Indoor growers of plants cannot rely on the sun on as the main source of light. There might not be enough sunlight indoors, making the use of grow lights a necessity. The need for grow lights becomes imperative during the winter months when sunlight is available only for a few hours. Indoor growers have two main options for their grow lights: LED or HID grow lights. HID lights have been around for a long while but the relatively new LED lights have garnered so much following. It is important, therefore, to make a comparison between the two popular grow lights options.
A plant light or a grow light is an artificial source of light that is designed to stimulate the growth of the plants by emitting a light needed for photosynthesis. A grow light becomes essential in applications where naturally occurring light is not available, or when there is a need for supplemental light. During the winter months, there are parts of the country that receive very little sunlight, which is insufficient for plant growth. The use of grow lights supplements whatever little sunlight is available, or extends the time the plants receive light. Plants that do not receive enough light become long and spindly. Grow lights are designed to provide a light spectrum that is similar to that of the sun or a spectrum that focuses on the needs of the plant. The most common grow lights in use today are HID or high-intensity discharge light and LED or Light Emitting Diode grow lights.
HID Grow Lights
The HID grow light is tube-shaped lightbulb that is hermetically closed and full of gas. The HID light creates light when the gas inside is charged. HID bulbs are classified according to the type of gas used in them.
The two main types of HID bulbs use either high-pressure sodium (HPS) or a metal halide (MH). The wavelength and color spectrum of the light emitted is based on the type of gas used. HPS light bulbs typically emit red and orange hue, which is important when used during the flowering stages of the plant. The MH light bulb emits a bluish color, which is useful for the vegetating phase of the plant.
HID lights require ignition that is provided by a voltage pulse that sends an electrical charge between two tungsten electrical conductors through the ionized gas. The technology has been around for hundreds of years. Newer HID lights produce more visible light per unit of energy than the household incandescent and fluorescent lamps.
The most efficient HID light bulb for plant growth is a 600 Watt HPS lamp, producing a higher rate of lumen per watts than the smaller ones. Indoor growers rely on the 600 watts HID bulb for their plants.
LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are energy-efficient lights that are the main choice for indoor growers. Unlike HID lights, LEDs do not use filaments that will burn out over time but instead allows light to pass through semiconductors to create their spectrum.
LED grow lights may be used as the sole source of lighting in a growing operation or used together with other types of grow lights, or as a supplement to the natural light source. Lights emitted by LED grow lights can be focused, resulting in no light dispersed or lost between the bulb and the plant’s canopy.
LED lights are also known for their long service lives, with a bulb lasting from 50,000 to 100,000 hours of continuous use. For indoor plant growing, such as marijuana plants, the best wattage that may be used is a 600 Watt LED grow light.
The Better Option
HID lights have been around for centuries and have shown that they are capable of getting the job done. However, HID lights are inefficient when compared with state-of-the-art LED grow lights. LED grow lights have a lifespan that is six times longer than those of the HID lights.
Galaxyhydro is a popular brand of LED lights which provide good lighting for multiple grow cycles. HID light bulbs use toxic metals to produce light while LED grow lights are eco-friendly, resulting in energy savings that range from 50% to 70% compared to HID lights.
HID light bulbs produce intense light that requires cooling and may also result in plant burn, posing an increased risk of fires.
An LED light is characterized by maximum chlorophyll absorption, resulting in better flower production. Plants receiving light from a LED light requires less frequent watering than those receiving light from HID grow lights. Indoor growers are more inclined to favor LED grow lights in the LED vs HID grow lights debate.