12 Best HID (HPS and MH) Grow Lights Choices of 2024

High-intensity discharge lights (HID) are high-powered light sources for indoor plant cultivation. 

HID grow lights generate light by passing an electric current through a gas-filled chamber, with the spectrum of light emitted determined by the type of gas used. These lights typically contain an arc tube containing metal halides or sodium vapor, electrodes, and a ballast for current regulation.

HID grow lights are a budget-friendly option for beginner gardeners, but their commercial popularity has declined due to several limitations. These limitations include heat generation, larger size and weight, lower energy efficiency than LEDs, slow start-up times, and shorter lifespans requiring maintenance.

HID grow lights come in two main types: HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide). HPS lights are best for flowering and fruiting stages, providing the necessary red and orange light for optimal development and yield.HPS lights are not ideal for the vegetative growth phase due to their lack of blue light spectrum, while MH lights are well-suited for promoting healthy foliage during this stage

When choosing between HPS and MH lights, consider the growth phase you need the light for. Researching reputable brands like iPower and Sun System can help you make the best choice. Top picks include iPower HPS Grow Light, Sun System grow lights, and iPower digital dimmable lights.

To optimize indoor gardening with MH and HPS grow lights, follow guidelines for hanging height, cooling, ballast wattage, light rotation, and plant health monitoring.

1. iPower HPS Grow Light – Best HID grow lights

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions14.5 x 3.5 x 2.5 inches
Unique CharacteristicsEnergy Efficient

The iPower 1000W High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulb Hydroponics Grow Light is our top pick for best HID grow lights.

The red and yellow spectrum it emits mimics the energy efficiency of natural sunlight, enabling year-round cultivation.

Beyond plant growth, the iPower 1000-Watt HPS bulb is a reliable lighting solution for industrial applications such as warehouses, parking lots, and post-top lights.

Its impressive lifespan of up to 24,000 hours ensures long-lasting and consistent performance. However, due to its limited spectrum, the HPS bulb may not be suitable for all growth stages. Instead, you can supplement with other lighting sources like LED lights when focusing on vegetative growth.

We rated the iPower HPS grow light at 4.5/5 stars because it is a budget-friendly HID grow light.

Pros: Emits red and yellow light spectrum.

Cons: The red and yellow spectrum of the HPS bulb may not be ideal for the vegetative phase.

2. Sun System Grow Lights – Runner up

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions18.1″L x 9″W x 6.5″H
Unique CharacteristicsLimited heat output

The Sun System Grow Light is a  versatile and user-friendly light fixture.

The high-intensity bulb boasts an impressive 16,000 lumens and ensures optimal brightness for your indoor garden. Its adaptability enables year-round cultivation of herbs, flowers, and fresh vegetables.

The highly reflective aluminum insert ensures even light distribution, while the vented housing dissipates heat while emitting light. Durability is the key feature, with its robust white powder-coated finish, and the on/off backlight switch adds a layer of convenience.

The safety-integrated 7-foot 120-volt power cord ensures functionality when using the Sun System grow light for bigger grow rooms. However, users found that the bulb’s color spectrum may require additional lighting for vegetative growth.

We rated this HID grow light bulb at 4.5/ 5 because this grow light helps maintain an ideal temperature for their plants. The package includes a 150-watt high-pressure sodium bulb with a mogul base.

Pros: Delivers exceptional brightness

Cons: This could lead to higher energy costs.

3. iPower Digital Dimmable Grow Light – Best HPS lights for controlled intensity

Light typeFluorescent, HPS, LED, Metal Halide
Product Dimensions23 x 8 x 17 inches
Unique CharacteristicsDimmable

The iPower Grow Light System is a complete indoor gardening solution that covers everything, from seedling to flowering.

It utilizes HID technology and eliminates the need to mix different light types.

This kit features a digital dimmable electronic ballast, an air-cooled hood reflector for efficient heat dissipation, and HPS MH bulbs. It also includes a light hanger set for easy installation and positioning and a timer for automating the lighting schedule.

