No matter what kind of business you have, a bright, high-quality, custom neon sign or LED sign is a good investment. A custom sign can be a powerful and professional way to promote products, brand your business, and add color to your storefront.
But not all neon and LED neon signs are created equal. Sign companies can offer a wide variety of quality and costs.
These are the two essential elements that sign owners must remember:
- It should shine brightly enough to be visible at night as well as during the day. It is important to take advantage of daylight hours as they represent the majority of business hours.
- It should last at least a year. An only temporary sign can be costly and time-consuming for business owners.
A high-quality sign is a worthwhile investment, even though the price tag can seem intimidating. Many of our customers have reported that their SpellBrite sign was paid for in just a few days or even weeks. A high-quality sign will make a positive impression on your business. It can be visible to customers 24 hours per day, every day, for 10 years. This is in contrast to a lower-quality sign that doesn’t work or breaks too quickly, or that has poor appearances that reflect poorly on your company. A business sign that isn’t up to the task will cost hundreds of dollars.
How to identify quality indicators
There are tens of thousands of sign companies and retailers out there claiming to have the best signs. It can be difficult to determine which ones are selling quality products that will last and which are frauds. Signs that aren’t certified or tested for quality can be dangerous. You could end up spending a lot of money on poor-quality signs. This is especially true for sellers selling on third-party sites such as Amazon and Etsy. Signs run on electricity so this is more than a matter of how long they will last. It can also pose safety concerns for both you and your customers.
It can be helpful to know what to look out for when purchasing a custom LED or neon sign. Here’s a complete guide on how to investigate and research the quality of signs to ensure you get the best value for your money. These tips and tricks will guide you to a lasting sign that will be attractive to new customers and increase sales.
This is not the place to go if you want a bright sign
Edge-lit signs are best avoided if brightness is important to you. Edge-lit signs are exactly what their name implies: A piece of clear acrylic or glass that has been etched with a message, or image. An LED or other light source is placed on the acrylic or glass edge to illuminate the etching. These signs can be very attractive and inexpensive. They are also useful in certain interior applications that have low light. But, even the best edge-lit signs don’t emit much light. Edge-lit signs are not meant to be displayed in windows shouting messages to potential customers. An edge-lit sign will not be bright enough to attract customers if you’re looking for a bright sign.
Product Certifications, Safety, Quality & Safety
The quality of a sign is determined by its technical design, components, and manufacturing process. If you take shortcuts in any of these, your sign will disappoint over time or be poor quality. A manufacturer might use cheaper LEDs to reduce costs but “overdrive” them to make them very bright at first. Overdriving LEDs can significantly reduce their lifespan. While the sign might look great when it is first turned on, LEDs will soon start to dim and your sign won’t be bright enough for anyone’s notice.
Sign manufacturers that produce durable, high-quality signs will be able to afford certification (generally the UL certification in America and the CE certification in Europe). Obtaining UL certifications and other certifications for a well-made product is easy. A UL rating does not guarantee high quality but it should be viewed as a warning sign.
These certifications not only show the quality of a sign but also confirm its safety. Safety ratings are used to regulate the presence of neon and LED neon signs on the market. If a sign company meets or exceeds the requirements for certifications, it will usually publish this information on its website. You can always contact the seller directly to ask about these ratings if you don’t see them explicitly. If they are legitimate, they should be able and willing to answer your questions.
What is a UL rating?
Notice a small “UL” enclosed within a circle on your sign.
This means that UL or the Underwriters Labs have evaluated the product to ensure it meets or exceeds their standards for electrical and fire safety. The UL rating can be used in the United States. This is another indication that the product has been tested for safety and function by a trusted source.
It is important to remember that UL can only issue a UL certificate to a company. UL does not have the right to approve or reject a product’s production. Only governmental agencies such as the FDA can legally stop production based on their research. However, even these agencies might incorporate UL testing in their assessments.
