First of all…
You must understand what HPS grow lights are in order for you to find the best HPS grow lights out there.
Well that is pretty obvious for my fellow growers.
With that said, let’s know what HPS lights are.
- What are HPS lights?
- Digital Ballast
- Can You Do Vegging Using HPS?
- Guide for Beginners: How to Choose the Best HPS Grow Lights and Bulbs?
- TOP 9 Best HPS Grow Light Reviews 2018
- Eye Hortilux Eyehortilux Super HPS Enhanced Spectrum Bulb
- VIVOSUN 1000 Watt HPS Grow Light Bulb Lamp
- iPower 600 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light
- iPower 600 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light
- Apollo Horticulture GLK600LS24 600 Watt Grow Light
- Hydroplanet 400W Horticulture Air Cooled Reflector Hodo Set Bundle
- Sun System HPS Grow Light Fixture with Ultra Sun Lamp
- Ultra Sun 901523 150 W HPS Lamp
- Apollo Horticulture GLK600CT24E 600 Watt Grow Light
What are HPS lights?
HPS stands for High Pressure Sodium. If you count the number of Lumens generated per watt, HPS is the most efficient.
So, what are lumens?
In Layman’s terms, the more Lumens a light has, the brighter it is. Watts measure energy used, lumens measure brightness, and the two are not equal.
So, compare the ratio of Watts to lumens and you will see that HPS lights have the best ratio.
HPS lights contain a polycrystalline alumina tube pressurized and filed with xenon, sodium and mercury. They are actually a type of HID light. The electricity passes thru the tube producing light.
Because these lights need between 4000 and 5000 volts of electricity to create the ignition of the arc stream, these lights require a volt modifying ballast.
The passage of electricity thru the tube creates a decent amount of heat. This also creates the infrared radiation or infrared light in the yellow/red hue that HPS lights are known for.
Now, before I forget we must know first what Digital Ballast is so that we can have a better understanding of the topic and find the best HPS grow lights in the market.
Some are familiar, some are not.
Well, that’s normal since it’s more of an electronic thing than planting.
But since we are growers who seek the best for our plants, it is inevitable to know what this stuff is.
It is a component of lighting equipment that is usually in small and also in large grow-rooms.
Magnetic, Electronic, and Digital are the three types of ballasts.
But since we don’t want things to get complicated, let’s just talk about the crucial thing, the digital ballast.
Similar to other types of ballasts, digital ballast regulates the voltage of a compact fluorescent light so that the bulb doesn’t explode due to overheating.
So, do you need a ballast for HPS lights?
Digital ballast is considered as the latest at the same time greatest kind of ballast since it uses the latest technology in microprocessors to stabilize and monitor the voltage that a bulb receives.
In addition, this type of ballast permits the growers more flexibility in manipulating and regulating the voltage that the lighting system receives.
With digital ballast, indoor growers can monitor and adjust the voltage of their lights immediately between 400 Watts to 1,000 Watts.
In other words, growers can control their lighting system’s heat promptly. Though there’s some condition and that is, ballast’s output must accurately match the electrical necessities of the light it must regulate.
This stuff is actually quite expensive, though the good thing is, if you wanna save your over-all cost, then the digital ballast is very efficient in terms of long-term growing. In fact, digital ballasts are designed to go on up to around four lights that must have a specific voltage.
Perhaps if you are thinking of doing business with your plants, or you are just so passionate and have the bucks in your wallet, then what are you asking for.
Go get yourself one. I assure you, they are worth the price!
Now that you know that, let’s go on to a more interesting discussion that my fellow growers (both beginners and experienced friends) frequently ask.
Can You Do Vegging Using HPS?
Well, the answer is simple. Yes.
HPS is a “light” and obviously, light is what plants need. Though the main thing here is that HPS is not really good for vegging instead HPS could utilize its full power during flowering.
In my personal experience, I didn’t really see any vast difference between using HPS and Metal Halide lights. But of course, MH lights have a better spectrum when it comes to begging.
So, do you need ballast for your HPS lights? As an experienced grower, my answer is yes.
Though again, that is if you have the budget for this very effective component for indoor growing.
With that said, since we are seeking the best for our plants then let’s not stick to HPS when our plants are in its vegging season.
And since you now have the basic knowledge, let’s now move on.
Indoor gardening is a mix of basic fundamentals. It is to manipulate and execute these basic fundamentals in order to get what you want. Fortunately, due to the advancement of modern technology we’re getting more of it.
