LED or Xenon?

How to find the right technology for informing, warning or alerting.

Both LED and xenon technology have their place in the range of visual signaling devices. Neither is fundamentally better than the other. However, depending on the application one option will generally be more suitable.

Only by looking at the characteristic features of the two technologies is it possible to make an objective decision about which can or even must be used.

Overview LED applications

Overview xenon applications

Performance characteristics of LED and Xenon technology:

The specific characteristics of the two technologies indicate in which applications LED solutions are more advantageous and in which xenon should be used. As the illustration below shows, a clear distinction separation is not possible.

LED technology Xenon technology
Accurate light direction with a sharply defined radiation angle Omnidirectional radiation characteristics
Different modes (permanent, blinking or flashing) Flash mode with selectable frequency
Optional brightness adjustment Maximum brightness
Long flash sequences Short flash duration
Life cycle approx. 50,000 operating hours Life cycle approx. 10 million flashes

How LED and Xenon technology is used for different signaling types.

Both technologies have their justification within the market. However, the characteristics of low energy consumption and superior energy balance often mentioned in connection with LED technology, must always be considered in terms of application. LED technology is the dominant technology where smaller lights are required for signaling in continues operations in smaller spaces. Xenon has advantages for signaling emergencies in larger spaces.

Step by step to a safe solution.

How to find the right solution for your application:

  1. Create an exact description of your application.
  2. Note down all the conditions, pre-requisites and requirements of your application.
  3. Select the type of signaling: to inform, warn or alert.
  4. Use our 3D-Coverage planning method and configure your solution yourself with the cost-free PSS:

Pfannenberg Sizing Software

Typical curves for xenon and LED flashing lights.

Light intensity over time for a xenon flashing light.

A xenon flashing light produces a very short (approximately 250 µs) and at the same time very intense pulse with a peak value of around 100,000 cd. Used as a spotlight, it emits a bright white light evenly in every direction. The high luminance generated in the space covered by the signal also ensures passive perception of visual alarm signals.

Light intensity over time of an LED flashing light.

The long light intensity flattening out over time at around 400 cd is characteristic of LED flashing lights. Due to the low peak value of the light intensity, compared to xenon flashing lights they produce lower luminance in the space covered by the signal, although thanks to the longer lasting light signal they achieve almost the same effective light intensity.