Understanding high-intensity discharge light bulbs

HID, or high-intensity discharge light bulbs, are a family of gas-discharge arc bulbs that create light by sending an electrical discharge between two electrodes and through a plasma or ionised gas. An additional gas such as mercury, sodium and metal halide is generally used as an easy way to classify the major types of HID lamps.

HID lamps are known for their high efficiency and their long life. HID lamps require a ballast to generate the initial surge of electricity necessary to start and regulate their power during regular operation.This excludes the mercury blended lamp as it is self-ballasted


An HID lamp works by sending an electric arc between two tungsten electrodes that are housed in an arc tube constructed of quartz. The tube is filled with an amalgam of gas and metal salts. The initial surge of electricity and gas in the lamp creates an arc that heats the metal salts to create a plasma.

HID lamps also have an outer glass bulb that protects the inner parts of the bulb, keeps more heat inside the bulb, and protects people around in case the lamp explodes and breaks.


HID lamps are used where the most critical factor is creating as much visible light per watt as possible. Primary applications include streetlights, gymnasiums, warehouses, large retail facilities, stadiums, and greenhouses. The light produced by most HID lamps is either natural daylight or warm white/yellow (high pressure sodium) Because some HID bulbs need some time to warm up, they are not suitable for applications where lights are frequently turned on and off therefore widely used in the industrial industry


Krilux Lighting is a one-stop shop for all of your lighting needs. As a top lighting supplier, we can provide our customers with a comprehensive product range to choose from, including different high-intensity discharge light bulbs. If you need help in deciding on the correct bulb, get in touch with us today.