Even in the growing era of LED Grow Light technology, many hydroponic growers prefer the gas charged high-pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH) grow light systems, especially for larger commercial applications. The intensity, broad spectrum and light consistencies make HPS or MH lighting suitable throughout the entire plant cycle. This means that the same grow light system can be used from cloning or seedling stage through plant’s maturity and harvest.
What is the difference between HPS and MH lights?
The main difference between these two types of grow lights is the spectrum they produce. MH grow lights produce a blue spectrum, perfect for vegetative growth, whereas HPS grow lights emit a red spectrum, ideal for flowering or blooming. The differences in spectrum is due to the type of gas in each tube. Growers should have both types of HID lights to grow a healthy plant.
What are ballasts used for?
MH and HPS grow lights will require a ballast for operation. Without a ballast, the HID grow lights will have an unregulated current, leading to them burning out almost immediately. The ballast keeps the current at a safe level, ensuring a long healthy life of up to 10,000 hours of your MH or HPS grow lights.
Should you go with an SE or DE grow light system?
Double ended (DE) grow lights are powered by wires on either end of the bulb, resulting in more intense light. Single ended (SE) grow lights are screwed into one end like a typical light bulb. Generally, the commercial grower will find the DE grow light provides more flexibility and a brighter, more efficient light. Beginners with a small indoor garden will get by perfectly with an SE grow light.
Why you should use a reflector with HPS or MH grow lights.
HPS, MH and other gas charged grow light systems require the use of a grow light reflector for a very simple reason. Light is emitted 360 degrees from an HID grow light tube and the light from the top of the tube will illuminate the ceiling of the grow room, which is a waste. Reflectors for HPS or MH grow lights redirect this wasted light back down onto the plant, increasing efficiency. At Hydrobuilder, we carry a variety of reflective hoods, including:
Not sure which fixture is right for you? Check out our review of the best HPS grow lights in our blog!
Because of the versatility, cost, and reliability, HPS or MH grow lighting will not fall out favor with the indoor grower any time soon. If you want to learn more about grow lights, visit our learning center! If you still have questions, give our experienced growers a call at 888-815-9763!