LED lights have only lagged behind High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in not providing full white light. Mars Hydro has killed the last argument for expensive and hot HID lights with its TS 1000 and SP series LED lighting systems. They are cheaper to buy and run, provide exactly the right spectrum for all stages of growth, and last a lot longer than HID lights. Could this be the final nail in the coffin for HID lights?
Traditional LED vs HID lights
LED lights used to be expensive and deliver lower quality growth than HID lamps. Their ‘blurple’ colour limited the vegetative growth of the plants they were designed to grow.
However, for your extra money you bought lights that were a lot longer-lasting (typically 50,000 hours) and cooler, reducing the amount of cooling and overall energy required for an effective grow. You will need cooling for grows using these lights but nothing like as much as using HID lights.
For a lower quality grow than using HID lights you produced a cheaper product overall in terms of energy use.
Full spectrum LED lights
Mars Hydro has moved into full spectrum, white LED grow lights with its TS 1000 and SP series lights. These have the advantages of traditional LED lights but go two steps further: they are cheaper than HIDs and produce the same quality light spectrum. As such, this means the last arguments for using HID lights have now fallen.
As with traditional LEDs you will still find a lifetime rating of 50,000 hours, and they use as much as 50% less from your electricity supply than the HIDs they now out-compete.
Let’s now focus in on the two lighting systems, the SP series and the TS 1000.
Mars Hydro SP series - new for 2019
Slightly more expensive than the TS 1000 rack, the new SP series has mostly white LEDs with a number of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) spectrum LEDs. With the added spectrums, this setup makes for a very similar light to that provided outdoors in strong sunlight.
‘Chip on board’ (COB) lights are more expensive again than the Mars Hydro SP series lighting systems and many of these also have an element of UV and IR. In doing this, Mars Hydro are competing with the indoor lights used by professional growers and beating them on price.
Though white light has been proven to be better than the ‘blurple’ output of traditional LEDs, there is no hard evidence that added UV or IR helps growth. Many experienced growers however take the view that an added ‘jolt’ of UV and IR improves the quality of vegetative growth. This means that it is a question of personal choice as to whether to go for the TS series without extra IR or UV, or the SP with the added diodes.
The Mars Hydro SP series are unapologetically for larger grows. They are long and thin, and designed to be racked in parallel lines. There is little light wastage between the plants beneath, so you can have rows of plants and space to work between them without excess energy being shone beyond the vegetation.
Keeping the heat down even further, the removable Meanwell driver unit can be kept outside the canopy area. Though you will still need a cooling system for the vegetation this won’t be as heavy duty as you would have using HID systems.
TS 1000 - a light for smaller grows
The 150 Watt, Mars Hydro TS 1000 light replaces a 250 Watt HID lighting system. With its 3ft x 3ft coverage this is a light best suited for smaller, discreet personal grows and unlike its SP series cousin should not be considered for larger grow operations.
As with the Mars Hydro SP series the TS 1000 is a new release and provides a white light spectrum that is largely similar to pure sunlight. Unlike the SP series, the TS 1000 does not have UV or IR LEDs. Connoisseurs and experts may draw back from this but that said, for a small added investment you can shine small IR and UV lights onto the vegetation as well.
Given the scientific evidence we discussed above that white light is better than separate spectrums, one can argue that having a full board of white LEDs, the TS 1000 is actually better than the SP series!
The small form factor makes is another big selling point for this lighting system and this makes the TS 1000 stand out as one of the best small grow lighting systems on the market today.
Like the SP series, the TS 1000 is more expensive than the other lights made by Mars Hydro. Put head to head with Mars Hydro’s competitors’ equivalents like NextLight and HLG however, the TS 1000 is cheaper and provides a better spectrum so is a no brainer for those considering a small white LED grow.
Mars Hydro customer centres in the US
Reviews of Mars Hydro’s products are consistently high thanks to its excellent customer service. The Chinese company offers 30 day no-quibble guarantees on its lights, which while not enough for a full grow is at least enough for the buyer to see the quality of the product themselves.
The Mars Hydro customer service centres in the US and Canada allow you to get replacement parts and repairs done very quickly and efficiently. This has directly led to the company getting excellent reviews on its eBay and home website stores.
The company also keeps stock in the Americas so when you place an order for the lights you will see very fast delivery and not have to wait for the sort of time that you would for many of Mars Hydro’s direct Chinese rivals.
With its excellent products like the TS 1000 and SP series lights combined with industry leading customer service, Mars Hydro justifies its place as a market leader.