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LED vs Traditional Grow Lighting - Looking for input or case studies

Hi Jeff,

I totaly agree with your point on genetics. Of course most of the genetics, out there, have been selected and breeded based on their performance under HPS. But that is changing now…

Could you DM me to talk about your project regarding genetics and LED. Especially if fertilisation and tunable spectras are considered too the whole story will become much more interesting…




So what is the CAR and what is the horse? Many of the LED systems out there are more like expansive donkey since they still cannot compete with HPS… :wink:


The point is that HPS technology isn’t making big improvements anymore. Look at the efficiency gains of LED in just the last 5 years. By all means cling to that horse though if it suits your style :wink:


Don’t get me wrong, we have been developing tunable LED technology for Cannabis cultivation for almost 10 years now…

But what I don’t like is HPS bashing since that technology still has advantages like NIR radiation, etc. (if it is used properly…) So in the end “motorized horse transporters” could be another future… :wink:


Hi @cschubert

I want to thank you for your feedback and I have passed along your input to the team (including the ones that made the report). I will share findings and or answers to your questions and concerns as soon as possible.


Hi @mschaaf,

I have evaluated your .xlsx file again and I found a mistake in C56 to F56. Based on the .xlsx without that mistakes your devices is still the winner of your comparison of TCO so I have to appologize since I have not checked whether your .xlsx file works accurately…

But still the problem with the lightoutput…

comparison based on 5 years shows

  • you will allow to save $620 per year in TCO be you will deliver 55% less light compared to a HPS… So saving $620 costs per year could be compensated with 155g more yield per year per 60 sqf … and I am quite confident that a @mastergrowers will handle that with 55% more light :slight_smile:

  • Same with @Fluence saving $485 per year but having 29% less light per 60 sqf

Please find enclosed the revised calculation file Comparison-Analysis-Cannabis-for-Grow-Lights-HPS-and-LED-by-Independence-LED-Lighting-2018.07.24.xlsx (805.6 KB)

cheers Christoph


Hello again @cschubert Your updated calculation file was a big help. Please see the notes below and this excel that we updated (green text) on top of your update to show the lift in
µmol/m²/s to 600 for “apples to apples” comparison. As you will see, the elevated output increases the fixture system watts from 1250 to 1580 and increases the cost as well. Even with the elevated cost, the calculations still place Independence LED as a more cost-effective solutions than HPS and Fluence.

*You wrote, that “You have a 5 year warranty but you talk about 20 years. WHY???”
-Our LED fixtures are rated for 100,000 hour life. At 13.2 hours per day, 365 days per year the annual hours of operation = 4,818
100,000 / 4,818 = 20.75 years. We totally appreciate your point about TCO analysis over 5 years, but we added the 20 year TCO to show the long play. If you or other growers would like us to extend the warranty past the typical 5 year level for grow lights, we are absolutely open to the extension.

You also commented, “At the moment you reach an average level of 475 µmol/m²/s. The minimum in flowering should be around 600 µmol/m²/s,” Thank you for the note. Our linear system is modular and we can increase the
µmol/m²/s up 600 or higher for flowering.
The calculations in the updated excel illustrate the impact. As a manufacturer, over the past decade we have built custom fixtures for customers, and we welcome this level of insight from you.

Please note that your comments are incredibly helpful. We see growers in this “gold rush” of Cannabis production as the gold miners, and we are just providing the shovels. Think of us as an extension of your operation vs a company that is trying to sell a specific product.
Imagine that we are your employees, and you own a factory that makes LED lights. If you have something that you would like us to build, we are all ears!

Your feedback on this video and article included below are also welcomed.

LED Grow Lights Boost Cannabis Quality and Yields at Silver State Relief

THC Testing Levels: “Higher than anyone in the state (Nevada)” Terpene Testing Levels: “Higher than anyone in the state (Nevada)”

HPS vs. LED for Cannabis Cultivation:

"In the rounds of the research the amount of THC produced under LEDs ranged from 26-38% more than compared to the HPS treatment.”


Awesome perspective! You can lead the industry with these initiatives!


Lucky for you the guy who sold the shovels made more money than any miner.
See a need, fill a need.


Yes but shovels aren’t such a complex thing as horticulture lighting is :wink:

And thats the problem… “Shovels” should work too, so just selling “shovels” is not enought. It is also important to help using them…


I love studies. Folks here know this from my SECOES Microbial Bloom Study and my Harvest Gold Silica Performance Test (shameless plug? Maybe…)

I have used a variety of LED’s over the years and sometimes I find “the proof is in the pudding” is often a better benchmark of success than others. I has an HPS/MH lover for years. I may have been the world’s biggest skeptic of LED’s and sent many manufacturers packing who came to showcase their lights in my facility.

That was then. LED’s have come a long way and offer a grower a significant amount of control over their micro environment in a way we never have been able in the past - and in a way that HID’s never will be able unless you want to constantly change bulbs. They also help reduce the heat/power loads on a facility in a very significant way…this is important as energy standards and requirements are becoming LAW in many states.

I have used many different LED’s in the course of my career. I often test new fixtures for manufacturers and ultimately, for you here on GNET. I am happy to announce a new forthcoming study: The GrowFlux LED Study. I will explain the parameters of the study next week when I make the formal announcement. I have received my fixtures and I’m stoked to get growing!

