Comparison to HID Lights
|The Good||The Questionable||The Liars||The Incomparable|
|Black Dog LED||California Light Works||Advanced LED||Apollo Horticulture|
|Build My LED (BML)||G8LED||Apache Tech||Area 51|
|Heliospectra||Illumitex||Hydro Grow||Lighthouse Hydro|
|Kind LED||Platinum LED||Kessil|
|Mars Hydro||Spectrum King||LumiGrow|
|Pro Max Grow|
|Pro Source Worldwide|
LED grow lights all claim varying amounts of increased plant-growing efficiency over HID in terms of how many watts you need to get the same yield. But, this isn't always stated as such, and not everyone gives hard numbers. Various companies have wildly different claims, sometimes even among their own models. Since not every LED grow light seller provides an HID equivalent, in this section I'm only comparing companies and models here for which an "HID equivalent" was explicitly specified for the light model on the companies' websites.
There's a huge range of claims, from 1 watt of LED light = 1.2 watts of HID up to 1 watt of LED light = 9.6 watts of HID. I know LEDs certainly can be more efficient than HID lights, but I don't believe they are twice as efficient, and anything claiming to be 3 times more efficient seems like a lie — even for street lighting, LEDs aren't 3 times more efficient than HIDs.
In the table above, the companies that in my opinion are giving an honest HID equivalent for their lights are in "The Good" column. Companies in "The Questionable" column claim that their lights are twice (or more) as efficient as HIDs, which just doesn't ring true to me, though they aren't the worst of the lot. Companies claiming to be 3 times or more efficient than HID are in "The Liars" column. It would be great if their claims were true, but I'm almost certain these sellers are lying about their lights' ability to replace HIDs.
You can see all of the HID light comparisons for each model light in the table at the bottom of this page.
Comparison to HID Graph
Again, I believe anything in the 1-2 range in the graph is realistic, 2-3 is much less likely, and anything 3 or over is a lie.
You'd think vendors would be consistent in their HID replacement claims for all their products (at least within a "series" of lights), but this is not always the case. Here are the interesting inconsistencies I've noted in HID comparisons. (These really make me wonder about the knowledge and trustworthiness of these companies!)
Advanced LED only gives HID comparisons for their 3 Diamond Series XML lights, but the smaller one is claimed to be 4.6 times better than HID lights, while the biggest one is supposedly only 1.6 times more efficient. That's a pretty big difference that just doesn't make sense and means they are probably making these numbers up.
Apache Tech has a variety of claims for their AT120 models (actual draw 156-170 watts) Apparently, they:
- were designed as a replacement for 400W HID supplemental lighting in greenhouse,
- outperform every LED array currently available on the market and are comparable in intensity to conventional 1000W HPS lights and produce more usable (PAR) light than the conventional 600W HPS, while consuming approximately 80% less power, and
- the 120x1W LED array produces the equivalent of a 1000W HID lamp
They say their AT600 model (actual draw 764 watts) has a footprint greater than 4' x 4' and a PAR output that exceeds a 1000W HID. This light is a direct replacement for all 1000W HIDs…
Now, if a 170-watt, $859 light is equivalent to a 1000W HID, why on earth would I pay $2499 for another Apache Tech light that uses almost 600 more watts to do the same thing? Surely they knew they were lying about the AT120's HID equivalency, especially because they also state that the lights were only designed to replace 400W HID lights in supplemental lighting situations.
Hydro Grow's X-PRO series of lights ranges from 1.5 times as efficient as an HID light (the 168X-PRO 270W) all the way up to 4.2 times more efficient (the 21X-PRO 36W). Even ignoring the 21X-PRO, the 84X-PRO 120W (3.3 times as efficient) and 126X-PRO 200W (3 times as efficient) both have double the relative claimed HID efficiency of the 168X-PRO 270W. I suspect they were just pulling numbers from thin air (or somewhere else) when trying to compare their lights to HIDs.
LumiGrow's 2 light offerings both claim to replace a 1000W HID, but the Pro 650 model takes twice the wattage — why? Is it a different technology that is just half as efficient as the Pro 325, or are they lying about the Pro 325 being able to replace a 1000W light?
Lush Lighting compares their 435 watt Dominator and 650 watt Dominator XL models to a 1000W HID (2.3 and 1.5 times as efficient, respectively) but claims their 180 watt Luminator and Herbalvador models consume ¼ the power of an equivalent HID bulb (making it equivalent to a 720W HID, and 4 times as efficient). Why don't they use whatever magic technology that's in the Luminator and Herbalvador models to make their Dominator XL 4 times as efficient as HIDs as well?
Pro Max Grow claims each of their 104 watt and 250 watt models "more than replaces any 1000W HPS or MH". Why use the 250 watt MAX 1200 light when the 104 watt MAX 600 will do? On their FAQ page they say their lights are similar to 400 watt HID light systems. And while 250 watts replacing a 1000W HID would qualify as one of the more outrageous lies I've seen, 104 or 125 watts of LED light replacing a 1000W HID light is so far beyond the range of believability that I don't know what to say.
Pro Source Worldwide offers the 100-watt "Illuminator 100W" which is supposedly 4 times more efficient than HIDs, but their "Illuminator Commercial 400W" (392 actual watts) is only 2.6 times more efficient.