Neon vs LED Underglow – Which is Better?

Neon underglow and LED underglow lighting systems have both gained popularity among vehicle enthusiasts for their captivating aesthetic appeal and ability to make a statement on the road. However, when deciding between the two, several factors come into play. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between neon and LED underglow, covering aspects such as power consumption, light emission, lifespan, durability, installation, and price.

What is Neon?

Neon is a chemical element with the symbol “Ne” and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless in its natural state. However, when subjected to electrical discharges or high voltage, neon gas emits a distinct and vibrant orange-red glow. This unique property of neon gas led to its use in neon lighting, where glass tubes filled with neon gas are used to create luminous signs, displays, and decorative lighting. The characteristic bright and colorful glow of neon lights has made them iconic and widely recognizable in urban landscapes.

In neon lighting, a sealed glass tube is filled with neon gas, and electrodes at each end of the tube apply a high voltage electrical current. This causes the neon gas to ionize and emit light. The color of the emitted light depends on the specific gas used and any additional phosphor coatings applied to the inside of the glass tube.

What is LED?

LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode.” It is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. Unlike traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, LEDs do not rely on a heated filament or gas discharge to produce light. Instead, they work on the principle of electroluminescence, where electrons within the semiconductor material recombine with electron holes, releasing energy in the form of light.

LEDs offer several advantages over traditional lighting sources, including higher energy efficiency, longer lifespan, and greater durability. They are available in a wide range of colors and can be used for various applications, from lighting up electronic devices and indicators to illuminating spaces, vehicles, and architectural features. LED technology has rapidly advanced over the years, leading to innovations such as RGB LEDs that can produce a wide spectrum of colors, making them popular choices for decorative lighting, underglow kits, displays, and more.

In summary, neon is a noble gas that emits a characteristic glow when electricity passes through it, often used in neon lighting for signs and displays. LEDs, on the other hand, are semiconductor devices that emit light when current flows through them, offering energy-efficient and versatile lighting solutions for a multitude of applications.

Neon vs LED Underglow Light

Power Consumption:

One of the significant differences between neon and LED underglow is their power consumption. LED lights are known for their energy efficiency, consuming considerably less power than neon lights. This efficiency translates to less strain on your vehicle’s electrical system and a reduced load on the battery. Neon lights, on the other hand, require higher power levels to emit the same level of brightness as LEDs.

Light Emission:

Both neon and LED underglow offer vibrant and attention-grabbing colors, but LEDs often provide a more intense and focused light emission. LED lights emit a strong, direct light, while neon lights create a softer, diffused glow. The choice between the two depends on the desired visual effect and personal preference.


LED underglow lights have a clear advantage when it comes to lifespan. LEDs are known for their longevity, often lasting tens of thousands of hours. Neon lights, while durable, tend to have a shorter lifespan due to the nature of the gases and materials used in their construction. Review our state underglow laws before using it!


In terms of durability, LEDs are again the winners. LEDs are solid-state components, making them more resistant to vibration, impacts, and environmental factors. Neon tubes are fragile and can be prone to breakage, especially in challenging driving conditions.


LED underglow lights are generally easier to install compared to neon lights. LEDs are compact and flexible, allowing for various mounting options. Neon tubes, being more rigid, might require more precise placement and more complex installation procedures.


When it comes to cost, neon underglow lights tend to be more budget-friendly initially. However, it’s important to consider the long-term cost, including replacement and maintenance. LEDs may have a higher upfront cost, but their energy efficiency and longer lifespan can lead to cost savings over time.


Choosing between neon and LED underglow depends on your priorities, preferences, and budget. LED lights offer energy efficiency, durability, and longevity, while neon lights provide a softer and more classic aesthetic. Consider factors like power consumption, light emission, lifespan, durability, installation, and price to make an informed decision that suits your vehicle and personal style. Whether you opt for the bold and vibrant LED lights or the timeless charm of neon, both options allow you to enhance your vehicle’s appearance and turn heads wherever you go.

You must check : Idaho Neon Underglow Laws | Georgia Neon Underglow Laws | Delaware Neon Underglow Laws

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