LED lighting has become insanely popular in the “home” indoor gardening niche, but the vast majority of commercial greenhouses are still reliant on a combination of Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) grow lights. There are also quite a few home gardens, hydroponic and otherwise, that have yet to make the upgrade to LED lighting. In fact, not everyone sees the move to LED as an upgrade.
Given their importance to commercial gardening and their proven track record with seasoned indoor growers, we felt it was time to look at the “best of the best” from the HPS grow lights available on the market.
Air-Cooled HPS Grow Light Kits
These grow light systems all feature a housing with a collar for attaching ventilation ductwork. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your lights cool, prolonging bulb life and keeping greenhouse temps down. Also, keep in mind if you like a particular light but the collar is a different size than your existing ventilation ductwork, there are simple transitions available to make it work (and still look professional).
VIVOSUN Hydroponic 1000 Watt HPS MH Grow Light Air Cooled Reflector Kit
➪ Over 90% high-reflectivity aluminum ensures minimal waste, and helps directionally focus the light
➪ Reflector housing features a built-in 6” ventilation collar, allowing for air-cooling of the bulb and ballast
➪ The 1000W dimmable ballast runs on a 120~240V power supply and comes with an 8ft 120V power cord
➪ VIVOSUN HPS Grow Light bulbs have a comparably high PAR value (Photosynthetically Active Radiation), and are spectrum-optimized to promote growth during flowering
➪ This kit includes a 4-Hour Mechanical Timer with easy-to-program and enable/disable
➪ Also included is 1/8″ Patented Rope Hanger (1 Pair) 8-ft long & 150lbs/pair weight capacity, solid braided polypropylene rope & reinforced metal w/ internal gears to ensure highest level of safety
iPower Light Digital Dimmable HPS MH Grow Light System for Plants with XL Air Cooled Tube (2-in-1 Extra Large Wing) Set, 1000-Watt
➪ Features a dimmable 1000W digital ballast – Supports 120V/240V Input
➪ Dimmable Options: 50%, 75%, 100% – 8-foot heavy-duty power cord included for ballast-to-receptacle
➪ Built-in 15 foot heavy duty lamp cord with E39 Ceramic Mogul Socket and standard Hydroponic S-Plug for ballast-to-lamp fixture
➪ Grow light includes 1 x 1000W super HPS bulb 2100K and 1 x 1000W MH bulb 6000K; high PAR (photosynthetic active radiation) bulbs promote healthiest plant growth
➪ 1 x pair of 8-ft adjustable ratchet clip hanger rope: hold up to 150 lbs.
➪ 24-hour plug-in mechanical timer with 15 minute programmable increments
➪ 6-inch Cool Tube Reflector with XL Wing provides Up to 5′ x 5′ light coverage
➪ Highly reflective 95% German textured aluminum maximizes the light reflected to the plants, reducing waste and improving efficiency
Dimmable-ballast HPS Grow Lights
iPower 1000W HPS MH Digital Dimmable Ballast Grow Light System Kit
➪ Reflective hood features built-in 6” collar to accommodate air-cooling; Reflective hood provides up to 4′ x 4′ directional light coverage.
➪ Built-in 15 feet heavy duty lamp cord with E39 ceramic mogul socket and standard hydroponic S-plug.
➪ 95% highly-reflective German textured aluminum maximizes the light reflected to the plants, minimizing waste and improving efficiency
➪ The Best of Both Worlds – Includes 1 x 1000W super HPS bulb 2100K and 1 x 1000W MH bulb 6000K: Optimized spectrum and high PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) to promote healthy plant growth and soonest flourish
➪ 1000W digital dimmable electronic ballast: Support 120V/240V Input. Dimmable options: 50%, 75%, 100%.
➪ 8 feet heavy-duty power cord included. Stable power output ensure flicker free light
➪ 1 x pair of 8-ft adjustable ratchet clip hanger rope: Hold up to 150 lbs.
➪ 24-hour plug-in mechanical timer: 15 minutes increments
MIXJOY 1000 Watt Grow Light System Kits – 2100K Super Lumens DE Double-Ended HPS Bulb – DIMMABLE
➪ HIGH FREQUENCY DIMMABLE BALLAST: High-frequency digital dimmable ballast 120V-240V designed specifically for Double Ended Grow Lamps 1000W (HPS/MH), adjustable to 600/750/1000/1150W output.
➪ HIGH REFLECTIVITY RATING:
The sturdy reflective hood is made of 95% reflective German aluminum, optimizing light focus.