Back to my point…

I snapped a pic this morning from a bloom space I use for testing and R&D. This is an ongoing silica study involving 9 different silica brands available on today’s market. The strain is Sprite. I am growing this crop under a 650 watt LumiGrow. I like this fixture a lot and as you can see it produces consistent crops, gets deep light penetration, and is extremely easy to tune the light spectrum. The light runs cool and I get fantastic results every time. I often use the LumiGrow 650 as a control light to test against others.

No white papers, just thick and sticky buds. Here are a few pics from this crop:

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Just to muddy the waters a bit I would like to share my understanding of the issues discussed from what I’ve been taught. Unfortunately I have no data to support my claims.

  1. LED vs Gavita The diodes on the LED are shaped to eliminate a specific footprint and looses very little light outside the footprint. The Gavita hood is designed to work synergistically with other fixtures creating better light penetration and more light saturation by throughing light peripherally as well as straight down. Theses lights need to work together to create the 1000 umol Gavida claims.

  2. HVAC savings. My understanding is that the very best LEDs are providing close to the same umol when compared watt to watt. I also understand that there is a direct correlation to heat and watts used and the only benefit is that LEDs release the heat off the top of the fixture and HPS radiate heat over the top of the plant but the total BTU are the same.

I think light recipes are the future using HPS, CMH, and LEDs to stimulate the plant at different times to created a desired response, far reds to signal the plant the end is near or dropping diodes in the canopy to create biological responses to stimulate bud sights. This is what’s happening in Holland right now and the results ( I hear ) are significant.


Hi Mike,

I would like to clarify a few points:

LEDs emit light in an angle between 80° of 120° depending on the approach of the supplier! But thats just the primary optics. Many manufacturers also use secondary optics like additional lenses and reflectors in order to get the light down with a much more narrow angle. But that approach only helps the manufacturer because the datasheet looks much better. The problem with focused light is that the chance that the light is able to penetrate the canopy is much lower…

The problem with HPS bulbs is that they emit the light allmost with 360°… So it is much harder to get the light down and the losses within the reflector/hood are higher

And in the end all lighting fixtures are/should be designed to work synergistically since grow operations allways need more that just one fixture. But a big advantage of HPS is still the quite diffuse light distribution

No, at the moment we have the following situation if we talk about “full-spectral” LED solutions vs. HPS:

  • HPS fixtures like those from Gavita have an total efficiency around 1,7 µmol/J and LED fixtures are around 2,0 to 2,3 µmol/J depending on the spectrum, etc. So in the end, theoretical, you will need 25% less energy in order to get the same intensity (and also 25% less energy for cooling down your room)
  • But you are right, to differentiate between 2 typs of heat (radiated heat and convective heat). But again radiated heat (NIR radiation) can also be an advantage of HPS…
  • Another important fact is, that in order to callculate whether a reduced intake of heat is an advantage, the calculation will highly depending on your location (Alaska vs. California)



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Thanks for the information. I want to know more about this. Do you have any reference material I can review?


Hi @mdrust ,

we have been developing and producing LED technology and also conventional lighting solution for horticulture applications since 2008… so there is many material :wink:

What kind of reference material you are interested in? I would like to start a discussion and maybe the best way would be…

  1. You provide questions/topics you are interested in! Most important to us are your objectives
  2. I will prepare/collect the material or we discuss that directly by SKYPE, etc.




I by no means know very much about LED lighting. a 20 year life bulb sounds fantastic but the technology should sunset any current LED product every 5-10 years, and does heating cost versus cooling cost come into play? From what I know most LED lights dont generate very much heat.We are considering using LED in one of our new facilities, but everyone agreed that they would rather work in a Veg room with cooling and half the lights off then a consistently heated room. The cost savings seem negligible in the long run.HPS/MH bulbs need to be changed more often, but every other year I see new bulbs come out with longer spectrum life spans( ie single ended bulbs vs double ended, 8 months changed to 10+ months and climbing).
As much as I would love to run LED I have also not seen any massive jumps in yield or potency from a competent grower.Although, as pointed out I have only seen a small handful of growers using LED large scale with results to push in the LED direction. One main factor holding us back is that you could spend a half million outfitting with LEDs,then a newer more efficient generation of fixtures comes out. I am interested in LED, just skeptical I’d make the best choice right now.
Side note. I don’t feel the analogy of horse Vs. car is very accurate, more like dated V8s vs newer 6cyl . V8 gives you the power you need , but you can save gas with a 6 cylinder and still get the same feeling of hauling ass.


Hi Christoph,

I’m very excited to participate in this discussion. I’ve reached out to people I know who are better able to contribute to this discussion. I’m also looking for data so I can more intelegently ask questions. Thank you and I look forward to communicating with soon.


I like the analogy v8 vs v6. I can’t wait to get some real answers.


@plantopinion on Instagram. And that’s not dialed in yet. Spend money on quality LED.
@firefeedfactory will likely make u change ur thoughts. As u personally just don’t know good LED growers then.
It’s not the same lights. :). Still have a use for HID but LED is here now.
Fluence I use personally. Progrow tech is like to try. There’s a lot of misinformation


How have you liked your Fluence lights. If you’ve got time I’d like to hear your testimonial. Shoot me a message when you get a chance!