Humidity controllers, temperature, nutrition, grow lights, CO2 enrichment, and artisan growing mediums are typically the usual tools that permit your average growers to set higher standards.
In fact, HPS lights have helped form some approaches and styles of how we take care and harvest plants nowadays.
Now, for the main point, Double-ended HPS is creating its existence known in the global market with tested high-quality results. This technology has illustrated horticulturalists a new way to greater high-quality yields.
So why am I even talking about this stuff?
Well, that is because these bulbs deteriorate slower than those conventional, single-ended HPS bulbs.
And if you wanna know, after just 10,000 hours, double-ended grow lights will still give off about 90% of their original intensity.
How efficient is that?
Just think of it this way, you are using the similar amount of energy to yield up to 50% less usable light to your crops.
Blooming, fruiting, and flowering are some examples of what double-ended HPS light is great for, but apparently, it is good for promoting vegetative growth too.
Though, the concentrated light spectrum of lower nanometer range, also known as the red light is, of course, better in blooming production phase.
Meaning, these lights are doing best when in bloom production scenarios. Double-ended HPS bulbs are more well-balanced than the conventional single-ended HPS bulbs, and this permits them to have 10% increased in light degree and PAR output over traditional single-ended HPS bulbs.
And what you really wanna know is that these Double-ended HPS bulbs also do give off more UV and IR light than those of single-ended HPS bulbs.
Long story short, yes everything has their advantages. But of course, those new technologies are far greater in overall aspect so is the double-ended HPS.
Available in different styles, starting from air-cooled models to adjustable-wing style, there is a kind of double-ended light to suit any growing scenarios.
As I’ve said before, a lot of growers claim one of the biggest advantages of double-ended lighting is greater footprints from little energy consumption.
Based on light degree measurement devices, DE lights produce more illumination and could cover bigger surface areas, unlike the standard 1,000 Watts light systems.
Higher ceilings are advisable for operating double-ended lights that’s why larger footprints may be obtained; basically, it would result in larger yields because of the increased growing area.
Open-hood reflectors will give off more heat from the bulb than air-cooled models. Higher ceiling heights are mandatory to avoid burning of canopies and other photo-harm effects on the plant. Double-ended perform greater at three to four feet from the canopy unlike with the conventional one to two feet.
Obviously, these distances are subjective based on environmental conditions but put in mind that the higher the light, the larger the footprint and less hot-spot concentrations.
Some of air-cooled, double-ended grow lights concentrate the light within a confined footprint directly under the lamp, while other open-hood kind spread light for optimum distribution and bigger coverage.
If you want to get some optimum yields you must consider these things when buying a light system as they will greatly affect your overall productivity in your grow-room
But what really good double-ended brings is that double-ended HPS lights are increasing productivity by anywhere from 10, 30, and up to 60%. Numerous reports from a side by side growth have concluded up to double the yield.
But how this actually works, particularly when using the same amount of input power?
As I’ve said before, the increased micromole emission per watt means that higher footprints are applicable.
To end the comparison between double ended vs single ended HPS, I must say that new double-ended HPS lighting is becoming super popular over grow-rooms pretty much everywhere and of course with good reason.
In fact, double-ended HPS continues to put in awe even the most seasoned and experienced individual growers.
Guide for Beginners: How to Choose the Best HPS Grow Lights and Bulbs?
In order to classify an HPS grow light system to be one of the best HPS grow lights out there, you must consider some factors to determine them.
You will see or hear about PAR when researching lights. PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation.
Radiation may sound like a bad thing, right?
But plants LOVE it. Especially the flowering buds of Mary Jane.
Why do plants love PAR radiation?
The higher the PAR radiation the more photons the light produces. Photons sound a little bit like photosynthesis, right?
Photosynthesis is the process marijuana leaves use to change light photons into energy the plant needs to grow beautiful, sparkly buds.
HPS lights favor the red and yellow hued light, which mimics fall or autumn light.
Light in this spectrum stimulates the plant’s reproductive process and growing buds is the central feature of the cannabis plant’s reproductive process.
But plants need more than yellow and red hues. Plants also need light in the blue spectrum, and using an HPS bulb with an enhanced spectrum will yield the best results overall.
The best HPS grow lights have an enhanced spectrum and include blue light.
Some growers also opt to use a blue spectrum light during the growing or veg phase, and an orange/ yellow hue HPS light during flowering.
Whatever method you choose, remember flowers and buds do best with high photon infrared radiation or infrared light.
What Wattage Makes for the Best HPS Grow Lights?
