High Pressure Sodium vs LED: Parking Lot Lighting Options

We get many phone calls from business owners needing our assistance with fixing and/or replacing their high pressure sodium light bulbs for parking lot lights and street lights. When one of our licensed electricians meets on site and goes over everything, one of the options we always recommend, depending on the client’s needs, is retrofitting the old high pressure sodium bulbs with LED bulbs. Let’s explore in depth high pressure sodium vs LED lighting options for your company’s parking lot lighting so that you can make the best decision necessary for your property.


What is a high pressure sodium (HPS) light?

When deciding high pressure sodium vs LED, it’s first best to describe each one in depth, since both produce light in different ways.

HPS bulbs use sodium particles and gases to produce light. HPS fixtures are an improvement over low pressure sodium (LPS) bulbs because of a better color rendering index (color of light appears more natural). Even so, HPS fixtures put off more of a yellow hue due to color limitations (compared to newer LED technology).

The HPS light fixture was developed by General Electric and made its debut in 1964. HPS fixtures quickly picked up speed and by 1970, many parking lot lights and street lights were adopting the new lighting technology. High pressure sodium (HPS) lights are commonly used for outdoor application like parking lot lighting, street lights, etc. found on commercial properties, schools, and other types of businesses.


high pressure sodium vs led - parking lot lights

High pressure sodium (HPS) parking lot lighting


LED Parking Lot Lighting Fixtures

A LED light bulb generates light by constant movement of electrons. LED lights have a high color rendering index, and put out a “daylight” color (natural white light) which provides excellent visibility. Because of this, LED fixtures for parking lot lighting create a safe atmosphere for motorists at night.


high pressure sodium vs led - parking lot lighting

LED Parking Lot Lighting Installation


High Pressure Sodium vs LED: Which is Better?

LED parking lot lighting has many advantages over the high pressure sodium lamps. Let’s explore why LEDs are gaining on HPS fixtures!


HPS vs LED Cost and Efficiency:

Initially, LED lighting options for parking lot lights and street lights are going to cost more than HPS lighting. But when you factor in the efficiency, maintenance costs, and bulb life of high pressure sodium vs LED, this LED initial cost becomes the only disadvantage as far as we can see. After that, you will SAVE money because LED bulbs are more efficient, using less electricity. They also have a longer lifespan (bulb life) with about 10-15 years, which means less maintenance costs, which means less money on replacement bulbs and parts.

Who’s the winner? Initially, LEDs will cost more to install, but the energy-savings, low maintenance costs, and lifespan puts them ahead of HPS lights.


HPS vs LED Energy-Savings:

High pressure sodium fixtures are not as energy efficiency as LEDs. In fact, LED bulbs use between 40-75% less electricity than a HPS fixture.

Who’s the winner? Clearly, LED.



When comparing high pressure sodium vs LED lighting options, LED wins with its high color rendering index (CRI). As mentioned previously, HPS lighting gives off a little more yellowish hue than the true white glow of the LED lights. The large color spectrum of LEDs creates a widespread light output for better visibility and safety.

Who’s the winner? Again, LED.


Which Will You Choose?

LED lights have a long lifespan, and are very energy efficient, which is why they have been gaining momentum over the past few years.  It has been a common choice for many businesses to either retrofit an existing HPS fixture with a LED fixture, or swap out the entire HPS fixture with a LED fixture. But the choice is up to you!


If you would like KB Electric LLC to go over the LED retrofitting options with you on your own premises, we would be happy to do so! We provide electrical repair, service, and installation for all of Southeastern PA including Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Delaware, Berks, and Philadelphia counties.