HID lights or LEDS

Just interested in peoples opinions about HID vs LED lights? Are led lights really significantly less expensive to run vs HID?


Yes . LED are cheaper to run. The trade off is the upfront expense to purchase a quality led light.

HID lights are less expensive but the trade off is higher electricity cost and heat management is required for most grows, and periodic bulb replacements

My goal is to run both set ups . Using the LED lights in the summer when heat is difficult to control and using HID lights for my winter grows where the extra heat comes in handy when growing in a basement :v:


I run indoor w LED’s and am very happy. Like Watt said heat is a big problem that we deal with and LED’s give you the upper hand with heat. I haven’t even got into the cost savings not only on electricity but most HID growers change bulbs atleast every 2 grows if not every grow. Win win … leds for president…
I think the rebuttal would be penetration??


HID lights have been growing, and still grow, fantastic weed.

As mentioned before, heat is an issue. They also require more height than most leds. Bulb swaps and ballast issues can deter some people, but it’s a solid tech.

LEDs can vary from cheap blurple Chinese panels, to high end, spectrum specific lighting. They put off less heat, last longer, and can be much cheaper to run, (but they’re never “cheap” to run) Light penetration can be an issue.

I use leds solely. Cobs, boards and strips. I’m very happy with the results.


That depends on:
Your definition of “significantly.”
How much electricity costs where you live.

Where I live, I pay 8 or 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. So, the difference when running HID is minimal. People in California on the other hand…
Heat is usually not an issue with HID as long as you run an air-cooled hood.
I run both HID and LED lighting. There’s pros and cons to both… Initial cost is the biggest difference. Long term cost comes next.

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Not long ago LED was clearly not as productive as a gas lamp. That is no longer the case. Many commercial operations are now running LED for several reasons, not the least of which is quality weed. The savings of using LED is on the back end. If you calculate the cost of HID bulb replacement, balasts, heat removal over time LED wins hands down. There are other things to consider as well, HID are potentially dangerous. They can cause fire because the do get very hot. They can explode especially if water gets sprayed on them. They take up way more vertical height due to fixture thickness as well as distance from plant. Really, I think HID is quickly being phased out. There are those that swear by them, they are tried and true. They grow good pot, but then again so do LED.

LED is NOW, HID is dinosaur tech.

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths in the marijuana growing world, and the subject of lighting has no shortage of them. The exploding bulb is one of my favorites.
Before I proceed, let me state emphatically - I love my LED fixtures.But, I want to take this opportunity to dispel some things that pop up on this forum from time to time.

@Eagergrower I can assure you there is no danger of a bulb exploding or a fire happening when an air-cooled fixture is used. There may be a slim possibility of a bulb breaking if you had an open bat-wing fixture and you sprayed it with water, but you would never be in that situation anyway because you would never run an open fixture after reading this.

As far as energy cost savings go, like I said earlier - it really depends on where you live. I went ahead and did a quick comparison. Based on the U.S. national average of 12 cents/kilowatt-hour and the following for a typical 4x4 tent:
600 watt air-cooled HID fixture with digital dimmable ballast ($230 initial cost)
(2) HLG 260 XL fixtures ($660 initial cost)
At a $344/year operating cost (including a replacement bulb every 12 months) for the HID fixture, and a $264/year operating cost for the LED, the break-even mark is right about at 5 years ($1950 versus $1980). Changing the LED to a single HLG 550 economy model, the break-even is just under 5 years.

Regarding heat removal - there is no additional cost because you simply connect the fixture to your existing exhaust fan.

Vertical height: My big 1000 watt setup is a whole 10 inches tall, and an HLG 260 is 2.5 inches tall. Maybe it would make a difference if you were at the very top of your tent and couldn’t go any higher, but if your plant is that tall, you likely are going to run out of room regardless which fixture you have.

Now, on to heat. This is where the big misconception lies, undoubtedly because of the reputation of the old open bat-wing and parabolic HID fixtures. In actuality, an air-cooled fixture can be cooler than an LED fixture. Here is a comparison of 3 different lights. Note this is with a 1000 watt fixture, which is actually much more than needed for a 4x4 tent.

Canopy distance - I guarantee you I could not do this with my LED lights. They are right up against the glass. My flowers would be burnt to a crisp with my LEDs.

As far as what is now/future… many growers prefer CMH over LED. There may also be a future for plasma lights if they can bring down the cost and increase the bulb longevity. The plasma light spectrum has potential.

So, after this long diatribe, the main thing I want to leave you with is:
Given the choice and if you can afford it, I would absolutely recommend purchasing an LED fixture. But only a good one. LED lighting is fantastic. Cheap LED lighting will only disappoint you. If you can’t afford a good LED, I would much rather see a person purchase an air-cooled HID light than a blurple LED on Amazon, which sadly happens far too often.


I’m glad I switched to HLG 260xl Rspec kits. My plants have officially gone ballistic.


My plants are loving the 2 260xl’s.

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Wow lots of good info, thank you for that! I had no idea the plants could get that close to the fixture.

I forgot to also mention (if you didn’t know) that with a digital dimmable ballast, you can reduce the light production, and along with that the power consumption and heat production. The values above are at 1000 watts, but my ballast also does 750 and 500 watts. I adjust it as needed - I typically lower the power for plants that have just begun to flower.
My LEDs are dimmable as well, but I find it easier in those cases to just raise or lower the fixture.


And yes she is higher than the lights.

Drops mic…exit stage left.


Trees! Is that 2 260XLs?

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Yup…that is 2 260xl Rspec.


Yep, half of my plants have stems reaching 6-12" taller than my lights. But only the ones under the air-cooled fixture can grow literally up against the light. I’ve found that it makes incredibly massive colas. You just have to be sure to back it off a bit as soon as you start to see a little bit of light burn.

Here’s what happens when you’re not paying attention during the explosive stretch period and your plant grows right into your LED. Oops. I was concentrating too much down below and not enough up top.

Damnit Tom … great growth though right…lol
Fried weed… it’s a good sign you grow em big :woozy_face:

As always @TommyBahama has some amazing input.
I just wanted to add that new research has shown that LED’s produce a better product, higher concentration of cabanoids using the exact same settings including lighting output in a lab setting.
Again though you need good quality LED’s and Samsung 301B/301H chips that hlg and a couple other manufacturers use is what the gold standard is, I’m sure cree, epistar and some other manufacturers like PCL make some good lights but you need horticulture chips and they arnt cheap. The best bang for your buck is led boards. If your really looking to save cash get used old tech like CMH HPS and hid stuff it seems to be sold in classifieds these days because everyone’s upgrading.