Outdoor LED Signs


Any display that is mounted outdoors, that has an active display area made of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), is technically an outdoor LED sign. But there are special factors that make LED signs work best in outdoor settings.

To be effective outdoors, LED display signs need to:

Compete with the brightness of the sun – Nit ratings are used to describe the brightness capabilities of exterior LED signs. The sun registers approx. 2,500 Nits, so any sign should be able to compete with this rating at a bare minimum. Higher Nit ratings are indicative of longer-lasting diodes since they degrade over time.

Combat the elements – LED sign cabinets should be made of aluminum to avoid oxidation, should be painted or powder coated with industry grade materials, and any seals should also be made of high-quality materials and adhesives to provide longevity.

They must mitigate risks related to humidity and heat – Heat risks are mitigated by either active methods (ie fans with rear or front ventilation) or passive methods, like heat sinks for example.

Water infiltration is mitigated by providing quality seals in seams where seepage could otherwise occur. Many outdoor programmable LED signs also have either conformal coating (a thin layer of impermeable coating applied to circuit boards etc) or silicone potting which is used to completely seal LED modules. Potting is best at keeping humidity at bay due to its thickness and flexibility when submitted to temperature changes.

Outdoor LED Sign Advantages

  • More dynamic: As marketing tools go, outdoor LED display signs are one of the most dynamic tools available, allowing you to provide flexible marketing content solutions to your organization’s growth.
  • Brighter displays: Other signage solutions are often illuminated, but even then, they are not able to stand out during the day like exterior LED signs.
  • Flexibility: Outdoor marketing solutions are often static and thus, they quickly become invisible to passers-by. Outdoor programmable LED signs provide the opportunity to stand out with customized content that focuses on your organization’s needs on the fly.
  • Social Status: Often, people’s perceptions of an organization are formed before they ever enter the building. Outdoor LED display signs provide a statement of reliability, stability, and prestige that create trust in the public view. Building such trust before the audience even enters the building is extremely valuable.
  • Continuity of Branding: Modern organizations are using many channels to build trust in their brand. Outdoor digital signage displays allow you to integrate the sign into the marketing agenda to keep branding on your website, social media, and other channels consistent with the LED sign.



All in one LED Signs

A sign built as one fully integrated solution with an LED display housed inside an aluminum cabinet with an area either above or below the LED sign dedicated to the organization’s logo, name, or other identifying information.

Choose All in one LED signs if:
You are worried about vandalism (these typically include a vandal cover over the outdoor LED display sign)
You do not need the sign to upgrade easily in the future
Your desired size of the sign is smaller than 6’ tall X 12’ wide.

Traditional Style LED Signs

A sign with a separate LED display, typically with an illuminated cabinet sign mounted above or below.

Choose traditional LED signs if:
You want to take your pick from any LED sign manufacturer
There is no history of vandalism
You would like flexibility in your design choices

Monument LED Signs

Monument LED signs create an opportunity for organizations in more traditional settings to take advantage of the benefits of LED signage while maintaining a conservative appearance.

Choose a monument LED sign if:
You need to preserve traditional aesthetic guidelines
You want to take your pick from any outdoor LED sign manufacturer
You favor the creative sculpted appearance

Custom LED Signs

Custom outdoor digital signage displays can be strikingly impactful. Visions that require creative forms and shapes can often be accomplished with modern LED signage solutions.

Choose a custom LED Sign if:
You need to make a large impact with non-rectangular or 3-D shapes in an outdoor LED display sign
Your budget restrictions are minimal
Your timeline is flexible

Stand Alone LED Signs

Outdoor LED signs that stand alone on a wall, or replace a changeable letter sign, for example.

Choose a stand-alone LED sign if:
You do not require additional structures.
You need the flexibility to pick any LED sign manufacturer
You plan on using the LED sign to identify the organization


Outdoor LED signs vary widely in price. Some factors that affect price can be easily understood, like physical size, the definition of the display, and software options. But many of the variables that affect price in today’s outdoor LED sign market are more difficult to find thanks to tricky marketing and in some instances, the factories themselves hide these variables purposefully. This is why it is important to perform unbiased and transparent research on each company including field testing and factory visits.

Thus, the best way to categorize companies, and pricing, is via the three-tier method. 

  • Tier 1 – Outdoor LED Sign Companies:
    High price
    10-12 year longevity
    LED modules are manufactured in the USA
  • Tier 2 – Outdoor LED Sign Companies:
    Moderate Price
    5-7 Year Longevity
    Many foreign components are integrated into a cabinet in the USA.
  • Tier 3 – Outdoor LED Sign Companies
    Low Price
    1-3 Year Longevity
    Manufactured entirely overseas


Many people don’t realize, but outdoor LED signs are largely customized for each project. Thus, the variables that make one sign work at a certain price point, such as size and definition of the LED display, won’t be the same for a different site. Defining your expectations and limitations before quoting any sign saves both time and money.

There is no such thing as the best LED sign manufacturer. Many people have opinions about this question, but the truth is that although there may be a perfect manufacturer for your specific circumstance, it might actually be the worst option for another organization depending on their circumstances. If a company tells you their solution is the best in class, best in the market, etc. note that this is a sales strategy.

Technically, none.

The outdoor LED sign market is rife with Made in the USA claims that are either exaggerated or entirely false. Some Tier 1 companies do manufacture their modules in the USA, which creates a high level of quality control. However, there is no LED diode manufacturer located in the USA. The better question to ask is how does any given company control the quality of the components they are using? Some LED sign manufacturers actually test each new batch of components that are imported before they use them for assembly. These would be among the best options as far as quality and longevity are concerned.

Most modern LED sign manufacturers have technical support access free for the lifetime of the sign. However, this is typically remote, over the phone, technical support requiring you or someone from your organization to be on-site with basic handyman skills. Other companies offer labor warranties of varying lengths of up to 10 years. Local service companies should be vetted in some way prior to accepting any service contracts. Guthman Signs uses a pre-vetted network of over 9,000 American service providers to fulfill this need.


Sign companies, from the smallest local shop to the largest national sign company, are all sign brokers. This means that whether it is a local sign company, or not, they are re-selling components made at someone else’s factory. Local companies attempt to instill fear that a national company would disappear sometime in the future leaving you without service. National companies make the case that the local company can go out of business at any time since they are traditionally more fragile business models. Both are right. Be safe, and purchase the best possible sign for your specific needs, based on research, and pair that with a centralized service offering to fit your expectations, like a factory-sponsored labor warranty, for example. This strategy saves both time and money for any project.


Your outdoor sign specialist will provide detailed explanations of the good, the bad, and ugly of each warranty in our market. Your outdoor sign specialist can also answer most service questions up front, but if it requires more specialized attention to a specific detail, each of our factories has fully staffed factory trained technicians on call to assist with any issue that may arise today or down the road with your outdoor LED display signs.


Let us help you make a well-informed purchase. Contact Guthman, your digital experts, for the best LED signboards in the industry.