The light plays a critical role in growing marijuana indoors. That’s not to say that other elements are not important. However, the light is one of the key elements affecting the growth and overall health of plants.
So, whether you’re a well-versed marijuana or a casual grower, finding the best grow lights will be a crucial decision you have to make. Choosing the best grow light can be tricky. That’s because there are tons of light brands and options to choose from.
They all look similar, which additionally complicates the selection. If you are looking for the high-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights, we’ll help you find the right one for your needs.
We have gathered almost all the HID lights for growing plants. Then we’ve dumped the no-name lights and most expensive models that aren’t worth the price indeed.
We were not left with much. In fact, only ten lights are left. But that is actually what we wanted – to end up with the best lights that give good value for money.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 HID grow lights.
10 Best HID Grow Lights for 2019
|iPower Digital Grow Light System (Editor’s Choice)|
|Apollo Horticulture GLK400CT24E|
|Sun System Grow Lights|
|Eye Hortilux HX66620|
|VIVOSUN Hydroponic Grow Light|
|iPower Digital Dimmable Grow Light|
|Hydroplanet Grow Lights|
|MELONFARM Grow Light|
|Yield Lab Horticulture Grow Light|
|Hydro Crunch Grow Light|
1. iPower HPS MH Digital Grow Light System Kit – Best Overall HID System
Many growers like iPower because the products and kits from this manufacturer offer the combination of low price and high quality. Along with great value for money, a huge selection of different grow light systems makes their biggest strength.
Each kit includes anything and everything you could possibly need when starting to grow marijuana plants. That said, you get a reflector, ballast, HPS and/or MH bulbs, as well as a timer and hanging ratchets. The kit reviewed here is the 400-Watt HPS MH wing reflector set. Almost everything we will be talking about this kit applies to other iPower kits too.
This is a complete kit that features powerful lighting performance. It comes with one 6000K MH bulb and one 2100K HPS bulb. Both bulbs are 400W. They provide an optimized spectrum with high PAR to support healthy growth of plants.
Another thing that makes this kit exceptional is the 19″ wing reflector. It improves the light intensity while keeping the same energy consumption all the while. Given that it’s made of German aluminum, a highly reflective material, the impact of the HID grow light on plants is remarkably increased. That additionally promotes healthy plant growth.
- All-inclusive kit
- Top quality
- Two bulbs provide full-spectrum growth
- 95% reflective aluminum reflector
- Heavy-duty hangers
- It produces a lot of heat so a fan is required
2. Apollo Horticulture Digital Dimmable System – Best For Inline Fan Use
This all-in-one package has everything that a grower could ever need to get his grow going. It includes a ballast, a timer, an air cool hood, two rope hangers, as well as two bulbs – an MH and an HPS bulb.
Offered in a 400-watt support, the hood combo and ballast can be dimmed so that you can have complete control of the light output. It is possible thanks to a built-in dimmer. In addition, there is an electronic cooling fan included. That makes this Apollo Horticulture kit the best HID system for inline fan use.
- An electronic cooling fan
- A dimmable ballast
- Low heat output
- Easy-to-adjust rope hangers
- Glass could be sealed better
- You may have a problem maintaining light consistency
3. Sun System Grow Light – Best Inexpensive HID Light
If you’re on the lookout for an inexpensive, user-friendly light that’s perfect for the smaller grow rooms, Sun System is an option you must take into account. This HPS grow light is offered as a kit with almost all that you’ll need to get its assembly completed.
The Ultra Sun Lamp (150W HPS bulb) is embedded in a reflector hood that has an aluminum surface to enhance the reflectivity and intensity of the light. That means you will not have to use more electricity or add another light.
You can use Sun System Grow Lights whether you’re planting marijuana in a hydroponic system or in the soil. The level of effectiveness will be the same.
- A versatile grow light
- Easy to hang
- Low heat output
- Not very powerful
- Only for flowering stage
4. Eye Hortilux Enhanced Spectrum Bulb – Best High-Pressure Sodium Grow Light
This 400-Watt lamp showed the highest Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) in the tests, providing optimal lumen and PAR output. That’s why we’ve included it in the list of top 10 HID grow lights.
Since this system only has an HPS spectrum bulb, you should exclusively use it for flowering phase. It will help you extend the growing season, maximize plant yield, and raise the performance of your lighting system to a whole new level.
- A good brand
- Extends the growing season
- Works well in digital ballasts
- Contains a small amount of mercury
- Lead free
- Not full spectrum
- Not worth the extra cost
5. VIVOSUN Hydroponic HPS MH Grow Light – Best Multi Size HID System
Vivosun light kits are designed similarly to iPower counterparts in terms of performance and quality. However, some products offered by Vivosun are a bit overpriced. You get much the same thing at a higher price. That’s why many people prefer iPower.
If the kit you’re looking for isn’t available, it’s better to go for an expensive yet trustworthy brand such as Vivosun rather than choosing a budget brand. Vivosun is deemed to be one of the top brands in hydroponic growing equipment.