➪ HIGH-PAR LIGHT:
Includes a Super HPS Double Ended 1000W HPS Bulb, high-PAR 2100um+ output, providing 35% more available energy than Standard HPS Lamp bulb.
➪ ALL COMPONENTS INCLUDED:
This MIXJOY Grow Light Kit system includes 1x Aluminum Reflector, 1x Digital dimmable ballast (120V-240V), 1x Double Ended HPS 1000W bulb, 1x Pair of 8-ft adjustable ratchet clip hanger Rope, 1x 8FT Power cord(120V/240V adapter included).
➪ MANUFACTURER WARRANTY:
ETL Certified to ensure the Digital Dimmable Ballast 3 years warranty, DE HPS 1000W Bulb has 1 year warranty.
Cheap HPS Grow Lights
Hydroplanet Grow Light Fixture HPS 150W Complete System
➪ 1 x 150W HPS Bulb included
➪ 1 x 150 watt Grow Light Fixture (ballast+reflective housing)
➪ Complete turnkey HPS grow light kit; easy to set-up and use
➪ Highly reflective 98% German aluminum insert for better uniformity, output and diffusion of light
➪ 2 years warranty on any issues – simply contact customer service with your order ID
➪ Lower wattage and price point allow for multiple lamps to be used, maximizing indoor-growing yields
Replacement HPS Grow Bulbs
iPower GLBULBH1000X6 6-pack 1000-Watt High-Pressure Sodium HPS Grow Light Bulb – High PAR Enhanced Red and Orange Spectrums CCT 2100K
➪ High lumen output: 140,000 lumens output, compatible with electronic and magnetic ballast, E39 base
➪ Special designed for plant growth: designed specifically for professional hydroponic plant cultivation. CCT 2,100K, optimized red & orange spectrum and high PAR (photosynthetic active radiation) to stimulate flower growth and enhance fruiting
➪ Extra-low lumen depreciation: maintaining over 90% of initial lumen output after running for 5,000 hours
➪ Exceptional bulb life: 24,000 hours. New long lasting life with a high lumen output and high power efficiency
VIVOSUN 2-Pack of 1000 Watt High-Pressure Sodium HPS Grow Light Bulbs – High PAR Enhanced Red and Orange Spectrums CCT 2100K, Ultra Bright 140,000 Lumens
➪ 1000W VIVOSUN HPS bulb compatible with electronic and magnetic ballasts, 140000 Lumens, E39 Base.
➪ Optimized red & orange spectrum and high PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) to stimulate flower growth and enhance fruiting.
➪ Extra-low lumen depreciation: maintaining over 90% of initial lumen output after running for 5,000 hours.
➪ Startup Time: allow 2-3 mins for full bright. After power off, do please wait at least 5 mins before striking again.
➪ Lifetime: 24,000 hours.
What Is an HPS Grow Light?
An HPS grow light combines a high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulb with a reflective ballast. The HPS bulb comes from a family of high-intensity lights that are most commonly used to put out massive amounts of light, such as street lights, security lights, and lights used for road construction.
When first lit, HPS bulbs will give off a faint pink glow from their filament. As they warm-up, the special combination of gasses and metals inside (usually mercury, sodium, and xenon) begin to glow as well, turning into a much brighter pink-orange bath of light.
HPS grow lights can be purchased affordably and put out a substantial amount of light, but consume a healthy diet of electricity and put out a lot of heat, too. Ultimately, they are time-tested and proven to grow plants successfully indoors, when used properly with metal halide grow lights.
How Do HPS Grow Lights Compare to Alternatives?
In case you were wondering, yes, there is a low-pressure sodium bulb available as well. The LPS bulb is similar to the HPS bulb in many ways; they both feature a yellow hue, both require a 15-20 min warm-up, and both utilize omnidirectional bulbs. The LPS is favored for use in sporting arenas and large venues, mainly, due to its ability to immediately re-ignite to full output in the event the lamp is turned off after warm-up.
Both HPS and LPS have a similar color to the human eye, but the LPS bulb’s visible spectrum is so narrow in frequency that it’s light is monochromatic. In other words – black & white. Sodium vapor lamps are generally considered to have the worst color rendering of any available lights on the market.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
Modern innovations in LED technology have seen these powerful little lamps rise in both utility and popularity. A diode is a relatively simple device that uses two electrodes that let electricity flow in one direction. Their function allows them to work as something like a “check valve” for electricity, and when the valve is “closed”, the electrical resistance causes a superconductive material to glow. Brightly.