Many certifications fall under the umbrella of “UL”. When checking safety regulations for your sign, it is important to make sure that it is UL-listed. UL-listed products will be able to display a UL label (see below). The UL label is awarded to products that have been tested by the Underwriter’s Laboratory to ensure they meet or exceed national safety and sustainability standards. A UL listing confirms that the sign is free from ” reasonable” fire risk.
UL Ratings should be applied to both the product and power supply.
A sign that does not have a UL rating doesn’t necessarily indicate it is unsafe. Different certifications may be used by different companies to accomplish the same goal. For example, the CE certification is discussed below. UL certifications are most commonly used for lighting fixtures. This includes neon signs and LED lighting fixtures. However, ETL labels (Electrical Testing Labs), are also recognized as a national mark of safety or quality. Another recognized mark of safety and quality is the CSA (Canadian Standards Association), which is also recognized in the USA and elsewhere.
The UL label does not necessarily mean that the sign is safe. Companies may alter the UL listing of a sign. Signs will often have multiple electrical components. Each component must be certified separately to ensure that the entire system is UL listed.
Is your entire sign UL-rated?
Sometimes companies will claim that the sign is “UL rated”, but the power supply and not the sign itself are UL listed. Always verify that the sign has a UL listing, not only its adapter or power cord. For example, the sign (left) as well as the power cord (right), are UL-certified, and both have the UL label.
You can search quickly and easily the company name in UL’s database to determine if a sign has been rated UL. This database contains every manufactured product that has been certified UL. You can use this database to verify the claims of sign companies and make sure your sign is safe. The UL database also shows which products were manufactured by the company. If the sign is not listed, but only the power supply, it means that the power supply has been listed.
What is a CE rating?
You might notice a CE label on your LED neon sign if you pay attention. This can have two meanings, so it is important to know which one applies to your product before you purchase.
How do you distinguish the “CE” marks? As shown in the above image, consider the distance between the C- and E.
The left-hand “CE” rating stands for Conformite Europeenne or European Conformity. It is the European equivalent of a UL rating. Congratulations if you see this mark. This product meets all EU safety and health requirements. This certification is required for certain products that are sold within the European Economic Area. Although the CE rating does not automatically indicate a high-quality sign or product, it does mean that the product has been validated as safe to use by reputable sources.
However, there is another type of “CE” mark that is very similar to but not a standard for quality. The “CE” symbol stands for “China Export” and is used by Chinese manufacturers to indicate the country of origin. It’s similar to “MADE IN THE U.S.A.” labeling on some clothing brands. As you can see, the two “CE” logos are very similar. It is easy to mistake one for another.
Although signs and other products bearing the CE label “China Export” can be of high quality and have passed other regulatory certifications and are often certified as such, the label “China Export”, which is not required to undergo any quality control or safety testing, cannot be considered a sign that a product is a quality.
Are you unsure if a company has CE certification? Ask them! Ask them!
Is the neon-LED sign safe or unsafe?
Sign companies are likely to claim their signs are safe, regardless of whether it is true. This is a key selling point. Businesses are more concerned about a safe sign than a visible one. It makes sense to include it.
The UL and other similar organizations are responsible for certifying sign safety. A sign company telling you their sign is safe does not necessarily mean it is. Especially if they do not list or cannot prove specific certifications.
You shouldn’t assume that a sign will be safe until you have seen the safety rating, such as those shown above.
What is an IP rating? What is an IP Rating?
Although outdoor signage can drive traffic to your business and attract new customers, it can be difficult to find neon or LED signs that can withstand all weather conditions. Ingress Protection (IP), ratings are important if you want to find outdoor signs. IP ratings are used to verify the waterproof abilities of electronic devices, such as lights.
IP numbers indicate how well a product prevents other things from getting into it. These quality ratings are based on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). They are composed of two single-digit numbers. The protection against solids like pollen or dust is indicated by the first digit, which can go up to a maximum of 6; protection against liquids is indicated by the second digit, which can go up to a maximum of 8.
