Log onto any indoor gardening forum, and you’ll notice a couple of threads discussing the endless debate of HID vs. LED lighting. However, some gardeners swear by HID, stating they can’t get the same results with LED systems. On the other side of the coin, LED users think that they get better results with these systems over HID. So, which is the better choice for your next grow?
It’s pretty unanimous that LED is the superior choice. You can’t go wrong with a top-of-the-line LED system from a leading brand manufacturer like Samsung, from better efficiency to optimal PAR output. However, plenty of older LED models don’t have the latest technology involved in the setup.
Previous generations of LED are nothing like todays LED systems. The improvements in just the last three to five years alone are significant enough to revolutionize the way you think about the lighting for your indoor garden. Let’s unpack the reasons why we think LED lighting systems are the better option compared to HID.
What are the Types of HID Grow Lights?
High-Intensity Discharge grow lights encompass two primary light bulb types – the High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and the Metal Halide (MH) lamps.
These bulbs have an independent function, with the Metal Halide version providing your plants with the best spectrum for vegetative growth.
The High-Pressure Sodium lamp is the grower’s best choice for flowering with HID systems. HPS lamps provide a powerful simulation of the waning effect of the sun’s UV rays in the final days of summer and the early fall. As the light dims, the plants begin to flower.
LED Grow Lights Explained
The Light Emitting Diode (LED) started gaining popularity in 2010. At the time, the technology was still in its fledgling state. While LED lights were around for decades before 2010, there wasn’t much development going on in the space. However, over the last ten to 15-years, we’ve seen leading electronics brands take an interest in LEDs. LED technology seems promising, giving TV manufacturers new mediums to work with.
Fortunately, the trickle-down effect of this investment into LED technology saw improvements in all other LED markets. Over the last five years, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the efficacy and efficiency of LED grow lights and the capabilities of these devices.
LEDs allow the full-spectrum simulation of sunlight, giving your plants everything they need to survive and thrive. However, the issue with LEDs Vs HID systems come with the power these lights produce. In the early days of LED technology, many growers found the results of these LED systems as sub-par compared with HID lighting. As a result, we’ve seen leaps and bounds in agriculture-based LED systems, especially in the last three years. Today’s LED systems are as powerful as HID lights, and you get the same results with lower energy costs for your crop.
Why Choose an LED Grow Light? What are the Benefits Of HID Systems?
So, why would any indoor gardener want to purchase an LED grow light? If all they do is match the performance of HID, and HID systems are cheaper, why go to the expense of ordering an LED system?
Here are the top benefits of using an LED lighting setup for your indoor garden.
LED Lights Produce Lower Levels of Heat
One of the major drawbacks of HID system is the heat that these lights produce. Many manufacturers actually make systems where the ballast for the lamp sits outside of the growing area to reduce heat. Heat can cause severe damage to your plants, especially in the flowering phase, limiting the crop yield. LEDs run cooler, making it easier to control the temperature in your grow tent.
LED Grow Lights Save Energy
LED lights require a fraction of the power to produce optimal light levels in the indoor garden. The amount you’ll save on electricity will pay for the light in a year or two of savings. Save on LED lightning systems here.
For guerilla growers, an LED lighting setup helps prevent suspicion arising from a sudden increase in power consumption due to thirsty HID lighting systems.
LED Systems Have Longer Service Life
With HID systems, manufacturers typically recommend changing the MH bulb every two to three seasons. Gardeners should swap out HPS bulbs every two to three crops to keep output high. In contrast, LEDs give you a ten to 15-year service life, depending on the manufacturing brand. The best models provide a guarantee on your diodes, giving you hassle-free operation.
Can You Use Both HID and LED Grow Lights?
Yes, indoor gardeners can use both systems and benefit from the characteristics of each. For example, LED lighting or fluorescent lighting for the vegging stage and HID systems for the flowering stage could produce interesting results. However, you’re probably going to want to go with a hybrid LED system for your indoor garden. We recommend going with a leading brand like Samsung for your indoor LED grow light. With LED, you get dual modes for flowering and vegging and optimal light output with less heat and better energy efficiency. It’s kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think? LED is the way to go.
HID vs. LED – Which Lighting Is the Right Choice for My Indoor Garden?
In closing, we’ll highlight the pros and cons of each system to exemplify why LED is the better choice for your indoor grow light.
HID Grow Light Key Takeaways:
HID is said to produce better harvest yields than LED. They are more affordable than LED systems.
Incredibly expensive to run. Can raise suspicion in guerrilla grows. They create massive amounts of heat. The bulbs require frequent replacement.
LED Grow Light Key Takeaways:
More energy efficient than HID lighting. Most lights come with flowering and vegging functions (Full-spectrum lighting). Longer service life and fewer replacements save you money in the long run.
The top model LED lights can cost thousands of dollars. Older models or cheaper LED systems from unknown manufacturing brands might not have the same power output as HID systems.