If you’re going to start growing weed (indoors) you have to decide between various grow lamps. Should you go for a classic and effective HPS Lamp, or for a modern, economical LED Grow Lamp? Not everyone is very familiar with the LED variant. But it’s still useful to know the pros and cons before you go and invest in grow lamps. Hence this extensive article in which we will help you with the assistance of an expert.
The Internet is awash with articles about HPS and LED Grow Lamps. LED, in particular, is on the up and up, and gaining strongly in popularity. That is because the lamps are relatively new and there is still room for plenty of innovation. The articles frequently conclude that: LED is more modern and economical, while HPS is reliable and effective. It’s as if you’re being forced to make a choice between the two. But that’s not always necessary. At least that’s what our expert is saying.
Tip from an Expert
We at Dutch Headshop spoke to Hidde Siers, an authority in the field of cannabis growing and a pioneer in terms of normalising Medicinal Cannabis. If anyone understands what’s what, it’s Siers. He also has his own opinions about different grow lamps. Siers: ‘LED is on the up and up. But it’s not overtaking the HPS lamp yet in all areas. The light output is still a bit higher with HPS. It’s also the case that it’s not just the LED lamps which are improving, but the HPS lamps as well. Nowadays you can get them in fireproof, CE-approved units of 100 Watt.’
As you can see there is a lot of innovation happening in the world of the Grow Lamp, but more of that later. If you ask him which is best for putting the little ladies in the light, he comes up with an interesting option. ‘Both HPS and LED Grow Lamps have advantages. Why shouldn’t you put these strengths together? In my opinion, you get the best results when you combine them’, as Siers puts it. So, do you really want to do it well? Then you know what to do.
We can readily understand if you’d rather opt for one of the two. Especially if you just have one or two plants. We’ll try to help you make a choice. This article explains everything about the LED Grow Lamp for you. All the pros and cons in a nutshell. In addition, we compare it with its younger brother: the HPS Lamp.
Growing with LED
Growing with LED (Light Emitting Diode) Lamps. For some people it will sound completely normal, but the LED Grow Lamp is by no means a classic. Only in the last 10 to 15 years have they been found in Dutch growing rooms. Indoor cannabis growing was mainly carried out with HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lamps. When the LED growing lamp was discovered, examples were very expensive and did not produce the same results as the reliable HPS lamp. But growing with LED is becoming increasingly popular. A new and innovative LED Grow Lamp has many advantages over its predecessors. Let’s have a look now at what advantages LED Grow Lamps have compared to those ‘predecessors’.
Advantages of LED Grow Lamp
- The first advantage is generally known and for many growers it’s the argument for choosing an LED Grow Lamp. Namely: the energy saving. LED Grow Lamps are much more economical than HPS lamps for example. Old-fashioned lamps put current through a filament which causes a lot of energy and heat to be wasted. In LED lamps the current flows through a so-called ‘semi-conductor’ which conserves power well. The saving can amount to some 50 to 60%. So roughly speaking, you save half the energy costs for the same light output.
- LED Grow Lamps don’t get anywhere near as hot as the orange HPS lamps. That is positive for fire safety and temperature in your growing area. Less heat means giving less water and thus less feed wasted. You also have fewer concerns about ventilation. This remains important always but with LED to a lesser degree.
- LED grow lamps have different spectra. You can choose blue LEDs which are especially good for plant growth. However, you also need lamps with red LEDs for the flowering phase. Some LED Grow Lamps even have an adjustable spectrum and infrared LEDs. In this way you can set the optimum colour for each growing phase.
- An LED Grow Lamp lasts a long time. It can keep working for up to 80,000 hours.
- Grow lamps with LED are often much smaller than HPS lamps for example. That can make a difference to the space in your growing area. You can cultivate some extra plants!
- No hassle with power supply. You just plug an LED Grow Lamp into a power socket and it works. With other lamps you often have to get involved with ballasts and other troublesome things.
LED lamps can only get better. The technology is getting better and better and the future doubtless belongs to LED. Not in a hurry to buy a grow lamp? Then keep an eye on developments in LED.
