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LED HID Bulbs

HID vs. LED

If you’re replacing your HID bulbs, you might be considering upgrading to LED. HID stands for high intensity discharge. The name is fitting because HID bulbs are typically used in applications where you need a lot of light, like a parking garage or stadium. An LED replacement for HID can be used in the same applications.

There are several benefits to upgrading to LED:

1. Energy efficiency: HIDs do not use as much energy per amount of light produced as halogen or incandescent light bulbs, but LEDs are still much more efficient. Some LEDs use as little as 25 percent of the wattage required to burn HIDs.
2. Heat management: Because HIDs heat up to operate, they can get extremely hot. LEDs use a different type of technology to operate. Plus, using LED retrofit bulbs means less heat for your HVAC unit to remove if you use them inside.
3. Reduced maintenance headaches: LEDs generally last longer than HIDs. Even though HIDs can last as long as 20,000 hours or more, their color can depreciate faster (see the next point). Switching to LED means fewer replacement products and less time in a bucket truck to change light bulbs.
4. Color consistency: HIDs can shift color over time. You might notice a pink, purple, or green color. When you upgrade to LED and choose a reputable product, the color is more consistent and will last longer.
5. Instant light: HID light bulbs have a notoriously long start time to reach full brightness. One significant benefit to LEDs is instant brightness when they are switched on.

Types of LED HID retrofit bulbs:

Unlike HIDs, LED HID retrofit bulbs are not narrowed down by specific types. For instance, there are several different types of traditional HIDs:


- Metal halide
- High pressure sodium
- Low pressure sodium
- Mercury vapor
- Ceramic metal halide

The LED replacement bulbs are typically lumped into one category: post top (also called “corn cobs”).

This might seem confusing at first, but there are still other ways to narrow down and find the product you need.

Direction: Do you need a bulb that puts out light in all directions, or do you need the light output to go directly to one spot? For example, in a parking lot or parking garage having a high amount of light on the ground is a top priority. This could be a deciding factor in finding the replacement product you need.

Base type: There are three different types of base types that are common for LED replacement bulbs for HIDs.

  • E26 (Medium) – This is a standard light bulb base.
  • E39 (Mogul) – This is larger than the standard light bulb base.
  • EX39 (Mogul) – This base has an extended center terminal that connects to the socket.

Base up or base down: Does the bulb screw in with the base pointing up or the base pointing down in your fixture? It’s important to select the right bulb, especially when you consider the weight of the product. You don’t want a bulb that’s too heavy screwed into the socket in the wrong direction.

Where can I use LED HIDs?

  • Stadiums or gyms – Because of their high light output, LED replacements for HIDs are a popular option for stadiums or gyms. You’ve probably noticed a transition to LED at professional sports stadiums. Now, with LEDs available at lower prices, more local school districts are switching their stadiums and gyms to LEDs as well.
  • Parking garages and gas stations – Safety is key in parking garages and at gas stations, so it’s no surprise LED HIDs are a good option for these applications.
  • Streetlights – Have you walked down your road and noticed a different color and brightness in your streetlights? Some of them may be LEDs, while others are HIDs. One thing to note here is to check with government restrictions. Some municipalities and counties require LED streetlights to have a CRI and Kelvin temperature consistent with high pressure sodium technology.

HID to LED conversion

Upgrading from HIDs to LEDs might not be as simple as switching out light bulbs because HIDs require a ballast to operate.

There are four main options that you can consider when you’re converting from HID to LED:

1. Plug-and-play
2. Ballast-bypass
3. Lamp and driver
4. Fixture replacement

We explore these options and three questions you should consider before you upgrade on our blog.

Should I recycle LED HIDs?

You need to recycle HIDs because they contain mercury. If you’re switching out old HIDs to replace with LEDs, you need to recycle them. We have boxes available to purchase.

LEDs do not contain mercury, which is one more benefit to upgrading from HID to LED.

Questions about LED HIDs

If you can’t find the product you need, we are here to help. You can contact us by clicking here to leave a message or call. You can also use the chat in the bottom right corner of your screen. Our lighting specialists are happy to answer your questions.

Regency Lighting has been a national lighting distributor since 1983. We have seven national sales and distribution centers across the U.S. to better serve your lighting needs.

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