HID vs LED Light Bulbs


Imagine that you’re at the playoffs of your favorite baseball team, which has been a dream of yours since you were a kid. As you reach your assigned seat you realize that you can barely see what is happening. This could be because of foggy weather, a very tall audience member, but it could also be that the lights pointed at the field are not bright enough. It makes you feel like when you’re watching a baseball game on television and the antenna can’t get a strong enough signal. So you end up looking at a frozen picture of a player striking out or getting a home run, you never know.

You are probably tired of hearing about LEDs and how much energy they can save you, am I right? So instead I am going to do a bit of a comparison between two light bulbs and not just focus on the energy saving factor. Because whether you are buying an antenna or a light bulb you want to make sure that the equipment you get can properly support its intended task. Therefore, what are HID bulbs and how do they compare to LEDs?

What are HID bulbs?

HID anatomy

HID stands for High Intensity Discharge lighting. This type of bulb has been used as a more efficient replacement for CFL and halogen bulbs. Instead of using a filament, like most other light bulbs we are aware of, it uses a capsule of gas to create light. Now gas and electricity combinations can be more dangerous but only if it is not properly regulated. The ballast, however, for these bulbs is able to regulate how much voltage is supplied to the capsule of gas.

How do HID compare to LED?

QuestionHID BulbsLED Bulbs
How long does it take to install a lamp?Installation time for HIDs is around 60 minutes.LEDs take around 30 minutes to install.
How long will the lamp last?HID average around 2-5,000 hours.LEDs can last up to at least 25,000 hours.
How much maintenance do the lamps require?HID bulbs are more fragile and are more prone to being damaged as they get older.LEd bulbs require virtually no maintenance
Can I turn the light on and off?HID bulbs are going to require a warm up period before they are able to light up again. For example, in a stadium, it could take seven minutes before they are ready to be re-lit.LED lamps can be turned on and off without having to wait for any warm up periods.
Which CRI is better? It will depend on what the HID is made of. For low and high pressure sodium lamps the CRI will be low (0-25). With metal halide lamps it will be more moderate (60). LED lamps have an average of 60-95 CRI rating.
Which color temperature is better?This will, again, depend on what the HID is made of. High pressure sodium, metal halide, and mercury vapor use different chemical compositions for creating light.LED bulbs have a wide range of color temperatures from yellow to light blue.
Is this bulb dimmable?These bulbs can be dimmed by using different electric or magnetic ballasts. This can affect the bulb, however, and shorten its lifespan. Can be dimmed by lowering the forward current or modulating the pulse duration.
Which bulb is more energy efficient?HID bulbs are going to be more energy efficient than CFL and incandescent lamps.LED bulbs are the most energy efficient bulb on the market.

This may not come as a surprise to you but LEDs won that fight, and as I pointed out in the comparison it wasn’t just because of how energy efficient they were. When the time to install a new light bulb comes, electricians and construction workers are looking for the one that is will give them the lowest amount of hassle. How Do I Know Which LED Light Bulb I Need?

After installing LEDs, you won’t have to come back for a long time because of how long their life spans are and how little maintenance they require. If you went with HIDs instead you would be heading that direction more often, for maintenance, and become so well-known at that designated building that you would be invited to a couple of birthday parties. And while cake is never a bad thing having to travel back and forth can be.

Even if your main focus isn’t on installation, time, and energy efficiency, you will need lights that can create a well-lit area. Especially for a parking lot, for example, a well-lit area becomes more essential because any space that doesn’t have the proper lighting is going to be more prone to accidents. LEDs will provide the proper illumination and can be used for a variety of applications. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, ‘LEDs will save you money and energy.’

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Will Owen
Will Owen

B.A. in English from Kennesaw State University. Will takes what he's learned and writes about all sorts of things from artists to electrical supplies and LED light systems. You name it and he can probably write about it.

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