Last updated: August 5, 2020
HIDs are the best option for plants to get the highest yielding Cannabis plants. That’s just the fact of the matter.
However, not all are created equal, and there’s more to using them than simply pumping more power into a system to get bigger plants.
Light penetration, heat, space, and power use all need be considered before installing an HID light into a grow operation.
This can make it somewhat difficult to understand which product to purchase. Reviews may be good on an item, but that same high ranking won’t hold up in every single growing scenario.
We’re going to look at the best HID lamps for a variety of scenarios and pick our best for each.
|iPower MH Digital Dimmable|
|TopoGrow CMH CDM |
|VIVOSUN Hydroponic ||600W||4.20/5|
iPower is a brand almost always worth considering, and their HID lights are no exception.
They come in a few varieties from 400W, 600W, all the way to high-powered 1000W rigs. All of them are a pretty good price and come included with a pretty solid reflector hood.
They also include two bulbs, a Metal Halide for vegetating plants and a High Powered Sodium for flowering ones. This gives growers the option of using a high-powered bulb at a fairly reasonable entry price considering that it includes both bulbs.
Caution should be taken about heating, as there is no included cooling with this rig. It’s an open reflector, so an additional inline fan will be needed. This is very true for the higher strength bulbs, as they will get extremely hot without cooling.
We’re giving iPower the number one spot here. They make a great entry-level product for budget prices, that cover the basics very nicely.
This will work, confidently, in just about any set up as long as additional cooling is sourced.
The budget-conscious grower’s option is always a tricky one to list. It isn’t always the straight-up cheapest model on the market because having a budget doesn’t mean trading for reliability or quality.
Sun System fits the bill here well. This 150W bulb is one of the best HID grow lights for the money.
It comes with a solidly built, vented housing that helps dissipate some of the heat without losing light reflectivity.
Additional cooling is always recommended with these HID systems, but the 150W bulb isn’t as much of a danger as, say, a 600W bulb under similar circumstances.
This also isn’t powerful enough for larger grows, but it should be enough for a plant or two in a small grow tent or similar scenario.
Still, this is a phenomenal price for a good product that will handle the light needs of any small grow perfectly.
Something other than HPS lights needs to make it onto the list, and we were very pleased when we stumbled across this CMH Topogrow offers.
These are Ceramic Metal Halide lamps. The purpose of them is to mimic the sun as much as possible in terms of the light spectrum. It’s relatively new tech for HID systems, but the results we’ve seen have been pretty great.
They aren’t technically as good as HPS systems for flowering stages, but they do hold their own and tend to outpace even LEDs under ideal conditions.
Our favorite part about CMH lamps is the simple fact that they don’t get as hot as HPS lamps do. Making it much easier to install in just about any grow room, without having to stress about lamps overheating all the time.
This product does include overheating protection, just in case.
Price is probably the biggest reason it doesn’t make it as the top 1, but also because it’s lesser-used technology and probably more fit for advanced growers who already understand their plants well enough to make changes from the norm.
There’s a lot to like here, despite being number 4. It comes ready to be installed with air-cooling, which is a big priority when dealing with hotter bulbs, and they include both an MH and HPS light with the system.
The problems come down to the structural issues we had with the product. There are light leaks, which is an immediate turn-off, and the ballast fan is fairly noisy which gives us concern for the longevity of it.
We never ran into any issues, per se, but the build quality just isn’t up to snuff to put it in the top 3.
Being said, it’s a great deal to get a grower going and should last at least one good harvest.
Products like these are pretty good for beginner growers to get into things, but this one faces a lot of the issues that the last one on the list had.
It seems like if a bit more went into the structure of the actual product more people would go for it. As it is, it’s a workable enclosed grow light kit that comes with both MH and HPS bulbs.
The glass also diffuses the light nicely.
All this is fine, but the enclosure has issues closing properly after a while, which causes light leaks, and the ballast fan became a bit noisy after using it for a time.
I think this is good for entry-level, short grows, but shouldn’t be considered for long-term use.
This is a pretty standard 400W bulb kit, using a “cool tube” that dissipates the heat from the HPS bulb somewhat.
It’s a weird one, but it’s somewhat functional. There’s a bit to like here, and I think it has a place in grows that already has an external cooling source in the room.
However, the enclosure of the tube here means that there is no way to add air-cooling to this set up in case it is needed. Making it very hazardous to attempt anything but lower power bulbs in it.
The lack of flexibility here makes it worthwhile for basic beginners, but any others should leave it on the shelf.
Finally, the bottom of our list. Surprisingly, this isn’t a bad product or anything like that. It’s just a bit expensive for what is included.
There’s nothing special about this, it’s basically a rebranded basic grow kit that includes a fairly useless grow video. Which I guess is enough to upcharge the price of the product significantly.
This product will work if used properly, but there are much better deals.
What we’re looking for when making a list like this are products that will definitely do the intended job of getting a plant all the way through a grow.
This means structural considerations as well as if it has thought out how growers are going to dissipate heat when using higher power bulbs. Furthermore, we try to look at the quality of the components like the ballasts. A lot of manufacturers cheap out there, as it’s not a visible defect until it’s too late.
Just being able to power a 1000W bulb doesn’t matter if the components installed won’t take it for the 18-hour days that are required in a Cannabis grow. Everything on the list has a track record of being able to handle this task.
Products that include both MH and HPS bulbs generally at least have an idea of what is going on with a grow, as an HPS or MH alone won’t produce great yields. Also, ones that offer multiple wattages tend to be more trustworthy as well because it means they know that power isn’t all that matters.
If money isn’t a huge consideration, we had really good results with the TopoGrow 630W CMH CDM Grow Light Kit. Not everyone is going to be able to shell out the extra cash for it but the CMH lighting system used there is top of the line.
Otherwise, the number 1 spot, iPower HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light, is the best choice for most growers. It’s an open, high-quality reflector that gives it the option of air-cooling if needed, and the ballast that is packaged with it seems to last for quite a while.
Hopefully, this helped navigate the sea of reviews out there on the market. Cannabis culture is big, and not everyone capitalizing on it is producing great products, unfortunately.
Still, there are some great products, which aren’t overpriced, available. With a little experience and know-how, it gets easier to recognize these.
Featured Image: Sun System, Amazon