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Can You Use Both LED and HID Lights in Grow?

Forget waiting for the perfect sunlight window! The magic of artificial lighting is making indoor gardens thrive.

But with so many choices, even experienced plant enthusiasts can feel puzzled. At this point, two giants in the grow light industry emerge: LED – the advanced energy-efficient option, and HID – the powerful, traditional choice.

They each shine with dazzling light, but which one is best suited for your leafy kingdom?

Some growers already have trusted gas discharge lamps, but their heat generation and energy consumption might weigh them down, making it challenging to completely part ways with them.

They pose a valuable question: Can we combine the reliability of HID lights with the cutting-edge technology of LED grow lights?

In this blog, we will explore their unique qualities and delve into the exciting realm of merging LED and HID Lights. Let’s grow together!

Table of Contents

Understanding LED and HID Lights

Choosing the right lighting fixture is like selecting the perfect flower pot: it depends on your needs!

Are you looking for efficiency and customization? LED grow light might be your best choice. Need raw power and cost-effectiveness? HID lights could be your optimal selection.

LED Grow Lights

Remember the science experiments we did as kids with magnets and batteries? Now, envision similar tiny changes happening in your grow light, where electrons whirl around, generating vibrant beams of LED light.

That’s the magic behind these energy-efficient champions; they act like powerhouses, creating brightness for your plants. They are the perfect choice for environmentally conscious growers.

LEDs allow you to customize the light spectrum your plants see, much like picking the right outfit for a fancy plant party. Many LED grow light manufacturers offer spectrum customization based on your cultivation needs.

Moreover, they have a long lifespan and won’t turn your growing space into a sauna.

However, it’s worth noting that their upfront costs might be higher. Their power might be subject to some limitations, so be mindful of potential intensity restrictions.

HID Lamps

HID refers to a category of gas discharge lamps, including High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), Mercury Vapor (MV), and Metal Halide (MH). Their relatively high efficiency and extended lifespan have dominated commercial and greenhouse lighting for nearly half a century.

HID lamps deliver intense illumination, using bright light to promote rapid plant growth, leading to bountiful harvests at an affordable price.

However, remember, with great power comes great responsibility and heat! These lamps generate heat during operation, akin to a car left baking in the sun, and their lifespan is shorter than a trendy diet.

They also consume energy like a thirsty athlete, so keep an eye on your electricity bill.

Combining LED and HID Lights in Grow

The idea of combining LED and HID lights for indoor cultivation sounds appealing.

In theory, with this hybrid setup, we can use LED during the seedling/vegetative stage and switch to HID during the flowering phase. Tailoring the LED spectrum for specific needs can complement HID. Through strategic positioning, both can be utilized for the entire growth cycle.

However, there are compelling reasons to insist on using only LED grow lights.

Through a critical examination of the combination of LED and HID lights in grow, we find that the drawbacks of HID lights may outweigh the benefits when compared to the versatile LED technology. There are valid reasons for exclusively relying on LED throughout the entire plant lifecycle.

Let’s start with a video of LED vs HID.

Efficiency Rules

Facing reality, the high energy consumption of HID lamps is a well-known fact. The intense light they produce comes at an economic and environmental cost.

Opting for a combination of HID and LED lights means relying on the power-hungry characteristics of HID, which may not align with the growing trends of energy efficiency and sustainability in the horticultural field.

LED lights are much more energy-efficient, providing a viable alternative for the entire plant growth cycle, reducing electricity costs, and minimizing the carbon footprint. In today’s energy-conscious world, this is a significant victory.

Spectrum Showdown

The spectrum output of HID lights is fixed, limiting their adaptability to different growth stages and plant types, potentially leading to energy waste and suboptimal results.

In contrast, LED lights offer adjustable spectra, allowing growers to fine-tune the light wavelengths according to the plant’s specific needs, promoting optimal growth throughout the entire cycle.

Cool Comfort Matters

The inner wall temperature of HID lights is approximately 400 degrees Celsius, so if improperly applied or cooled, they may pose a potential fire hazard.

Gas discharge lamps can swiftly turn a growing space into a small sauna. Excessive heat can stress plants and even hinder their growth.

In contrast, LED lights typically reduce heat emissions by 50%. Moreover, most of the heat from LEDs is generated at the back of the circuit board and transferred to the heat sink, rather than radiating onto the plants.

Cost Considerations

While the initial cost of LEDs may be higher than HID, their longer lifespan and lower energy consumption often result in long-term savings.

Additionally, with the rapid advancement of LED technology, their prices are continually decreasing, making them an increasingly attractive choice.

Maintenance Matters

HID lamps have a shorter lifespan, requiring frequent replacements, which increases maintenance costs and hassle.

The last truly notable advantage of LED is its simplicity and user-friendliness. LEDs do not require bulb replacements, and compared to non-ventilated HID systems, cooling requirements are reduced by 40-50%.

They pose no fire hazard near a growth tent, and they emit very little growth-layered infrared (IR) radiation.

While skepticism about LED flowering persists among smaller consumer groups in the cannabis market, acceptance of the latest generation of top-tier LED products is growing among larger commercial players.

When considering energy efficiency, reliability, no need for bulb maintenance, independent spectrum control, and advanced features like the ability to dim levels in a greenhouse based on varying sunlight levels using photosensors—all while achieving similar yields and higher quality final products—the decision becomes quite straightforward.

It is precisely for all these reasons that the current generation of LED plant grow lights is finally poised to permanently replace HID as the preferred choice for horticultural lighting.

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