There are tons of different grow lights on the market, and making sense of it can get frustrating.
Fear not, because today we’re going to make some sense out of all the noise. While looking at the best HID grow lights, one of the most popular options for growing cannabis.
What Are HID Grow Lights?
HID stands for high-intensity discharge. These lights have been a popular choice for years because they’re cheaper, and give great results.
These lights are different from typical household light bulbs in design. With HID grow lights, electrodes at either side of the light transfer a current through the gas in the bulb. Generating a lot more light in the process.
Depending on the gas inside the bulb, the light produced will be of a different color. This is awesome for growers, as cannabis plants take advantage of different color spectrum throughout their growth cycle.
Metal Halide (MH)
Metal halide bulbs produce a blue light, which is preferable by young plants that are in a vegetative state.
With these bulbs, you’ll be able to deliver the leafy growth your plants will need to excel.
High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)
High-pressuresodium bulbs produce a light with a reddish-orange hue, and it’s beneficial during the flowering stage.
The light triggers certain functions within your plants, and it can increase the yield cannabis produces.
Which Type Is Better?
MH and HPS bulbs complement each other. As cannabis grow better when it gets both blue and red color spectrum.
- Good Results: It’s possible use only HPS throughout the cycle, many many growers do. If you have to chose one, HPS is the one.
- Better Results: Some lights come with both, MH and HPS. Start with MH bulb as they works best for vegetative stage. Then change to HPS bulb for flowering.
- Best Results: You could also have two HID lights during the whole cycle with one of each type. I wouldn’t recommend this for most growers, as it would be cheaper and better getting a proper LED grow light.
The next step in selecting the best HID grow lights for your operation is to learn a bit about bulb reflectors.
Bulb reflectors allow you to focus the light where you need it. The best option is to have an air cooled reflector, this way, you can factoring it in your ventilation setup. But there are many different styles available designed to suit the needs of every type of grower.
If you’re looking for a way to cool down your lights, most 6 inch inline fans will do the job quite well with high CFM outputs.
Wing reflectors are the cheapest option, and also one of the best. They provide exceptional coverage, they don’t refract light, and you don’t need to run ducting to the fixture. But, all the heat from the lights goes directly into your grow room, which is a significant flaw.
These lights are ideal for growers on a budget or growers that ventilate their entire grow room instead of individual lights.
A cool hood reflector provides focused coverage that penetrates deeper below the canopy.
The heat from the lights runs back into the hood instead of into the room. But, these lights need ducting, and their focused light does mean a reduction in coverage.
These hoods are ideal for small and mid-sized grow rooms where you’re looking to run ducting to one light.
These reflectors are the most affordable way to get air-cooled lighting in your grow room. But, they have small reflectors that allow tons of light to escape, and they also need ducting.
These lights are well suited for growers who want an air-cooled reflector but are have a tight budget.
Combining the best characteristics of hood and tube reflectors. This style provides exceptional coverage while keeping heat out of your grow room.
On the downside, they’re the most expensive hood of all. Their broad coverage provides less focused light to your plants.
These hoods are ideal for growers who need to maximize their coverage without adding extra lights to their grow.
How Many Watts Does My Grow Room Need?
Depending on the size of your grow room, the wattage you’ll need will vary. As a general rule of thumb, here’s how you can translate wattage to the size of your garden.
- 150w covers a 2×2’ area
- 250w covers a 3×3’ area
- 400w covers a 4×4’ area
- 600w covers a 5×5’ area
- 1,000w covers a 6×6’ area
If you have a large room there are many different configurations that will work well.
For example, if you’re working on a 8×8’ grow room, you’ll get the coverage you need with two 600 watt lights. But, you’ll achieve the best coverage if you instead opt for three 400 watt lights.
Distance For Hanging Your Lights
Depending on the wattage of your lamp, where you’ll hang them in relation to your plants will differ.
Higher wattage bulbs generate more heat, so you need to position them further away from the plant, than lower wattage lights will. This chart provides exact meassures for positioning your lights.
|Wattage||Distance From Plants|
Double Ended Vs. Single Ended Bulbs
Depending on how the bulbs connect to the lamp’s socket system, they are referred to as double-ended or single-ended. Single-ended bulbs screw into the socket, like a regular home light bulb.
