Facts About Neon

Locomocean have been making lighting products for 30 years and now specialise in the art of designing and manufacturing neon signs.
Becoming one of the leading producers of handmade glass neon signs in the universe with a catalogue of over 300 products. We’re focused on being able to offer the coolest and most authentic, quality neon at an affordable price.

With the rise of LED Flex signs in recent years there has been a lot of misinformation circulated about glass neon and we would like to put the record straight and outline the facts and differences in quality & craftmanship between neon and LED.


Making Neon Signs By Hand

What's special about Locomocean neons?

Our sign signs are low wattage - 12 – 24W. That’s the same as most household bulbs! This is important for a few reasons:

  • Makes it much safer as the neon does not require high voltage so does not get hot and doesn't make any annoying humming noise.
  • Low voltage means low cost! Long lasting lighting and very energy efficient. To have a Locomocean neon on for 70 hours a week will cost roughly 20p!

Neon signs are made from glass tubes. If its not made from glass, its not a neon sign!

What is the difference between neon and LED?

Neon is made by hand from the traditional technique of glass blowing. Each design is expertly bent and blown into shape by a skilled craftsman by heating glass tubing over a very hot flame.

Through this traditional process of shaping the design by eye and manually moulding the glass you get a light that is unique and special.

Check out our full step to step process on making a neon sign here.

LED signs. What’s the difference?

They may look similar to some people, but they are actually very different. Unlike the highly skilled craft of neon sign making we outlined above, LED flex signs are made from light emitting diodes which are mounted onto a strip and covered with PVC or silicone sleeve. The process is much easier, cheaper and generally a lower quality. LED flex signs are less energy efficient and will not last as long, making them less sustainable. The majority of LED signs are not a 360-degree light source, so you do not get the same glow and reflection of light. It is usually harsher light and lacks the same unique neon feel.

Due to real glass neon signs being so special and of a premium quality many LED flex signs are inaccurately labelled as neon signs but without being made of glass and not having neon or argon gas inside then are not neon and are only a cheap imitation

Does neon get hot to the touch?

Typically, neon signs in the past had a high current running through them and would be hot to the touch but this is rarely the case these days and is never the case with Locomocean neon!

Locomocean neon are special because they are always low voltage, never running more that 1amp per circuit so the glass never gets hot and the neon is cheap to run.

What is the life expectancy of neon signs?

We guarantee all our neon for 2 years.The minimum life expectancy of neon is 50,000 hours. This is equivalent to 5 years, 8 months if left on constantly! Obviously if kept on for a few hours a day it will last considerably longer.

Is neon affected by being switched on and off?

No, switching neon on and off makes no significant difference to its life span.

Do neon signs explode?

No, they do notNeon signs are manufactured under a vacuum and have an air pressure of around 25 millbars which is below standard air pressure.

So, if neon tube is to break it technically implodes but this isn’t a dramatic event and usually is unnoticeable.

Is neon expensive?

No, not for a custom, handmade product. Neon sign making is a hand-made product that involves a highly skilled craftsman, bending and shaping glass over a flame. A technique that takes years to master. The entire process has numerous steps (see our Step to Step Guide for more details.) Meaning each sign can take days to make from start to finish.

When you consider the amount of time and expertise that goes into the manufacture of a neon sign, along with the life expectancy it is not an expensive product.

Does neon use a lot of power and how much does it cost?

Cost is dependent on the size of the sign and the diameter of the tubing. At Locomocean we only use 6mm & 8mm tubing and have set sized signs so our neon products average at a low 0.5 – 1Amp (6 – 12W). Running a Locomocean neon is similar to any household lightbulb and is lower than most electrical appliances.

If we were to look at a cost for running one of our neon signs for 10 hours per day at the current cost for electric per kWh in UK (2024).

12 watts/ 1000 = 0.012kWh

0.012kWh x 10 hours per day = 0.12kWh

0.12kWh x 365 days =4.38kWh

4.38kWh x 25.26p (current cost for electricity per kWh in UK 2024) = 110.63/ 100 = £11.06

That’s 20p a week for being on for 10 hours a day!

Can neon signs be recycled?

Yes, neon signs can be recycled the same way as fluorescent lamps. Every component of our neon signs from the glass tubing to the electricals and acrylic can be recycled or disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.