With this particular kit, you get all the components needed to light up your growing area. There are three sizes to choose from – 400, 600 and 1,000 Watts. Each of these sizes comes with a reflector hood, ballast, hangers, and timer. The 600W grow light is the most popular choice because it features a maximum footprint of 4×4 feet but can still be employed in smaller rooms.
Both HPS and MH bulbs are included, meaning you’ll be able to use this lighting kit throughout vegetative and blooming growth stages.
- Runs cool
- Long cords
- Sturdy and well-finished hood
- Hanging rings should be larger
- Not energy efficient
6. iPower HPS Digital Dimmable Grow Light – Best Dimmable HID Light
This 1000W digital ballast system allows you to control light output by 00%, 75%, and 50% intensity. So you won’t have to adjust the setup height as your seedlings grow. The wing refractor gives a good coverage, which keeps costs low.
It should be noted that there’s no cooling system; therefore, an appropriate ventilation is a must.
- Simple and powerful
- 3 dimmable options
- Heavy duty hanging ratchets
- Long power cord
- Easy to mount and move
- May ship rough
- It only works for flower rooms
7. Hydroplanet Horticulture Air Cooled Hood Grow Light – Best Air Cooled Hood HID System
Aside from 600-watt HPS and MH bulbs, the package includes 600W dimmable ballast, 24 hours timer, 6-inch air cool hood, and two rope ratchets. Digital ballast enables you to switch between MH and HPS lamps. So you can use this system all the way through the life cycle of your plants.
It supports dual voltage 120/240V. The lights put off a lot of heat though, so you are advised to get a large inline fan.
- Internal RF protection
- Easily adjustable power settings
- Built-in cooling fan
- CE Certified
- Frequency interferes with digital ballast
- Not long lasting
8. MELONFARM Digital Dimmable Grow Light System – Best Digital Ballast HID System
The reflector body is made out of 95 percent reflective aluminum that maximizes the light reflection and kicks the brightness up a notch. Dimmable options include 50%,75% and 100%. In addition, this system comes with a 24-hour mechanical timer, 1/8 8-feet long adjustable rope, and two 600W grow light bulbs (HPS and MH).
- High reflective aluminum
- Top-notch digital dimmable ballast
- Set up is easy
- High PAR
- Instructions could be better
- Generates a lot of heat
9. Yield Lab Horticulture Grow Light – Best Full Spectrum HID System
What’s included in the box? There are two 600W grow lights (HPS and MH), 600-Watt digital ballast, cool hood reflector, analog timer, and ratchet light hangers. Also, you get an in-depth 12-week grow guide. The enclosed air cool hood makes the bulbs fully utilized so that all their power is projected to plants beneath.
- High-performance lumen ballast
- Optimal coverage
- Well built
- Runs quiet
- The glass doesn’t seal very well
- MH bulb is prone to change color after very short use
10. Hydro Crunch Digital Dimmable Grow Light – Best Basic Wing Reflector Set
Aside from a 600W HPS bulb, Hydro Crunch system includes a wing reflector, dimmable digital ballast, mechanical timer, and rope ratchet. There’s no MH light. All in all, this a great option for beginners who need a dimmable ready-to-go system for their plants. It comes with everything needed to get started.
- Great for beginners
- Ballast is dimmable and light
- Easy to set up
- Budget friendly
- Reflector is a bit small
- Ballast tends to go out after a few months
Things You Must Know Before Buying an HID Grow Light
It goes without saying that you must consider something before purchasing anything crucial. HID grow light is considered a crucial element of every indoor grow room. To help growers determine exactly what they need, we’ll ask a series of questions and cast light on the essential considerations in this guide.
What Type Of HID Light Do You Need? MH or HPS?
When talking about high-intensity discharge (HID) light, we think of a large bulb that generates light by igniting the gas inside it. Actually, the flow of electricity gets such a bulb to ignite the gas. That creates a bright light while putting out lots of heat at the same time. These lights are known for being energy efficient and effective.
The HID lights can be classified into:
- Metal Halide (MH) light – Emitting blue light, this type of light is particularly useful for vegging cannabis. This is because MH bulbs maximize growth during the vegging stage. To provide the desired intensity, MH involves a high light output.
- High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) light – It emits red-orange-yellow light, which is more favorable during the flowering stage. HPS light is proven to maximize production of flowers and buds during the flowering stage.
Some people prefer using either of these HID bulbs through all stages of the plant growth cycle. However, your best bet is to get both bulbs. Here are a few different options to check out:
Using only MH throughout the grow
This would be the worst option for you, as it wouldn’t result in the great yields during flowering. Obviously, it isn’t a good option because fruiting mostly relies on the blooming process.
Using only HPS throughout the grow
If there’s no other choice and you cannot buy the MH bulbs, this would still be fine. Although HPS bulbs aren’t excellent during veg, you’d still get decent results.
