The Types Of HID Grow Lights

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Last Updated on February 19, 2022

When we make use of grow light in our indoor garden, it is an artificial way of providing light to our plants. HID grow lights are lights that are used for indoor gardens and it mimics the work done by sunlight.

When it comes to indoor gardening, growers need to choose suitable grow lights that will help boost plant growth and yield. As a grower, you need to know the appropriate type of grow light to use for your indoor garden.

Although, LED and fluorescent grow lights are still one of the leading types of grow light. HID grow lights are still great lights you can use apart from other types of grow lights. So, let’s look into some things you need to know about using HID grow lights in our indoor gardens.

What Are HID Grow Lights?

First, HID stands for high-intensity discharge lights. Hence, this type of grow light is used to grow plants that need a higher intensity of light compared to other types of low intensifying lights. HID grow lights are also fairly affordable compared to other types of grow lights such as LED lights.

To put it in an easy way, HID is a type of light bulb and it is usually a big light bulb about the size of your forearm. HID light is a sealed tube filled with gas and it generates gas once the gas is ignited.

The regular household bulb is a bit similar to HID bulb. For the regular household bulb, it has this small metal filament inside that lights up. The bulb in HID on the other hand has two electrodes that arc electric current between them and this lights up the gas.

What Are HID Grow Lights

Also, HID bulbs are usually defined by the type of gas used in the bulb. The major types of HID used for plant cultivation are:

  • Metal halide (MH) and
  • High-pressure sodium (HPS)

The Main Components Of HID Grow Lights

There are 3 major components of HID lighting system. They include:

  • A bulb
  • A ballast used to power the high-intensity discharge (HID)
  • Then a reflector or a hood is used to maximize the efficiency of the bulb (and this is done by directing the light over the surface of the plant).

The Two Types Of HID Grow Light

As we’ve mentioned, there are two types of HID grow light that can be used for indoor cultivation. They include:

1.    Metal Halide (MH)

So, metal halide grow is a type of high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting. The lamp of this metal halide contains a quartz tube filled with a noble gas.

The bulb off MH comprises metal halide and the gas burns with a cool white light that has a huge amount of light in the blue wavelengths.

Metal halide bulbs can last for long hours (up to 20,000 hours). However, they tend to degrade long before this period and become less effective as grow lights.

All in all, metal halide bulbs are quite efficient, but they aren’t as efficient as high-pressure sodium or ceramic metal halide bulbs. Metal halide grow light can be used by any indoor grower of all skill levels.

Metal halide grow lights are used for the vegetative stage of a plant. But they are known to generate lots of heat so caution needs to be taken when using them so they don’t burn our plants.

2.    High Pressure sodium (HPS)

HPS tends to produce red light spectrum and they are easy to use and they are affordable. HPS are great to be used by any indoor grower of all skill levels.

Normally, once your plants have entered their flowering stage, HPS grow lights are used to replace metal halide bulbs to boost flowering.

When you’ve decided to use high-pressure sodium for your indoor gardening, you should use the wattage to figure out the grow room size the HPS lamp can cover. This is to ensure you get optimal results.

For instance, 150-watt HPS grow lights are ideal small room sizes of around 4 square feet. This 150-watt HPS grow light can be used to grow lettuce, herbs, as well as other small plants. Then 400 watts of HPS grow lights can cover up to 16 square feet and thus they are able to produce high yield.

iPower GLSETX400DHMWING20 Horticulture 400 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Ballast Grow Light System

We also have up to 1000 watts of HPS grow light and these are the most powerful ones that can cover a wider area of about 49 square feet.

However, the downside to these lights is that they tend to emit heat especially the ones with higher wattage. Hence, they should be positioned a bit far away from your plants to avoid plant burns.

More About HID Grow Lights

You should know that both metal halide and high-pressure sodium emit heat. So the right distance to mount these grow lights should be noted.

For instance, HPS grow lights can be positioned between 6 to 34 inches and this distance will also depend on the type of plant you’re growing. Therefore, it is crucial you fully research the type of plant you will be growing when using this type of grow light and get to know the ideal distance to mount your grow light.

Although most HPS grow lights are meant to be used in combination with MH bulbs, there are still a few cases where you can still use these bulbs as a stand-alone grow light.

For instance, some HPS grow lights have been designed to have a higher blue light spectrum. Now, this allows your plant benefits from the vegetative stage which in turn removes the need to use metal halide grow lights.

More About HID Grow Lights

Led Grow Light Strips

LED strips can help boost the growth of our indoor plants. However, using them alone won’t be bright enough to help most seedlings to develop. So, LED lights are usually used alongside other brighter and bigger bulbs.


High-intensity grow lights are great to be used for our various indoor gardening for all kinds of skill level growers. HID grow lights may not be the best of the best grow lights, but they can still do good work for our indoor plants.

There are two types of HID grow lights namely metal halide and high-pressure sodium and these two lights are usually used in combination to produce a nice yield.


How long do hid grow lights last?

The bulbs of HID grow lights can last for about 10,000 hours for MH, then 18,000 hours for HPS.

What kinds of plants grow under hid lights?

Different plants can be grown under HID light, Some of them includes lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, and so on.

How much hid grow lights increase production?

A higher wattage of HID grow light tends to increase production. But you need to match the right type of plants for a particular grow light wattage.

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