LED Streetlights vs HPS Streetlights: What’s the Diff?

outdoor solar light

Prepare yourselves, we’re breaking down a big comparison in street lighting today! We’re discussing the comparisons between light-emitting diode (LED) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting systems, and hopefully by the end of this lesson we can educate you and ensure your wallet stays happy. Here are some main differences between LED streetlights vs HPV streetlights. Hint: LEDs win this battle.

The Answer Lies in Lumens

A quick search reveals that a lumen is defined as “the SI unit of luminous flux, equal to the amount of light emitted per second in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela.” We don’t prefer to baffle our readers with jargon, so for our reasons lets just define a lumen as the standard of how light is measured when we discuss LED vs HPV. That term is primarily used in discussing efficiency behind lighting–how much light you get per energy invested. A standard “return on investment,” if you will, for light. The efficiency for LED lights ranges between about 40 and 120 lumens per watt. The lumens per watt rating is actually higher for HPV, but where these lights lose is that they’re omnidirectional, so you get a lot of light striking objects that aren’t intended to be lit. The benefits of outdoor led vs hps lumens per watt is greater because there’s less “loss” of light. LEDs have a light spread of 180 degrees, and so more light is actually directed towards the subject in question. Why bother buying a kind of light if half of what it emits goes the opposite direction of where you want it to go? LED wins this bout.

High-Pressure Sodium: Hot, Hot Heat

High-pressure sodium lights produce heat–not something you’d really want when your main concern is just illuminating something. The heat emitted from the light either wafts out into the great wild or is absorbed by the ballast. Turning that heat back into light is ideal–or by using a light that emits very little heat whatsoever. In this case, LED lights win again since hardly any heat comes from them.

LED Wins with Longevity Over HPS

We’ll admit that HPS lights have fantastic longevity, which is often times why they’re chosen to light parking lots and wide public areas. However, LED lights still win in this category–surprise–with a whopping 25 thousand hours of usage time vs a max of 24 thousand hours with HPS before failure. It’s marginal, but we’re sure when weighing options that a little more time is better than a little less. LED beats out HPS in this category regardless.

Maintenance, Money, Maximum Brightness, and More!

Here’s where LED really shines,  so to speak. LEDs require virtually no maintenance. The bulbs last so long they beat out all the competition in terms of longevity and so don’t need a replacement, unlike HPS. So less maintenance requires less money–you get the idea. Plus, LEDs have a more accurate color reproduction. We’re sure you’ve been under HPS lights before, and they cast an unsightly yellow color over everything! That’s not exactly the most pretty of colors. Plus, LEDs are known for being “immediately on” in the industry, while HPS lights take about 10 minutes to warm up to full brightness.

We’ve only listed a smidge of benefits LED lights have over HPS! The benefits are heavy in comparison, and even better when you combine LED lights with solar panels. If you’re considering a switch or are convinced here of the superiority of LED lights, feel free to contact us for further information. We’re invested in the future of lights.



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