HPS (high-pressure sodium) bulbs provide the ideal strength and type of light for indoor growing operations that enhance foliage and flower growth.
This guide to the best HPS bulbs for gardeners is to help you narrow down your decision. Inside, I detail the pros and cons of each model, discuss why grow bulbs are important, and explain the features to watch for.
I also answer common questions, so your indoor garden can benefit by installing the ideal HPS bulbs for your needs!
Bulb Features I Look For:
|Wattage||Energy Usage And Fixture Limits|
|Light Spectrum||Full Range, But Depends On Use|
|Heat Output||Lower The Better|
Top 5 Best HPS Bulbs & Grow Lights
Best Overall For Vegetables And Flowers
VIVOSUN MH Conversion Grow Light Bulb Lamp (1000W)
Reasons To Buy
- Enhanced violet and blue light spectrums stimulate healthy plant growth
- Superior 99,000 lumens output and 4,000 hours of service makes this bulb cost-effective
- Excellent PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) output increases flowering
Reasons To Avoid
- You must ensure your ballast has H.S.S.
- It takes a few minutes for the light to come to full brightness, and if you turn it off you need to wait 5-10 minutes before turning it back on
The VIVOSUN 1000 Watt Conversion Grow Light Bulb is compatible with both magnetic and electronic ballasts, which is why this bulb is a top choice for indoor lighting.
I like the balance of blue and violet light spectrums, which is not only efficient but provides the perfect supplemental lighting for plants from seeding through leaf growth. I also like the long life and high lumens, which maintains over 90-percent of lumen strength after thousands of hours of use.
On the downside, the bulb will only light up if your ballast meets specific requirements. Another pitfall is that the light spectrum is better for germination and initial growth but may lead to stretching or “leggy” mature plants.
The VIVOSUN MH Conversion Grow Light Bulb is a top choice for its ability to deliver the ideal lighting your seedlings need to thrive at a comfortable price point. This bulb is best for gardeners looking to start veggies or flowers indoors for transplant to an outdoor garden later.
Best For All Stages Of Plant Growth
EyeHortilux Super HPS Spectrum Grow Bulb (1000W)
Reasons To Buy
- 25% more output in the green, violet, and blue spectrum for better results in all stages of growth
- Barium and lead-free, which means you can safely dispose them without environmental harm
- Long service life of bulb and 145,000 initial lumens impart more value vs. cost
- Quality of light produces a higher crop yield
- Conveniently works with electronic or magnetic ballasts
Reasons To Avoid
- Will need special glasses to protect your eyes
- Poor packaging can result in a damaged bulb
- Heat output may be too intense for small rooms
The EyeHortilux 1000-Watt Super HPS Spectrum Grow Bulb brings the addition of more green, blue, and violet spectrum, which allows exceptional growth through every stage of plant development.
I like that additional spectrum-range boost and higher lumen intensity over other similar bulbs, which increases the production of your garden. I also like that this bulb is environmentally-friendly and passes EPA testing as a non-hazardous waste material, so you can feel good when it’s time to replace it.
On the downside, the bulb is a more serious investment and more suitable for indoor gardeners with more experience. The brightness is another concern, with protective eyewear highly suggested during exposure to avoid vision issues.
The EyeHortilux Super HPS Spectrum Grow Bulb has an enhanced spectrum range that is best for gardeners who want a single bulb to last through all plant growing stages.
Best Availability And High Output
iPower Hydroponic HPS Grow Light Bulb Lamp (1000W)
Reasons To Buy
- 140,000 initial lumens, which maintains a high output level even after 5000 of its 24,000 hours of lifespan
- Yellow, orange, red spectrum, and high PAR is best for optimal flowering, fruiting, or budding
- Specifically designed for use with indoor hydroponic growing systems
- Bulb provides high-end performance with a price that won’t crush the budget
- Works with both electronic and magnetic ballasts for better flexibility
Reasons To Avoid
- Bulb is better for plants going through the budding and flowering stages
- The lifespan in real-time use may be shorter than package listing
The iPower 1000 Watt HPS Grow Light Bulb is another bulb that delivers high lumen output but brings a light spectrum best for optimizing the flowering stage of plants.
