LED vs HID Grow Lights – A Discussion For Indoor Growers

LED vs HID Grow lights

LED vs HID grow lights is a topic that has always been a constant debate around the world among growers. If you want to learn more about the difference, this is the page where you can find all the information.

In this article, we will discuss deeply on LED vs HID grow lights. We will start with the meaning and see the pros and cons afterward. Now, if you are a beginner you can take a lot from this article as we will be answering some of the relatable questions to hopefully put your mind at ease.

When it comes to ‘grow lights’, it can either make or break your gardening season. If you invest a good amount of money in grow lights, they can cost a lot with good results but if you use them the wrong way they can drastically ruin your final results. This means the success will largely depend on how you use your grow lights.

That being said, the biggest question that many growers need a proper answer is which grow lights they should choose. Well, a quick answer to that question is that both LED and HID grow lights are equally capable of mimicking the outdoor conditions and allow you to do your gardening.

Both grow lights have some advantages over others but there are many other factors that may come into play to decide which one will suit your needs.

Now, if you need to find more information on each of these ‘grow lights’, we suggest you to continue reading. Let us start from the basics, shall we?

What is grow lights?

In order to understand the difference between the LED vs HID grow lights, we need to understand what grow lights are exactly.

According to Wikipedia “a grow light is an electric light which is designed to stimulate plant growth by providing it an electromagnetic spectrum.”

The whole idea of using a grow light is giving the indoor plants appropriate lights for photosynthesis.

If you are thinking that do grow lights actually works? Well, there are three fundamental types of grow lights that are used in urban farming. These includes:

Fluorescent Lights LED Lights – light-emitting diodes

HID Lights – High-intensity discharge

All these types have one task and that is to:

Mimic missing sunlight – Provide supplement light by mimicking the sunlight. Optimize normal sunlight – Sometimes completely replacing the direct sunlight.

Now, the question arises which one of these lights is more effecting in its work? Fluorescent lights are commonly used for growing herbs and vegetables indoor.

We need to focus on LED vs HID grow lights, so let us discuss these lights in detail, starting from its meaning.

LED grow lights

Light Emitting Diode (LED) grow lights is actually a type of light that is energy efficient and is a good option for indoor growers. They pass the light through the semiconductor in order to create their spectrum.

LED grow lights do not burn filaments like other grow lights. The diodes are the small grid chips that are present in the light in hundreds or thousands. These chips have the ability to produce a specific narrow range of colors.

Each diode chip is capable to produce one specific color – red, blue, green, infrared, ultraviolet, etc. The colors from the chips combine in a specific manner which maximizes the spectrum of light they are producing. You will usually find the LED grow lights emitting light in purple color.

LED grow lights can be used as a sole means of light for a growing process, as a supplement of natural sunlight or it can be paired with other types of grow light for the same operation.

LED grow lights color spectrum

LED grow lights is designed to offer different color spectrum and you can select and manipulate it with the help of mobile application and touchscreen remotes.

This means you don’t need to swap lights. You can use the same array of light for flowering stages or vegetation. But, if you keep altering the spectrum of light you will lower the photosynthetic light output.

The purple light from LED grows lights can make tough to identify if there is any problem in plants. But, grow room glasses can come in aid, which can be used to correct the color of LED grow lights and see the plants more easily.

This was just the meaning of LED grow lights to help you understand how it could be different from HID grow lights. Let us continue with the difference and see what is HID grow lights.

>>Click here to know Led Vs HPS <<

What is HID grow lights?

HID stands for high-intensity discharge and is a type of grow light mainly known for its brightness and impressive output lights. The HID grow lights contain two different types of gas that ignites when the user switches the lights on; thus emitting light. The two electrodes present inside the light interacts with the gas and create a very bright light.

The HID grow lights are mostly used for commercial purposes. The modern HID grow lights have replaced the gas lamps which were used for several years before its existence.

Now, there are many forms of HID grow lights, but there are specifically two types that are considered more important – one is Metal Halide (MH) and the second is High-Pressure Sodium (HPS).

Metal Halide – MH produces the lights in the blue spectrum which mimics the natural lights during autumn and spring. It is advisable to use MH during the early vegetative stage of the plant cycle.

When MH is used as a primary source of indoor light, the light from MH encourages excellent plant growth. Though MH can be used for the entire plant cycle, it is not recommended by experts. Instead, you should transit towards HPS.

High-Pressure Sodium – HPS creates light in the orange or yellow-gold color spectrum. It is optimal choice for the flowering or reproduction stage. When HPS is used as a primary source of grow light indoor, the output is quick but skinny.

The color spectrum – orange, red, yellow triggers the plant hormones which could increase the budding or flowering of the plants. The downside of HPS is that it uses too much energy and produces too much heat. The grower will need extra upfront investment on an exhaust system or air-conditioners to balance the power.

Once you have learned about both the grow lights you may have a question in your mind that which light is best for you, right? Well, to find that out we need to see what pros and cons they are carrying within themselves.

Which is the best grow lights – LED vs HID grow lights?

In order to decide the best grow light, there are several advantages and disadvantages of each grow lights that you will have to consider before announcing a clear winner.

Here is the fact, when LED grow lights were not introduced in the market, growers had a limited indoor light option like HPS and MH. These were the most reliable, cheap and powerful options for gardeners and even today they are still very popular among indoor growers.

However, after LED grow lights were launched, the technology saw a drastic change as LED grow lights were more energy-efficient and delivered equally bright light.

This was the case 5 to 6 years back. And even at that time, there were constant debates on which technology is better. At that time HID was a clear winner because LED grow lights were not capable to help growers in indoor gardening.

But now, LED grow lights have improved its functionality and at the same time decreased the price. This is making the LED grow lights more powerful in this industry.

But in order to see who is the best or better than others we need to see the pros and cons of the technology. Let us clear our doubts by learning:

Advantages and Disadvantages of HID and LED grow lights

Advantages – HID grow lights

It has a lower up-front cost.The HID wattage lamp can cover a larger space.HID grow lights are cheaper and affordable.These lights are more reliable than LED grow lights. (Long history of ow to use’)With the extreme brightness, it can easily aid photosynthesis process. Intense light coming from the light penetrates the canopy and bulb of the plant and nourishes it entirely.

Disadvantages – HID grow lights

HID can generate highly dangerous heat temperature.You will need an air ventilation system to deal with heat, meaning –additional cost. It can degrade the quality of the plant.It may contain non-ecofriendly components.

These were the advantages and disadvantages of High-Intensity Discharge HID grow lights, now let see the advantages and disadvantages of LED grow lights.

Advantages – LED grow lights

It delivers a precise light spectrum to the plant. LED grow lights do not require air ventilation.You don’t need to switch between lamps during the different life stages of the plant.It does not require much maintenance. It is much energy efficient.The heat created from this light is limited and less risky than HID. There are no toxic components used in LED fixtures.

Disadvantages – LED grow lights

Higher upfront cost. The LED does not have a long history which means many growers are not aware of how to use this technology. Light burns are common if it is kept too close to the plant.


There you go, the pros and cons of each grow lights along with definition is cleared on this page. Hope the information on LED vs HID grow lights is useful and you have learned something from this article. Good Luck!