LED Grow Lamp with clearly different spectra (colours)
Disadvantages of LED Grow Lamp
- LED Grow Lamps are often very expensive. It has to be said that they are getting cheaper all the time. But do you want a newer model LED Grow Lamp? Then you’ll pay considerably more than for classic HPS.
- Are you going to buy an HPS Lamp? In that case, you just need to think about Wattage. Otherwise there’s not much to choose between them. On the other hand, with LED there are a lot of differences between lamps. There are several factors which you need to take into account. If you have no knowledge about LED or growing lamps, be cautious. Not every lamp is of equally good quality.
- LED Lamps often produce less light output/light intensity per lamp than HPS lamps for example. This will mean fewer grammes harvested at the end of the cultivation. You can compensate for that by hanging more lamps. The type of light given off by LED is better for the plant (a plant only absorbs the spectra or colours which LED lamps radiate) and ensures good quality weed but the amount is less. Some high-value LED systems can rival or even surpass HPS nowadays but then you have to pay the absolute top dollar for a lighting installation. In the long term this may be a good investment, given the longevity of LED lights.
In contrast to HPS Lamps, with LED there is no fixed formula for determining the height of the lamp. You have to take several factors into account for this.
How high up should an LED Grow Lamp be hung?
It’s very difficult to figure out the best height for the lamp in the case of an LED Grow Lamp. You have to take account of many factors: the lamp capacity, the angle of radiation, lens and the type of light. This means the best height is also different for all brands and models. Watch out that you don’t hang the lamp too low. The result can be over-exposure. That’s tricky to recognise, apart from the fact that the leaves will turn yellow or brown. In some cases, growers associate this incorrectly with diseases or feeding problems. Check it out properly with the supplier of the lamp before fixing the height.
An HPS Lamp is a particularly bright, yellow lamp. We come across them all the time in everyday life: street lights for example. Growing with HPS is so popular because:
- The units are simply cheaper than other grow lamps.
- An HPS Lamp has a very high light output and intensity. A good harvest is guaranteed.
- Apart from capacity, all lamps are the same. Guaranteed quality.
- Fixed formula for the height of the lamp.
It can be laborious connecting up HPS Lamps. Often they only work with a so-called ballast. The lamps and ballasts become very hot and can be dangerous. But once connected up, you won’t be disappointed.
Conclusion for Grow Lamps
A whole mass of information, especially if you’re new to the world of Grow Lamps. Weighing up all the pros and cons against each other, we can draw a number of conclusions:
- Are you fairly ignorant about lamps and want to know for sure that you’re making a sound purchase? Go for HPS! You always get value for money. Connecting them up can be a bit of a deal but with the help of a handy friend you can do it.
- Do you want a lamp which is specifically suitable for different phases in the growing process? Buy an LED Grow Lamp with multiple spectra, or two with differing spectra.
- Is your budget for purchasing a grow lamp limited? An HPS Lamp is your choice! In most cases, HPS is cheaper. Cheaper LED lamps are often of lower quality. But...
- Are you concerned about the energy bill? Go for the LED Grow Lamp. This variant is often twice as economical. Are you planning to do several cultivations? Then it’s sensible to consider investing more in the purchase of the lamp because you’ll lose less in terms of the bottom line. The LED lamp will also last longer than the HPS so there is only 1 option for the longer term.
- Better safe than sorry? Is safety your primary concern above all else? Then the LED Grow Lamp is the best choice. They get less hot than HPS and ensures less dryness in your growing area.
- Are you averse to experimentation? The HPS Lamp has been a success for years already. Do you want to avoid surprises and and not be in any doubt about the height of the lamp, for example. Choose for old school. HPS is your choice!
- The best choice according to the experts? Combine both lamps! Either variant has its plus points. Put them together and arrive at the best results. What can go wrong? We can recommend you purchase four (if necessary, smaller ones) HPS Lamps and reinforce these with one LED lamp in the middle. This relationship proves successful time after time. Look on LED and HPS as Yin and Yang.
Looking for top-quality weed seeds to put under the lamp? Check out the extensive range of Feminised Weed Seeds!