I like the enhanced orange and red light spectrums that stimulate plants to flower and fruit to their fullest, which delivers higher yields. I also like that it’s compatible with electronic and magnetic ballasts and has the standard E39 base.
On the downside, the bulb is better to install and use during a plant’s flowering or fruiting stage and not for the entire lifecycle.
I put the iPower Hydroponic 1000 Watt HPS Grow Light Bulb on the list because it does wonders to improve flowering and fruiting which increases yield. This model is best for serious indoor growers who want a superior harvest.
Best German DE Bulb
Ushio Pro Plus DE HPS Double Ended Bulb (1000W)
Reasons To Buy
- Both red and blue spectrum of light is ideal for all stages of plant development
- Durable German-engineered bulb construction stays clear much longer than other brands
- Long-lasting, double-ended performance with consistent high PAR output
- Dimmable capability (if ballast allows) and energy-efficient design increase value
- Delivers more IR and UV light than single-end bulbs, which increases oil potency in plants that produce oil
Reasons To Avoid
- Made only for fixtures that take double-end bulbs
- The price point may be out of reach for growers with tight budgets
This Ushio Pro Plus Bulb features a super-high and consistent output in both blue and red spectrum that increases photosynthesis which amps up both foliage and flowering development.
I like the high PAR value that delivers hardy plant structures and abundant flowers, which build better yields for any type of indoor gardening. I also appreciate how the bulb has a skinnier profile, which means it can fit into compact fixtures if growing space is at a premium.
On the downside, this bulb is pricey. The overall investment may be prohibitive for those with large growing operations that need to light many fixtures.
The Ushio 1000W Pro Plus Bulb is a smart selection because it’s an excellent one-and-done bulb that promotes vigorous plant growth through all stages. This model is best for indoor gardeners who demand consistent results without the need for constant bulb changes.
Best Budget Friendly DE Grow Light
MIXJOY Double Ended HPS Grow Bulb (1000W)
Reasons To Buy
- Optimizes the orange and red light spectrum for targeting precision during the flowering stage
- Delivers 35-percent more available energy over single-ended HPS bulbs, which lowers operating costs
- Maintains powerful lumens during its lifespan, which allow plants to continually burst with new foliage
- Affordable for both the hobby indoor gardener or large operations with lots of light fixtures
- Quartz glass housing stays clear long after other bulbs haze up
Reasons To Avoid
- Double-ended bulb will only work in specific fixtures
- Not made for super-long use, so a replacement will happen more often
The MIXJOY 1000W HPS Grow Bulb delivers flower-promoting orange and red spectrum light through a high-quality quartz glass housing that won’t diminish or dull the output of light.
I like that this bulb provides ultra brightness and PAR output, which stimulate robust plant growth, especially during budding, flowering, or fruiting. I also like that after the lamp expires half of its 12,000-hour lifespan, it still outputs 90-percent of its initial lumen strength.
On the downside, the bulb has a shorter lifespan than others and can only fit into fixtures that accept double-end bulbs.
The MIXJOY 1000W HPS Grow Bulb rounds out the list for its ability to deliver the important red and orange spectrum that encourages more flower development. This model is best for gardeners on a budget who want high yields on flowering plants.
Do You Really Need HPS Bulbs?
Yes, you will need HPS bulbs if you partake in any indoor gardening such as:
- Microgreen farming
- Greenhouse cultivation
- Controlled environment agriculture
In any instance where supplemental lighting is necessary, HPS grow bulbs provide the following benefits.
Plants that receive high amounts of warm light HPS bulbs deliver will thrive. Foliage will be healthy and dense. Grow bulbs that optimize the hormone-triggering red and orange spectrum light on plants will find budding, flowering, and fruiting to be way more abundant.
HPS grow bulbs also provide high PAR light, which stimulates photosynthesis.
With efficient photosynthesis going on, plants don’t have to struggle to produce the energy they need to live to allow the extra energy to more prominent foliage development.
