LED – HID killers?
LED grow lights had only lagged behind High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in not providing full white light. Mars Hydro killed the last argument for expensive and hot HID lights a long while ago with its TS 1000 and SP series LED lighting systems. Now, this type of LED light is available from many other manufacturers. 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.
Full-spectrum LED Grow Lights basically provide all the light energy a plant needs for all its growth phases, with better adjustability and other characteristics. MaryJane Farmer always uses and advises LED Grow Lights and with the advent of Full Spectrum lights, we have more than enough choices for our Best Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights review.
Read more about the difference between HID and LED lights here. Was that the final nail in the coffin for HID lights? MaryJane says “Yes” and we suggest you look at some of these new Mars Hydro lights for your grow operation.
Traditional LED vs HID lights
LED lights used to be expensive and deliver lower-quality growth than HID lamps. Their ‘blurple’ color 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 to 100,000 hours) and cooler, reducing the amount of cooling and overall energy required for an effective grow. You may need some cooling for grows using these lights but nothing like as much as using HID lights.
For a slightly higher initial price 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 on the two lighting systems, the SP series and the TS 1000.
Mars Hydro SP series – new for 2021
Slightly more expensive than the TS 1000 rack, the new FC-e 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.
The Mars Hydro FC-E series is unapologetically for larger grows. They are designed to be detachable allowing growers to organize their light layout more freely. At the same time, the high light efficiency and more even light distribution promises growers a more uniform crop and reliable yields. 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.
Chip On Board Comparison
‘Chip on board’ (COB) lights are more expensive again than the Mars Hydro FC-E series lighting systems and many of these also have an element of UV and IR. In doing this, Mars Hydro is 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 FC-E series without extra IR or UV, or the SP with the added diodes.
TS 3000 – a light for medium grows
The 450 Watt, Mars Hydro TS 1000 light replaces a 600 Watt HPS lighting system. With its 4ft x 4ft coverage this is a light best suited for medium, 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 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 drawback from this but that said, for a small added investment you can shine small IR and UV lights onto the vegetation as well.
Is White Light Better?
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 TS3000 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 3000 stand out as one of the best medium grow lighting systems on the market today.
Like the SP series, the TS 3000 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 3000 is cheaper and provides a better spectrum so is a no-brainer for those considering a medium white LED grow.
Mars Hydro customer centers 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 centers 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. 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 3000 and SP and FC-E series lights combined with industry-leading customer service, Mars Hydro justifies its place as a market leader.
Last Word From MaryJane Farmer
Although we try to avoid bias, Mars Hydro has consistently delivered on its promises and still develops high-quality LED Grow Lights at competitive prices. Nonetheless, everyone’s grow practices and budgeting constraints are different, so don’t forget to look at other lights that I have recommended here or those we have for sale in the 420beginner shop.
Check back often for reviews of the best products for enjoying marijuana to the maximum. Check out our Best Lights and Tools page with comprehensive tables of our reviews if you’re a grower. If you are new to growing, get our free Beginner’s Guide here. And if you have some great photos of your garden, pop them into the electric post office and send them to me: MaryJane@420Beginner.com.