1000 Watt HPS Light
A 1000 watt HPS light can produce up to 145,000 lumens and that is great if you are a commercial grower with a large warehouse. But if you are growing in your house, odds are this light is too powerful.
A light with this much intensity needs to be positioned higher than a 600-watt HPS light.
A 1000 watt HPS light will also produce a lot of heat, which may work well in a large warehouse because they can heat the large space, but it will be too hot for a smaller operation. If your plants get too hot, photosynthesis will be inhibited.
Each 1000 watt bulb can supply light for about 14 plants, depending on setup factors like reflectors, room space, and plant arrangement. These lights need to be hung about 2 feet above the canopy so they won’t burn the plants or hinder photosynthesis.
1000 Watt HPS bulbs sustain a lot of light magnitude which develops a tough bud structure of the plant.
Using this wattage will permit greater light penetration, meaning you’ll also obtain better bud growth lower in the canopy unlike to running say a 600 Watt bulbs or lower.
If you are utilizing a ceiling height, most probably, you’ll get the sickest plants by using 1000 Watt HPS bulbs compared to the lower range of wattage. And of course, the coverage will be much vast.
So, how close should you set up your 1000 Watt bulbs from your plants?
We all know that heat is a major factor, that’s why you are required to make sure that your 1000 Watt HPS bulbs are 24 inches away from the tips of your plants since too much will likely harm your buds.
If you want to know if it’s too hot, you can try putting your hand at the top of the plant.
After a few seconds, if it burns, then obviously it will burn your buds.
With that said, operating multiple 1000 Watt bulbs will certainly produce a lot of heat in a grow room.
If this is the case, you might want to hold an air-conditioning system and a CO2 system for you to lower the room temp and sustain more C02 for the plants.
For better understanding, you must know how much electricity does a 1000 Watt HPS bulb utilizes.
To know how much it consumes, you just need to do a very simple math.
Each hour you operate a 1000 Watt HPS bulbs will equal one KW per hour. You just need then to factor how many hours per day you’ll operate the bulbs.
Normal HPS ballast uses a little bit more energy than the bulb, so you’ll use 1.1 KW x 12 hrs. = 13.2. In other words, you would use 13.2 KW/hrs. per day per 1000 Watt HPS bulbs.
600 Watt HPS Light
This wattage of HPS bulbs produces fantastic buds.
They suit best for medium grow rooms or operating a string of multiple High-pressure sodium light bulbs without producing too much heat.
600 watts produces up to 88,000 lumens. This size is the most ideal for the home grower.
It is quite powerful, without having to hang too high from the plant canopy. That answers our question on how much heat does a 600 watt HPS produce.
One 600 watt bulb can provide light for about 10 plants, give or take. It depends on other setup factors like the reflector, plant size, space shape etc.
These lights should be hung approximately 16” above the plant canopy.
If you happen to be planting marijuana, then you must know how far 600 Watt HPS bulbs from your weeds must be.
600 Watt bulbs can be placed for about 14 inches from the top of marijuana, assuming that you are utilizing an air-cooled tube to eradicate heat from the bulb.
Meaning, if you are not using anything such as this, then you must certainly raise the distance from your plants.
Compared to 1000 Watt grow lights, 600 Watt, you must keep the lights a bit closer to your marijuana plants which limits the total area a 600 Watt HPS light bulb can shelter with high magnitude.
But because 600 Watt bulbs produce less heat, then they can be placed much closer to the plant’s tips than the higher watt range of bulbs.
To put it simply, they are the best option for individuals growing shorter rooms with short ceilings.
It is crucial to plant accordingly for the height, to ensure that your plants do not get close enough from your grow lights.
400 Watt HPS Light
400 watt HPS lights can support 6 to 8 plants depending on other setup factors. These lights can be hung about a foot over the canopy safely.
400 watt HPS bulbs are good for small grow rooms, like small closets or 3’x3’ grow rooms.
It produces less heat than higher wattage HPS bulbs.
They are just great for little-enclosed spaces for growers who still want to see the yields given to intensity HPS bulbs.
In addition, they are also great for mother plants.
Growers usually don’t utilize HPS bulbs for mother plants since the metal halide grow lights are better than HPS in the vegetative stage. It is because the bluer light spectrum of MH is more optimal for vegetative phase of the plant.
With that said, you could still use a 400 Watt HPS for lowering.
Though it is a less intense type of bulb in the higher wattage options, 400 Watts can still produce impressive bud growth in cannabis plants.
The width of those 400 Watts HPS bulbs can shelter those much limited than 600 Watts or 1000 Watts bulbs.
