The main tool you need for indoor gardening is Grow lights. The quality of light emitted by the grow lights decide the health and yield of a plant.

LED and HPS lighting technologies are widely used for growing plants indoors.

In LED grow lights vs HPS grow lights article you will learn about the LED grow lights vs HPS grow lights. Their pros and cons, Costs to run, type of light spectrum, the heat released, Harvest time, and some basics for beginners.

Note: HPS lights produce a red and yellow spectrum of light whereas LEDs produce the full spectrum of light.

Let’s start from the basic question

HPS stands for High Pressure Sodium grow lights. They are developed i

HPS stands for High Pressure Sodium grow lights. They are developed in 1964 for greenhouse projects. Because the plants in greenhouses do not grow well due to the low lights. Therefore, the developers decide to invent a lighting technology that produces a strong bright light.

The HPS grow lights solve the low lighting issues but they come with another problem of excess heat. Workers in greenhouses notice that the new HPS lights produce a high amount of heat and increase the overall temperature of the room.

Moreover, Extra ballast is required to run them and the life span of a single HPS grow bulb is less than 10,000 hours.

They burnt frequently and this increases the production cost of crops. Every HPS light has its ANSI code and you need a ballast with the same code otherwise the ballasts will not work with the light.

To solve all these issues researchers, develop a new advanced grow light system that they called Light emitting diodes (LEDs).

n 1964 for greenhouse projects. Because the plants in greenhouses do not grow well due to the low lights. Therefore, the developers decide to invent a lighting technology that produces a strong bright light.

The HPS grow lights solve the low lighting issues but they come with another problem of excess heat. Workers in greenhouses notice that the new HPS lights produce a high amount of heat and increase the overall temperature of the room.

Moreover, Extra ballast is required to run them and the life span of a single HPS grow bulb is less than 10,000 hours.

They burnt frequently and this increases the production cost of crops. Every HPS light has its ANSI code and you need a ballast with the same code otherwise the ballasts will not work with the light.

To solve all these issues researchers, develop a new advanced grow light system that they called Light emitting diodes (LEDs).

What are LED grow lights?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Inside LED grow lights small light-emitting diodes are fixed on a panel called the motherboard. They all work together to emit a full spectrum of light.  Because the light does not use Mercury and Xenon bulbs like HPS grow lights. It does not release heavy heat.

Nowadays LEDs are widely used over the globe for indoor gardening because single LED light is enough to grow any type of plant. It has everything that a plant needs to make its food without sunlight. These lights are suitable for all growing stages of a plant.

Full-spectrum is the main benefit of LEDs along with other positives. They consume less energy than other lighting methods

For example. If you have 600-watt HPS grow light it will consume 600 watts of energy to produce the 600 watts of light energy.

But 600 watts LED grow lights consume 240 to 269 watts of energy (depending upon the brand) to produce the 600 watts of light. This reduces the production cost and saves a huge amount on electric bills.

Running cost of LED Grow light vs HPS Grow light

HPS running cost

The running cost of light directly impacts the production cost of a crop. Every grower wants a low running cost light for its plants.

 It is not beneficial to buy a high running cost light for any reason.

Every grower wants a light that is affordable and produces high bright light with low electric consumption.

As I already explained above if you want to run an HPS grow light you need to give it the same amount of energy so that it can produce the mentioned light.

A 1000 watts HPS grow light consumes 1000 watts of electric energy. You can calculate if you need to run it for 18 hours per day how much electricity will it consumes.

HPS lights are suitable for commercial growing only when you grow high earning crops.

HPS bulbs have a short life span of fewer than 10,000 hours. If the manufacturer of an HPS light bulb says their bulb runs up to 10,000 hours this does not mean it cannot burn before that time.

I had an HPS light in my indoor garden 5 years ago and the bulb stops working after 6 months (3,000 hours of use).

At the time HPS light manufacturers give only 2 months of warranty but now they give 1 year of warranty on ballast, reflector, cables, etc. 6 months guaranteed on bulbs.

HPS is old school technology and they are hungry for electric power. If electrical consumption is your concern then go for the LEDs.

Running cost of LED grow lights

LEDs produce a full spectrum of lights this means that the light emitting by LED grow lights contain red, blue, white, yellow, and all 9 to 12 bands of light.

In simple words LED grow lights produce light similar to the sun for plants. A plant that is growing under LED grows light cannot differentiate between LED light and sunlight (because of the full spectrum of LEDs).

The running cost of LEDs is much less than the HPS and MH grow lights. For exact consumption, you need to check the outer box of light before buying it.

A 1000 watts LED grow light consumes 250 to 380 watts of energy depending upon the brand and quality of the product.

