given that they are durable and will save you on costs spent on energy consumption.

How Led Neon Lights Work

LEDs are substances that can conduct an electric current. They do this by using a conductor known as Indium gallium nitride (InGaN). When the atoms in the bulb lack electrons, this is called an electron-hole.

When electricity is introduced, electrons fill in the electron holes and release energy in terms of photons(light).

Since InGaN on its own has no electron holes to carry the charge, manufacturers may introduce another element like neon that comes with the necessary atoms.

This process allows for two different semiconductors in the same material. The neon helps complete the circuit for the LEDs to produce the light needed.

Differences Between Neon Lights and Led Neon Lights

Neon vs led picture

With the different conversations on which light option is better between neon lights and led neon light, it might get confusing. They both exhibit different advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of. Here are a few things that greatly differentiate these two options:

Power Consumption

Power consumption volts meter
Source: Unsplash
This is a determining factor that most people tend to pay more attention to. This is mainly because power consumption directly translates to the bills you’ll have to take care of. With this in mind, finding an energy-efficient lighting solution is the way to go.

When it comes to neon lights, they tend to take up a lot of power to help the electrons separate from the atom to produce light. If the power being used is not enough or it fluctuates, then your lights will not work.

Led neon on the other hand works with very little energy consumption. This is what makes it the best energy-efficient option. They can also withstand fluctuations in power without going off or flickering.


Application in different industries and uses is also an important aspect to pay attention to. This helps you determine which light will work for your particular needs.

Neon lights are best used for signage options. They are preferred by people mainly because of the flickering effect they have while lighting. This however only applies to those who prefer flickering.

Some want a seamless and consistent signage option. This is where led neon lights come in handy. Also, led neon lights can be used to light under cabinets, stores, automotive, and more. This makes them the most versatile option.


Installing tools
Source: Unsplash

Neon lights are made of glass tubes which makes them very fragile which means you need to be more careful and take your time while installing.

These lights are also not made to withstand any kind of harsh weather which means they are limited to indoor use. This means as you install them, you need to make sure that they are at a safe distance from any physical harm.

Installation of neon lights also takes longer because they contain gases that contribute to its light. If the glass breaks, then the light is rendered useless until it can be replaced.

Led neon lights are however very different. Their installation is quite easy and straightforward provided you follow instructions as given. They are more flexible which means they can be bent.

They are also made to be waterproof which means they can be used for both the outdoors and indoors. Working with these lights doesn’t need too much caution. The only thing you should pay attention to is the cut lines, tools provided for mixing colors, and how you bend your light.


Eco-friendly sticker
Source: Pinterest

Contributing to the safety of others and the well-being of the environment is very important. This means that investing in an eco-friendly light will be a better option.

Given that neon lights come with different gases and glass tubes, they are more prone to be of harm to the environment. This makes disposal of this kind of light when damaged very crucial.

You need to ensure that they are disposed of right to avoid injuries and introducing harmful gases to the environment.

However, when it comes to LED neon lights, you have no reason to worry about having any effects on the environment. This is mainly because they are eco friendly and feature no harmful gases.

The best part is that these lights can be recycled which helps reduce the waste introduced into the environment.



How long your lights will serve you is essential to consider. This helps you gauge your needs and determine which one works best for you.

Neon lights promise 30,000 hours of use before the lights begin having issues. On the other hand, led neon lights promise 100,000 hours of great performance and well-lit applications. Consider how long you want your lights to serve you and go with the best option.


Installation tools
Source: Unsplash

Neon lights require a lot more maintenance compared to led neon lights. The noble gases found in the glass tubes need to be replaced regularly to ensure that the lights work at their best.

You’ll also need to ensure that the phosphor covering the gasses is intact and that the glass is cleaned regularly. Led neons only need to be wiped which is not a necessity.

They come in protective silicone casings that ensure they are protected from harm. This reduces the effort exerted on maintenance.

Light Changes

Led neon flex

Once the neon lights are manufactured, changing the color they display is not possible. This means that you’ll be stuck with a sign or lights that have a specific color.

However, with Led neon lights, you have the option of controlling how the lights are displayed. The led lights come with drives that you can easily program and have them communicate with your light.

You get to control the colors, the dimming effect, brightness, and other additional features.

Design Accuracy

Zodiac sign using led neon lights
Source: Pinterest

Given the flexibility of the led neon lights, you’ll find that achieving certain designs is made easy. These lights can easily be bent to create intricate texts, logos, and also apply different fonts.

However, with neon light, the glass tubes are not as flexible. Although they can achieve the same designs, the accuracy will not be the same. Neon lights cannot achieve the same details as the Led neon lights.


Both neon lights and led neon lights are great lighting options that you should consider. The only thing you need to remember is to think about your application of the lights. This will help you make a better decision about the lights to go with.

Have a look at the differences and determine what matters most to you. Granted, led neon lights are the best choice for a variety of reasons. However, if neon lights work best for you, go ahead and invest in them. So which light do you think is better?

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