Comparing HPS vs LED Grow Lights for a Cannabis Grow

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In 2020, cannabis growers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the layout of their grow room. Whether you decide to use a grow tent or fashion a current space into a cannabis-friendly environment, there are plenty of choices for the tools and equipment you use to cultivate and harvest quality bud. 

There are a lot of big decisions when it comes to making the right grow room choices, and one of the biggest decisions of all is the lighting system you choose. Just like every other aspect of a grow room, there are several choices for grow room lighting, and two of the most popular are HPS and LED lights. 

Each of these grow light types comes with a lot of pros as well as a few cons, but some growers benefit from one type over the other. To decide on the right one for you, check out this comparison guide to HPS vs LED bulbs

About HPS Grow Lights

Although HPS lights aren’t for everyone, they’re a great choice for growers who are looking for sheer power and intense light. High-pressure sodium bulbs use a gas-discharge lighting system that works by creating high levels of internal pressure to heat up a tube that’s made from aluminum oxide and sodium metal. 

Pros of HPS Lighting

When you look at any HPS grow light comparison guides and charts, you’ll quickly notice one thing: that HPS bulbs product highly-intense light that cannabis plants crave. This is the main pro of HPS lighting, and it’s why a lot of growers still agree that it dominates when it comes to lighting a grow room, but it’s not the only one. 

In addition to power, high-intensity lights like HPS are fairly cheap, especially when compared to the LED competition. Even high-end systems from brand name companies won’t break the bank, which is an obvious benefit for growers on a budget. 

On top of that, HPS lighting is super effective for fast plant growth and big yields. This goes along with the first benefit of power, but it’s still 100% worth noting that HPS lights are your one-way ticket to high yields. That’s why the majority of commercial grow operations today still use HPS lights, even though LEDs are without-a-doubt more efficient. 

Cons of HPS Lights

The main drawback of HPS lights (and the reason that a lot of growers go with LED fixtures instead) is the high heat output. With such an intense light, it’s no surprise that there’s also an intense heat. This can make it really tricky to monitor grow room temperature, which every grower knows is an important factor in cannabis crop success. 

Who Can Benefit Most from HPS Lights?

You might think that HPS lights are the obvious choice since they are known for producing the best yields, but only some growers can benefit from using them. More specifically, the growers who can’t benefit from HPS lights and will only do more harm than good for plants by installing this type of fixture are those with poorly ventilated grow rooms or limited ceiling space. 

Both of these scenarios have to do with the fact that HPS lights give off lots of heat. To disperse this heat effectively, air ventilation and circulation is a must. When HPS lights are hung too close to the plant canopy, you’ll risk singing and even killing the crop, so adequate ceiling space is another must-have. 

About LED Grow Lights

Nowadays, more cannabis growers than ever are using LED lighting in their setups, and it’s no surprise as to why. LED, short for light-emitting diode, is a much more efficient type of light output that, according to Edison Tech Center, works when “ electric current or an electric field is passed through it”. 

Pros of LED Lighting

There are a lot of perks to growing cannabis plants while using LEDs as the light source, the main one being efficiency. The diodes lining LED grow light fixtures are highly efficient on energy, which means that a grower can save a lot of money in the long run on utility bills. 

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Not only are LED lights more efficient, but they’re also more sustainable. They last a lot longer on average than HPS lights with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. That’s 5.7 years if you were to run the light continuously. To top it off, the diodes keep their brightness for an insanely long time, so you never have to worry about an LED losing power over time. 

Yet another benefit of LED lighting in a grow room is that most fixtures offer customizable color options. This means that you can choose the color output based on the crop’s stage of development. That’s a huge benefit considering marijuana plants crave a different light color depending on seedling, vegetative, and flowering. 

Lastly, LEDs run a lot cooler than high-intensity HPS lights. If you’re short on ceiling space or aren’t able to ventilate a grow room as well as you’d like, LEDs are the obvious choice thanks to their cool-running operation. 

Cons of LEDs

And now for the cons. There aren’t many, but the main one and the biggest turn off of LED lighting is the high upfront cost. The best LED grow room fixtures don’t come cheap, and for a brand name LED setup with high-quality components, you might have to splurge more than you’d like. In the end, paying more for LEDs is usually worth it. 

Who Can Benefit Most from LED Lights? 

Basically anyone, but there is one obvious reason to invest in LED lights. It all has to do with energy efficiency because let’s face it, who wouldn’t love to save a few bucks (or a few hundred) on their energy bills. HPS bulbs are still a top contender for best grow room lighting, but LEDs are without a doubt the more efficient and sustainable choice.

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