Whether it’s the flashing “Open 24 Hours” of an all-night diner or the glowing image of a cocktail glass in the window of a corner bar, the bright flicker and soft buzz make neon signs an iconic piece of Americana. A neon sign can also make a striking addition to a home bar.
Models suitable for home use feature some of the same popular designs and bright fluorescent colors of commercial versions, while others allow the home barkeep to personalize a sign with custom words and phrases. Many utilize the authentic neon and glass tubing of their larger counterparts, but versatile, more durable LED lights that can change colors on the fly are also available. If your basic bar could use a little extra flair, read on to learn more about the best neon signs for the home bar—and why the models listed here are some of the best neon signs on the market. Cheers!
- BEST OVERALL: ADVPRO p-tm-b Name Personalized Home Bar Neon Sign
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Funpeny LED Neon Decorative Light, Neon Sign
- BEST LETTERS: Obrecis Light Up Letters Neon Signs, Pink Marquee
- BEST COCKTAIL: Diyida Cocktails & Palm LED Neon Light
- BEST TABLETOP: XIYUNTE Flamingo Light Neon Signs USB or Battery LED
- ALSO CONSIDER: JadeToad Custom Led Neon Light Signs
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Neon Signs
While color and design are important when choosing a neon sign, keep in mind other features, including size, material, design, color, and mounting system. Ahead, learn more about these characteristics.
For commercial use, neon signs can range from small wall-mounted units to massive outdoor models. Signs for home use are generally small, maxing out at 12 inches wide and 19 inches high. Their size makes them suitable to mount on a wall behind the home bar or to sit on a shelf or the bar top.
LED and authentic neon signs consist of different materials, which affect performance, durability, and cost. Bona fide neon requires glass tubes to contain the neon gas. Neon lights get warm to the touch but not hot enough to cause burns. While neon gas is in no way harmful, the tubes are fragile, so install the sign out of harm’s way.
LED uses flexible plastic that won’t break easily. Plastic construction makes LED neon signs safe to use in high-traffic areas.
Neon vs. LED
Neither LED nor neon signs get hot enough to present a serious fire hazard. LED uses infrared light, which produces very little heat, while neon lights get only lukewarm to the touch.
Neon lights have a flickering quality with a high color rendering index (CRI) that creates deep, rich hues. CRI is a measure of a light’s ability to produce colors. While neon renders strong shades, it doesn’t have a high luminosity, so it won’t provide much illumination.
LED lights are more luminous, so they cast a glow into the room. They don’t render colors as well as traditional neon, but LED lights can change colors and brightnesses via a remote control.
Traditional neon lights also demand more power to work, while LED lights require very little energy. The rigid, delicate glass tubes in traditional neon signs need more care during installation and should be mounted in safe areas. LED lights come in bendable strips that are much harder to break, making them easier to install. LED signs are also significantly cheaper than neon signs, which can cost several times more than LED signs.
Neon signs often feature fun designs such as flamingos, palm trees, martini or whiskey glasses, beer mugs, and well-known beer and liquor brand logos. These design options add a classic feel or tropical vibe to the home bar. Many neon signs also have fun phrases and slogans such as, “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” or “Cocktails.” Some sign manufacturers offer customization for buyers to create their own message and select colors and fonts.
While hot pink and bright red are perhaps the most common colors for neon signs, they come in virtually every hue. The most affordable signs are one color, while more expensive models may have three or more hues. LED signs allow the user to change the color to 20 or more shades on demand using a remote control; some even let the user mix colors to create custom hues. The remote controls also include settings that can continually change the sign’s color.
While some neon signs have large bases that allow them to stand independently, most hang on the wall via mounting brackets. These brackets include holes for hooks or chains that hang from the wall. Weight is an important consideration when mounting or hanging a neon sign. At 1 to 2 pounds, LED lights are lightweight and easier to mount, while authentic neon signs with glass tubes may weigh 5 pounds or more and require a stronger mounting system.
Our Top Picks
The following list narrows the field to include some of the best neon signs in various size options that feature popular images and slogans.
