MH vs HPS Grow Lights: Which Grow Light is Better?

Making an investment in some grow lights is an important decision for any cannabis grower, and it is also a pretty costly one. In this article, we can help you to make this decision and tell you everything you need to know about two types of High Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights – Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS).

We will run through the pros and cons of each and then review some of the best products currently on the market.
MH lighting is better for:

  • Full coverage as MH lights are full-spectrum
  • Vegetative growth stage
  • Resembling spring/summer sun

HPS lighting is better for:

  • Price – can use HPS lights on their own without MH lights
  • Flower growth stage
  • Resembling the sun in the fall

What do MH and HPS mean?

MH stands for Metal Halide. These are grow lights that give off a blue color and are designed to project a similar light to spring in order to aid the photosynthesis of your plants. For this reason, MH lights are specifically designed to be used during the vegetative stage of your plant’s growth cycle.

HPS stands for High Pressure Sodium. In comparison to the MH grow lights these give off a red/orange light and are designed to replicate the autumn or fall sunshine in order to encourage the growth of your flowers. There are also HPS grow lights available that can also give off light on the blue spectrum, so can also help with the vegetative stage of growth.

What are the Pros and Cons of MH Grow Lights?

One major con of MH grow lights is that they need to be used in conjunction with HPS lights as otherwise, your plants will not receive the right lighting for all stages of their development. For this reason, the choice is to either go for the MH and HPS grow light combo, or opt for HPS lights with a blue spectrum function. In this regard,
With the MH grow lights the light output is referred to as full-spectrum, meaning that the light range is distributed evenly making it very similar to light given off by the sun at the middle of the day. The result of this is that your plants will become strong and prosperous during the vegetative stage which puts them in very good stead for a good flowering stage, and big yields.
Opting to use MH lights is a pricier choice as you will need to buy two grow lights rather than one. That being said, when MH and HPS lights are used together you get the best of both options and are sure to get strong plants, big buds, and big yields.

What are the Pros and Cons of HPS Grow Lights?

HPS lights are brighter than MH grow lights, giving off a far higher light output which your plants will benefit from (130,000-155,000 lumens per 1000 watt bulb in comparison to 80,000-110,000 lumens). Their brightness and red/orange output means that they are ideal for are assisting your plants in the flowering stage of growth.

A real pro of the HPS lights if you are on a budget is that with this grow light alone you can deliver a light schedule that will assist your plants throughout the grow cycle. This will not only save you money, it is also more convenient as when using MH and HPS lights in combination this requires having a careful schedule of when you use each light, and for how long.

However, while you will still get good yields from using HPS lights alone it will never be as good as using them in conjunction with MH lights as HPS lights are not as good at assisting plants in the vegetative stage.

How do I use MH and HPS lights in combination?

As we have established MH and HPS lights work well together as they provide the different stages of sunlight that your plants need. If you go for this option then you need to purchase a ballast that will work with both types of lights – this is what powers your lights and controls the current.

Using these grow lights is pretty simple. You start off with using the MH lights in the usual growing schedule during the vegetative stage – so 18 hours of light given to your plants a day, and 6 hours of darkness. When you change the light schedule after 4 weeks to a 12 hour light/12 hour darkness schedule this is when you bring in the HPS lights – when the flowering phase begins.

Top 5 Best MH vs HPS Grow Lights Review 2023

#1 Best HPS Grow Light: Sun System 900490 HPS 150W

If you have decided that you want to use a HPS grow light on its own then you can’t get much better than this one from Sun System. Coming in a complete set with the ballast built into the reflector, you will have everything you need to get started. This bulb delivers 150 watts and 16,000 lumens so is very bright. And has a full spectrum of color.

What’s great about this grow light system is that if you change your mind and decide that you do want to use MH grow lights, they will also work in this set up – so you haven’t got anything to lose!

The one downside of this product is that while it does have vented housing, it doesn’t have the best cooling system so it is a good idea to have a fan to keep your plants at a good temperature.
#HPS #Grow_lights #Lumens #Big_yields #150watt

#2 Best MH and HPS Grow Light Set: iPower 400W

With iPower you know that you will be getting a high quality grow light system. With everything you need to get big yields, including both MH and HPS bulbs to cover the vegetative and flowering stages of growth. With dimensions of 21 x 17 x 6 inches, this kit can deliver 4 x 4 inches of light coverage – so a good option for small grow rooms or grow tents.

It also comes with a digital dimmable ballast with options of 50%, 75% and 100%. While this set contains an air cooled reflector, you will need to invest in a fan to make sure that your lights are well ventilated. With this full spectrum MH and HPS grow light kit you will be sure to have healthy plants and a very fruitful harvest.
#HPS_bulbs #MH_bulbs #400_watt #Big_yields #Grow_lights

#3 Best HPS and MH Grow Light Set for Hydroponics: Yield Lab 600W

This grow light set from Yield Lab has everything you need for a fully functioning light system for your plants. Included in the set is a dimmable ballast which is suitable for both HPS and MH bulbs, a 600w MH bulb, a 600W HPS bulb, a cool hood reflector to keep your bulbs cool, a ratchet for the system to hang off and a timer. It also includes a helpful 12 week growing guide – so is designed with beginners in mind.

This kit is a fantastic way of making sure you have the vegetative and flowering stage covered for your marijuana plants. With the dimmable feature you are able to alter the brightness and heat that your plants receive – putting you in control.  Plus, the air cooled hood is designed so that you can easily attach a fan so you can keep your bulbs and plants nicely ventilated.
#HPS_bulbs #MH_bulbs #600_watt #Big_yields #Grow_lights

#4 Best HPS and MH Grow Light Kit for Indoor Growing: VIVOSUN Hydroponic 400W

Here is a grow light kit that can be used for both the vegetative and flowering stages of your cannabis plants growing cycles. Containing a digital dimmable ballast which can be used with both HPS and MH light bulbs, and a 7 day digital timer so that you can easily regulate how much light your plants are receiving.

With the full spectrum of light required for plants provided by the HPS and MH bulbs included, your plants will flourish thanks to this set from VIVOSUN. Another great feature of this kit is the aluminium wing reflector which helps you to get the most out of your plants and can also help with ventilation if you attach a fan.
#HPS_bulbs #MH_bulbs #400_watt #Big_yields #Grow_lights

#5 Best HPS and MH Grow Light Kit for money: iPower GLSETX400DHMCT6 400 Watt

iPower is a manufacturer that owns a lot of unique and outstanding quality product lines. That’s why we selected 2 HPS MH grow lights from this manufacturer on this list. Both are of good quality and especially this 400 Watt iPower GLSETX400DHMCT6 model is well worth your investment.

This grow light provides stable power output, so this light can stay on continuously without flickering. This also helps prolong the life of the bulb and minimize factors that compromise performance.

Besides, this model comes with various accessories to make it easier and faster for growers to set up. These accessories also have the function to help users have a better and more convenient experience. These include the Pair of 8-ft adjustable Ratchet Clip Hanger Rope, 24-hour Plug-in Mechanical Timer, Cool Tube Reflector with Add-on Wing and even more.

However, growers should use more iPower inline fans because this model emits a lot of heat when operating.


When considering whether to use MH or HPS grow lights the simple answer is – use both! Having a grow light system that is able to use both of these types of HID grow lights means that you will be able to give your plants the perfect type of lighting for both the vegetative and flowering stage of their growing cycle.

It is possible to use HPS grow lights in isolation, and the Sun System grow light reviewed here will do a good job of giving your plants what they need. However, if you want to really have the most optimum grow light system possible then we recommend investing in a grow light kit that uses both HPS and MH light bulbs.