Self Luminous Exit Signs vs LED Exit Signs

Exit Sign Showdown

One of the most common misunderstandings our customers have about self luminous exit signs is due to their unbelievable flexibility. How can a decently priced exit sign (roughly the same cost as an outdoor electronic exit sign) stay lit for a period of 10-20 years without any electricity?

See Our Red Self Luminous Exit Signs

Let's dispel one myth: no these signs were not concocted by witches in a dark forest. They are instead powered by a naturally glowing hydrogen gas known as tritium which will last between 10 and 20 years, depending which model you choose.

LED (Light Emitting Diode) exit signs, however, are more commonly seen in buildings because their initial cost is much cheaper. But when you add up installation costs and the salary for a regular maintenance person to service these electronic luminaries, are they really that much cheaper?

Self Luminous Exit Signs


    • Completely waterproof, flame and corrosion-resistant
    • No wires mean you won't have hire an electrician
    • Require no electricity or battery
    • Can be used outdoors as well as indoors
    • Absolutely no maintenance needed
    • Will outlast any battery backup-powered exit sign in an extended power outage
    • Last between 10-20 years


    • Standard models start at $197
    • Only available in aluminum/polycarbonate housing
    • Tritium must be disposed through EPA-approved vendors
    • Weigh slightly more than plastic exit sign

See Our Green Self Luminous Exit Signs

LED Exit Signs


    • Prices start between $30 and $60 per unit
    • Do not contain tritium
    • Available in lightweight thermoplastic or cast aluminum housings
    • Lighter weight can mean lower shipping costs


    • Requires an electrician to wire conduits - between $100-$300
    • Monthly and yearly maintenance required
    • Max lifespan of 8 years
    • Battery backup only lasts 90 minutes during a blackout

Combining SL and LED Signs

You needn't only pick one exit sign. Though self powered exit signs beat out electronic LED units in flexibility and reliability, many indoor spaces don't require such safeguards. LED signs are perfectly suited for indoor locations away from egress doors, then employ SL signs in outside spaces and over egress doors.

We encourage businesses to call us at 800-379-1129 or shoot us an email with your building plans. This way we can best advise you on the most effective plan of action for your facility.

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