LED vs CFL vs HPS Grow Lights For Cannabis

Which are better CFL, HPS or LED grow lights? Compare Marijuana Grow lights with our CFL vs LED vs HPS performance table to harvest finest yields.

LED vs CFL vs HPS Grow Lights

It seems that recently almost everyone is into discussing effectiveness of LED grow lights. It has become one of the most popular topics in Cannabis grower and smoker communities. Many years ago using LED lights for growing Cannabis were considered a huge joke, but with the recent progress of LED lightning technology, a lot of Marijuana growers are starting to switch to LED grow lights. In this article I am going to highlight the effectiveness of LED grow lights in comparison to HPS (high pressure sodium) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) grow lights, looking at such points as lifespan, yield, energy, cost and efficiency, when using a small mylar Grow Tent (50x50x100).

Grow Lights Efficiency

One of the most important points is how efficient one’s Grow Lights are and how much money one can save while using one of the above mentioned Grow Lights. Even choosing the same wattage for each Grow Light type, electricity cost per kWh would be the same (~0.02$/kWh), excluding the use of extra equipment in the Grow Tent. However, that still wouldn’t prove the efficiency of the Grow Lights.

One of the indicators of efficiency, in my opinion, is how much of energy is spent in heat. Such Grow Light types as HPS and CFL release around 80% of their energy as heat, while LED turns only 15-25% of the energy into heat, mostly spending it on giving the light. Moreover, too much heat is dangerous and not only for the plants that can be harmed by it, but also – the place used for growing.

Considering the amount of light given by each type of the grow lamps, CFL lights dispense the least amount – around 6900 lumens, while HPS and LED both give almost around the same amount of lumens (HPS – 9600 lumens, LED – 9800 lumens). But taking into account the heat emission, LED grow lights still beat CFL and HPS, being the most power efficient.

Grow Light Costs $$$

When researching the costs of the Grow Lights, I came to the conclusion that all of these lamps can be purchased for very cheap from China, the cheapest being CFL grow lights – around 70$. However, don’t be fooled by their cheapness, because for CFL and HPS grow lights you also have to add the expenses of other equipment. For example, to avoid wasting light with CFL grow lamps and get as focused light as possible from them, one certainly will have to get a reflector, while HPS grow lights will need a ballast, cool tube and some extra fans to reduce the heat emitted.

Moreover, the ballast has to be changed every 2 years. And, of course, with all of the extra equipment, in the case of HPS grow lights, obviously, the electricity bill will be higher. As concerns LED grow lights, some of them have internal cooling fans, but as the technology has developed new designs and low-heat emitting Grow Lights, one can save up on extra installations.

Returning to the money talk, running 100w Grow Lights alone for 18h light period will cost 0.23$, while running them entire year (approximately for 5,000 hours), counting in several vegetative and flowering stages, will cost around 64.4$, taking into account that 100w lights will use less electricity. In case of HPS and CFL grow lights you can add up the extra costs.

Grow Light Lifespan

No matter how one looks at it, the lifespan of Grow Lights also adds up to the grower’s expenses. On average HPS grow lights last for around 10,000 hours. One might have to get new ones in 2 years + a new ballast every 2 years. CFL grow lights on average last about 8,000 hours, so one will have to purchase them again in less than 2 years. However, LED grow lights greatly surpass both, on average lasting 50,000 hours, which means that the soonest one might have to buy new LEDs is in 5 years, making them a good long-term deal.

Grow Light Yield difference

Another important thing – how much Marijuana yield one gets per every watt. Indoor growers, using HPS grow lights harvest around 0.5 grams per watt, while those who use CFL grow lights get up to 1 gram per watt, but with LED grow lights one can achieve 1 to 1.5 grams of yield per watt, harvesting even 3 times more Marijuana.

Performance Table.

Watts 100W 100W 100W
Light (lumens) ~9600 ~6800 ~9800
Energy spent (per 18 hours) 1.8 kWh 1.8 kWh 1.8 kWh
Energy cost (per 18 hours) ~0.23$ ~0.23$ ~0.23$
Lifespan (in hours) ~10 000 ~10 000 ~50 000
Initial cost ~100$ ~70$ ~100$
Extra expenses Ballast, cool tube, extra fans Reflector

To sum up, although, all lights initially cost almost the same amount of money, HPS and CFL grow lights will need some extra equipment. In the case of HPS lights, one will have to purchase new HPS lamps and a new ballast every 2 years. LED grow lights usually don’t have such expenses, also the lifespan of LEDs is considerably longer, and they are safer to use, and more importantly – higher yields.

Source: LED vs CFL vs HPS Grow Lights – Zion 420

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