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LED Vs HPS And MH Grow Lights – The Ultimate Comparison

In the early days of LED grow lighting, there were marketers out there who espoused the positives of the technology and offered it at an appealing price point. A number of growers tried these cheap LED grow lights, only come away discouraged by the results. This was due to the fact that the lighting that they purchased was simply not putting out enough wattage to provide effective growth, and that is why they seemed so inexpensive for such an appealing solution. Conversely, Skylight LED Grow Lights offers nothing less than top quality, potent 120 watt LED growing solutions.

But despite the sophistication of LED grow lights and their great features many growers still get confused by the difference between LED and other types of grow lights such as HPS and MH ones. Let`s start off by explaining what makes them different.

First we need to talk about HID lights, standing for High Intensity Discharge, which is a type of lightbulb that looks like a tube. It is hermetically closed and full of gas. The process of creating light happens when the gas ignites, much like a standard lightbulb in a normal home.

HID bulbs are then categorized based on the gas that is used in them. The two main types used for growing are the abovementioned high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lights. The type of gas used in the bulb determines the color spectrum and wavelength, so if you need a different type of light you have to change the bulb itself. Typically HPS lights are more towards the red and orange hue, which are used during the flowering stages whereas an MH bulb produces a blueish color, useful for the vegetating phase.

LED grow lights produce light differently. The core of an LED bulb consists of a chip that directly transforms electricity into light, yielding far better results. One of the main advantages of LED over HPS and MH lights is the adjustable light spectrum. With LEDs you don`t have to switch bulbs to produce light in a different spectrum as it features a fully adjustable color spectrum for each phase of the plant`s growth.

Types Of LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights differ in shape and size, presenting options that fit every grow space and circumstance. Most high-end models are shaped as panels, but there are also models shaped like saucers and bars.

Emitters are another aspect that varies across models. The most sophisticated ones feature ten emitter types at different frequencies whereas lower end models just have two or three.

The chips also play a big part in distinguishing LED light types. The two main approaches are to either feature few but powerful broad spectrum based chips, ranging between 5 and 10 watts or to feature many single LEDs with each one shining at a different frequency.

Naturally LED lights also differ in terms of quality build, warranty and support, flexibility, luminosity and of course the spectrum that they cover.

Benefits Of LED Grow Lights Over HID Grow Lights

The old school HID grow lights for plants can get the job done, but they are very inefficient when compared to the state-of-the-art LED indoor grow lights.

  • LED grow lights last six times as long!

  • Eco-friendly LED grow lighting uses no toxic metals.

  • Energy savings range from 50%-70% over HID lights.

  • No cooling necessary; no plant burn and decreased risk of fires.

  • LED directional lighting requires no reflectors.

  • Maximum chlorophyll absorption and flower production.

  • Less frequent watering.

  • Discretion assured — no thermal footprint.

When it comes to growing plants indoors, the qualities inherent in the light matter a great deal. Brightness as perceived by the human eye is interpreted differently by plants. LED grow lights are directional, and they deliver light that is within the spectrum that is easily absorbed by plants, so there is no need for reflectors and none of the light is wasted. This results in maximum efficiency, optimal yield, discrete operation, and greatly reduced energy costs.

But this is just a surface preview of LEDs capabilities compared to HID lights. In order to fully grasp the possibilities one must go into a deeper understanding of what LEDs can and how that affects the process of growing plants and the yields.

Bigger Yields

HPS have been previously said to result in bigger yields, but nowadays every reputable commercial cannabis grower has started using LEDs. To make a simple comparison – a 600 watt HPS light yields up to 300 grams for the space its light covers, which translates into half a gram for each watt. In comparison, an LED grow light yields up to 1.5 grams per watt while using a lot less electricity in order to produce the same luminosity. For example, the Diamond Series XTE 200 LED Grow Light by AdvancedLED has a power output of 248 watts but it can match the luminosity of an HPS light that has a power output of close to 450 watts.

Longer Life

A regular HID light has a lifespan of close to 10 000 hours, which might seem like an impressive number but in the long run LEDs are a better option. A good quality LED grow light can be perfectly functional from up to 50 000 to about 100 000 hours. With this data in mind it`s easy to deduce that LEDs are more worthwhile in the long run and would need to be replaced much less often. This means that you won`t have to worry about changing the lights for years to come.

Heat Efficiency

HID lights are notorious for how much heat they produce. In comparison, LEDs are very efficient in terms of heat management and can be placed much closer to the plants. This saves the grower any additional costs for a big and sophisticated ventilation system. Naturally, models that feature bigger panels or more diodes are bound to be warm but still not nearly as hot as HIDs, still touchable with a bare hand. To begin with, LEDs are superiorly engineered and feature built in cooling sinks and even fans in the more advanced models that prevent any heating issues.

Easy To Use

LEDs are very intuitive and easy to use, just find the right spot, plug them and you`re ready to start growing. There is no need for any additional setups or drilling, all made very simple and easy. HID lights usually need a lot of adjustments and preparation in order to be placed well.

Adjustable Spectrum Of The Colors

As we mentioned earlier in the article the greatest advantage and pinnacle of LED grow lights is the adjustable spectrum. Plants benefit from light in different spectrums during the different growth stages, so having all of that in one light is a great plus. No need to switch the bulb itself to get light in a different color as you would need to do with HIDs.  

Energy Saving

LED lights are more energy-efficient and need to be replaced a lot less often than HID lights. This results in saved money and efforts. Additionally, HIDs start losing their brightness as time passes and need to be replaced even before they`re completely done. LEDs on the other hand maintain a constant level of luminosity for as long as they`re functional. Based on AdvancedLED experience we can say that the diodes will be the last thing to break in a LED light.

Explore The Possibilities Of LED Growing Systems

LED grow lights have become the intelligent choice for the cutting-edge indoor grower, and we invite you to take advantage of our 90 day, money back guarantee and explore the possibilities that LED growing systems provide by placing an order with us today. If you are comparing the LED grow lights for sale in the USA look no further, we sell and build the very best!

The Verdict

We hope that this review of what differs LED from HID lights has been helpful and has lead you to a conclusion of which type is more functional. HIDs have been a great tool before the advancement of LEDs but the as the horticultural field is evolving growers need more reliable and efficient tools.

LED grow lights are definitely superior from an engineering standpoint but they also offer a clear advantage in terms of benefits for the grower – longer life, better results, easiness of use and adjustability are just some of the features. HIDs might be a viable solution in certain cases, but for aspiring growers who want to achieve great results LED is definitely the way to go.

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