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Exit Signs

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Exit Lights 101

What are exit lights

Exit lights are signs that display an illuminated version of the word 'EXIT' and are more commonly referred to simply as 'exit signs'. Exit lights provide visual guidance towards the closest outdoor exit during emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, and power outages. Exit lights have been required by local, state, federal, and international building codes for more than 70 years. Over this time, illumination technologies have evolved and exit lights have become more reliable, energy efficient, and long lasting. Exit lights are split into two main categories, electrical and non-electrical exit signs.  This article will help you learn about exit lights and determine which model is right for your application.

Electrical exit signs were the only type of exit sign available for most of the 20th century. They feature either an incandescent, fluorescent, or LED source of illumination behind a translucent red or green EXIT stencil. Incandescent and fluorescent light sources have declined in popularity while LED has become the most popular choice because of its low energy consumption and long lifespan. The typical LED exit sign consumes less than five watts of electricity and lasts for 8 to 10 years. In comparison, an incandescent exit sign consumes an average of 30 watts electricity and requires bulb replacement every four months. If you decide to install an electrical exit sign it makes the most financial sense to install a LED exit sign.  We offer affordable thermoplastic, durable cast aluminum, and high-end edge lit style LED exit signs.

To browse our different types of electrical LED exit signs, click on the categories below:

  1. Thermoplastic LED Exit Signs
  2. Cast Aluminum Exit Signs
  3. Edge-Lit Exit Signs


In the last 30 years illumination technology improvements have allowed exit signs to illuminate without the need for electricity. Non-electrical exit signs are popular for all types of applications because of their reliability, longevity, and maintenance free qualities. There are two types of non-electrical exit signs, photoluminescent and self-luminous.

Photoluminescent exit signs use glow-in-the-dark technology to illuminate the word 'EXIT' and are great for indoor commercial applications where ambient light is present when the building is occupied. Photoluminescent exit signs use ambient light to charge the glow-in-the-dark pigment on the face of the sign, and then glow when placed in a dark environment. If neither light nor electricity is available at the installation location of the exit sign consider installing a self-luminous tritium powered non-electrical exit sign. For EXIT illumination, self-luminous exit signs use a type of hydrogen gas, called tritium, which naturally glows for up to 20 years. Self-luminous exit signs can be used inside or outdoors, including environments where temperatures drop below 32º F.

Be sure to check out our photoluminescent and self-luminous exit sign categories.

The Exit Store offers more than 100 models of electrical and non-electrical exit signs.  Browse our website and give us a call at 866.471.2849 to discuss our product lines and place an order. We have experts on staff that can answer any compliance or product related questions that you might have. All of our products are UL Listed and compliant throughout the United States and Canada.