by Scarlet Palmer on 20/07/2016 | Cultivation Opinion

HPS lights vs LED lights – Your Opinion

HPS vs LED HPS lights vs LED lights: the question is one that every indoor cannabis grower has considered, and usually more than once! To shed some light on this sometimes difficult decision, we’ve collected various comments and conducted a Twitter poll. And what is your opinion? Tell us in the comments.

Our series on “Your Opinion” continues with a look at the views on HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lights versus Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. The debate on which lighting system will produce better results can be found on virtually every cannabis forum. It is also not a clear-cut yes or no answer, as many growers use different systems – including combining the two types of lighting – at different stages of the cultivation process.

The question of LED vs HPS lights can also be affected by what continent you are living on. In Europe, electricity is more expensive than in the US. This tends to lead to gardeners in the US growing under 1000 watt bulbs, whereas their European counterparts lean towards 600 or even 400 watt bulbs.

Our expert author Seshata has written this well-researched, in-depth look at the various different lighting systems for cannabis cultivation, for those interested in learning more about their options.

As well as collating comments from various forums around the internet, we took a quick Twitter poll for some up-to-the-minute feedback on your opinion on HPS vs LED, and also asked about the reasons for your answers and what could influence your choices. The results can be seen in this handy infographic, and read in full below.

The results of our Twitter poll: LED vs HPS

Infographic of the results of our Twitter poll: LED vs HPS
Infographic of the results of our Twitter poll

1.Have you ever grown using LED lights? 
yes – 36%
no  – 39%
no, but I would – 21%
no, and I wouldn’t – 4%


2. Have you ever grown using HPS lights? 
yes – 73%
no – 18%
no, but I would – 5%
no, and I wouldn’t – 4%


3. Have you ever grown using a combination of LED and HPS?
yes – 11%
no – 74%
no, but I would – 11%
No, and I wouldn’t – 4%


4. Were you satisfied with the results from LED?
yes, very – 43%
yes – 21%
yes, but could have been better – 21%
no – 15%


5. Were you satisfied with the results from HPS? 
yes, very – 32%
yes  – 32%
yes, but could have been better – 21%
no – 15%


6. If you were going to buy a new lighting system, what factor is most important to you? 
yield – 40%
cost – 20%
electricity usage – 25%
other – 15%


7. If you were going to buy a new lighting system, what factor is least important to you?
yield – 22%
cost – 11%
electricity usage – 50%
other – 17%


8. If LED cost the same as HPS, would you choose LED?
yes – 68%
no  – 23%
don’t know – 9%

Conclusion Results

LED lights have been tested on yields and many times people were happy with the results. For indoor growers a good quality LED for a HPS price would be the best option, as concluded from the poll. Yields are more important than electricity costs. As an example: LED can achieve up to three times the yield per watt than a HPS does. But LED is more expensive and 68% would consider LED over HPS if the cost was the same.

Comment from Henry on (x):

“Quality LEDs will outperform HPS, I agree. But they get a bad reputation, because there are so many low quality lights out there that don’t perform as advertised. Also, there’s a bit of a learning curve when switching to LED. I think a lot of growers don’t get the results they expected on their first grow with LED and quickly decide LEDs don’t work.”


Comment from Mark on (x):

“Because HPS produces high-energy photons with a smaller wavelength which means plants see the photons as being smaller and they tunnel down into the matter further, meaning more energy is captured. LED produces low-energy photons with a larger wavelength so that the photons are perceived as bigger to the plant, and less energy is captured. This is proven again and again in tests.

Using the LED during vegging produces higher Calyx to Leaf ratios and also reduces node spacing so we produce short squat plants perfect form Fimming or the Screen of Green method. But for flowering, that 1000w HPS will ALWAYS be better than any LED now or in the future!!!! PERIOD. Also.. if you are using CO2 injection with LED’s you may as well stop. Your plants can benefit from up to 1300 ppm CO2 ONLY if the light is very bright AND if it is very hot.

Think for a second about heat… what is it? Infrared radiation. Which is what? Infrared photons. So heat produced by those HPS lights is seen by the plant as a massive flood of photons in Infrared spectrum! The plant wants to capture all of those extra photons but needs CO2 to help with that part of the ATP cycle. You can’t get that extra yield with LED’s. Just turn your CO2 off because it is making no difference or switch to HPS for your flowering cycle if it’s feasible.”


