High-Pressure Sodium vs. LED: Grow Light Comparison


  • What Are HPS and LED Lights?
  • LED vs. HPS
  • LED or HPS for Weed?

Are you preparing to get a pack of Jack Herer seeds and start an indoor weed garden? Equipment decisions and purchases are in order, and HPS vs. LED grow lights are one of them.

HPS lamps have held the spotlight for decades. Modern LED solutions have recently started challenging their supremacy, though. Is there merit in sticking to tried-and-tested systems, or should you modernize?

Read on to learn about these light systems and see how they compare in ganja gardens.

What Are HPS and LED Lights?

Your choice of lights can make or break your indoor cultivation setup. For the benefit of newbies, let’s introduce these two lamps before comparing LED vs. HPS grow lights.

HPS stands for “high-pressure sodium.” An energy pulse goes through a tube filled with vaporized sodium and several other elements. These gases both produce heat and emit light.

Sodium light is intensely yellow-orange, so manufacturers often add mercury and xenon as mediators. The two generate blue wavelengths; the result is whiter but still warm.

LED stands for “light-emitting diode” and consists of semiconductors. On one side of their junction is a material with too many electrons, and on the other side is a material with no electrons. When voltage is applied, the electrons move to fill the “holes” on the empty side.

This process emits light, and the color varies according to the material. Manufacturers often use aluminum, gallium, silicon, and zinc, and the diodes produce the entire light spectrum.

For a quick reference on the practical aspects of these lamps, check out this LED vs. HPS comparison chart.

Efficiency High-efficiency narrow beams Efficient but 360-degree
Costs Higher upfront costs Higher running costs
Light spectrums Full-spectrum Red spectrum
Yields Somewhat higher Somewhat lower


As long as you have quality grow lights, your cannabis will develop. The lamp type makes a difference, though.

Let’s contrast LED versus HPS across five categories relevant to cannabis gardening.


We discuss lighting efficiency as output in lumens (lm) divided by power consumption in watts (W). Lamps are highly efficient when they produce at least 90 lm/W. How do LED vs. HPS measure up in this category?

HPS’s output is 40–150 lm/W, while LEDs range from 40–120 lm/W. The best HPS should work better than an LED, but the way the light comes out is a problem.

HPS lamps are round and send light in all directions, while LEDs shine in narrow beams. This feature makes HPS great for homes, but LED delivers more lumens to the canopy.


Between getting seeds from the best US seed banks and acquiring equipment, indoor growing can get pricey. What is the comparative cost of an LED vs. HPS grow project?

Looking at the upfront expenses, LEDs are more expensive than HPS lamps. Many people consider them an investment, though.

You get more light for less electricity with LEDs, reducing your utility bills. However, they have a lifespan of over 100 thousand operational hours, while HPS lasts for 24 thousand.

Durability also varies. You have to replace your HPS system every three or four growing seasons, while LEDs last four times as long.

If you can afford the initial purchase, LEDs are more budget-friendly in the long run.

Spectrums & Yields

HPS lighting technology usually produces warm, orange light. LEDs are full-spectrum and often offer up to a dozen light wavelengths, from ultraviolet to infrared.

The spectrum affects LED vs. HPS yields.

Light feeds the plant. It needs to be the right color and intensity for abundant harvests.

When marijuana grows in natural environments, the early summer brings a lot of blue light. In response, crops develop their foliage and branches. Then, as fall approaches, the sun emits red light and triggers the flowering mechanism.

Despite the fact that HPS is more efficient in flowering, LEDs can accommodate both veg and blooming crops. Their versatility might translate into higher harvests.

Bud Quality

Do efficiency and spectrum tie into LED vs. HPS bulb quality? Commercial weed farmers are the ones who concern themselves with this issue, but all growers can benefit from it.

HPS lights run hot and intense, so they might burn the cola if the grower isn’t careful. LEDs are more efficient and don’t stress plants with heat, but they might not cover the whole canopy. Either way, lamp placement is vital to help buds fatten.

The light spectrum makes a difference if you’re willing to experiment. Most cultivators can get quality weed with HPS, but intelligent choices and LED lamps might further improve the output.

Grow Room Impact

Finally, how do high-pressure sodium lights vs. LEDs impact grow room organization?

If using HPS, all you need to do is suspend the lamps above the crops. Growers who use LEDs often require side lamps to make up for their tight footprints.

Growing with LED vs. HPS also affects the other aspects of climate control.

LEDs emit less heat. While you cut down on cooling expenses, you might need to increase your dehumidifier usage. Intense evaporation in a cool area makes humidity skyrocket.

HPS lamps are perfect for large grow rooms and greenhouses. LEDs suit smaller spaces where every degree matters; employing them for large-scale operations brings additional considerations.

LED or HPS for Weed?

Should you buy LED or HPS for weed? The decision depends on your budget, plans, and preferences. In general, here’s what we’d advise:

  • Get LED if you have a higher starting budget or lofty gardening ambitions. Choose them if you want to experiment with light spectrums.
  • Get HPS if you’re looking for a low-cost setup and have modest cultivation plans. They keep things simple but prolific.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to pair it with high-quality seeds. Genetics is the primary determining factor for your future yields.

George Torch

George Torch is an experienced cannabis grower who has been working with SeedSupreme Seed Bank for about 7 years. George has been growing cannabis since he was 22 years old and knows the industry inside and out. He knows a lot about all parts of marijuana, from how it is grown and what kinds of marijuana there are to the details of the laws about it. George has an endless desire to explore marijuana farming, which keeps him on top of current trends.