Consistent Light Delivery
HPS grow bulb design nails the particular needs of indoor gardeners, such as a long lifespan that can handle 12 or more hours a day of continual use. While the lumen output does begin to fade with every model of HPS grow bulb after 5,000-10,000 hours of use, the overall output remains high, so plants don’t suffer.
HPS bulbs average double the lifespan of metal halide bulbs and garner more lumens per watt, which reduces electricity bills.
HPS Bulb Features To Watch Out For
Let’s look at the things you need to consider before making a final decision on which model HPS bulb will best suit your needs.
A high-pressure sodium bulb in either a single or double end produces light through an electric arc that passes through a sodium compound inside the filament.
You can choose bulbs to fix a particular fixture, or you can purchase fixtures to house the bulb type of your choice. The ballast will determine what bulb it supports.
Single-end HPS bulbs usually deliver lower output in lumens, heat, and PAR, while double-end bulbs are more powerful overall and are also more energy-efficient.
The biggest drawback of double-end bulbs is the cost, which tends to be around double the price of a single-end HPS bulb.
The three most efficient HPS grow bulb wattages are 400 watts, 600 watts, and 1000 watts. While 600 watts is the most energy-efficient of the three, 1000 watts is close.
How much wattage is necessary for your indoor garden space? Here is a handy chart with approximate coverage:
- 400 watts – Illuminates a 9-foot square area
- 600 watts – Illuminates a 16-foot square area
- 1000 watts – Illuminates a 25-foot square area
As you can see, if your indoor garden space is large, you will need a bulb that can cover more square footage to reduce overall expenditures on fixtures and bulbs.
If your space is small, you can pay less for a lower-watt bulb and still provide your plants with the light they need.
Most HPS bulbs utilize yellow, orange, and red light spectrum, which is ideal for plant reproduction and the stages of flowering.
Plants also need light from the blue and green spectrum to grow well through the entire lifecycle. So, if you don’t want to have to change out bulbs during different plant stages, look for HPS bulbs that enhance the spectrum to include green or blue.
HPS Bulb FAQs
What’s Better For Vegetables HPS Or MH?
If you can only choose one bulb, then a wide-spectrum HPS would be the better choice. MH bulbs output a white or blue light that is ideal for the vegetative growth stage where stems and leaves are proliferating. For plants such as non-flowering herbs or lettuces, MH is perfect. But, the hormones that trigger flowering need the orange and red spectrum that HPS provides, so flowers are abundant. More flowers lead to more budding and fruiting and a larger harvest. A wide-spectrum HPS light that brings in green and blue is the best choice over MH.
Can You Use Metal Halide For Flowering?
The answer is yes. Plants grown exclusively under metal halide bulbs will flower, but they won’t be as large or plentiful. Most indoor gardeners are looking for a bountiful harvest, so low-flowering plants will be a disappointment. Metal halide bulbs do not release as much light as HPS bulbs, and all plants need sufficient light to mature through the flowering stage. The blue spectrum in MH will make the plant grow well during the vegetative stage but will repress the flowering.
What Is Better 600w Or 1000w?
For a standard growing set-up, where ceiling height is not an issue, the best bulb to choose is the 600-watt for two reasons. First, the bulb will cost less than 1000 watts and run a bit more efficiently, reducing your energy bill. Second, the coverage of a 600-watt bulb is 16-square feet, which is often plenty of illumination for many home indoor gardens. If you like to grow tall plants in a larger room, then go ahead the get the 1000-watt bulb. The cost to run this light will be a bit higher, but it covers more square feet, and you can mount the fixture higher and still offer plants the intensity of light they need.
Which Is Hotter HPS Or MH?
Metal halide bulbs put out more heat than a high-pressure sodium bulb of the same wattage. While the intensity of light is brighter with HPS bulbs, the heat generation is lower, which may be confusing to new growers. The way metal halide lamps produce light, they output notable levels of heat into the surrounding area. The bulb itself can get hot enough to cause severe burns once it has been burning for several hours. A small room with MH bulbs running can heat up too much, causing issues with crop growth.