The most common IP rating for waterproofing is:
IP65 Signs with this rating were tested using a water jet like a hose and have waterproofing protection of 3 minutes.
IP66 – Signs with this rating can repel water for up to 3 minutes from a strong jet stream.
IP67 – Signs with this rating can be submerged in water for up to 30 mins.
IP68 Signs with this rating have a high level of protection according to the IP scale. These products are completely protected against solid particles and can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. Apple claims that the iPhone 13 IP-68 rated can be submerged in water up to 6m for 30 minutes.
You may see multiple IP ratings for a product. This means that the product protects against particles in multiple ways. If you see a product that has both an IP 65 rating and an IP68 rating, it will withstand submersion as well as water jets.
The signage is not waterproof. Signs’ performance can be affected by weather conditions, such as hot and humid Florida or freezing Minnesota snowstorms. You should confirm with the sign company if you intend to use a neon sign or LED sign outdoors.
Is the price right?
Everyone loves to save money. Low prices should be a warning sign when it comes to signage and lighting solutions. Although a sign may be very affordable, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should not buy it or that it is defective. However, it does indicate that you need to exercise caution.
A high-quality LED sign costs around $150-200. It can go up to $1000 depending on its size and type. A custom neon sign can cost up to $4000 and will have a higher upfront cost (closer to $300-400 for stock signs). Sign companies may offer discounts on high-quality items, or stock items at a slightly lower price when they are trying to sell excess inventory.
Are the Prices Misleading?
Sign companies may also mislead customers about their pricing, especially on third-party sites like Etsy. You’ll find many sellers selling custom neon signs for as low as $20 on Etsy if you search for “custom neon signage”. These signs are only 10cm in length, so take a closer look. These signs can sometimes conceal additional costs or upcharges. It’s why it’s so important to carefully read the fine print. Sellers may use low prices as “downpayments” to get more expensive signs or charge hidden fees at the checkout.
A 10cm sign for a very low price may be just what you are looking for, but it won’t work well for most business purposes.
Keep this in mind when you see signs that are “high-quality” at a fraction of the price ($50 or less), it’s a sign you should be wary of. These solutions are often not safe, don’t look bright, and don’t last long.
A return policy can be very telling
A company’s return policy is a sign that they make quality signs. Can you return a sign if it does not meet your requirements or is of poor quality? This is especially important because customers often see their sign for the first time after purchasing it.
Some companies will allow returns. Most companies will accept returns for stock signs but not custom signs. Some companies will not accept returns on stock signs, while others will repair or replace any signage that was damaged during shipping. Some companies don’t even state their return policy. If you can locate their return policy (or lack thereof) if the company is legitimate. You can see our 30-day return policy here.
What is the warranty?
If applicable, the company’s website should clearly state the warranty. Manufacturers often do not mention their warranty. Some manufacturers may offer a 1-year warranty, but this will depend on the issue. Some warranties are longer and sound wonderful, but you should read the fine print. Before you make a purchase, be sure to check the length of the warranty and the coverage. SpellBrite offers an automatic one-year warranty and a three-year extended warranty with product registration. This can be found.
Keep an eye out for possible scams
It can be difficult to tell if a neon or LED sign company will offer you a high-quality, long-lasting product or a low-quality, dim alternative. Here are some tips to help you avoid falling for scams. We’ll show you what to look for when purchasing custom signs from someone you aren’t sure of.
Information for Companies
What is the average length of time that the company has been in operation? There should be plenty of information online about companies that have been in business for many decades. Many new businesses won’t be able to indicate how long they have been around. It is difficult to determine if the signs are of high quality or how long they will be lasting.
Is the company an Better Business Bureau-accredited business? Although not all legitimate businesses register with the BBB (Better Business Bureau), the BBB will often keep records of any problematic transactions. This can help you confirm the authenticity of the business.
Is there a website for the company? The website of a company can tell you if it’s legitimate or fraudulent. Although not all legitimate businesses have websites, they can help put your mind at ease.