It is better to plant only one medium plants or several smaller plants under 400 Watts bulbs because the outside corners of the plant will not get tough, dank bud growth.
In addition to that, you must know that 400 Watts bulbs emit about 45,000 lumens of light. Meaning, it produces 96 lumens per watt of electricity.
250 Watt HPS Light
250 watt HPS lights can support a couple plants and can also be hung about a half foot from the canopy.
This small size light also makes a decent supplement for larger setups, especially as an addition during the flowering phase.
After learning various wattages of HPS light, it is crucial to know how much distance you must keep your HPS lighting system from your plants.
1000 Watt is certainly different from 250 Watt, that’s why you must know how should you position your lights, otherwise, you’ll end up with burnt lovely plants or no optimal yields at all.
Let’s put an example, Cannabis.
Even though this information is quite overlooked, but actually in many situations cannabis growers could heighten their yields and potency just by keeping their HPS grow lights at the right distance.
Cannabis gets energy from light and uses it to develop bigger buds.
For you to optimize your cannabis yields, what you wanna do is to give your plants sufficient light as possible, but of course without the risk of light burn.
Long story short, you should increase light intensity base on the distance from your plants.
While fluorescent grow lights such as T5s and CFLs don’t produce sufficient light to feed your plants, HPS can do it with ease.
But of course, to get the biggest yields, you must know how to properly place them.
Getting more light is better if you are looking forward to the yields of your plant, but sadly there’s a limit to it.
For instance, if you keep your lights too close to your cannabis plants, they might end up bleaching, and nutrient deficiencies might occur.
On the other hand, placing your HPS lights too close will certainly hurt your plants.
That’s why it’s better if you know where to position your plants.
HPS is one of the most commonly-used as the highest-yielding grow lights available for growing indoor plants.
It is very suitable for the flowering stage and the light they give off invigorate plants to quickly grow tall and produce big buds.
For a better understanding, here’s a proven and tested reference guide that you can freely use, whenever you want.
Though you must remember that worn-out HPS bulbs stop giving off as much light compared to what it is used to give previously.
In other words, those HPS bulbs that got some age must be kept closer to your plants since they are now little on the light.
For that reason, keep in mind that HPS grow lights last a bit longer or up to 2 years for every average 4-5 grows.
We said it before and we will say it again, HPS lights get hot.
If you live in a cool climate this may be an advantage, but you will likely need a way to manage the heat. HPS lights are not for enclosed spaces with no ventilation.
You need air to circulate and a fan is a good choice. The fan can be directed at the light to disperse heat and keep the air moving around your plants.
Another option if you are running a 12 hour on, 12 hours off cycle is to have the 12 hour light cycle timed to occur at night when the temperature is naturally cooler, to balance the heat the lights put off.
Just remember, your plants can handle about as much heat as you are comfortable with. If the room feels hot to you, it’s probably hot for the plant.
Cannabis likes to be between 60 to 75 degrees. It is a mild climate plant. Place your arm at canopy level for a minute or two.
Does the light feel hot on your hand?
If yes, the lights need to be placed up higher away from the canopy.
Too much heat also causes fox tailing and loss of bud potency. Foxtails are when the bud grows up and elongates or spirals upward.
If you see this on the buds closest to the light source, raise the lights to prevent more damage and loss of potency.
No weak weed!
Why do so many HPS light systems include a MH Metal Halide bulb too?
The reason so many HPS light kits include a metal Halide bulb is so that the setup has a wider light spectrum.
Metal halide has a stronger blue and violet range, and HPS has a stronger yellow/red range.
The two compliment each other, but MH lights are not as powerful on their own and they are light on the yellow and red spectrum light that produces the best yield of buds.
Bud is stinky. If you are trying to be discreet and stealthy, the odor is one of the first things to give you away.
The smell of pot is unmistakable. If odor control is a concern for you, you will need an exhaust and a carbon scrubber to remove the odor from the exhaust before shuttling it out into the atmosphere.
A carbon filter or carbon scrubber contains activated carbon that chemically removes the smell. These filters are effective, and the only ‘real’ way to securely remove the rich perfume of your plants.
The exhaust must be directed through the carbon filter.
Odor neutralizers are NOT recommended because they can affect the taste and smell of the end product. Yuck.
Air purifiers are out too. They are not capable of removing all of the fragrance that cannabis puts out.
So, with those housekeeping items out of the way, we proudly present our top HPS light choices in order of wattage.
Now, here are my HPS grow light reviews: