The market offers a wide variety of grow lights for indoor growing, and sometimes we often find it difficult to choose which light is most suitable for our plants.
The two important ones we will be talking about are LED grow lights, and HID Lights, and the difference between them. Let's talk about LED Grow Lights first.
LED Grow Lights
What you should know about LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are the lighting of future agriculture. They are not only economic in their use but they produce better plants as well, in comparison to all traditional lighting options.
When set side-by-side with the traditional HPS (high-pressure-sodium) systems, LEDs win in terms of energy efficiency, the quality of plants cultivated as well as environmental friendliness.
How LED Grow Lights Work
LED grow lights are luminaires utilizing LED chips in a modern and efficient way to produce light for growing plants.
The most essential units of LED grow lights are LED chips which have the biggest effect on the quality of the light, i.e. spectrum (colors) and photon flux (“brightness”) produced.
How the Light Spectrum Effects Plants
Through research, we can determine what the optimal light for plant growth is. It is important to consider that different plants react differently to various light spectrums (even different strains of the same plant).
Thus It is important to research the light that you pick supports the plant's needs. Fortunately many LED Grow Lights provide a full spectrum that suits the needs of most plants throughout the entire grow cycle.
LED Grow Lights Produce Less Heat
LED grow lights produce significantly less heat. This means you won’t spend as much energy on cooling with an air conditioner. It also makes them better for growing in small spaces.
This gives them the ability to be placed closer to plants due to the low heat output, sometimes as close as a few inches! This is advantageous to growers growing in areas limited by height. This feature also allows growers to place the lights closer to plants to ensure optimal light penetration deep into the canopy.
LED Grow Lights Are Highly Efficient
The energy-saving that growers can expect from using a very efficient LED grow light, instead of an HID grow light, is around 48%. This percentage may drop to as low as 20% with less efficient LED grow lights.
A top-quality set of LEDs can last as long as 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Which means they require less maintenance. So you won’t have to worry about changing bulbs every year compared to HID Lights.
LED Grow Lights Are Environmentally Friendly
LED grow lights can also be fully recycled, making them an eco-friendly alternative to HID lights. HID lights contain fairly high amounts of mercury, which can be very harsh on the environment and you're plants – especially when it’s burned.
Now Let's Talk About HID Grow Lights.
HID Grow Lights
What are HID Grow Lights?
HID, or high-intensity discharge light bulbs, are a family of gas-discharge arc lamps which create light by sending an electrical discharge between two electrodes and through a plasma, or ionized gas.
Additional gas is generally used, and this gas serves as an easy way to classify the major types of HID lamps: Mercury, sodium, and metal halide
How Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs Work
Metal Halide bulbs boast high power and deliver excellent color reproduction which is ideal for the vegetative stage of plants,
It generates light by passing an electric arc through a mixture of gases (argon, mercury, iodide, and bromide of different metals, among others). This mixture determines the nature of the light produced, and one can vary its temperature, color, and intensity.
How High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulbs Work
This type of light works very similarly to the MH bulbs. In this case, however, the gas mixture is different. Unlike Metal Halides, HPS bulbs are mainly composed of sodium, which gives the light an orange-red color, a spectrum ideal for the flowering phase of your plants because it activates their hormones and boosts production.
How To Use MH and HPS Bulbs
Either type can be used for a full grow from seed to harvest but it is not recommended. Starting with MH during vegetative and then moving to HPS during the flowering stage.
If you only have the chance of buying one bulb always buy the HPS bulb as it will do better for an entire grow than MH. Expect HID bulbs to typically last around 10,000 hours for MH and 18,000 hours for HPS.
What HID Grow Lights are good For
HID grow lights are best for their light intensity and full light spectrum. Especially when using high-quality HID grow bulbs. This is really helpful for generating bigger yields from the plants.
HID grow lights are much cheaper to purchase than LED grow lights, but LED grow lights outshine them in terms of efficiency, Not only that but the low up-front cost is offset by their reduced lifespan, higher use of electricity, excess heat generation, and limited light spectrum.
Overall HID Lights are good for big grow areas that need high-intensity light to penetrate all the way down the entire canopy to increase yields, but LED lights are quickly becoming the better alternative.