However, the iPower grow light can generate excessive heat in enclosed spaces without proper ventilation. To avoid overheating, the manufacturer recommends using an inline fan.  It ensures adequate airflow to avoid any issues caused by poor ventilation.

The iPower grow light kit combines HPS and MH bulbs, providing the complete spectrum of light required for optimal plant growth.

We rated this iPower Grow Light System at 4/5 stars as it is a versatile solution that efficiently guides plants through every stage of their growth.

Pros: It does not require mixing different types of lights 

Cons: The system generates significant heat

4. Hydroplanet Grow Light – Best ventilation system

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions16″L x 7.5″W x 4.5″H
Unique CharacteristicsVented housing for even heat output

The Hydroplant 150W HPS Grow Light offers practical features such as adjustability and compact size for small grow rooms.

Including the 150W HPS bulb ensures a powerful light source suitable for seedlings and flowering. Its highly reflective German aluminum insert sets this grow light system apart. It optimizes light distribution and ensures plants receive uniform illumination.

The Hydroplanet system manages heat, promotes healthy plant development, and offers convenient lighting control.

The fixture has a compact footprint that fits well in various growing spaces while the generous 8ft 120 Volt power cord.

One of the standout features is the high-quality magnetic ballast. The ballast contributes to the system’s overall longevity with quality construction.

We rated the Hydroplant Grow Light at 4.5/ 5 stars by users who value the simplicity of the installation process, making it convenient for both beginners and experienced growers. 

Pros: Equal light distribution

Cons: Requires proper ventilation and cooling to prevent heat stress for plants.

5. Sunlite Metal Halide Lamp – Best strong light output

Light typeMH
Product DimensionsNot specified
Unique CharacteristicsVersatile use

The Sunlite High-Intensity Discharge Lamps provide exceptional brightness, color quality, and durability. The 1000-watt probe start metal halide bulbs emit an impressive 110,000 lumens of bright light.

The Sunline bulbs have a mogul base (E39) and come in a BT56 bulb design. They’re built to last, with an average lifespan of 12,000 hours. This makes them suitable for all kinds of applications, from lighting up streets and parking lots to commercial buildings and industrial spaces.

The metal halide bulbs work particularly well during the early stages of plant growth, encouraging healthy foliage and strong plant structure.

However, there are a few things to remember if you plan to use these lamps for indoor plant growth. While they’re great for the initial growth stages, they might not provide the best light spectrum for later flowering and fruiting stages.

We rated the Sunlite MH lamp at 4.5/ 5 stars due to durability and longevity, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Pros: Average lifespan of 12,000 hours

Cons: Not suitable for flowering and fruiting phases of indoor plant growth.

6. SunStream Double Ended HID Grow Light – Best advanced kit

Light typeHPS
Wattage1000 w
Product Dimensions‎26.77″L x 13″W x 7.5″H
Unique CharacteristicsAdvanced kit

The SunStream Grow Light System Kit is a game-changer for indoor plant growth. The SunStream kit has smart features that cater to every stage of your plants’ journey.

The show’s star is the 2100K DE HPS double-ended bulbs. It brings in a perfect spectrum that works wonders from the early growth stages right through to flowering. The double-ended design is a clever touch, ensuring light is spread evenly.

The Closed Style Grow Light Reflector ensures more light is used efficiently, reaching where it matters most. That means better penetration into your plant canopy and more even growth without annoying shadows.

The 120-240V Digital Dimmable Ballast is like the control center of your setup. It lets you adjust light intensity (600W, 750W, 1000W, 1150W) to fit your plants’ needs at different stages.

And then there’s the Controller Port. This feature allows you to integrate control and automation, giving you a more hands-off approach to managing your grow lights.

We rated the SunStream double-ended bulbs at 4.5/5 stars because the digital dimmable ballast allows customers to reach greater control.

Pros: The 2100K DE HPS Bulb provides a spectrum suitable for seedlings to flowering

Cons: The advanced kit might not be suitable for beginners.

