Best lights for growing weed – LED vs CFL vs HPS

Beginner Grow Guide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you click on a link on this site that takes you to Amazon, I will earn a small commission and help keep the lights on at no extra cost to you 🙂

It’s always important to make sure that you do everything you can to help your cannabis plants grow. While you might be monitoring spacing and temperature, try to remember that lighting is one of the most important factors for growth.

If your goal is to grow your plants inside, you’ll definitely want to take some time to look at the different options available for lighting.

What Are the Differences Between LED, CFL and HPS Lighting?

When you’re looking at the differences between the main types of lighting, you’re really looking at differences between heat, intensity, and energy usage. Most growers are looking for a particular kind of balance for their lighting needs, so it makes sense that most would need to know about the differences in the types of lights.

HPS, or High Pressure Sodium, lighting is generally the go-to for professional growers. This is the type of lighting is generally thought to create the greatest yield per square foot of coverage and it’s dialed in on the particular intensity that helps the plants to grow.

With that said, these lights are also among the most expensive as well as the hottest, so they’re not for everyone.

CFL, or Compact Florescent Lighting, is the go-to for those who are looking to save money. The cheapest bulbs that you can buy and still use to effectively grow your crop, these low-heat lights have been the standard for smaller indoor growers.

Big cannabis top bud almost silhouetted against modern professional LED light

The downside here is that the lights are less intense, which means slower growing and smaller yields.

LED lights are the middle ground. These light emitting diode bulbs have been around for a long time, but only recently have they really become useful for growers. They tend to split the difference between the other to types of lights in terms of both price and efficacy.

Despite some claims, they aren’t as good for growing as HPS but they might be worth using because of the much lower cost of operation.

What Kind of Light Does Cannabis Need?

When you’re looking at lighting, you really want to consider the wavelength of light that you’re using. Contrary to popular belief, though, you don’t need to investigate just in blue or purple lights.

Instead, you’re going to want powerful lights that make use of the entire spectrum in order to get your plants to grow. For most, it’s about the intensity – stronger lights tend to lead to stronger yields, which means finding the right balance between strength, heat, and cost will be a constant struggle for most growers.

Pros and Cons of Different Cannabis Grow Lights

Now that you know the different types of lights and how they stand out from one another, you need to know the pros and cons of using each. if you are a new grower, this is one of the most important things to research as you learn how to grow cannabis on your own.



  • Very easy to find
  • Cheapest lights on the market
  • Fit in regular fittings, so no special equipment needed
  • Tend to run cooler
  • Low level of electricity usage


  • Low output makes them unsuitable for growing larger numbers of plants
  • Produces lesser yields
  • Do not last very long

HID (MH and HPS) Grow Lights – pros & cons


  • Very easy to use, even for first-time users
  • Very reliable lights
  • Produces the best overall yields
  • Plenty of options in this category


  • Tend to run very hot
  • They do require extra special equipment
  • Tend to use a lot of electricity compared to other lights

LED GROW LIGHTS – pros & cons


  • The most energy-efficient option out there
  • Barely produce any heat
  • Do not require special equipment like HID


  • Wide gaps in quality between types of LED lights
  • Can be very expensive to set up
  • Doesn’t have the highest yield

LEC GROW LIGHTS – pros & cons


  • Simple to set up
  • Good lifespan
  • Might help with trichrome production


  • Expensive to set up
  • Need safety gear to use
  • Yield isn’t as high as other lighting types

Which Lights Are Best for Growing Cannabis?

Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for. If your goal is simply to get the best yield for the highest number of plants, you’re going to want high intensity lights like an HPS system. If you’re looking for something that’s going to cost you less to run over time and that will require less management, LED is probably the way to go.

Ultimately, though, the final choice is up to you.

In Conclusion

It’s vital that you understand what types of lights are best for your own setup. If you’re growing a single plant for personal use, you might want the low-price fluorescent option.

If you’re looking for easy indoor growth and don’t need a high yield, LEDs might be your best choice. If you’re really concerned about your yield, though, HPS lights are still the way to go.