Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Growing cannabis is tricky in and of itself, but knowing which lighting setups are best is crucial to the growth of your plants. Without proper lighting, your cannabis plants will never get the proper nutrients they need to grow as large and as potent as you want them to. However, this all begs the question: which lighting is best?
Currently, the commercial grow market is full of different, confusing lighting options. Today, we’re focusing specifically on two of the most popular and most straightforward choices: HPS and LED lights. Below, we’ve compared these two types of lighting systems to help you determine what’s best for your grow operation.
HPS and LED, What's the Difference?
Directly comparing HPS to LED lighting in terms of price, functionality, and specifications helps to fully understand which options best suit your growing techniques. Quickly, it’s important to define what these lights are before we get into the nitty-gritty details.
HPS stands for High-Pressure Sodium, and these are lamps that rely on high levels of pressure to create blue, red, and yellow lights ideal for the growth stages of your plants. These types of lights are widely known for their ability to somewhat replicate the light spectrum of the natural sun, great for giving your cannabis exactly what it would get if it were being grown outdoors, right in the ground.
LEDs, on the other hand, stand for Light Emitting Diodes. These types of lights function using two types of diodes: anode and cathode. They’re easily one of the most widely used lighting options in the industry, primarily for ease and accessibility. Not to mention, they’re incredibly energy-efficient.
When it comes to the average price of these lights, HPS lights are going to be much more affordable upon start-up. In general, HPS lights are some of the most affordable grow lights on the market simply because of how long they’ve been around. They’ve made such an impression on the industry that even the highest-quality options tend to be less pricey than LEDs.
Unfortunately, HPS lights do tend to dim or burn out quickly, but one burnt out bulb isn’t going to burn out your whole lighting system. Instead, you can replace one singular HPS light with no problem, and it isn’t going to break the bank.
The start-up costs of having an LED lighting system is going to be much, much higher. LED lights are extremely expensive, and you’ll have to buy hundreds to craft a proper lighting system. However, LED lights tend to produce the best results, cannabis-wise, effectively making your money back by the time that cultivation is finished.
When setting up your LED lighting system, make sure to go the extra mile to ensure your products are high-quality. Just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean they’ll last long; research the best LED light brands before making any hefty purchases.
Along with being relatively inexpensive to set up and run, HPS lights can produce quite large outputs of light. These larger outputs allow for more light for more plants. So, if you’re growing a larger yield and in need of lights that produce wider concentrations of power, HPS lights may be the best option for you.
Not only do HPS lights offer quite impressive amounts of light, but they’re also wonderful for helping to produce bigger, more potent buds. This is primarily because HPS lights project light waves on the light/red side of the spectrum, as we discussed. Colors such as these help mimic what the sun’s rays project, supporting a more fruitful, natural growth. Especially during the flowering stage of your plants, colors such as these truly help ensure a successful yield overall.
However, it’s important to recognize that, while HPS lights are powerful, they also produce massive amounts of heat, too. Too much heat above your plants can seriously harm them, yellowing the flowers and degrading terpenes and cannabinoids. You don’t want to ruin your yield simply because your HPS lights are too hot. As you use them, ensure that they’re not burning too hot and keep a close eye on your plants. Typically, you’ll want to keep these lights a couple of feet away from your cannabis for ultimate protection.
On the flip side, LED lights produce significantly less heat than HPS ones do. With LEDs, there is very little worry that your lights are going to burn or ruin your yield, thankfully. They’re also much more energy-efficient and they don’t require nearly as much replacement as HPS lights.
In terms of light output, LEDs are unique: you can buy LED lights that reflect various color options, light concentrations, and strengths. Essentially, the wide range of LEDs allows for extra customized growing, helping you produce exactly what you want out of your cannabis buds, whether it be higher potency or larger flower production.
Other than their expensive price, it’s hard to find any cons with LED light functionality. They tend to be the most reliable, they’re most energy-efficient, and they’re easy to use. The only issue you may face is their weight: make sure they have ample support within your grow operation.
Which is Better for Growing Cannabis?
When you directly compare HPS to LED lightings, it’s easy to see that these lights cannot be treated interchangeably. Regardless of if you choose inexpensive HPS options or reliable LEDs, you must ensure that you’re prepared to correctly utilize them. Both of these light options can create hugely successful cannabis yields, but it purely depends on you.
Always take the time to determine your grow space, your budget, and what you’re hoping to accomplish from your cannabis plants. From there, finding the right lighting system should be easier than ever.
The Choice is Yours
Ultimately, whether you choose a large HPS lighting setup or a smaller, more customized one, the choice is yours. Cannabis cultivation is as unique to the grower as it is to the plant, so choose whichever option makes you feel most comfortable. If you find that you’re not a fan of your chosen technique, you can switch it up until you find the perfect lights for your specific cannabis yield.
No matter what, Luna Cultivation is here to help you make your decision. From each phase of the growing cycle to the best lights for your plants, the experts are here every step of the way.