Today we’re going to be discussing the topic-LED vs HID Grow Lights that has gained a lot of interest over this rapidly expanding indoor gardening industry. Growers are very polarized on this subject and rightfully so. After all, we’re dealing with two options both work well and both will ultimately help us achieve our growth goals each of these two options have their benefits which we will discuss in detail in this article now. Without further ado let’s dive right in and have some fun now.
HID lights or high-intensity discharge lights
Let’s start with good old HID.
HID lights or high-intensity discharge lights are definitely the traditional optional grow light.
These lights come in two primary varieties used in growing metal halide and high-pressure sodium now. Metal halide lights have a cool or blue spectrum light that has a mission suitable for vegetative growth. HPS or high-pressure sodium lights have a warm or red spectrum that is suitable for the flowering plants.
Additional Cost You May Ignore for HIDs
Nobody is denying that these lights do work well for growing the massive amount of light that is produced from these bulbs contains a suitable spectrum for plant growth with suitable intensity. However, this light intensity comes at a cost. HIDs are known to produce a significant amount of heat which is why setups using them often require additional components to make them a viable option. These items include a ballast to regulate the electrical output from your source, a hood to encase the light itself, an inline fan and ducting to cool the light, and most often times some sort of air conditioning unit to cool the room to an appropriate temperature. All of these items come at a cost: the initial cost to purchase and the operation cost to run. All of these components can lead to a very complicated setup meaning that it may take a while before you’re able to get each component in your room dialed in and working in unison so the ultimate output is a temperature that is ideal for growing.
The variables we need to consider are the ambient temperature of the room that houses you grow, the rate of airflow from your fans and the cooling capacity, and the setting of your air conditioner, and of course the lights themselves.
Energy Waste & Some Inconveniences
Once you’re able to achieve a good growing balance you’re going to get good results. But this still leaves you with the massive energy consumption of all of these components. In addition, you have a few added inconveniences. HID setups require that you change your bulb when moving from your vegetative to your flowering stage: moving from a metal halide bulb to a high-pressure sodium bulb. But you’ll also have to buy replacement bulbs every few grows due to the short lifespan of these light.
LEDs or Light-emitting diodes
Now let’s talk about LEDs. Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are a category of light that comparatively speaking is new technology. Growers are very polarized on this technology those that have taken the plunge and had great results our LED users for life. But others are resistant to trying or have had a different experience when testing them out.
LED vs HID Grow Lights: Hesitation Reasons for LEDs
There are a few reasons for this:
The first reason for hesitation we always come across is that the grower may be happy with the light that they are using. We get it, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it sure on one level this makes sense but when you factor in all the inefficiencies of HID lighting, one has to realize this is not what you would call a perfect solution.
Another reason we come across is that growers tend to lump all LEDs into a singular category much like HIDs. You tried one you’ve tried them all. We can understand the tendency to do so but the reality is this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many differences from one led company to the next, and the products that they manufacture can very easily be like comparing apples to oranges. Differences in the spectrum, diode wattage, design magnification, footprint, driving currents… Just to name a few will drastically affect how well your precious plants perform.
Unfortunately, if the grower makes a poor purchase by buying a cheap knockoff LED light they may blame all LED technology as a whole for the bad harvest. It’s very understandable how a consumer can be led into making a bad purchase. There was a ton misinformation out there about the LED technology makes it very difficult for a buyer to know who or what to trust. We will do our best to help remove the haze for you in this article and those to come.
A few obvious benefits for LEDs
LEDs from a technology standpoint have a few obvious benefits right out of the gate. They use less power, they run cooler and last longer than traditional bulbs. These alone can be enough to sway your decision but this technology needs to be applied in the right way to actually have a positive impact on your plants.
Not all LED grow lights are created equal and there are a great number of them on the market that seemingly disregard what it is the plant actually needs to flourish. Quality LEDs like Granture Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights get it right.
The great thing about LEDs is that these diodes can be targeted to a specific wavelength of color along the photosynthetic spectrum this includes both visible and non-visible light. An LED panel can then include a set number of diodes at each color or wavelength and therefore be perfectly tuned to admit the exact proportion or amount of these wavelengths to form a spectrum that the plant will absorb and utilize. What does this mean exactly? It means that there is virtually no wasted light you are left with an extraordinarily efficient grow system that achieves amazing quality results by giving your plant exactly what it needs and nothing that doesn’t.
And last but not least, cooler running temperatures of an LED light releases you from the requirements of additional cooling components for your grow room.
For more benefits about the LED grow lights, you can read here: Are LED Grow Lights Worth It?
LED Spectrum vs HID Spectrum
Let’s take a look at the spectrum comparison chart to see how we can be getting the most out of our grown. A perfect spectrum is a spectrum without waste, taking a look at the comparison chart between the LED and the HID lighting options, we do see the massive amount of light coming from the HID bulb but on a closer look, a lot of the light energy is coming from the green and the yellow areas of the spectrum, which although used in small amounts by the plant are the least used spectrum for the photosynthesis process. This area the spectrum is responsible for the high lumen readings and HID bulbs, but is a completely unreliable unit of measurement for what your plant actually needs.
HID grow lights spectrm
An average lifespan of an LED grow light is about 50,000 hours, running at 12 hours per day that’s over 10 years of operation. A typical HID bulb it’s about seven to ten thousand hours which can get you as low as a year and a half of growing.
Return on investment comparison
Let’s talk about return on investment. Who doesn’t want to talk about money? When you compare the yield from both your LED and HID growth you may have similar results. This can be the most commonly miscalculated measure of success when talking about profits.
It’s easy to ignore the operating cost of your growth. They show up once a month on your energy bill and if you’re anything like me you can often these costs with your growth. But the reality is these costs significantly either way at the productivity and profitability of your growth. You can’t ignore these costs when assessing the return on your investment.
When factoring in the cost of operation and the listed yields expectations, you are looking to average under one gram per watt of dried plant matter from the leading HID brands. While you would be averaging about 1.4 grams per watt from the leading led manufacturer like Granture LED.
Still, thinking LED vs HID Grow Lights? After viewing it’s going to be up to you as the grower to decide which option best suits your needs.