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LED vs. HPS

LED vs. HPS grow lights: which one is best for growing cannabis

LED vs. HPS is a great debate among cannabis gardeners. High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps are possibly the most well-known grow lights across the globe. Not only do HPS grow lights have long lifespans, but they also offer additional heat.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are more modern technology and offer fantastic energy consumption. Cultivators can rely on temperature stability because LED marijuana grow lights don’t create as much heat as HPS lamps.

Although both are great options, and you can use either, you might receive more benefits when using LED vs. HPS or vice versa. So let’s have a look at HPS vs. LED lights for your indoor garden to help you decide which is best.

Lighting systems for cannabis grow rooms

Outdoor growers don’t need to worry about lighting because the sun provides light to plants. For indoor cultivators, however, choosing between LED vs. HPS lights can make a world of difference. Setting up an efficient lighting system is essential for high yields.

There are different grow lamps available to indoor cultivators. The most common grow lights on the market are LED and HPS grow lights. 

What are LED grow lights?

LEDs consist of many small diodes encased in a heat reservoir. They contain multiple types of diodes that emit various colors. Together, these diodes mimic sunlight and allow cultivators to grow weed with LEDs.

The best LED grow lights have red, blue, and green diodes that growers can manipulate to produce a specific color range. They’re also smaller than HPS lights and emit less heat.

If you prefer growing photoperiod plants over autoflowering seeds, LEDs with advanced spectrum-changing abilities are the perfect fit. 

What are HPS grow lights?

HPS grow bulbs are a variety of high-intensity discharge lights (HIDs). The electrodes in the bulb react with sodium gas and create a yellowish light. When the light starts turning yellowish-orange, you need to replace the lamps.

HPS grow lights offer high efficiency, a long lifespan, and up to 140 Lumens per Watt. However, they can get boiling hot and have a large extraction fan.

Although they consume more energy, their heat emissions allow growers in colder areas to forgo adding a heater to their grow tent.

It’s important that your plants receive enough light and that your cannabis temperature remains stable. Regardless of your cultivation methods or strain preference, cannabis grow lights are great for growing massive buds in any setup.

LED vs. HPS comparison

When we consider LED vs. HPS bulbs, we have to recognize the differences between them. So, let’s look at the LED vs. HPS comparison chart.

LED HPS
Light spectrum manipulation ability Full light spectrum
Larger initial investment Higher energy costs
Instantly goes on/off It takes time to warm up and cool off
Low leaf penetration Higher leaf penetration
Light emits in 180-degrees Light emits in 360-degrees
Low heat emission High heat emission
Immediately usable Requires mounts and other equipment
Better during the vegetative phase Better for the flowering phase

LED lights for weed: pros

LED grow light
LED grow light

As with all things, there are pros and cons when you use LED vs. HPS lights. So let’s look at some of the pros of using LED lights for weed.

LED pro: higher efficiency

LEDs are extremely energy efficient, which means it’ll cost you less per month to run them than their HPS equivalent.

LED pro: longevity and low maintenance

LEDs have an extremely long lifespan compared to other bulbs. Unlike HPS grow lamps, they’re pretty durable and less likely to break. You won’t need to replace them as often, and they require less maintenance.

LED pro: color spectrum 

LEDs offer the same and often a broader light spectrum than HPS lights. They also allow growers to alter the spectrum by fine-tuning the different diodes.

LED pro: smaller

LED grow lights are much tinier compared to other bulbs and allow cultivators to place more lamps in a smaller space.

LED lights for weed: cons

All good things have a few downsides, and LEDs have their own set of cons. For example, although they can help you create a cheap indoor grow setup, the long-term costs may be undesirable.

LED con: higher upfront costs

LED marijuana grow lights are pretty pricey and demand higher startup costs.

LED con: lack of standardization

Unlike other bulbs, there’s no universal standard for LEDs, which can make it difficult to determine whether you’re choosing the correct bulb or not.

LED con: changes to the dehumidification plan 

LEDs lower a grow rooms’ cooling load, consequently allowing the humidity to increase. Indoor growers may need to add dehumidifiers to combat the imbalance because you need a specific humidity for growing weed

LED con: worse for cold climates

LEDs remain cool, regardless of how long they’re on. This is why people living in cold environments often rely on additional marijuana growing supplies.

