Neon or LED Signs for Your Bar?

Bar owners and managers face plenty of difficult decisions, so what type of advertisement sign they use probably isn't at the top of their list. But choosing the right sign in the beginning is important because it absolutely can affect your bottom line. So here are some considerations to make when choosing between neon or LED signs. First of all, check your local laws. With outdoor or window advertising, you may not even have a choice. Often property managers and local laws lean toward using LEDs, so your decision between neon and LED may already be made for you. Neon signs are gas-filled glass tubes that give off beautiful bright light. They stand out incredibly at night, especially red, white, or yellow-lettered ones. When uncovered, neon signs are brighter and typically are considered to stand out better than LEDs. The downsides are that neons burn more electricity and they don't stand up as well in winter (depending on the temperatures and how the sign is made and installed). Neons are not as durable as their counterpart either.

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED is a lower voltage compact system that is generally easier to maintain and uses less electricity. LEDs are considered to be better overall than neon because they provide the best long term cost savings. They are also more durable and operate at lower temperatures. LED Flex and Neon-Flex are newer kinds of LED lights that are said to save up to 70-80% of energy costs when compared to neon. They are housed in flexible plastic and can be bent or cut. They are lower temperature, are almost or as bright as neon (depending on color and other factors), and are very durable. Also noteworthy is that as LEDs are taking over many aspects of lighting, neon signs are being considered vintage and are becoming collectibles.

LEDs are becoming more mainstream. Traditional neon is said to use roughly 2-3 times the wattage per linear foot, though neon advocates maintain that you get more for your money with the extra light output. Depending on the size of your business and how much light you're using, some claim you could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year by using LED; however, the savings may not be worth it to you if your sign is too dim and it draws in less customers. There is conflicting information and LED technology is always changing, so I recommend comparison shopping between different brands. Seek out the voltage numbers and compare brightness. Ask different sign companies who manufacture both neon and LED what would be better for your needs. If the brightness of the LEDs satisfied me I'd probably go with them. But if the sign wasn't bright enough, I wouldn't be comfortable skimping. Also consider decor. There is a noticable difference between LED and neon bar signs and secondary lighting and the overall brightness of the room will come into play. Believe it or not, both neon and LED have staunch supporters and reasons for choosing the signs they do. As with most of your future business decisions, ultimately the choice is up to you.

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