Advantages of LED vs. High Pressure Sodium Area Lights

By Courtney Patrick Last Updated On 03/06/2018

Parking lot lighting, LED vs High Sodium Pressure

Although LED and High-Pressure Sodium are both popular options for area lights and outdoor fixtures, let's explore the difference between the two and why you should consider LED lighting.

High Pressure Sodium Area Lights

Example of High Pressure Sodium Lighting

High Pressure Sodium area lights are most commonly seen on the road and in parking lots.

  • Color Temperature: Average 2000K, known for their warm yellow glow.
  • CRI: Disconcerting color rendering (CRI) that can inhibit vision at night and create darker shadows.
  • Bulb Failure: Prone to flickering and activation failure. At the end of the bulbs' lives, they are more susceptible to turning on and off without input until they inevitably fail entirely.
  • Lumen: Maintain their luminance for 90% of their life span, and still maintain 80% emission at the end of their life.
  • Lifespan: High Pressure Sodium lights tend to have a lifespan averaging 24,000 hours. 
  • Bulb Angle: 360-degree bulb angle
  • Efficacy: High efficacy that is easily comparable to LED lights.
  • Price: High Pressure Sodium lights range between $5-$10.

LED Area Lights

Example of LED Area Lighting on highway

LED area lights are top of the line bulbs. They are more efficient and have longer lifespans than High-Pressure Sodium lights.

  • Color Temperature: Variety of color temperature options providing better lighting solutions including cooler lights than High Pressure Sodium counterpart.
  • CRI: Higher CRIs for better color vision at night.
  • On/Off: Responds instantaneously to on/off input without any delays and can produce a steady non-flicker light throughout their entire lifespan.
  • Bulb Failure: LED lights slowly dim over time instead of flickering or turning on/off sporadically.
  • Lifespan: Range of 25,000 to 200,000 hours.
  • Bulb Angle: 180-degree bulb angle to preserve light efficiency and allow for target lighting over areas.
  • Efficacy: The most efficiency lights on the market with high efficacy averaging about 50 lumens/watt.
  • Price: LED lights are slightly more expensive than High Pressure Sodium lights at $10-$20.

LED Advantages

Chalk board sketch with LED bulb and thought bubbles

The biggest differences between LED and High-Pressure Sodium lights are color temperature and CRI. LED lights have a wider variety of color temperatures along with higher CRIs.

LED Area Lights have a much easier immanence than High Pressure Sodium lights. LED lights have essentially no maintenance cost and must be changed rarely with infrequent monitoring. High Pressure Sodium lights have a high maintenance cost, because they require monitoring and more frequent replacement of both bulbs and parts.

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