LED grow lights V’s HPS grow lights ..

Hi all,

Over the last few years we have often been asked why we do not sell LED grow lights..’Is it because they do not work? ..’or is it that we at Somerset Hydroponics Ltd are an old skool outfit and simply have not got with the LED revolution as it were?!..

Well long overdue as it is, below is our personal opinion on the LED grow light debate. Now as this is a relatively short (really ..this is short for the subject matter!) blog i will not go in-depth into specification information ..so for all those LED geeks out there that will possibly want to pull this blog apart word by word with comparative or other specification information..please remember this is a short personal opinion just to clear up some of the basics surrounding the LED V’s (HID) HPS grow light debate!!


We feel that there is still more creative marketing surrounding LED grow lights than there is either honest reviews or results by either the manufacturers or many suppliers of such grow lights,  and this is what seems to be keeping the confusing debate alive..

What is a quality LED grow light to buy?

Too many LED grow lights we have seen on the market are not even using a horticultural grade LED lamp, they can be just a cheap torch-like LED lamps that are nailed into a panel and then marketed as a grow light! As a guide we would not expect to pay less than £300.00- £400.00 for a quality 300w LED grow light, so always check for historical reviews of any LED you see for sale. As to selling them; we have yet to be impressed enough by any LED grow light to actually stock one. There are a few quality LED units that we are aware of that are produced by reputable manufacturers, but generally we have still yet to see an LED that we are so impressed with that we would supply it/them. We are sure in the future we will eventually look at stocking LED’s as many of the bonafide manufacturers are now getting somewhere towards putting a unit together with increased wattage lamps from what is generally available.


LED grow lights have a higher colour output than other forms of grow lights?

Watt for watt yes LED’s can produce a higher level of chosen colour output than other grow lights, but this is always offset by what can be a massive drop in usable light/colour to the plant (at range) as opposed to a similar wattage HID grow light (HPS & Metal Halide lamps) and so this can leave the grower requiring more than one LED unit to achieve adequate light spread and light penetration. Therefore this may increase initial cost of purchasing sufficient LED units, and then the obvious increase in power consumption cost over a single HID grow light.


LED grow lights are cooler than HID grow lights?

LED lamps do indeed emit less heat than a HPS or Metal Halide lamp, but obviously a single 2watt LED lamp ‘would’ fire cooler than say a 250watt  HPS lamp! Multiples of combined  LED lamps will again emit less heat than a similar wattage HPS lamp (and this is where some manufacturers/suppliers will use creative marketing to get your business!) ..a bank of LED’s is indeed far less likely to scorch your plants due to the above, but what many fail to mention is that the unit powering those LED lamps gets extremely hot (especially so in cheaper, poorly made LED grow lights) and so the heat produced by the LED unit as a whole can actually increase temperature in the grow room more than if you were running an HID HPS grow light, therefore you may avoid direct scorching, but may have a general temperature issue to deal with..either way too hot is too hot and your plants will suffer!


LED grow lights for vegative growth

Basically Yes! they do work as a’ low level’ vegetative or propagation grow light for any plant under 50cm tall, but a higher wattage unit or multiple units may be required for larger plants, or where plants are in such close proximity to each other that more light is required to punch through dense leaf cover. That’s it! ..Yes, they may be the ideal vegetative or propagation grow light for you, but understand an LED grow light’s limitations and create a growing area that suits LED plant growth. It is also worth experimenting with plant variety’s that may suit better to an LED grow light. There is obviously much more i could state regarding using LED as opposed to blue fluorescent (CFL, T5 Lightwaves etc etc) or Metal Halide lamps from a magnetic or digital HID grow light..but the main objective of this blog is to tackle the ‘LED V’s HPS’ grow light debate!


LED grow lights for flowering/fruiting

Right folks..this is the bit that creates most debate and we are most often asked for our opinion regarding!..

Yes, LED grow lights can be successfully used for flowering or fruiting, but for anyone who has ever used a HPS (high pressure sodium) grow light, there is usually a considerable drop-off in the yield ability of an average plant. For plants under two feet in height for example, you may have a reasonable yield, but for anything over that height LED’s just don’t have the penetration through leaf cover that an HPS lighting system will have, and so obviously this leaves a general lower yield. For many LED growers this normally means that they have to grow more plants than they were maybe happy to grow just to try and get the same yield ability of a HPS grow light plant/crop.


Our (current) conclusion 

The above factors combined with the possibility of having to purchase extra LED units to achieve a good result, generally means that a grower will have to purchase multiple quality LED units to achieve anything like the yield ability of a HPS grow light plant/crop. This will firstly increase your budget spend compared to a quality HPS lighting system, and will also increase your power consumption spend to achieve a comparable result with HPS lighting.