Comment from COorganics on (x):

“In my particular situation I would never switch from HPS to LED. Then I would have to run more heat which is quite a power draw. It seems, in my limited experience, that LED is great technology for warmer climates (less heat) and also uses less power which would be nice.”


Comment from PlatinumLED on (x):

“It’s an example though that once again.. you cannot equate growing power or intensity levels of LED grow lights to their wattage consumption. You’re working with drivers and diodes.. and many different grades and types of drivers and diodes.

You need to look at the individual light, the spectral emission and the overall PAR emitted vs watts consumed. There is a HUGE difference in quality and emission from one to another.. and you get what you pay for.. and this goes both ways. Any little money you spend on cheaper lights will only come back to cost you very dearly in the short and long run with vastly decreased yield, increased power consumption, increased canopy temps, safety issues, etc etc”


We would also love your feedback! Let us know your opinion in the comments below. HPS or LED – what do you think?

Comment Section

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I have a small setup due to very limited space, so I'm using HPS (70W are fine for me). If I had more space and LEDs (those big, professional ones) were at the same price level as HPS, I would instantly get those instead.



I've taken a bit of a closer look into this topic. I seriously think that I'm going to get a Hans panel in the near future (after vacation, that is).
Nice, really looking forward to the results.



I use 600 watt led for veg and 600 hps + 600 mh for flower. Works so great the LED keeps the nodes closer together.


Budmaster led

We rock it hard with our uk made led



what UK brand is it?



“Because HPS produces high-energy photons with a smaller wavelength which means plants see the photons as being smaller and they tunnel down into the matter further, meaning more energy is captured. LED produces low-energy photons with a larger wavelength..."

Photons do not have amplitude therefore photons of the same wavelength have the same energy.



I use a gavita 600w & a Chinese 1600 w led for both vegging & flowering, seems to work well, and it keeps the room at a good temperature,with just leds you will need a heater as someone else commented.


jesica jay

anybody know about led? i want to purchase quality leds for my home kitchen tell me about it


lighting doctor

Nice Blog dear, with the technology today will be more uses of these useful lights in the future. I want to thank you for this excellent information!! I



LED is snake oil. All the pro grows use HPS. The only pro gro is when the LED manufacturer gives the lamps to the grows so they can put it on YouTube.



I go for LEDs.

I recently finished 2 grows of autoflowers, 5 plants each. Total of 10 plants, 2 of them being white label's northern lights auto.

My lighting was 2 X 100 W led floodlights, that I got from a DIY store, for 20 euros each piece. One at 4000 K and one at 3000 K of light temperature, a total of 18000 lumen (the manufacturer's data, totally irrelevant in fact with plants), used at 18/4 cycle beginning to end. Really dead cheap stuff you get in any store that sells light bulbs and so.

In a 90X90X160 cm tent, I got very decent harvests of 100-300 gr per plant (many different varieties, with differing sizes and yield potential - white label's northern lights auto gave me 110 gr each of the two plants I grew). Also very potent.

Led also has an effect on color of the buds. You get a variety of coloration, not available with other lights - what you get outdoors really. I can also witness an improving effect on smell and taste - better photosynthetic abilities due to the leds possibly?


Farmer Dan

I have switched recently to a white floodlight style LED light setup. The lights are (2) 100W - 4000K white light LED flood light style, rated at 12,000 lumens each. They are a bit blue for flowering, but is just happens that I have a strip LED with 12 x 2 watt pure 660nm wavelength, which I am hanging between the two flood lights. Keep in mind that a 25000 lumen light setup with the plant canopy about 12" away, is about the same amount of light as a 100,000 lumen HPS system that is hung 24" above the canopy.

Originally I had a 1000W HPS in my flower tent, and I had to run an air conditioner to keep the heat down. The big problem I had was odor control. I moved into a new house in a neighborhood where the houses were close together, and needed a "closed" system that did not need to be air conditioned. I bought a 400W magnetic induction florescent light that is 3000K so reasonably red.

The results were very disappointing, I went from 3-4 OZ per plant (organic soil grow using Fox Farms) to 1-1.5 OZ per plant, same set up as before. I did everything I could to optimize yield, by topping, supper-cropping, and lollipopping the plants to maximize the buds to the top of the plants. Still got crappy yields

I discovered the 100W LED flood light style lights online, the price was $80.00 per light. I am about to harvest the first plant, and it looks like it will yield 2-3 OZ, maybe more. So the new lights will pay for themselves easily on the first plant (a blueberry strain). I am very happy, also the buds are loaded with trichromes


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