7. Mini Sunburst High Intensity Sodium Lighting System – Best for smaller grow room

Light typeHID
Product Dimensions17″L x 5″W x 9″H
Unique CharacteristicsBroad illumination

The Mini Sunburst by Hydrofarm is an innovative, powerful, high-intensity halide lighting system that combines convenience and performance.

Its highly reflective specular aluminum reflector enhances the Mini Sunburst’s efficiency, which ensures plants receive even illumination coverage.

The Mini Sunburst by Hydrofarm is highly versatile and easy to set up in various growing spaces due to its compact design. The moisture-resistant powder-coated finish enhances durability and allows it to withstand damp conditions.

Effective venting takes care of heat dissipation, maintaining an optimal temperature range for plant growth. Alongside the unit itself, the grow light kit includes essential components such as instructions, hangers, cords, lamps, and even lighting recommendations, covering all the bases for a seamless setup. 

We rated the Mini Sunburst grow light kit at 4.5/5 stars because customers find it easy to hang and appreciate its small footprint, making it suitable for smaller spaces.

Pros: Provides a balanced daylight spectrum

Cons: More suitable for smaller indoor gardens.

8. Horticulture Ceramic Metal Halide – Best for vegetative growth

Light typeMH
Product Dimensions9.21 x 3.54 x 2.24 inches
Unique CharacteristicsFeatures UV-A, UV-B, and far-red enhanced light components

The Horticulture Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) lighting system is a cutting-edge solution to nurture indoor plants.

The Hydrofarm bulb is a powerful lighting system with 315W power and a PGZX18 base, designed specifically for the vegetative stage, featuring a 4000K color temperature. Bringing the sun indoors as the primary light source gives your plants precisely what they need to thrive in the vegetative state.

This lighting system goes the extra mile with its 3000K CMH bulbs. These bulbs are designed for flowering plants such as begonias, delphiniums, and dahlias. These bulbs’ maximum 315W light spectrum matches your plant’s chlorophyll A and B curves. 

The lighting system offers UV-A, UV-B, and far-red enhanced light components at an affordable price. We rated it at a 4/5 due to a balanced spectrum supporting vegetative and flowering stages.

Pros: The 3000K CMH bulbs add versatility to the system.

Cons: The lighting system’s coverage area might be limited.

9. GRUOTVSZAK Grow Light Bulb – Best broad spectrum

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions‎13.11 x 7.52 x 2.83 inches
Unique CharacteristicsHigh efficiency for photosynthesis 

This Gruotvszak bulb is designed with a focus on enhancing the growth potential of your plants.

One of the standout qualities of the Gruotvszak grow light bulb is its impressive PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux) of 1150 mol, ensuring adequate photosynthesis. Plus, with a PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) increase of 20% to 40%, you can trust that your plants are getting the kind of light that truly matters.

The concentration on the RED spectrum is another highlight of this bulb. This specific spectrum is known to play a vital role in plant growth, from promoting flowering to enhancing the overall health of the growing plants. 

With a brightness of 90000 Lumens, this HPS light bulb provides intense light for your grow tent, and the 2-Pack feature allows you to illuminate different areas of your garden. 

We rated the Gruotvszak grow light at 4/5 stars due to the light’s broad light spectrum and ease of use.  

Pros: The spectrum is highly beneficial for plant growth.

Cons: The coverage and light output effectiveness might depend on the fixture height and wattage.

10. iPower Air Cooled Tube Reflector – Best cooling properties

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions31 x 11 x 17 inches
Unique CharacteristicsCooling properties 

The iPower Air Cool Hood Reflector maximizes growing space by providing an expansive reflecting surface and efficient cooling with fans, filters, and silencers.

Crafted with top-tier materials, this cool tube hood boasts highly reflective German aluminum. The white panels coated with 0.4mm of this reflective textured aluminum intensify light and significantly broaden the area.

Speaking of coverage, these cool tube hoods can generously span up to 5′ x 5′. Its 29″ x 26″ x 8″ measurements make it adaptable to various setups. The light hanging height is flexible so you can hang it vertically or horizontally.

