Faux Neon Sign Guide – Features, Benefits & Pricing

Faux neon signs, often dubbed LED neon signs, are modern innovations that have gained considerable traction in recent years. LED neon signs mirror the aesthetic allure of traditional neon signs while offering significant advantages.

This detailed guide explains faux-neon, the benefits, the manufacturing process, and their cost-effectiveness.

  • Faux neon is commonly known as LED neon and is made from LED neon flex.
  • Faux neon/LED neon flex is a strip of LED lights closely embedded in a plastic malleable strip that can be molded into custom shapes and designs.
  • Faux neon is low-cost to buy, durable, safe to touch and transport, energy efficient, and long-lasting at 40,000 to 100,000 light hours.

Defining Faux Neon

A faux neon sign imitates a conventional gas neon sign using LED technology to recreate the neon visual effect. These signs have revolutionized how businesses and individuals utilize signage, introducing a more adaptable and energy-efficient alternative to traditional neon signs.

In this guide, the terms “faux-neon” and “LED neon” will be used interchangeably.

Video Example

The Evolution of Faux Neon

Since the inception of LED-based signage in the 1990s, faux neon has undergone significant development. The earliest versions were simplistic rope lights, but the recent fifth-generation faux neon represents a technological breakthrough, offering an extensive range of shapes, color variations, and even color-altering patterns.

Faux Neon vs Gas Neon

Potential buyers frequently ask what the difference between traditional glass neon and faux neon signs is. Here are the most obvious differences.

Traditional gas neon signs are:

  • Stylish and have that “classic look.”
  • Made from thin glass tubing, filled with a mix of various gases, supplied with an electric current to produce a color
  • Fragile
  • Complex to manufacture (as it requires glass tubing to be molded and rare gases)
  • Makes a buzzing noise
  • It produces quite a bit of heat, and the glass gets very hot
  • Limited range of colors, limited by gas mixes
  • High ongoing costs as electrical components often fail at higher voltages and gases need to be refilled/replaced

Faux neon signs are:

  • Very energy efficient – typically -80% electricity usage
  • Easy to mold and shape into any design
  • Cheap to manufacture – typically -50% of the price
  • Long-lasting – typically +50% light hours and years
  • Far brighter – typically +80% brighter in lumens
  • Dimmable and controllable via remote control – not possible with traditional neon signs
  • Options for multi-color, RGB LEDs, and programs to have multiple colors in the same strip – none of which traditional neons signs are capable of
  • Low voltage with most signs operating at 12v
  • Minimal heat, with signs safe to touch
  • Over 24 LED colors – popular colors are warm white, pink, red, purple, orange, and yellow
  • Low maintenance costs – LED signs have barely any ongoing costs
  • Easy to install – mount on the wall or hang from a ceiling; faux neon signs are light and easy to install
  • Precise fonts – we can trace any font, fun lettering, or art character to match the scale and design precisely

So, while these are the differences, and the faux neon option is winning in many aspects, whether you choose a faux neon or gas neon sign comes down to personal preference.

Examples of Faux Neon

Faux Neon for Business

The obvious benefits for business are that faux neon can closely match a company logo or design and is long-lasting, cheap to run, and brighter. All of these things add up to wins for commercial businesses.

Faux Neon for Personal Use

Faux neon signs are not limited to commercial usage. They are also a popular choice for home decor. Their vibrant lights and 3D appearance make a bold statement and add a distinct flair to any room. With options to dim the brightness and make no noise, a faux neon letter sign wins here, too.

The Types of Faux Neon Letters

The specific letters used in the sign can be created from one of several types of technology.

The four most common are:

  • Traditional LED Neon: This type of neon resembles traditional glass neon tubes but uses flexible LED strips for outstanding durability and energy efficiency.
  • LED Neon Flex: Consists of silicone tubes encasing LED lights, offering flexibility for shaping intricate designs.
  • Neon Rope Light: This solid plastic tube houses LED lights, typically used for straighter lines and simple shapes.
  • Dynamic Neon: Features individually addressable LED nodes, allowing for dynamic color changes and animated effects in signage.