With its wide range of colors, personalization options, and various sizes, this LED neon sign from ADVPRO adds flair to a home bar. Sizes include 12 by 8.5 inches, 16 by 12 inches, and 24 by 16 inches, plus a 10-inch-diameter round version. Each sign features an image of two frothy beers surrounded by custom engraved lettering.
A somewhat pricier multicolor model includes a remote control that allows the user to adjust the brightness and change between 20 color options and 19 operating modes, which include functions such as flashing and fading. Thanks to LED lights, these signs emit very little heat, making them safe for mounting among the liquor bottles behind the bar. A 7-foot power cord provides ample length.
Add some whimsy to the bar or elsewhere in the home with Funpeny’s safe LED lights in a variety of different shapes, including a lightning bolt, ghost, cloud, pink lips, crescent moon, bat, and dinosaur. At about a foot long and 6 inches wide, these lights are large enough to make a noticeable impact in a room while still remaining compact. A convenient hole makes it easy to hang.
Each sign features a USB power cable for plugging into the wall or a battery pack that takes three AA batteries. The tube material consists of bendable, difficult-to-break plastic. Since they use LED lights, they produce very little heat.
Available in a classic hot pink neon color that measures 9 inches high and 7 inches wide, these Obrecis LED signs come in every letter of the alphabet, an ampersand, and the numbers 0 through 9. Hang each letter via two holes on the back.
With LED bulbs, this sign stays cool to the touch. Three AA batteries or a USB cable power the sign, which turns on and off via a switch on the cord.
A glowing palm tree, ocean waves, and “Cocktails” in glowing pink lights adds a tropical seaside feel to the home bar. Although technically an LED sign, the multiple color and tubular shapes mimic the look of a real neon sign.
This circular Diyida sign measures 15 inches in diameter, weighs about 1.6 pounds, and comes with a 22-inch chain. Cool temperature LED technology and bendable plastic construction make it safe to mount the sign. The light runs off a power adapter that plugs into any standard outlet. A power switch on the cord makes it easy to turn on the sign for happy hour and off after last call.
This XIYUNTE flamingo is created with LED lights that put out little heat, yet its tube shape mimics the look of real neon. Three colors—a pink body with yellow legs and a white beak—add interest.
This glowing flamingo stands on its own via a wide round base, and it measures more than a foot tall and just over 6 inches wide. It features two power options: a battery pack and a 3-foot-long USB power cable. The plastic tubing is bendable and shouldn’t break if the flamingo gets knocked off a table or shelf.
To customize a sign from start to finish, consider JadeToad, which invites users to select their own message, color, font, and font size—with messages ranging from four to 18 characters. Eleven color options are available from cool white to hot pink to teal blue. Letter sizes range from 10 inches wide (4 characters) to 50 inches wide (18 characters) in 10-inch increments and come in 20 different fonts.
Each light is made from flexible LED silicon strips that won’t break or emit much heat, making this light safe to use anywhere with a standard outlet. A remote control allows the user to dim the light and adjust the brightness.
FAQs About Neon Signs
If you’re wondering how much electricity a neon sign uses or whether it’s safe to leave one on all the time, keep reading to find answers to these and other questions about your neon sign.
Q. Do neon signs use a lot of electricity?
An authentic neon sign typically uses about 3.5 to 4 watts per linear foot of tubing, which means it’s a reasonably inexpensive light source, consuming just 15 to 17 kilowatt hours per day if burned for 12 hours. LED lights are even more efficient. LED light consumes less than half that amount for the same time period.
Q. Is it better to leave neon signs on?
Although it may seem like a waste of energy, leaving a real neon sign on 24/7 actually makes it last longer. A neon sign requires a large burst of power to first light, which uses a significant amount of energy. And, since turning the light off and on will wear out the power supply, it makes sense to leave a neon sign on even when the bar’s closed.
Q. How long will neon signs last?
A real neon sign will last between eight and 15 years, depending on use. As mentioned, leaving a neon sign on for extended periods will lengthen its life. Most LED lights are rated to last up to 50,000 hours, which equals more than 11 years when used for 12 hours a day.