And let’s not forget about those hot days – the open-ended design accommodates two fans, giving you top-notch cooling and maintaining the ideal temperature for your plants to thrive.

The coverage provided by the air-cooled hood reflector depends on the fixture’s height and wattage, making it versatile and accommodating but requiring consideration of these variables for optimal results.

Based on its cooling properties and light coverage for growing plants, we rated the iPower Air Cooled Tube grow light at 4/5 stars. 

Pros: Provides a large reflecting surface

Cons: The hood’s size may require extra space for installation.

11. HTG Supply eGrow Light Kit – Best HID grow light kit for beginners

Light typeHPS
Product Dimensions‎17 x 12 x 10 inches
Unique CharacteristicsIncludes a complete kit for beginners

Introducing the HTG Supply eGrow Complete 400W HPS System, a budget-friendly marvel for both novice and seasoned growers. 

The HTG package includes a 400w eGrow digital ballast, a high-performance 400w HPS lamp with a 55,000 lumen output, and a rust-resistant eGrow polished aluminum reflector.

The lightweight, compact eGrow ballast is a miracle of efficiency. Compared to magnetic ballasts, the eGrow ballast uses less energy. The best feature? This ballast functions quietly, eliminating any buzz or hum. This all-in-one system further includes a timer and hangers, making it a hassle-free solution that embodies versatility and quiet operation.

The system’s 400w power output may limit coverage in larger cultivation spaces, and the HPS lamps’ warm spectrum of light may cause increased heat buildup in the growing area. 

We rated the HTG Supply eGrow light at 4.5/5 stars because it is easy to use and operates quietly.

Pros: Cost-effective solution for beginners and experienced growers.

Cons: The 400w power output might not be sufficient for larger cultivation spaces.

12. Premium German Made Nachroma MH Grow Lamp – Best for flourishing growth

Light typeHPS, Metal Halide
Product DimensionsNot specified
Unique CharacteristicsGerman-made craftsmanship 

The Premium German Made 400W Metal Halide Lamp is a versatile powerhouse that delivers high-quality growth at every stage and can easily replace high-pressure sodium vapor lamps. 

The 400W Metal Halide Conversion Lamp features an E39 base type and offers a high output of 480 Micromol/s, a 7000K color temperature, and 39,000 lumens. It has a rated life of 12,000 hours and is compatible with S51 ballasts for easy usage.

The disadvantages of Premium German Made grow lights include the higher initial cost than other HID lights. Additionally, there is the potential for deficiencies in certain wavelengths due to their bluish-white light. These lamps also generate more heat, requiring careful heat management in the growing area. 

Very few customers rate this HID grow light 5/5 stars because it is made from high-quality materials and creates a highly illuminated environment.

Pros: This lamp fosters faster and higher-quality growth.

Cons: The lifespan 12.000 might be shorter than the competitors.

How Do You Choose the Best HID Grow Light?

The factors to consider in choosing the best HID grow light are the type of grow light you are looking for, wattage, reflector style, and double ended or single ended bulb style. 

HID grow light type: Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) are common.

MH lights emit a bluish-white light with a temperature of around 4000-6500 Kelvin (K), ideal for the vegetative stage of plant growth. On the other hand, HPS lights produce a reddish-orange light with a temperature of around 2000-3000 K, suitable for the flowering and fruiting stages.

Rather than buying lights in all colors and temperatures, many growers use a combination of MH and HPS lights. They utilize MH lights during the vegetative stage to promote leafy growth and then switch to HPS lights during the flowering stage to enhance blooming and bud formation.

Some HID lighting systems, like Premium German Made Nachroma MH Grow Lamp, feature both MH and HPS bulbs in one fixture, allowing for easy switching between spectrums.

Wattage: The wattage of a grow light determines its intensity and coverage area. It’s crucial to match the wattage to the size of your grow room to avoid excessive heat that could harm your plants. As a general guideline, 30-50 watts per square foot of growing area is recommended.

The 400W and 600W variants are the most commonly used wattages in HID grow lights due to their balanced combination of light intensity and energy efficiency.

