2016-11-25

Lights: LED VS HPS Part 1

Indoor growing season is here in the North Hemisphere, it’s time to buy new lights! When searching through the internet the first doubt we encounter is: LED or HPS (High Pressure Sodium Lamps)? We jump in to one of the great debates of the moment in cannabis culture (together with Regular VS Feminized and Photoperiodic VS Autoflowering).  LED lights now for a while in the market, there’s tons of literature about this that we’ll try to sum up here.

 

1) Costs

First thing you’ll see is the big price difference between them. LEDs seem to have an exorbitant price when compared with HPS lamps. But, you won’t feel that impressed by that price when thinking in terms of energy efficiency and maintenance. LED lights consume a fraction of what a HPS lamp uses.

Before you buy anything, you should sit down and evaluate what you want to obtain from your grow, and think about the number of uses you’ll give to your lamps. If it’s the first you’re growing or you’re not sure about the answer of the second question maybe you should go for a strong HPS lamp, a good bet for an affordable price. Also, considering that LEDs generate less heat, you know that you’ll spend less money on conditioning your growing space (you avoid buying ballast and a complex ventilation system, which in the case of LEDs could be replaced for one simple fan).

If you are a usual grower, you know that HPS lights need to be changed regularly, because of their short lifespan: their energy efficiency declines at a much faster pace than LED’s. LED lights will last many grows while you’ll have to change HPS lamps from time to time.

2) Energy efficiency

Even if many growers disapprove LED grow lights and say the plants grown with them present many deficiencies, the truth is LED lights are as good as HPS. It depends, as with many things, on how much you spend on it. If you think LEDs are your best option, it is very important for you to be informed and to be prepared to spend money, to ensure your satisfaction with the results. LEDs are expensive, and that’s a fact.

The high energy efficiency of LED lights is, among other reasons, due to the light frequencies they use. HPS lamps throw a very white light, covering a wide band of the spectrum, which is not completely used by the plants. LED lights are specially made to cast a light covering only the parts of the spectrum stimulating the growth of cannabis plants.

On top of that, LED lights are very directional, which can be used to concentrate their light beams only on the plants, and therefore losing less energy.

 

Never forget that power is much more important than light spectrum, it is worthless to have a few good LEDs if they are not fulfilling the energetic needs of grow. If you don’t want to spend too much money, it is much better for you to buy HPS bringing a lot of light to you grow than having insufficient LED power.

Temperature is also very important. HPS lamps turn a part of their energy in to heat. This means you’re losing a part of your power, who will never become light and will never make your plants grow! But there’s more than that.

 

 

This heat can icrease the temperatura of your grow tent by a lot. This could put you or your plants in danger if you do not take measures. You need fans, and ventilation to clear some of that heat. Nevertheless this heat could be very good if you’re growing in a cold place. You have to take everything into account. On the contrary, LEDs could be very beneficial for very small grows where you could have problems to evacuate the heat released by lights.