Yes it is obviously possible to achieve a good result from LED grow lights, but those growers that have reached they’re goal, have only done so by setting up the grow room around the use of LEDs and not simply thrown an LED unit into an area that was previously set-up around using HPS lighting. Ultimately, knowing an LED grow light’s limitations and taking the above factors into consideration, will be the only way to achieve any kind of comparable result to HPS grow lighting.


We recommend utilising air-cooled HID HPS grow lights if reducing temperature is the goal in the growing area. Or if low wattage consumption is your goal, then simply consider multiple lower wattage HPS systems.

Personally, I would challenge any (single) 300watt LED grow light to ever out perform my growing ability with either two digital 150watt HPS grow lights or one 250watt HPS lighting system’s!!

We hope the above personal article is of use to all considering switching to LED grow lights! If state of the art growing is your goal, then take a look at Gavita Plasma grow lights..but that is a subject for another day!!..

Best regards..Lee


Newsletter September 2014

Hi all,

Welcome to our September 2014 newsletter!  (skip to the bottom of this blog for Discount code info if you are in a rush!)


Firstly; Our apologies for our quarterly newsletter being a month late! This is due to a huge amount of admin work from Somerset Hydroponics recently becoming Somerset Hydroponics Limited! Although on the face of things becoming a Ltd company will not change anything regarding our highly efficient service and competitive sales efforts, it will mean in the future that we can offer a greater number of products, brands and deals. So on the whole becoming a limited company will benefit everyone concerned..happy days!

Further to our previous newsletter regarding the build of our new website; We are now only a matter of weeks away from release, so please check back often to see the new and improved www.somhydro.co.uk !!

In-store we have been busy bringing on our Cayenne Chilli plants with our IWS 12 pot Flood & Drain growing system within our Secret Jardin DR300w grow tent (see previous June 25th blog) The plants have grown so well and fast that we cannot recommend the benefits of the IWS range of Flood & Drain systems enough! We are still currently using two Maxibright 400watt Pro-Variable DigiLight Air-Cooled Supernova grow lights with metal Halide lamps, but will soon be switching these out for two Sunmaster Hobby 600w Variable Digital Air-Cooled Goldstar Digital grow light’s with HPS lamps.  As soon as the seedlings had established themselves on Formulex full spectrum nutrient, we began to feed with the Plant Magic Plus range of nutrients. I think you can clearly see from the images below that the Cayennes are extremely happy!

August 2014: 

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instore 04-09-14 001

July 2014:

cayenne peppers 11-07-14 003cayenne peppers 11-07-14 001

Our other in-store demo grow tent has had a major upgrade in lighting! We have now installed a Gavita 300 LEP plasma grow light into our Secret Jardin DS120 grow tent . Our little Mint seedlings are growing under one of the highest specification grow lights in the world and are responding amazingly. We will update as time rolls on!

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instore 04-09-14 003


Due to the popularity of our Rhino Single Speed Fan & Carbon Filter Kits  we are now offering Rhino Twin Speed Fan and Carbon Filter kits and Rhino Thermostatically Controlled Fans and Carbon Filter Kits. All kits are available in the most popular sized fan and filter combinations and offer Rhino’s usual high quality build, efficiency and value for money!

Rhino Ventilation Kit

Rhino Ventilation Kit

Rhino Twin Speed Fan

Rhino Twin Speed Fan


Copy of Rhino_thermostat_fan

Rhino Thermostatically Controlled Fan


Following on from the success of Plant Magic Plus’s amazing nutrient range they have now released Platinum a premium grade super-booster for flowering or fruiting plants. This has already proved to be an award winning super booster and is quickly out-selling many other premium boosters that we supply!


We have recently added more new products in-store and online, so please check our New Products section often to stay up-to-date with all the latest growing equipment!



 Now to the part of the blog that may be of most interest to you!.. The quarterly discount code to use when shopping on our website! To receive a 10%  off of any on-line order (online only) simply enter the code SOMSEPT at the checkout when placing an order through our website. This code can be used as many times as you wish throughout the valid period. This offer is open to UK customers only and is valid from 04/09/14 until the 30/09/14 (Discount does not include delivery charges and is not open to any current personal quote created for a customer)

Well “that’s all folks”..we hope you have enjoyed reading this Newsletter and hope that you take advantage of your discount code to grab yourself a bargain.

Best regards from Lee & team Somhydro :)