Using HPS during flowering and MH during vegging
That’s what we recommend. This approach is very popular since it lets you utilize the same ballast and reflector while running the bulbs. By switching out the bulb as needed, you will be able to maintain the growth of your plants. Happily, many grow light kits come with both MH and HPS bulbs these days.
Using HPS and MH at the same time
It has emerged that marijuana plants thrive best when getting both blue and red spectrum simultaneously throughout the entire growth cycle. In this case, you should use HPS bulbs as the chief light source — simply put them overhead — and add MH bulbs between the plants. That way, MH and HPS bulbs will complement each other.
Yet, we don’t recommend this option because it significantly increases the cost while giving slightly better yields. Small marijuana growers on a budget should keep away from this option. But if you’re a large-scale commercial grower and expense is no object, then this could be for you.
Do You Need to Go With Single-Ended or Double-Ended HID Bulbs?
Double-ended HID bulbs are nearly 30 percent more efficient than single ended models. So, for the same wattage, they have higher PAR ratings. Moreover, double-ended bulbs last longer than their single-ended counterparts. On the top of that, after around 10,000 hours of use, they can retain 90 percent of their output.
This raises the question: Why don’t all growers go with double-ended lights? What’s the catch? The answer is very simple. They’re very expensive. This is especially true for reflectors that cost up to 100% more. Aside from that, double-ended bulbs generate a lot of heat so that you must have high-end fans installed. Another drawback is that the reflector options for double-ended lights are pretty limited; there are just a couple of styles on the market.
Those on a tight budget who have a smaller grow area and can’t deal with the heat should opt for single-ended bulbs. Double-ended bulbs, on the other hand, are more suitable for commercial growers with the ability to get rid of the excess heat. After a few grows, the longer life and greater efficiency will compensate for the increased cost.
What Reflector Style Is Right For You?
Well, this will depend on your needs. There is a wide range of reflector styles, so it can be a daunting challenge to choose one. Luckily, most reflectors can do a good job, so it’s really hard to go wrong. The differences in light intensity and coverage aren’t that large.
Here are the most popular styles of reflectors:
- Wing Reflectors
- Umbrella Reflectors
- Air Cooled Tube Reflectors (Cool Tube Reflectors)
- Air Cooled Hood Reflectors (Cool Hood Reflectors)
- Air Cooled Tube Hood Reflectors (Cool Tube Hood Reflectors)
Each of these reflectors come with its own list of pros and cons. Likewise, each reflector style specializes in a specified situation. The goal is to find one that best suits your growing area and your needs as well.
What Wattage Do You Need?
As far as wattage is concerned, you should focus on bulbs ranging from 250W and 1000W. The HID lights outside of this range are not efficient for indoor growing. For the majority of growers, we recommend 400- or 600-watt bulbs. Avoid 1000-watt bulbs because they run very hot. We also recommend using a few weaker bulbs rather than one stronger bulb. It turns out that this is a more efficient solution.
The size of your grow area is directly proportional to the light power. Those having a large grow room should choose more powerful lights. However, if you use bulbs with extremely high wattage in a small grow room, you’ll likely end up burning your plants.
Make sure to select a size that best suits your grow space. That will not only help you save on energy consumption but also save plants from getting burned. Aside from that, you also need to pay careful attention to the distance between the light and the plant. The light you’re using is likely to be useless if it’s too far. If it’s too close, your plants will be suffering from stress. Remember that the wattage and type of light play a vital role in determining the right position.
Here’s a breakdown of the coverage, the sizes, and distances from plants we recommend.
- Wattage 250W: Coverage 2″×2″ – 2.5″×2.5″; Distance from plants 12″
- Wattage 400W: Coverage 3″×3″ – 3.5″×3.5″; Distance from plants 12″
- Wattage 600W: Coverage 3.5″×3.5″ – 4″×4″; Distance from plants 16″
- Wattage 1000W: Coverage 4″×4″ – 5″×5″; Distance from plants 21″
Note: Keep in mind that these are just general recommendations since different plant types have the different endurance and tolerance on light intensity.
The HID grow lights won’t work if they are not properly powered by a ballast. A good light ballast is the one that ensures flexibility, bulb protection, RF shielding, and great dimming ability. Most grow lights involve digital ballast. Such bulbs run cool, produce a high light intensity, and use less electricity.
HID Grow Lights: Our Final Review
If you intend to cultivate marijuana in an enclosed environment, using the best grow lights is of utmost importance. Not all grow lights are favorable or promising though.
For example, you should pick one according to the growth stage of your plants. Also, you need to consider the size of your grow area, the number of plants, reflector style, and wattage when choosing the grow lights.
We have reviewed the best high-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights. That will help you limit your choices and avoid having regrets. Each of these products offers an excellent combination of quality components and good price.
If you have any doubts, compare them and conclude which one would be the right choice for you. Good luck!
The team at LEDGrowLightsHQ.com is composed of expert cannabis writers and enthusiasts, many who frequent small grow operations for recreational purposes. We often provide insight from our partners or large publications or magazines.