LED Signs
20 Questions to Ask Before You Buy
Author: Kim Clark

The Small Business Administration states, “Your signage is your first – and one of your best – opportunities to communicate with the public.  Signage must be effectively designed, well manufactured and correctly installed to optimize your message.” 

Don’t leave something as important as your business’ first impression to chance. Compare suppliers and quotes. Many look the same but there are significant differences. The answers to these simple questions will help you make an informed decision and ensure that the LED sign you purchase is the best choice for your organization!

1. Does the company offer a written warranty?  - Carefully compare what is covered and for how long.  If you are purchasing an identification area as part of the sign, look for a Lifetime Warranty against face breakage, faulty workmanship and defective materials.  The internal components of the id area including the ballasts should also be covered by the Lifetime Warranty. 

Look for a 5 Year Warranty on the LED Electronic Message Center area, ensuring that it will be free from defects in materials and workmanship.  Also consider the company’s ability to stand behind that warranty.  How long have they been in business?  Will they provide a list of customers in your area?

2. Do the sign specifications meet the zoning requirements for your area? - Many areas have requirements related to the height, width, and static/motion allowed on signage.  Are permits required?  Will the company provide helpful tips to guide you through the process? 

3. Does the sign meet the needs of your organization? - The speed limit of the traffic passing by, the distance from the road (set-back), your budget, and the primary use of the sign should be discussed with a sign professional to ensure that the sign will meet your needs. 

4. What Pixel Matrix is being quoted? - Signs of the same height and width may have a different Pixel Matrix (the number of pixels on your sign).  The size of the retainer (the amount of metal that surrounds the LED display area) can vary from sign to sign, which results in variation in the number of pixels. 

For instance, a 48x160 pixel sign consists of 48 pixels high x 160 pixels wide.  You may receive a quote for a sign of the same height and width that only has a 40 x 112 Pixel Matrix.  In that case, you would only get 40 pixels high x 112 pixels wide.  Obviously you are not getting the same value in the second case.  Make sure you get the most for your money!

5. Will the LED area display an effective character size? - The height of the character will determine the number of characters that can be displayed at 1 time across the sign.  For instance, an 8’ wide cabinet with 18” characters will only allow for 5 characters to be displayed across at one time, forcing you to scroll your message and limiting its effectiveness.

6. Is the quote for a High Definition Sign? - High Definition means the pixels sit close together.  They must be less than 1” apart.  .6” - .7” is considered High Definition.  Anything wider than this will have a “grainy” appearance.  Quotes typically provide this information in a millimeter format (ie 17mm - .66” apart vs 36mm = 1.40” apart).

 

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