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by Sophia Connelly September 16, 2021 6 min read

Neon glass lights have been used commercially for around 100 years, making them a novelty of speakeasies, discos, and modern-day taverns.

They tend to give a nostalgic feel, allowing the viewers to enjoy their presence.

This allows for good marketing.

Neon glass lights are used in the outdoors for their versatility, whereas LED lights are used indoors for their impressive nature.

Both allow for artistic decorations, neon lights providing bright light that’s unmistakable in helping a space to glow with invitation.

LEDs provide a steady source of uniform light that helps bring a bit of cheer.

Video game setup with neon led lights

What Are Neon LED lights?

Light-emitted diodes, or LEDs, function as a light source, similar to how glass lightbulbs do.

These diodes release energy in the form of light.

Variations in the diodes themselves may alter the appearance of the LED lights, changing their color to suit a customer’s tastes.

True LED lights, meaning well-formed ones of a certain quality, are manufactured to generate a soft light that remains uniform throughout.

This remains in contrast to some forms of lightbulbs, which tend to generate a brighter bit of light at a certain point, filtering the rest out through the glass.

In other words, they accept different levels of light filtering and therefore create different ambiances.

What Exactly Are Neon Lights?

Neon lights are, in layman’s terms, lights that emit a specific color frequency that humans tend to think of as being “bright” or as “popping”.

However, the term ‘neon’ actually refers to the substance used in the original neon light bulbs, which is neon gas.

Neon is the 10th element in the periodic table, housing 10 protons within the atom’s nucleus.

It’s also one of the noble gases, meaning its ‘natural’ state is gaseous.

It has a low chemical reactivity, making it perfect for working alongside other ingredients in manufacturing.

Neon lights are created with neon gas, which tends to give off bursts of bright light rather than one endless, bright showing.

They’re typically the lights shown in signs on video games, or rather the games are attempting to emulate the old signs with their flickering logos.

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How Do Neon Lights Work?

Neon lights function by, essentially, trapping neon gas within glass tubes, then applying electricity.

This electricity within the neon tubes causes the atoms to react, creating bursts of light that tend to be steady enough for human eyes to see it as a stream of light.

1 - Gas

Traditional neon signs, when manufactured by professionals, tend to be created to be sold or adding ambiance.

They may even be turned into works of art.

The bright color of a neon sign is ideal for artistic renditions.

This is especially true in places around the world, such as Tokyo and Times Square.

Both are known for their bright, traditional neon signs.

Times Square is lined with storefronts marketing using neon signs.

The visible light is generally in a range of colors, making the displays fun.

The neon lamps are a known staple of New York City.

Within Tokyo, neon lamps are bright, and neon displays are a marketing strategy.

Traditional glass tube neon lights are widely accepted.

2 - Glass

Neon atoms sit together within the neon tube.

The neon atom is naturally stable, so this typically causes no issues without an outside source or development.

When the atoms are heated up, the electrons react to the heat, as they do.

This electric current greets the neon tube on either side.

One connects to the positive terminal on one end of the tube, the other connects to the negative terminal.

A neon atom within the tube may begin to heat up.

This electrical current causes the electrons to move rapidly, which tends to produce an output.

In neon gasses, this output is in the form of light which human eyes can detect.

Typically, the color is somewhere ranging from red to orange.

However, the addition of other gasses, and their electrons, means that other light sources may be created.

Neon gas is used as a base for traditional, glass neon lights.

This is because it tends to be one of the steadier noble gases, meaning it’s slightly less likely, and this is tentatively said, to blow up when electricity is applied to it regularly.

Of course, most of us have probably seen a neon sign get destroyed within the realm of a video game, so we have an idea of it flickering out rather than bursting into flames.

Other gasses would be more dangerous when used and tend to be less stable.

In addition, Neon is relatively inexpensive, so manufacturing with the gas is safe, reliable, and cost-efficient.

3 - Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights involve electricity coming into contact with mercury, a dangerous poison that’s incredibly useful within scientific communities.

The reaction emits fluorescent light, in the form of a steady glow that appears brighter in one specific area.

These lights tend to use less electricity than a neon glass lamp, more than an LED light, but produce a glow that can light up a room.

They’re a favorite for housing.

Fluorescent lamps tend to be used in most sitting rooms in a house, including a living room and a bedroom.

They light up the space enough that people can see each other and whatever they may be working on.

Fluorescent tubes produce a hefty amount of light, which may be traditionally set up in a basement or workstation.

However, they do use a lot of electricity to do so, but the light is steady so this trade-off is sometimes worth the cost.

A gamer setup with led neon lights

How Colors Are Produced?

The colors in neon lights are produced readily.

Different gaseous combinations are used to form different neon lights colors, including green, pink, or blue.

Other times, the glass is simply painted to allow the glow to appear different, although this may dim the light.

In some cases, this becomes a highly respectable work of art, with the dim light seeping through adding to the ambiance of the piece.

Blue light may be used to give a room readily available ambiance, adding a sense of luxury.

Other forms of neon lighting can set the tone for a room’s decoration.

Think about a pub with a specified color scheme attached.

LED neon signs are beginning to be used indoors, though mostly in private spaces.

They allow for the feeling of traditional use, with the cost-effective functionality of LED lighting.

They’re very energy efficient.

Switching To LEDs

With all the ease of using a traditional neon light, why switch to LEDs?

Neon gas is relatively stable, easy to manufacture, and cost-effective.

Well, LED lights can easily be mass-produced.

They tend to have smaller parts, making them easier to be used in many settings, and they tend to have a better reputation than neon lights for being used in close contact with humans.

For instance, LED lights are traditionally inlaid to computers and glowing headsets, meaning they’re very very close to humans, without there being a fear of potential burns or other types of harm.

This type of customer satisfaction and trust is essential in the business world.

Consumers want LED lights because they’re useful to them.

In addition, LED lights can be used for tiny, tiny projects, meaning they can even be set up on keychains to make happy, glowing faces.

While neon glass lights are impressive works of art on a wall, customers also enjoy the LED lights for their versatility.

Lastly, the LED lights tend to consume a low amount of electricity.

This saves energy, making consumers happy and making them feel better about using electricity.

That being said, neon lights have a brighter glow, so using LED lights to see by may cost more in the long run, not to mention take up a lot of space.

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Neon and LED lights both have exceptionally good marketing abilities.

Neon glass lights are considered to be more traditional, flowing exceptionally well within grocery store windows, alongside pub walls, and overhead subways.

They’re bright so that even in low visibility weather conditions, their light can be seen.

In addition, they’re cost-effective considering their size, and they’re durable in the outdoors.

LED lights on the other hand are ideal for gaming room setups, headsets, and keyboards.

They’re well suited for small environments, and cheery faces greeting consumers when they turn on a lamp on their desk.

They’re extremely cost-efficient, giving a bedroom a warm glow that helps to make relaxation easy and affordable.

Sophia Connelly
Sophia Connelly

Sophia Connelly is a columnist for Dubsnatch. She studies Psychology and is an avid gamer in her free time. Diablo III and Horizon Dawn are her favorite getaways.

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