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It’s time to upgrade your grow lights to LED

Hawthorne Gardening Company logo
Presented ByHawthorne Gardening Company September 9, 2021

Invest in lower electric bills and higher versatility.


It’s time to give your grow an upgrade. LED lighting can give your plants the same light output as HPS lights with an improved broad white light spectrum, less radiant heat, and without the headache-inducing energy bills.

A quality retailer can even help you choose a setup fine-tuned to your specific grow conditions. And because of their lower energy consumption and the switch away from the mercury lamps used in HPS lights, LED lights have some environmental benefits that can help pave the way for many quality crops to come.

The upfront cost may be higher, but the long-term effects on your wallet and your workload pay off quickly. The technology in these types of grow lights has evolved, and a system might be more affordable and more effective than you think.

Thinking of making the switch? Here are a few reasons to pull the trigger—and some of our best products on the market—from Gavita and Sun System, subsidiaries of Hawthorne Gardening Company.

grow lights to LED
Gavita CT 1930E. Courtesy of Hawthorne Gardening Company.

Versatile, balanced light

You want to get as close to natural sunlight as possible when brightening up your growing areas, but HPS lights can be heavy on red and yellow. This imbalance can lead to lankier plants with thinner stems—as opposed to plants grown in natural sunlight, which has more blue and green wavelengths and UV rays.

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LED lights give manufacturers a chance to fine-tune a balanced, full spectrum light optimal for helping each plant thrive. In a quality grow light like those in the Gavita LED line, each diode is carefully chosen to create a perfect balance across the light spectrum, from red and blue to green and white. This gentle, diverse spectrum encourages stocky plants with thick stems and bountiful leaves.

The lights stand alone

Taking some of the heat from your lights out of the equation is going to require some extra fiddling to make sure conditions are right for your plants. The temperature of HPS lights affects most systems in your grow, including moisture and ambient temperature.

grow lights to LED
Gavita 1700e. Courtesy of Hawthorne Gardening Company.

After an initial adjustment, it’s likely that you won’t have to compromise your light levels for other growing conditions again. You’re free to give your plants the light they crave. 

Plentiful photons

HPS lights have some hard limits, and one of the biggest ones is light output. You can only crank them up so far before the heat becomes just too much. Because LEDs are cooler, you can hit the ideal light levels to help your crops thrive without worrying about overheating the leaf temperature.

Environmental responsibility

LED lights are more energy efficient than HPS lights, so you can feel better about your impact on the planet. Switching to LED has the potential to reduce your power usage by up to 45% depending on what fixture you choose (the Gavita 1700e fixture sees a 45% power use reduction against a 1100x HPS fixture). Plus, there’s the nice side bonus of helping to cut the costly electric bill that comes with growing indoors.

But it’s not all about energy. Most commonly available HPS lamps contain mercury. It can be hard to dispose of properly and has the potential to contaminate nearby areas if a lamp breaks.

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Know your options

LED lights have become so widespread that you have plenty of options to choose from! Gavita and Sun System, subsidiaries of Hawthorne Gardening Company, are some of the most reputable manufacturers of grow lights on the market, with options for everyone from the home hobbyist to the commercial grower. One of these four options should help you get started with LED lights—or you can get in touch with them to work on a setup tailored to your crop.

Want in-depth, personalized assistance? Hawthorne 360 Design services offer a holistic approach to grow room design.

grow lights to LED
Gavita CT 1930e. Courtesy of Hawthorne Gardening Company.

For the simplest switch from HPS: Gavita CT 1930E

The CT1930e LED grow light mimics the light distribution of HPS lights in a compact design so you can get the same light distribution as your existing HPS system. You can sync up to 2,000 units with a single control (EL Master Controller required, sold separately), making large setups a breeze. While you won’t have to change much, you’ll still get the benefits of a Gavita LED grow light, with up to 20% energy savings versus HPS and full spectrum, crop-loving light.

For close-proximity grows: Gavita 1700E

For a high-efficacy light that works flawlessly with a vertical racking system, there’s 1700e, Gavita’s best-selling rack fixture. It works as a primary light source from one to four feet above the plant canopy, making it great not just for tiers of plants in vertical racks, but smaller spaces, too. You can connect 500 to 1,000 of them, depending on your controller.

For hobbyists: Gavita 900E

If you’re growing for fun, Gavita’s 900e light is a powerful-but-gentle way to maximize your crop. It includes multiple hanging options so it can fit all kinds of places, whether it’s a basement, a closet, or a tent. While this is a great light for beginners, it’s a versatile light that fits well in racks and above benches, something that seasoned growers can also appreciate.

For next-level versatility: Sun System RS 1850

This six rail, foldable LED fixture from Sun System uses top-bin diodes to achieve a robust full spectrum light source. Its foldable design is a game-changer when it comes to moving or storing your fixtures as you optimize your grow space. A manual digital dimming button and an internal embedded smart controller compatible with the Gavita e-Series Controller (sold separately) give you high-touch control of up to 500 fixtures. At home in greenhouses and climate rooms, the RS 1850 packs the versatility to crank up the output for light-loving crops or conserve at will.


Ready to make the switch? Browse Hawthorne’s full line of Pro LED lights and accessories to find the solution that’s right for you.