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LED vs HID Grow Lights: Which Ones Are Better?

Posted by Codisto Collaborator on

Long before LED grow lights appeared on the market, the choices for indoor growers were limited. HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) lamps were the best more reliable choice for indoor gardeners. Bright, powerful and cheap, they are still quite popular. However, the advancements in the LED technology has created more efficient, equally bright grow lights.

The emergence of the LED grow panels 5-6 years ago created a series of debates over which solution is the best. At that time, HID lighting would be a clear winner, as LEDs were far too weak for indoor growing purposes. Nowadays, however, things have changed: LEDs are getting more powerful, while their prices are continually dropping. Let’s see their pros and cons in more detail.

What Are HID Grow Lights

HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge. These light bulbs filled with two different types of gas that ignites when someone turns them on, creating light. There are two distinct types of gas used in HID lights: High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH).

Different types of gas emit different light spectra, meaning that you have to shift between them according to the development phase of your plants. HPS lamps produce light in the red side of the spectrum, whereas MH lamps emit blue light. Which one you need depends on your growing style and plant needs.


  • HID grow lights are cheap, and you can purchase them anywhere.
  • They are extremely powerful and bright, aiding the photosynthesis process.


  • HIDs are powerful but generate dangerously high temperatures. That means you have to purchase additional ventilation to deal with heat issues your grow room.
  • HID lamps consume way too much electricity, much of which is wasted on heat generation.
  • You have to replace these sensitive bulbs every year or so, as they are prone to malfunction.

What Are LED Grow Lights

LED grow light technology is evolving by leaps and bounds, making LED panels a solid choice for indoor growers. Contrary to their counterparts, LEDs operate in much lower temperatures and come in all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, they require less maintenance, as the average LED grow light bulb has a lifespan of about 50.000 hours (that’s about five years).

Most modern LED panels emit full spectrum light, meaning that you can grow a plant from start to finish, using just one grow light. Finally, their higher efficiency means that LEDs can achieve excellent results consuming far less electricity than HID lamps.


  • Good LED grow lights can produce the same amount of light as an HID, using less energy, drastically cutting electricity costs
  • LED panels are more flexible and run in relatively cool temperatures, eliminating the need for additional ventilation.
  • Full-spectrum LED grow lights mean that you don’t need to switch between lamps during the different life stages of your plant.


  • Higher upfront costs (but significantly lower electricity bills).
  • The technology is so new that many manufacturers have taken advantage of the situation to push cheap models as real HID replacements.


We are obviously biased here, but nowadays, LED panels are truly the best choice for indoor growers. They are more efficient, equally powerful and more flexible than a standard HID lamp.

For more than seven years, we only deal with the industry’s best! Take a look around our store to find the best LED grow light for your indoor garden!

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