Good brands of LED grow lights manufacture highly efficient grow lights like MarsHydro, Vivosun, Kind LED, Philizon, etc.

NOW IT IS CLEAR THAT LED GROW LIGHT SHAVE VERY LOW RUNNING COST AS COMPARE TO THE HPS LIGHTS.

Amount of emitted light

LEDs and HPS light produces the same amount of light intensity.

When you are running HPS light you will feel that the light produces a high intensity of light like the sun

And

A running LED grow light looks duller than the same power of HPS light. But this does not mean LED does not produce high-intensity light. Due to the full spectrum of light LED lights looks dull and dimmer than HPS light.

But both the lights produce the same amount of light energy. A 400 watts HPS and LED produces the same amount of energy the difference is in their power consumption and spectrum of light.

Light spectrum LED vs Light spectrum of HPS

Sunlight contains all spectrums of light in it and plants required a different spectrum of light at different stages of growth.

This is the reason you see the spectrum control button on most of the LED grow lights. Turn on the Veg switch it speeds up the growth in the vegetative stage. Bloom switch increases the spectrum of light that is required to produce flowers and to develop fruits from flowers.

The quality and distribution of the light spectrum decide the growth of plants, disease resistance power, and many more.

LED lights also contain UV and IR diodes. The less bright diodes in running LED lights are UV and IR light emitting diodes. Moreover, you get a VEG and BLOOM switch to experiment with light at different growing stages of a plant. Hot or Cold temperature does not affect the spectrum quality of light.

HPS grow lights do not produce the full spectrum of light so they don’t have infrared and UV light spectrum.

When you try to grow the same plant under HPS grow lights you will see differences in size, shape, and yield. You need to buy a separate light for germination because you can’t use HPS light for it. If you use the light will burn your seeds and developed seedlings show signs of heat stress.

Amount of heat Released by LED grow lights vs HPS grow lights

Maintaining the correct temperature range in the grow room is a tuff job. If you have an HPS grow light and you are using it in hot weather. You are creating a hot room for your growing plants.

The world knows that High Pressure Sodium lights produce a high amount of heat that increases the grow room temperature in a few minutes. You need to install the heat management systems otherwise the heat produced will burn your plants.

This is the reason you cannot use HPS light in the germination and seedling phase.

On the other hand, LED lights do not produce heat energy like HPS grow lights. Because LEDs do not contain any material that needs to heat up to produce light like in the case of HPS (mercury and xenon).

Moreover, LED lights also have Aluminum heat sink and inbuilt heat fans that keep them cool. Also, keep the room temperature in the correct range.

With LED lights you do not need to install the heat management system but air ventilation systems are a must if you use grow tents.

In winters HPS lights are good to use to maintain the temperature of the room. But they create a problem in summers.

LED grow lights are best suitable for hot weather conditions and well as in extreme cold.

Harvest Time

A plant that receives a full spectrum of light obviously grows faster than those that don’t get it. So, the answer is growers using LED grow lights get matured plants in a short time than the growers use other lighting technology.

The life span of LED grow lights vs Hps grow lights

As I mentioned above the life span of HPS grow light not more than 10,000 hours.

And

LED grow lights can give you the same amount of power and high intensity for 50,000 hours. Today we have some highly advanced grow lights that give light energy for 100,000 hours.

If due to any case an LED diode stops working it will not affect the functioning of other diodes. The remaining diodes will continuously do their work of emitting high-intensity light.

PROS and CONS of LED grow lights vs HPS Grow Lights

LED pros

Emit full spectrum of light

Produces less heat than HPS

Longer life span 50,000 hours +

Full-spectrum speeds up the plant growth

Get high yield with LED lights

No need for ballast or reflector to run

Consumes low amount of electricity

LED Cons

LED Cons

Some top brands are expensive

Pros HPS

Less expensive than LED grow lights

You can use the released heat to maintain the temperature in cold weathers

HPS lights have industry standards

CONS HPS

Power-hungry lights use lots of electric power

Increase production cost

Frequent burns

Extra ballast is required to run the light

No full spectrum of light

Not suitable to be used in hot climates

The heat produced by HPS lights need to be managed

If not installed properly can burn your plant.

Who Wins?

The comparison of LED grow lights vs HPS grow lights clearly shows that LED grow lights are more advanced light. Their full-spectrum, low running cost and good life span make them ideal for home growers.

Whereas HPS grow lights are best suitable for big projects where you need to grow plants for commercial purposes.

For home growers LED grow lights are best to use. HPS lights can cover more area per light so use them if you need to cover the large area in your grow room with fewer lights.