If your company has a website
- Is the company listed with their phone number? Do they have a phone number?
- What payment methods does the company accept? Credit cards are safer and make it easier for you to get a refund in case of fraud. However, some companies require that payment be made in cash or envelopes mailed to a particular address.
- What are the website’s design and grammar like? Is there a section that looks very undeveloped or has serious programming mistakes? Many legitimate businesses, particularly small ones, may have poor website design. Most legitimate e-commerce businesses will invest in websites that accurately reflect their brand and products.
Is the company on social media? Businesses of all types, including restaurants and physical stores, are increasingly relying on a digital presence. Social media can make it difficult to determine a business’s legitimacy or quality. However, social media does provide great insight into a business’s values.
A red flag is displayed if the company does not have any Social Media, particularly if they do not have a website. This exception would only apply to small businesses, such as a shop selling crocheted animals on Etsy. You should expect to see social media and a website if the business is large or established.
Responsive to negative feedback
You can scroll through the posts of the company’s social media accounts to learn more about them. Is the company responds to negative feedback? Is the company responsive to potential customers’ concerns on social media? Do not click the link in the bio if you suspect the company is not legit. Open a new tab, and Google the company name.
Search Appearance for Third-Party Sellers
E-commerce platforms work hard to ensure that products are rated fairly and that companies don’t pay for reviews. However, many reviews aren’t as fair, and some companies fall through the cracks. We will be looking at Amazon, the e-commerce giant.
It is important to remember that Amazon sellers are now selling directly from Chinese sellers. Safety ratings and certifications are now more difficult to verify or obtain. These sellers protect their US interests by creating ” ” brands. They combine a string number to create a unique brand name for the company. The company may be located in China if you see JHTKLWOII as a brand name on Amazon. This means the product does not meet the same safety standards as products made in the United States. If you want to confirm the location of a company, follow these steps. You can also search their website or social media. Or contact their customer service number.
Amazon Search for Placement
Also, Amazon reviews can be very informative. Despite Amazon’s efforts to reduce the number of reviews purchased, many companies still purchase positive reviews. Some companies will purchase negative reviews from other companies, which can compromise the legitimacy of many negative reviews. Are these signs legitimately rated? Are they accompanied by photos? Do they come with pictures?
The most helpful reviews are often the ones with 3 or 4 stars. These reviews are more likely to be genuine, honest reviews from paying customers. It is highly unlikely that all reviews given by sellers with 500+ reviews and a rating of 4.98 are genuine. Mid-range customers often leave more balanced feedback which gives you a better idea of the company’s weaknesses. Are they offering great customer service but a poor product? False advertising about shipping times These reviews of 3-4 stars will tell you.
Review by another third-party
When determining whether a company’s legitimate or not, third-party reviews are a great way to check. Even though both the company and its competitors may manipulate them, common sense can help you to read between the lines.
You can first search for “[company name] scam” and “is [company] legitimate.” The top results will link back to ScamRisk’s rating of the company.
Sitejabber Trustpilot, Sitejabber Google Reviews, Yelp, or Facebook Reviews are all good places to look for them. Although these reviews are usually brief and concise, they often provide more information. You can gain insight from past customers to see if the product is right for you. It is always a good sign to see returning customers leaving multiple reviews.
Bright signs can help increase sales for your business. A quality bright sign will increase your sales for many years and provide you with peace of mind. We trust you find our suggestions useful. None of these strategies can prove that a sign’s brightness, durability, or quality are all 100% accurate. You can use all of them together to determine if the sign is right for you. This includes looking for product certifications, checking for return and warranty policies, reviewing the content on company websites and social media, and looking into third-party review platforms.
We’d be happy to supply you with a high-quality sign. We have decades of expertise in the signage and lighting industries and are happy to arrange a consultation. We are available at email@example.com, or (312 575 9620) and will help you determine the best solution for you.