Examples of a Faux Neon Sign

We made all of the signs shown below

Exploring LED Lights

LED lights form the central technology behind faux-neon signs. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are semiconductors that emit light when an electric current is applied. They are renowned for their efficiency, longevity, and versatility.

The Making of Faux Neon Signage

To create a faux-neon sign involves multiple steps. Initially, the desired design is drafted using a concept drawing on a computer. Subsequently, we print the design to the acrylic backboard (if necessary) and then trace out the design, characters, or lettering on the board where the light strip will go – we then cut, glue, and continue this process until the LED is carved into the required shape.

Our signs are all handmade like this. The final steps are connecting the power cables and cutting the board’s shape to the exact design. We often call this sign a custom neon sign.

The Cost of Faux Neon Signs

The cost of a sign can vary greatly, depending on its size, complexity, and materials used. LED neon signs are generally more affordable than glass neon signs, making them an excellent choice for small businesses and budget-conscious homeowners.

Video of a Faux Neon Sign

 

Identifying Faux-Neon Signs

Faux-neon signs can be challenging to differentiate from real neon signs. However, a few telltale signs exist. For instance, faux-neon signs usually use PVC or acrylic instead of glass tubes. Also, the tubing is of a faux sign mounted directly to a backboard and is cool to the touch (unlike glass neon which is hot so be careful).

Close-up Photos of Faux Custom Neon

These photos should make it easier to identify. Notice the acrylic backboard and the LED neon flex.

Conclusion

Faux-neon signs offer a cost-effective and versatile alternative to traditional neon signs. They are ideal for businesses seeking energy-efficient signage options and homeowners aiming to add a unique touch to their decor. Ultimately, no matter the apparent benefits of modern LEDs and their superior technology, the choice between buying a faux-neon sign or a traditional gas neon sign really comes down to personal preference.

If you want to create an excellent faux neon sign, please contact our team using the form below.

FAQ

What is faux neon?

  • Faux neon, commonly known as LED neon, is made from LED neon flex. Faux neon/LED neon flex is a strip of LED lights closely embedded in a plastic malleable strip that can be molded into custom shapes and designs and is commonly used in making custom neon signs. It is low-cost to buy, durable, safe to touch and transport, uses little energy, and has a long-lasting lifespan of 40,000 to 100,000 light hours.

How much does a faux neon sign cost?

  • A typical faux neon sign costs between $300 and $2000, but the price varies greatly depending on its size and complexity.

Why choose a faux neon sign instead of a traditional gas neon sign?

  • Faux neon is cheaper to buy, more affordable to power, safer, easier to use, and easier to maintain than gas neon signs.

Is there an alternative to neon?

  • Faux neon, or what is commonly called LED neon, is the modern alternative to neon.

Why is neon not popular anymore?

  • Neon is no longer popular because it is fragile, costly to make, maintain, and run, and requires rare gases.

How to make a fake neon sign?

  • The best way to make a fake neon sign is to contact a local manufacturer. If you want to make the sign yourself, you’ll need a sturdy backboard, an LED neon flex strip, a 12v power supply, a transformer, wiring, and silicone or glue. You can use these components to make your own sign.

How can you tell if a neon sign is real?

  • If the sign is made with glass tubes and the tubing is mounted on metal stands that hold it off the backboard, this is a real neon glass sign.

What is the difference between faux neon and traditional neon?

  • Faux neon is cheaper, brighter, more energy-efficient, faster to work with, low voltage, and low maintenance. Traditional neon, made from glass, is fragile and expensive to use, with higher maintenance costs.

What are fake neon signs made of?

  • Fake neon signs are created from an acrylic backboard with LED neon flex tubing mounted to the front molded into a custom shape.

Does LED neon look like real neon?

  • Yes, it is hard to tell the difference between LED neon and faux neon once made into a sign. To the untrained eye, at a distance of 12 feet, it would be hard to tell if the sign was faux or fake neon.
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Author

Christopher is our main author, with over 10 years working with businesses and consulting online.  Christopher has a deep understanding of LED lights, LED neon flex, and neon signs and how they can be best used to help business, home, and event decor.

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