With a double-ended bulb, a wire extends from either end of the bulb, and it gets clamped in place on either end. Providing a better connection while preventing the bulb from sagging down in its socket.
Double-ended systems allow the bulb to produce more intense light. Which results in better growth and higher yields.
Double-ended bulbs also have a longer lifespan than single-ended bulbs.
Ballasts are the engine that drives your HID grow light, as they regulate the flow of electricity to the light.
High-quality ballasts allow you to get optimal brightness out of your bulbs. Some ballasts are designed for MH or HPS bulbs, while others allow you to switch between the two.
Today’s digital ballasts will enable you to dim lights as well to tailor wattage to specific situations.
Top Six Best HID Grow Lights For Cannabis
Now you’re armed with all the information you need to select the ideal lighting system for your next grow. Read on as we cover six of the best HID grow lights on the market today.
For growers looking for a complete lighting system that can be had without breaking the bank. This kit from iPower is one of the best options on the market.
You can choose between 400W, 600W, and 1,000W configurations.
This kit includes everything you’ll need to light your grow in one convenient package.
It includes a lamp, wing reflector, ballast, MH bulb, HPS bulb, and hanging hardware.
Key components of the kit, like the lamp itself, feature the highest quality components. The lamp also features a 15-foot power cord, so you’ll always be able to reach your outlets, even if they’re far away.
The ballast can operate at 50, 75, or 100% power, and it provides more intensity than a magnetic ballast could.
Included are a 6000K MH bulb, and a 2100K HPS bulb. Which ensures you’ll be able to provide your plants with the light they need at each stage of their growth.
Rounding out this kit is an 8’ ratchet clip hanging system, so you’ll be able to place your lights in an ideal location for your plants.
- Available in 400w, 600w, and 1,000w configurations.
- Digital ballast supports dimming and allows for plug-and-play operation with HPS or MH bulbs.
- Ballast provides flicker-free lighting with zero power loss or acoustic resonance.
- Affordable and comprehensive kit includes everything except ventilation
- Included bulbs aren’t the highest quality.
For growers looking for an absolute powerhouse, this lighting kit from VIVOSUN is an excellent choice. This kit provides everything your plants will need to thrive during your next grow.
You can choose between 400w, 600w, and 1,000w configurations.
Each component from the bulbs, to the ballast, to the lamp, to the reflector, are made from high-quality parts.
The reflector boosts reflectivity by an impressive 20% for a total of 98% reflectivity. The contoured and hammered aluminum surface helps to cut hot spots, ensuring even lighting.
The ballast is fully digital, and it provides dimmable operation at 250w, 400w, or the full 600w.
An internal fan keeps the ballast cooler, resulting in a longer lifespan. The ballast also provides protection against short-circuiting, ignition failure, and end-of-bulb-life protection.
Also included are both metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs. The MH bulb provides 60,000 lumens and a color temperature of 4,200K while the HPS bulb provides 90,000 lumens and a color temperature of 2,100K.
These two bulbs offer the quality of light your plants need at various stages of their life cycle.
Rounding out this high-quality kit is a 24-hour mechanical timer. So you can set your lights up once and then never worry about turning them on or off again.
VIVOSUN backs this lighting kit with an impressive warranty. You’re covered for a full year should anything go wrong with your light.
- Available in 400w, 600w, and 1,000w configurations.
- Includes everything you need to get started.
- High-quality components designed for professional use.
- Color temp on included bulbs is a little off.
- Bulb quality leaves a lot to be desired.
This kit includes high-quality components that should provide you with years of reliable growing.
Yield Lab features an enclosed air-cooled hood, which helps focus and intensify your lighting. Six-inch ducts at either side of the hood allow you to attach an inline fan and remove heat from your grow room.
Also included is a 600W dimmable 120-240V ballast. Not only does this digital ballast offer a three stage dimmer, but there’s also a feature which increases output by 10%.
