LED Grow Light vs. HPS: Which Lighting Application is Better?


About LED grow light vs. HPS, Are you an experienced indoor grower? Or are you new to the indoor growing hobby? Chances are you’re aware of the raging battle about which grow light is more effective.

Grow lights are like indoor suns that help facilitate plant growth. Interestingly, there are two options: light emitting diode or HPS grow lights.

So, which one is excellent for high yields, healthy flowers, plant shape, and energy efficiency? Read on to find out. Plus, we’ll show you when you can use these grow lights.

What are LED Grow Lights?

LED Grow Lights

LED Grow Lights

LED growth lights use specialized LEDs to assist the photosynthesis process and help plants grow, even without sunlight. Unlike regular lights, LEDs don’t need gas to emit light. And they last longer than HPS lamps.

Also, there’s a low chance of having burnt-out LEDs because they lack filaments. In addition, LED growth lights are energy-efficient and can stand the test of time.

What is HPS Lighting

HPS Lighting

HPS Lighting

HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) lights belong to the high-intensity discharge (HID) lights family. And it generates light intensity from the yellow to red parts of the visible spectrum in large quantities. Hence, these lights are quite popular among farmers. For instance, a 400W HPS bulb can cover at least 15 square feet, and a 1000W covers a 7×7 feet growing area.

Additionally, HPS lights stimulate plant growth by using the electromagnetic spectrum that controls photosynthesis. Also, HPS grow lights create environments similar to outdoor conditions, especially in color and temperature. And it helps to prevent plant over-growth.

Though HPS growth lighting has some tough competition, it still stands strong as an excellent indoor farming lighting option. Plus, you can get double-ended technology with HPS, which lasts longer and is more effective than the single LED grow light.

LED Grow Light vs. HPS Grow Lights

Plants under Grow Lights

Plants under Grow Lights

HPS and LED grow lights are fantastic options for an indoor garden, but let’s find out which offers more benefits. Here are a few comparisons:

LED vs. HPS Yield Comparison

Plant Yield

Plant Yield

Many believe that yield depends on the grower’s knowledge and abilities, not the kind of artificial light used. But the truth is the type of light the plants receive plays a significant role.

The minimum yield rate for the HPS industry is approximately 0.5(half a gram) per watt. In other words, 1000W HPS fixtures would produce up to 500g or over a pound per harvest.

LED technology can produce orchids at 1.55lbs per plant, an estimated 695 grams, and an average of 1.16 grams per watt. However, the minimum yield rate for the light-emitting diode is one gram per watt. Hence, LED growth lights have a higher yield rate.

LED vs. HPS: Energy Efficiency

LEDs don’t need a lot of energy to generate the same light intensity you get with HPS lights. Plus, LEDs save over 40% energy when used as grow lights.

Contrarily, HPS needs more energy to generate high-intensity lights. Furthermore, LED fixtures are also eco-friendly, thanks to their impressive energy efficiency.

LED vs. HPS: Temperature

LEDs don’t produce as much heat as HPS bulbs. The radiant heat of LEDs caps at around 11%, while HID generates as much as 55% radiant heat.

However, there are situations where you’d want your lights to produce enough heat, especially if your plants flourish at greater leaf surface temperatures. In this case, HPS is your go-to.

LED vs. HPS: Easy to Use and Customize

You’ll need several pieces of equipment if you want to enjoy HPS lighting, making it more complex to use. And there are limited options for customization as well.

However, LEDs don’t require extra equipment and are easy to use. Also, it’s easy to customize LEDs to meet specific plant requirements. And you can target the diodes to a particular wavelength on the lighting spectrum. Hence, you’ll have more red or blue diodes.

LED vs. HPS: Cost Comparison

LEDs have a higher upfront cost than HPS lights. Although HPS lamps are not expensive, their heat generation features may require extra ventilation. Hence, you’ll need other equipment like HVAC systems, lamp hoods, ventilation, or separate bulbs. 

All these factors contribute to increasing the overall cost of HPS lighting. And this lighting consumes a lot of energy, increasing maintenance costs.

Although LED growth lights are more expensive, they offer overall cost savings. And they use considerable energy, making them cheaper to maintain in the long run.

LED vs. HPS: Durability and Duration

LEDs have impressive durability and an extended lifespan. They usually last about 50,000 hours and may survive for more than ten years (depending on how long each light stays on daily). On the other hand, HPS lasts for an average of 16,000 hours.

In addition, LEDs maintain their brightness throughout their period of operation. HPS is more susceptible to dimming and will need replacements over time.

LED vs. HPS: Light Penetration

For light penetration, older versions of HPS seem to have better performance. However, newer versions of LEDs can either match or surpass them.

LEDs can generate more light, but HIDs produce more steady, quality light with better canopy penetration. In other words, HPS light can go below plant canopies and reach the lowest stems and leaves for better growth.

Since LEDs generate low heat, you can take them closer to your plants to compensate for the lower light penetration.

Pros and Cons

Indoor Growing

Indoor Growing

LED Grow Lights


  • LED fixtures have smaller sizes, allowing you to maximize growing space.
  • LEDs don’t overheat and burn out or dim quickly.


  • They may not be effective in colder climates as they don’t generate heat.

HPS Grow Lights


  • HID grow lights offer different options.
  • It produces an intense amount of light that can foster better plant development.


  • HPS lights have shorter shelf lives compared to LED.
  • It can be tricky to set the best temperature, especially in tight spaces.

When to Use Each Type

LED Light Indoor Farm

LED Light Indoor Farm

We can’t say if LED growth lights are better than HPS. And it’s because what works for you may not be as effective for another grower. Some people even combine several lighting types.

So, you can use both grow light options to give your plants all the benefits and counter some drawbacks. You can use different lights for your plant’s growth stages for a more strategic approach.

Let’s look at the specific scenarios where each lighting type can work.

When to Use HPS Grow Lights

Cabbage under HPS Growth Light 

Cabbage under HPS Growth Light 

HPS is your go-to if you need:

  • Better light penetration: HPS has impressive reliability and light penetration. You won’t have to adjust your lights to reach the lower leaves and stems.
  • Lower Upfront Costs: You can always set up your grow lighting with HPS without breaking the bank. Then, you can focus on developing your frow room once you have the budget.
  • Complete light spectrum: HPS offers a full light range, which means you’ll grow healthy plants.
  • If you don’t mind changing the bulbs: If you can handle changing bulbs now and then, or if you have a few plants, HPS would be a great option.

When to Use LED Grow Light

Plant under LED Grow Light

Plant under LED Grow Light

LEDs are your go-to if you want:

  • Energy Efficient: If you want to reduce energy costs in the long run, LED lights are the best choice. Plus, you’ll also be saving the planet.
  • Experiments with Light Spectrums: the LED fixture are great for customizing your light temperature and settings to fit different scenarios. So, if you have various plant species and you want easy tweaks to find the right combinations, LEDs are your go-to.
  • Plug and Play: LED grows lights are all-in-one fixtures. So if you want a system that produces your plants by simply plugging in, LED grow lights are ideal.
  • If you can handle more investment: LEDs are cost-effective when you play the long game, but the upfront payments are expensive. Therefore, LEDs are an excellent choice if you can handle higher upfront costs at the start.
  • If you don’t mind adjusting your lights: You’ll need to adapt your LEDs between 6 to 18 inches above your plant canopies to get the best light penetration and avoid light burns. Hence, you should use LED fixtures if your schedule allows you to check your plants frequently.


Is the LED fixture Better than HPS?

It depends on what you want. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages that fit specific situations.

Do LED Lights Yield as much as HPS?

Yes. The yield is almost 60% better than HPS.

Final Thoughts

Indoor Farming with Growth Light

Indoor Farming with Growth Light

LED grow lights and HPS are excellent in different scenarios. You can also choose to use both lightings for your plants or at different development stages.

Light-emitting diodes work great for vegetative and seedling stages. Since they don’t generate much heat, the seedlings will be safe from damage. And LEDs can provide the 18 hours of light needed for the vegetation stage without draining your pockets.

HPS is a better option during the flowering stage. Its red wavelengths offer a better sunlight replica so plants can bloom naturally.

Do you have more questions? Feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

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