HPS lights for growing weed: pros

HPS grow lights are the oldest, most trusted bulbs, which means many pros and cons. So let’s start with the pros:

HPS pro: more consistent 

Although they’re old technology, HPS lights are consistent in every way.

HPS pro: more affordable upfront

HPS bulbs cost less than LED marijuana grow lights per unit and have lower initial costs.

HPS pro: more standardized

HPS grow lamps are more standardized and allow you to compare bulbs more accurately.

HPS lights for growing weed: cons

HPS lamps are somewhat old tech, which means they have a few cons that still stick around.

HPS con: less energy-efficient

HPS grow lights aren’t very energy-efficient and often leave you with a hefty electricity bill.

HPS con: more maintenance

Unlike LEDs, HPS lamps break, pop, or burn out quite easily when they cool off too quickly and often leave you with more maintenance.

HPS con: burn faster

HPS lamps have an overall shorter lifespan than LEDs because they burn out faster.

HPS con: more heat

Unlike LEDs, HPS grow lights emit a lot of heat, which can be good, but too much is also bad for your weed.

When to choose LED or HPS grow lights?

As you can see, there are various benefits to using either light. However, when comparing LED vs. HPS lights, the choice comes down to the individual.

You need to consider all the pros and cons of each and compare them to your individual situation. If you can make a con work in your favor as a pro, all the better.

HPS lights become very hot. For people living in cold climates, that might be a pro because they can save costs on extra heating.

Similarly, LED grow lights favor people living in warm environments because they don’t add unwanted warmth.

FAQ related to LED vs. HPS

Although we cover the main differences between LED vs. HPS lights, many more questions often need answering. Fear not! We’ve listed the most frequently asked questions to give you all the info you need to choose wisely.

What yields more: HPS or LED?

Comparing LED vs. HPS yields isn’t that straightforward. The wattage, color spectrum, and a variety of other factors affect your harvest.

Some LED bulbs increase yields more than HPS lamps because growers can increase specific colors that stimulate bud growth. Additionally, LED technology has grown so much in the last ten years that the top-tier variants offer higher lumens per watt than their HPS counterparts.

What LED is equivalent to a 1000w HPS?

LEDs are much more expensive than HPS lights, and the higher the wattage goes, the more you pay. For example, the high-end 800W LED grow lights are equivalent to 1000W HPS bulbs. 

Alternatively, growers can use multiple 250W LED panels to produce the same output as HPS equivalent bulbs.

Is LED cheaper to run than HPS?

Per unit, LEDs are more cost-effective than any lighting system available. When standard lamps burn, the constant current in the filament causes it to heat up and radiate light.

Unlike most lights, LED marijuana grow lights don’t rely on a coil or filament to burn. Consequently, they waste minimal energy as heat and can create light for a fraction of the cost.

Can LED replace HPS?

Yes. With the correct setup, you can replace your HPS lights with LEDs. However, you’ll need many of them, and you’ll need to plan your system carefully. You could look at 1250W LED bulbs that match the average 1000W HPS bulbs.

What lights do professional growers use?

Professional cultivators often use a combination of different bulbs during various growing phases. The benefit that LEDs provide to weed makes them the perfect option for the vegging stage.

When plants enter the flowering phase, professionals will often switch to HPS lamps for better leaf penetration. You can also substitute your HPS lights with LEDs to increase the color spectrum.

Is HPS still the best?

To some degree, yes. Although, it’s pretty challenging to say which is the best at this point. Recent advances in LED technology make them a solid competitor. So, while LEDs still don’t quite match up to HPS grow lights, they’re slowly catching up.

However, the price tag on comparable LED versus HPS lights make HPS preferable for most growers.

Key Takeaways

The lights you choose are more dependent on your needs than anything else. If you live in cold areas, you could benefit from the heat that HPS grow lights produce. Similarly, cultivators in warm areas may prefer LED grow lights because they don’t need additional cooling methods.
Regardless of which system you choose, buying the best cannabis seeds from the i49 seed bank is the first step. With a huge variety of strains on offer, you’re bound to find one you love. Start your cannabis-growing journey today.