The ballast is made with industrial-grade components, that provide reliable power and increased PAR. It also has a silent fan, which reduces internal temperatures, extending the life of your ballast in the process.
A quick change fuse port allows for rapid changes if you ever blow a fuse, and the entire ballast is ETL and CE certified.
This kit also features one of the best warranties in the business, and your purchase is covered for years.
- Includes the best reflector of any kit on our list.
- High-quality components for reliable operation.
- All ETL/CE certified electrical components.
- Customer service is mediocre.
- Included timer isn’t very good.
Reliable with consistent results, this kit provides many of the same top-quality components. But, instead, it includes a cool tube reflector that provides impressive balance, coverage, and light penetration.
This reflector style is ideal for larger grows, and it provides a 99.99% airtight seal when used with an inline fan. So, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to manage your grow room’s temperature.
The same digital ballast is provided, and it’s UL, CE, and RoHS certified for safe and reliable operation. The ballast provides a three-stage dimmer and a feature that delivers 10% more intensity.
It also offers a soft start function, pre-ignition failure checks, and industrial-size heat sinks for efficient heat distribution.
Also included with this kit is hanging hardware, a manual electric timer, an MH bulb, and an HPS bulb.
Except for the different reflector, this kit is identical to the Yield Lab kit above.
- Premium digital ballast provides three-stage dimming and Super Lumen feature.
- Ideal for larger grows.
- UL/CE/RoHS certified components for safety and reliability.
- Mediocre customer service.
- Reflector allows lots of light to spill out the front and back of the lamp.
Another high-quality kit from iPower. An XL wing hood, digital ballast, lamp, bulbs, manual timer, and hanging hardware.
The lamp features an E39 ceramic Mogul socket with a standard hydroponic S-plug.
The XL wing hood provides exceptional coverage, and the aluminum reflector provides 95% reflectivity. While also intensifying your light and enlarging the coverage area. This reflector provides more power and efficiency than other styles.
The digital ballast is dimmable and operates at 50, 75, or 100% power. This ballast provides 30% more intensity than a traditional magnetic ballasts, which can improve your yields.
While most kits cut corners when it comes to bulbs, iPower provides high-quality ones right out of the box.
The 400W Super HPS bulb at 2,100K. The red/orange spectrum and high PAR help stimulate flowering.
The 400W MH bulb with a 6,000K color temperature. It provides the same long-life and reliable operation as the included HPS bulb.
Rounding out this kit is the mounting hardware you’ll need to hang your lighting. As well as a mechanical timer that allows you to set your lights for reliable daily operation.
- High-quality wing reflector provides exceptional coverage and light intensity.
- Digital ballast is packed with modern features and protections.
- Includes high-quality bulbs.
- More expensive than others.
- Hanging hardware is mediocre and should be replaced.
This kit is compact, making it ideal for smaller grows.
This tiny kit includes a lamp, HPS bulb, built-in ballast, and a cooled hood reflector that delivers focused lighting.
This lamp produces 16,000 lumens and features a mogul base with 7’ grounded power cord.
The best feature of this light is the all-in-one design.
The ballast is built into the light. The vented hood provides adequate ventilation, especially considering how small this system is. The reflector hood is made to last and features a thick powder-coat finish for looks and durability.
For beginners looking to plug and play their way into the hobby, this tiny kit is a solid choice.
More experienced growers, especially those who operate larger grows, will find this kit to be limiting. The lower wattage of this kit makes it less efficient.
- Affordable all-in-one kit provides a true plug and play option.
- High-quality vented reflector with powder-coated finish.
- Two-year warranty on the fixture, one-year warranty on the light.
- Low wattage makes this light inefficient.
- Only compatible with HPS bulbs.
- Power cord is only 7-feet long.
Final Thoughts On The Best HID Grow Lights
Each of the six lights in our roundup provides reliable, effective, and high-quality lighting. But one kit in particular rises to the top, earning the title of the best HID grow light.
Our top choice is the iPower 400 to 1,000W Winged Kit. This kit provides the highest-quality in key components, for the right price.
Many kits tend to cut corners with materials, which leads to unsatisfactory results in the long term. But, this kit from iPower provides everything you need.