LED vs. HID Grow Lights: Is There an Easy Answer?

Both LED and HID lights have a decent service life, save energy, and are reliable as well. Magnificent as they seem, LED vs. HID Grow lights are still something to think about. Is there an overall best?

Or do they have similar attributes?

Well, when it comes to color contrast, light penetration, and power, they differ gravely.

On one side, we have LEDs producing less heat, whereas HID is kinda warm to the touch.

Today, let us dig into some mind-boggling gaps between HID and LEDs in terms of growing plants. In the end, we will give you our top choice, so don’t miss out.

LED vs HID Grow Lights

In a hurry? Check out the comparison of an easy answer

Features LED grow lights HID grow lights
Light spectrum Red and Blue light (VR and IR) Red Light Spectrum (600–700 nm)
Heat production Less More
Light efficiency More Less
Cost Costs more Costs less
All year usage No Yes

Read More: How to Build a Grow Room in a Shed

LED lights: Why are they special?

Ever heard of a light-emitting diode in your science class? LEDs light up when the current flow matches perfectly with its two endings. Turns out, there are a lot of LED chip stacks, which make up a narrow range of colors.

LED grow lights often use UV and IR spectrum for growing herbs in your indoor garden. They have a decent service life, radiate less heat, and produce some exquisite colors. Now let’s check some features of LEDs.

Low energy consumption

LEDs have a straightforward link from a power source to an emitter. This link helps transform electrical energy directly to light energy without much heat production. And so, you will get more light in a strict electricity budget.

The best part is, LEDs consume up to 85% less power compared to the old tungsten bulbs. So, you will get a low electricity bill after a month of gardening. Hurrah.

High intensity and brightness

Though the consumption of electricity in LEDs is low, you can still get a high-intensity output from it. For starters, a big living room can have a complete decorative design using just a handful of LED lighting.

There are high brightness LEDs as well, which emit more than 45 lumens with a 1-watt consumption rate.

Controlled lighting

You don’t always need the lights to stay on in your garden. Won’t it be great to tweak the LEDs for the auto on/off feature?. Turns out, you can do just that by attaching a controller to the lights, and you are done. You don’t have to go on a hustle, lighting a broken bulb every time.

Wide color range

LEDs come in tons of colors and start from soft yellow to bright whites. If the color temperature is too low, the LEDs will appear blue or greenish. In contrast, warmer ones produce yellows, reds, or even oranges. Makers stack different colored LEDs to make a broad spectrum of colors.

They are kinda like blue, green, and red paints combined to make different shades of color. For gardening, UV and IR spectrum of light is what you need the most.


  • Highly power efficient.
  • Long-lasting and durable.
  • Low heat production.
  • Light direction can be controlled.
  • Reliable with exceptional color range.


  • Emits more blue lights.
  • Harms the sleep cycle.

HID Grow lights: Why are they special

HID grow lights are a cost-effective way for growing indoor plants. When it comes to pricing, HID is a lot cheaper than LED.

So, what is it made of?

There are two HID grow lights, one has High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and the other has Metal Halide (MH). For maximum plant growth, you will need both lights simultaneously.

All-weather usable

Won’t it be nice to grow your favorite plant all year round? Well, this is where HID comes handy. You can add some HID grow lights to your indoor garden and grow anything you like.

They emit both heat and light, which neutralizes the freezing winter for a summer-like harvest. Now you don’t have to wait six months to get the veggies you like.

Extremely bright

HID lights have an efficiency rate of 150 lumens per watt, making them highly bright in high capacity. The radiant lights can cover an entire football field using some 1000 watt bulb.

Growing crops

Ever felt like gardening in the cold winters? Now you are in luck. Using some HID bulbs indoors in your garden, you can induce the growth of seeds and hibernating plants.

Turns out, you can even grow marijuana with healthy flowers all year long.

Low Maintenance

Once you have fitted the lights to your garden, leave it there and don’t look back. Though the lights are budget-friendly, you don’t have to care for them until something goes wrong. One thing for sure, you have to wait a couple of years until one gets broken.

Best choice between LED vs. HID Grow Lights

It is often hard to choose between two products having so much in common. So, what should you do?

For starters, don’t just pick one if you don’t know its true purpose. LEDs are a good option, but you have to use a heater alongside it too. On the other hand, HID lights produce more heat, which offers all-year growing plants.

Though LEDs can save some cash in electric bills, you will still need a running heater. Whereas, HID grow lights save money in the initial investment.

When it comes to light efficiency, both the LEDs and HID grow lights are top players.

For us, HID grows lights, is more productive, saves time and overall expenses. So, there is no way LEDs can win over HID grow lights.


Are LED grow lights better than HID?

When you need better light efficiency instead of a bit of heat and light combo, then LED wins. However, if you want something that will work all year non-stop, HID is the one for you. The best thing about HID is, you will get a good amount of heat from it without spending on heaters.

Are LED grow lights as good as HPS?

High-performance LED grow lights are more pocket-friendly than HPS lights. But the match is almost a draw. Some HPS lights produce more lights than a regular LED.

What lights do professional growers use?

A pro indoor grower prefers HID grow lights over others grow lights like LEDs and fluorescent lights. Often newbies start off with LEDs and end up using HIDs after a couple of years.

What is the best LED grow light 2021?

The best LED grow light brands in the year 2021 are,

  • Barrina
  • Excellence
  • Spider Farmer

How much does a 1000 watt LED grow light cost to run?

In the US, the price of a one-watt hour costs 0.2 dollars. Now, a 1000 watt LED light runs for 18 hours a day which costs about 3.6 dollars. Now for a month the cost reachers, 108 dollars.

Note: This price depends on where you live. Some cities may cost you more or less, depending on that.

Read More: COB Vs. Cree LED Grow Lights

End Note

Though LEDs have a high front cost and minimize cooling needs, HID grow lights still win the match. Both of them have a great light spectrum, yet LED misses something.

Research shows HID yields more crops per year than LEDs. Additionally, you need to know advanced pruning techniques to adjust with LED lighting.

Now, hit us with a comment if you have any problem with our decision. So, no more today. Have a good day.

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