LED vs HID Lights Comparison

What Is the Difference Between an HID and LED Light?

The first step in comparing LED versus HID is to fully understand the difference between these two lighting options. Obviously, each is a type of light bulb/fixture. They both come in high bay styles, and the installation process is relatively similar for them. Below, you'll find out the definition of each so you can see their differences.

What Is an HID Light?

HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. The broad term "HID" is used to describe any gas-discharge light — the traditional form lighting that probably pops into your head when you think of a light bulb. The light within is produced by an electrical arc that forms between two conductors within an ionized gas. HID light bulbs have to warm up to their full intensity because of the changing conditions inside the bulb. Additionally, HID light bulbs have voltage requirements, and they require more volts over time due to the slow degradation of materials, making them less efficient throughout their lifespan.

What Is an LED Light?

An LED light is a Light Emitting Diode, meaning it produces electricity through an anode and cathode. The materials that make up these diodes are typically semiconductive, meaning they will conduct electricity under the correct circumstances. Visible light is produced when a current flows through these materials. The nature of these materials means they last longer, and are thus more efficient throughout their use, a major point of comparison between HID and LED.

LED vs. HID High Bay Light Varieties

There have been many advancements in lighting technology over the years and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages over the other. In comparing HID versus LED lighting, however, modern LED lighting tends to outperform all other types in every way. Let's run down the basics regarding the older HID technologies when used for high bay lighting applications:

Metal Halide (MH) High Bay HID Lighting Fixtures

Metal halides were once the gold standard for high bay lighting. They provided good color rendering, color temperature and lumen output in relation to other types of lighting. Their drawbacks included higher maintenance expenses, long warm-up times and too much energy wasted as heat. They would also begin to flicker on and off when they began to fail.

High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) High Bay HID Lighting Fixtures

HPS lights used to be a good choice for high bay applications due to relatively high energy efficiency, cheaper start-up costs and longer life. Their drawbacks included poor color rendering, brief warm-up times and hazardous material in the form of mercury, which made for waste disposal concerns at the end of their life.

Fluorescent High Bay HID Lighting Fixtures

Fluorescent high bay HID lighting fixtures would typically utilize linear lamps which were easy to replace when old ones would reach the end of their lifespan. Their benefits included cheaper cost, longer life and higher efficiency than other HIDs. Their drawbacks included decreased lifetime if frequently turned on and off and (like HPS) hazardous contents, including mercury, making them difficult and dangerous to throw away. They also required a ballast in order to stabilize the light.

How LED Improves on HID Light Fixture Options

In comparing HID and LED lighting technology, the latter has developed to the point that it can overcome most of the drawbacks of the technologies previously listed.

  • LED lighting quality is superior in terms of color rendering, color temperature and lumen output (compared to wattage used). These lights don't deteriorate or fade over time like HIDs do.
  • LED lights have a much longer lifespan which means that they need to be replaced less frequently than HID varieties. This is particularly important when it comes to high bay lighting which requires lifts or scaffolding to reach the fixtures for removal and installation.
  • Although LED lighting is more expensive at the point of purchase, the price difference is more than made up in the long term due to the fact that they consume much less energy than an HID light fixture. This saves on utility costs over time, and they also don't waste energy emitted as heat.
  • Finally, the types of HID lights listed above are omnidirectional, which means that they produce a 360-degree output. With high bay light fixtures, the light needs to be directed down and out towards the floor. Much of this is wasted or needs to be directed using a reflector. LED high bay lights have a more concentrated light beam which means that nothing is wasted. Plus, they don't need to warm up like HIDs do.

Are There Any Advantages of HID vs. LED?

HID light fixture technology has stood the test of time. While not as efficient as LED, HID lights still offer high intensity and can provide lighting over large areas. Plus, the quality of light they produce is still quite strong. However, the only real advantage of HID versus LED is that HID lighting is much more affordable.

Are There Any Drawbacks to LED vs. HID Light Fixtures?

In general, comparing LED versus HID will make it seem like LED is the clear winner — and essentially it is. That doesn't mean high bay HID lighting fixtures are bad; they just aren't quite as good. The only real drawback to LED is that the upfront cost is almost always significantly higher.

Find The Light Fixture You Need at Warehouse-Lighting.com

Both HID and LED lights have their strong points. That said, comparing HID versus LED will likely lead you to consider LEDs first and foremost. Whether you want a high bay LED or HID light fixture, trust Warehouse-Lighting.com to help you find it — at the best price possible.

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