LED lights have 4 distinct advantages over vapor-filled HID, incandescent, or CFL bulbs:
➪ LED lights produce an extremely high-quality light, and are capable of an intensity that is unparalleled. In addition to its intensity, LED light is generally a very brilliant white, allowing for more accurate color distinction.
➪ LED lights have a longer lifespan than alternatives – 5x-10x longer! The alternative with the next-longest lifespan is fluorescent, which provides ~10,000 hours of light. Compare that to modern LEDs, which average anywhere between 50,000-100,000 hours (depending on mfg.).
➪ While it would be fair to say that most modern lighting solutions aren’t exactly “high-maintenance”, LED lights don’t even have a bulb to replace! The diodes last 5.5 – 11 years if left on 24/7; the entire light is replaced when they finally go out.
➪ Arguably the greatest advantage comes in terms of energy efficiency. This comes in multiple ways, actually, such as the light from an LED being directionally-focused, the diode requiring substantially less electricity to produce more light, and less waste via infrared radiation.
Pros & Cons to Growing with HPS
It’s true that LED grow lights offer the indoor gardener with some pretty distinct advantages. Still, they are not without their own drawbacks; a high purchase cost being a major one. While it can be argued that the LED grow light pays for itself over time, there is no guarantee that this will be an overwhelming feeling for you.
Like the LED grow light, HPS grow lights come with their own unique pros and cons, too.
➪ One of the biggest advantages of using HPS grow lights is their strong red wavelength, which can be used to trigger flowering when the indoor garden is ready.
➪ Because HPS grow lights require a reflective ballast that must be wired up properly, they are often sold in pre-assembled kits. These are plug-and-grow, and generally wired to accommodate household receptacles.
➪ Relatively affordable to purchase, which can allow for multiple units to be bought with the same investment as a single LED grow lamp.
➪ HPS grow lights are limited to the yellow wavelength of the light spectrum, while LED grow lights can mix several different diodes throughout an array that can achieve full-spectrum (FX).
➪ Vapor-filled HID grow lights can use other gases to produce different colors of light, but each bulb is still limited to one color.
➪ Buying pre-assembled kits can reduce the savings between HID and LED. Finding a good vendor is important.
HPS Grow Room Glasses
We’ve pointed out more than once now that HPS grow lights put out a very strong yellow-orange light. This light is amazing when it comes to flowering, but absolutely terrible when it comes to seeing colors properly. A quality pair of grow room glasses that is designed to accommodate the HPS light’s hue will help offset the intense yellows the lights put out.
Method 7 makes the best grow room glasses you can find, and they make several sets especially for HPS grow room environments which we highlight in that linked post. You can find Method 7 grow room glasses in men and women’s styles, and they all feature the highest quality mineral or precision-engineered synthetic lenses.
They’re perfect for grow rooms looking to protect their visitors (or employees) and demonstrate their commitment to quality.
What’s better: HPS or LED grow lights?
The answer of which is “better” lies in either your existing grow lighting setup or your intended grow lighting setup. High-pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights are generally reserved for the flowering stage of plant growth, with Metal Halide (MH) bulbs being used to facilitate vegetative growth.
Modern LED grow lights do eliminate the need for using two different light sources, as their diode arrays can either be programmed to only light diodes of the correct wavelength (color), or can be designed for Full-Spectrum (FX) lighting.
Light color, or wavelength, is only part of the total situation, however. The vapor-filled HPS and MH bulbs emanate their light in every direction, requiring at least half of the light produced to be reflected back towards the plants. LED grow lights use diodes that inherently focus their light in one direction, which is one reason why LED light seems so much more intense than alternatives.
Power draw, or the amount of electricity the lights consume, is another area where these two grow light solutions have disparity. HPS lights are usually cheaper to buy, but cost more to run for extended periods. LED lights can cost 2-3x what HPS grow lights cost, but have the potential to pay for themselves in terms of energy cost savings.
As it stands, LED grow lighting is currently more popular in the private indoor growing sector, while HPS/MH grow lighting continues to dominate the commercial indoor growing industry. The affordability of buying multiple systems, replaceable parts, and time-tested reliability have ensured that vapor-filled bulbs, including HPS, have stuck around. Still, the costs of LED are coming down, prompting more and more indoor-gardening entrepreneurs to invest in them.
What is an HPS grow light?
When you start looking at grow lights, HPS is one of several acronyms that are guaranteed to come up. HPS means “high-pressure sodium”, which refers to the main gas vapor that makes that particular kind of bulb work. Most people prefer to write HPS rather than high-pressure sodium, as it’s much, much quicker.