The 400W variant is suitable for smaller grow spaces or supplemental lighting, while the 600W variant provides effective coverage for moderate-sized areas. Higher wattages, like 1000W, are typically reserved for larger commercial operations.

Reflector style: The reflector design greatly affects light distribution and efficiency. Different reflector styles are available, including open reflectors, air-cooled hood reflectors, and wing reflectors.

Open reflectors offer a wide light spread for larger spaces, while air-cooled reflectors manage heat better with vented enclosures. Wing reflectors have a curved shape that directs light downward, increasing intensity in the center of the growing area. Among these reflector types, wing and air-cooled hood reflectors are commonly used in indoor gardening setups as they concentrate the light on a specific area and excel in heat dissipation.

Choosing the right reflector style depends on growth room size, desired light distribution, and plant type.

Double-ended or single-ended bulbs: Double-ended bulbs have electrical connections on both ends, allowing for more efficient power distribution, and are used in applications where high light output is required, such as commercial greenhouse cultivation.

On the other hand, single-ended bulbs have electrical connections on only one end, making them simpler in design. They are typically used in smaller grow spaces or for personal indoor gardening setups.

The choice between double-ended and single-ended bulbs for HID lights depends on factors such as the specific lighting fixture, desired light output, and the size of the growing area.

4 factors to choose the best HID Grow Lights

What are the best HID lights for growing weed?

For growing weed, it’s necessary to have a HID light with a wattage between 400 and 600W, which balances efficiency and plant growth. Additionally, it’s necessary to decide between MH or HPS lamps. The MH lights are better for the vegetative stage, and HPS lights are preferred for the flowering stage.

The iPower Digital Dimmable Grow Light is powered by a 1000w bulb, but the dimmable feature lets you control the light output. The inclusion of both the MH and HPS focused light contributes to the overall growth and development of cannabis.  

What are the best HID grow light kits?

The best HID grow light kit consists of high-quality components such as a reliable ballast, efficient reflector, and appropriate wattage bulb, providing the necessary spectrum and intensity of light for optimal plant growth during all stages of cultivation.

The SunStream Double Ended HID Grow Light is the best light kit due to its superior features, such as high-quality double-ended bulbs, efficient reflectors, advanced ballast technology for optimal power output, adjustable spectrum options for different growth stages, and reliable construction that ensures long-lasting performance.

What are the best HID grow light bulbs?

The best HID light bulbs are characterized by brightness, color temperature, longevity, and compatibility with the specific lighting system.

The iPower HPS Grow Light is a top choice among growers due to its affordability, impressive performance, long lifespan, and sturdy construction. It offers an excellent balance of cost-effectiveness and quality, exceeding expectations for its price range. With an estimated lifespan of 12,000 hours for the MH bulb and 32,000 hours for the HPS bulbs, the iPower HPS Grow Light offers growers a reliable option for their lighting needs.

How far away should MH/HPS grow lights be from my plants?

The optimal distance between MH/HPS grow lights and plants depends on the growth stage and the light used. HPS lights should be positioned 10-14 inches away during seedling.

A general guideline is to position all grow lights as LED, HID, and others 4-6 inches above the plant canopy during flowering or vegging stages. It’s important to monitor plants for any signs of stress or light burn and adjust as needed.

Will HID lights work without the ballast?

No, HID lights will not work without a ballast. The ballast is an essential component of the HID light setup as it regulates the voltage and current supplied to the bulbs. The bulbs will not function properly or may not work at all without a ballast. To ensure proper functionality, HID conversion kits typically include HID bulbs, ballasts, and mounting elements.

Will HID bulbs work in projector headlights?

Yes, HID bulbs can work in projector headlights. Projector lenses are designed to maximize HID technology, and using HID bulbs in these headlights can provide advantages. However, it is important to note that simply sticking an HID bulb from an old kit into a projector may not fit or work well. It is recommended to use an HID conversion kit for proper installation. HID bulbs are unsuitable for reflector headlights as they can be too bright and cause glare.

Photo of author

Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of CropsReview.com. This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

Leave a Comment