The world of commercial electrical lighting is a vast one—with a seemingly endless array of illumination options and products that can be used separately, at once, or not at all to improve your business. At Texas Electrical, we know how confusing it can be for business owners and managers to understand the choices they have for their commercial lighting needs—which is why our team of master electricians is dedicated to helping to make the process easier, more affordable, and more impactful for our customers and their businesses. One of the most frequent questions we’re asked is the difference between LED and HID ballasts—two kinds of common lighting options. HID lighting is the oldest form of electrical lighting in the world and is the traditional choice for high-intensity lighting in larger spaces. LED lights are the newest and brightest lights on the market and have a worldwide reputation for exceptional quality and excellent energy-efficiency. At Texas Electrical, we’re always ready to help our customers understand their options when it comes to high-quality commercial lighting. If you’re trying to make a choice between LED and HID lights for your business, take a look at the following information about the two choices and to learn how each of them can work for you.

Comparing the Technology of LED and HID Lights

HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge and refers to a group of lighting variants that include mercury vapor, metal halide, and low-pressure and high-pressure sodium lamps. HID lights are characterized by the way they work to produce light. To put it simply, light is produced through an electrical charge that passes through two electrical conductors and also though a gas trapped inside the light bulb. The lights are ignited by a third electrical conductor inside the light bulb that evaporates a salt substance inside the bulb into plasma.

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED lights work through a different electrical process, where electricity flows through two electrical semi-conductors (an anode and a cathode) in a single direction. The anode and cathode are together known as diodes and are made from silicon or selenium materials.

Weighing the Pros and Cons: HID and LED Lights

Now that we’ve gotten past the dry technology of these electrical systems, let’s focus on the benefits and downsides of each one. To start, HID and LED lights are generally used for different reasons, where HID lights have long been the preferred choice for use in gymnasiums, parking lots, sporting arenas, and other large spaces where strong and powerful illumination is needed. 

Here are some of the other things to consider when choosing between HID and LED light options:

  • HID Lighting: HID lights is that they take a little while to shine at full-power, are not capable of being dimmed and require ballasts to function. Ballasts can mean the possibility of future repairs and functionality issues should they require maintenance at some point. Another major downside is that they’re not particularly eco-friendly—and if the bulbs are broken, they can emit a very toxic substance (mercury) into the environment.

  • LED Lighting: LED lights, on the other hand, are the preferred option for use in practically anywhere—in homes, on streetlights, backyards, in computers, and also for gymnasiums and large spaces. In truth, LED lighting is widely considered to be far superior to HID lighting in almost every way except one—cost.

While LED lighting has dropped considerably in price compared to recent years, traditional HID lighting is still the more affordable option, at least when it comes to installation. After installation, however, LED lights to outperform HID lights in cost-effectiveness—boasting a very long lifespan while requiring less maintenance and energy than their HID counterparts.

Find Out Why We're the Trusted Commercial Electricians in Dallas

If you’re struggling to decide between HID and LED lighting for your business, or with another electrical issue or problem, our expert team of master electricians at Texas Electric can help. With affordable pricing, around-the-clock availability and emergency tech services, fast installations, and premium products—we’re proud to be the most trusted commercial electricians in Texas and Southern Oklahoma. For more information about HID and LED lighting, or for any other questions you may have about your business’s electrical needs, give us a call to receive personalized assistance now. You can also request a free, on-site pricing estimate and consultation for the services you’re interested in by filling out our online form.