High-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs are close cousins to the yellow-orange bulbs that are commonly used in street lamps (which are most often low-pressure sodium). They are easiest recognized by their signature yellow glow, as they occupy a wavelength in the Red-Orange-Yellow end of the light spectrum.
In the context of indoor growing, HPS grow lights are used during the flowering stage of growth. Metal halide bulbs, which occupy the blue end of the light spectrum, are used for the entirety of the vegetative phase of growth (which comes before flowering, of course).
As such, when you see mention of one, you often see mention of the other. They are often sold in pairs or sets, as you’ll need both to properly grow virtually any plant. Another acronym you’ll see – HPS and MH are both belonging to a class of light bulbs called HID, or High-Intensity Discharge. HID lights include the HPS and LPS, as well as bulbs like halogen and xenon (used in work lights and automobile headlights, respectively).
Why is HPS better for flowering?
HPS, or high-pressure sodium, refers to a type of lighting solution that uses a high intensity vapor-filled bulb to generate light. Within the context of indoor growing by artificial light, HPS bulbs are most commonly used in combination with metal halide (MH) bulbs.
This is due to HPS bulbs producing light on the red-orange-yellow end of the light spectrum, while MH bulbs produce light from the blue end.
In terms of plant growth, the metal halide’s blue light is what plants need most while they are in their vegetative stage of growth. Light from this end of the spectrum is used by the plants to form the cells making up their fibrous tissues, such as their stems, branches, and leaves.
Once the indoor gardener has used the blue light to grow the plant’s vegetation to where they want it, they will switch to an HPS grow light that puts out light with a distinctive yellowish hue. While extending the period of time that the plants receive light will trigger their flowering stage of growth, during this stage they need light from the red-yellow end of the spectrum to bloom the healthiest buds, bulbs, or flowers possible.
In short, HPS lights are better for flowering because the yellow light they produce is what plants need to grow the healthiest flowers possible.
What lights do professional growers use?
The choice of grow lights often has less to do with how much experience a grower has, and more to do with their goals or available resources. A seasoned indoor gardener may use LED grow lights in their home garden, but MH/HPS grow lights in their commercial greenhouse.
MH/HPS grow lights are often cheaper to purchase up-front, and many of their components are interchangeable or replaceable. This has tremendous value to a commercial operation, who often needs to buy many lights at once and usually prefers to replace a bulb or ballast over the entire assembly, in the event of a breakdown.
Still, the energy savings that come from LED lighting are hard to ignore, and combined with the fact that LED grow lights can last anywhere from 100,000-200,000 hours, investing in LED technology is hardly foolish.
Ultimately, more commercial greenhouses rely on MH/HPS grow lighting than on LED. This is partially due to fiscal factors related to buying hundreds of lights at once, but also to the long-standing reputation of MH/HPS grow lights in the industry. Greenhouses have been using these lights successfully for decades, meaning they are time-tested and proven to work effectively.
Are HPS lights dangerous?
HPS grow lights are completely safe for hydroponic gardens, assuming they are properly installed and maintained. Obviously any time you are introducing electrical equipment into an environment that potentially involves circulating large volumes of water in close proximity, there are certain precautions you need to take to ensure safety.
Make sure that all electrical equipment is installed by someone that knows what they are doing; preferably a certified electrician. Particularly when “daisy-chaining” multiple lights, ensure that your home’s circuit breaker and wiring is up to the task. It is usually a good idea to have new wiring installed that is dedicated to your indoor garden, allowing you to include things like GFCI receptacles and such.
Aside from the electrical considerations that come along with any and all electrical equipment in a hydroponic grow room, you’ll want to be mindful of the heat that an HPS grow light can generate. Most larger grow rooms end up using air-cooled MH/HPS grow lights, which allow the gardener to attach ductwork that lets air move directly into the grow light assembly.
This solution is best considered early in your indoor-garden’s planning, as it’s easiest accomplished by buying lights with built-in collars. Using other fans and the like can help somewhat, but too many fans running could knock off a breaker, potentially damaging a hydroponic garden beyond repair. Most air-cooled units, however, are designed to be attached to ventilation and will overheat if they are not (due to lacking any onboard fans or heat sinks).
Ultimately, HPS grow lights can be a safe inclusion to any hydroponic grow room or garden, as long as you ensure a professional installation and consider how heat from the HPS bulbs will accumulate.
This concludes our review of the best HPS grow lights reviews. We hope you found it to be insightful and informative, and that we were able to help you make a good educated decision regarding your own garden’s grow lighting. We invite you to explore the rest of our site and enjoy some of our other informative articles related to all things hydroponic. Thank you for reading, and until next time, stay safe and stay gardening!