To get a better picture of how HID vs LED lighting truly compares, first take a look at the actual physical anatomy of each product.
HIDs are gas-discharge arc lamps in which light is transmitted via an electrical current between two electrodes and ionized gas. A second gas is also used, which determines whether the HID is a sodium, mercury or metal halide lamp. Everything is sealed within a quartz glass capsule. All HIDs require a ballast to regulate power and create the initial electrical surge to start the light. HIDs consume less power and produce greater illumination than halogen bulbs, but this is nothing when compared to LEDs.
LED anatomy uses solid-state technology to convert electricity into light. Basically, LED modules are made up of tiny light bulbs that are semiconductors fitted into an electrical circuit. When the modules is turned on and electricity passes through these semiconductors, it causes them to emit photons of light and the fixture illuminates. LEDs offer an even spread of illumination, unlike HIDs that must be fitted with bulky reflectors to redirect light output. Overall, LEDs are much more efficient, with a difference you can immediately see.
Historically, HID lights have been the go-to choice for parking lots and other sizable areas that require large amounts of visible light. However, they haven’t been the perfect solution, because the light produced isn’t always pleasing and most HIDs require an extended amount of time to warm up before they’re fully illuminated. While it’s true that installing HID lighting usually results in lower upfront costs, regular re-lamping and ballast replacement requirements often counteract these savings. Even with a higher initial investment, LED lighting offers a quicker ROI because LEDs have virtually no maintenance expenses. All these issues, combined with rapid technological advances that improved performance and lowered the price of LED products, have prompted many companies to make the switch. Consider these cost-specific HID vs LED comparisons to better understand why LED provides the ideal exterior lighting solution.
Energy Cost Savings
While HID is more energy efficient than other types of lighting like halogen or incandescent lamps, LEDs are even more energy efficient. In some cases, LED lighting can provide up to 75% energy savings over your current lighting system. Performance issues also affect energy efficiency. HID lamps require up to ten minutes of warm-up time before fully illuminating, while LED lights turn on instantly without any flickering. HIDs also create light in all directions with part of the light never actually leaving the fixture. LEDs have the ability to create focused, omnidirectional light with nearly 100% of the light leaving the fixture. This provides enhanced light distribution control and light uniformity. Our commercial LED parking lot lights have precision molded optics offering superior uniformity and enhanced light distribution. This allows you to use fewer lights in the same amount of space and maximize pole spacing for even greater energy savings.
Maintenance Cost Savings
Maintenance costs are where you realize the largest savings. HID lamps are extremely fragile with moving parts, glass bulbs, filaments, ballasts and capacitors that can all break or burn out suddenly. Each repair or replacement requires a lift rental to reach the top of the parking lot light fixtures and labor from a qualified electrician. Heavy-duty LEDs are much more durable and don’t utilize all the extraneous parts that require costly repairs and/or replacements that impact your company’s bottom line. Furthermore, as LEDs age, they slowly become dimmer, which is called lumen depreciation. This allows ample time to schedule maintenance, instead of paying for unexpected, unscheduled replacement of a bulb containing a filament that failed without warning.
The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that LEDs have a much longer lifespan than other lighting systems. HID lighting has a life expectancy of 15,000-25,000 hours, while LED lighting has a minimum life expectancy of 50,000 hours. However, many products, including ours, are rated for over 100,000 hours. Longer life means less frequent bulb changes, which also directly ties to your maintenance cost savings.
No matter how well a product performs or how long it lasts, with high-use outdoor lighting fixtures, this all means nothing if the product isn’t backed by an exceptional warranty. Most HID products usually come with a one to two-year warranty, while LED products typically have a five-year warranty. We’re so confident in our products, XtraLight offers a 10-year limited warranty on our LED area lighting fixtures