For HIDs, light occurs as an arc between two nodes inside the bulb. The gas contained in these bulbs is what makes MHs and HPSs different. HID bulbs are usually more expensive than the reflective hoods that hold them.
Aside from the price of the actual light, also take into account utilities—all lights will add to your electricity bill every month, but some more than others. High-intensity discharge lights—known as “HIDs”—may be cheaper to buy but can gobble up electricity, whereas LEDs are more efficient and kinder on your electricity bill but usually more expensive to buy.
HID (high-intensity discharge) is an umbrella term under which MH and HPS bulbs fall, which we’ll discuss more below. These types of lamps have a hood that reflects light and bulbs that are enclosed capsules containing a gas, as opposed to bulbs you’d find in your house, which have a filament that heats up.
Some grow lights are more expensive than others, but also more efficient, saving money in the long run. Some lights are bulky with many parts, some light in weight, and some are better suited for young or mature plants.
One of the crucial elements a cannabis plant needs is light. During photosynthesis, a plant converts light energy into chemical energy, allowing it to grow strong and healthy, and with cannabis in particular, light also fuels bud production.
Types of marijuana grow lights.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are relatively new to the cannabis growing world, compared to HPSs, MHs, and CFLs, but they are quickly proving to be the way of the future. LEDs may be more expensive to buy initially, but they are far more efficient and kinder to the environment and your electricity bill. Some cities even give tax breaks to commercial growers who install or switch to LEDs because they’re better for the environment.
These fluorescent lights are cheap and efficient and great for vegetative growth. They’re especially great for helping along germinating seeds and small seedlings because they don’t put off much heat and won’t scorch the delicate seeds. They won’t run up your electricity bill too much.
There are daylight bulbs and warm white bulbs; the former better for vegetative growth, and the latter for flowering.
Lights have fixtures and bulbs, and some require a ballast. Depending on the type and model, the bulbs or the fixtures can be more expensive. There are a lot of abbreviations, but don’t be alarmed.
Ventilation is also a concern. If you’re growing in a tight space with a light that runs hot, you’ll need to have fans in there, which also take up space. If there’s not enough room for a light and a fan, you may need to invest in a light that doesn’t run as hot, such as an LED. For example, grow tents are usually built tall to allow room for equipment up top, not to grow plants all the way to the ceiling.
Here are a few different HID grow lights at different price points.
These bulbs contain mercury and metal halides, produce a blueish light, and are commonly used for vegetative growth. They require a ballast to regulate the current. In the past, ballasts have been big and bulky, but digital ones are now available.
These HID bulbs usually contain sodium, mercury, and xenon, and produce a yellow/orange light, and are commonly used for flowering plants. Some growers will start plants under MH bulbs and switch them to HPSs when plants go into the flowering stage, using the same hood. These lights also require a ballast.
Make sure you have enough outlets and power available in your breaker board for your grow space to comfortably accommodate all equipment. Figure out all pieces of equipment, such as lights, fans, possibly an AC or dehumidifier, and calculate how much power they’ll require. You’ll be running this equipment every day for months, so if you don’t have enough power it can be dangerous. Never overload an electrical outlet.
Other considerations when choosing a cannabis grow light.
How big a light you need will depend on the number of plants you plan on growing, but also on the size of your space. If you’re growing in a closet or a small grow tent, you’ll only be able to fit one small light in there. If you have a wide open basement, you could invest in a bigger light as opposed to two smaller ones.
The first thing to consider before buying a grow light is how much money you want to spend. With more states coming online with adult-use legalization, homegrowing is becoming more popular and growing technology is getting better and more efficient all the time.
Fixtures come in all shapes and sizes and can usually accommodate 4-12 long fluorescent bulbs; a standard size is 8 bulbs. Fixtures usually have a reflective material to bounce light in one direction, down on your plants.
New LED grow lights come out all the time, but knockoffs abound. There are a lot of cheap LEDs that don’t produce the right spectrum of light for plants.
Another consideration with cost is that some lights run hotter than others—HIDs, for example—so they may require additional fans or an AC unit to cool down a grow space. Extra equipment means more electricity, also driving up your utility bill.
As with HIDs, you can find CFLs at any local grow shop.
You can find lights for under $100, but they may be low quality and not produce the right spectrum of light, and you can also easily spend as much as $2,000 for a large, state-of-the-art LED.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are fluorescent lights similar to what you’d find in a school or office building, but smaller. For growing weed, they are usually called “T5s”—the “T” stands for “tubular” and the “5” refers to its diameter, “⅝”.
Young and mature plants, or vegetative and flowering plants, respectively, like different types of light, and you can buy grow lights that target each spectrum. Commonly, growers using HIDs will use MH bulbs for vegetative plants and HPS bulbs for flowering. Some LEDs are also designed to target different light spectra.
HIDs have been the standard in indoor weed growing for decades, but LEDs are quickly catching up to them.
Power equals poundage, so if you want big yields you’ll need more wattage. Professional LEDs can start at as little as 200 watts, and go up from there. A high-watt light can double the work of several low-watt bulbs.
When growing outdoors you can harness the power of the sun, but in an indoor environment, sunlight is mimicked through the use of grow light bulbs, which aim to display the same spectrum of light as the sun.
The typical homegrower will only need one or two lights. Most states limit grow amounts to 6 or 12 plants, and one or two lights should be plenty for that. If you plan on running two separate rooms, one for vegetative plants and one for flowering plants, you’ll need two lights.
CFL Grow Lights.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Grow Lights.
HIDs are very well suited to growing cannabis and very easy to use once they’re set up. If your main goal is to get the highest yields possible, then HIDs are the way to go! However, they do require extra setup compared to the other grow lights because chances are you will need a fan to vent out heat from your grow space.
Simply hang an LED light over your plants and start growing!
Cons of Fluorescents.
3.) LED Grow Lights.
Note: Some growers may have heard of “Induction” grow lights, which are pretty rare these days but still pop up from time to time. There are two types: “Magnetic Induction” grow lights do okay for growing cannabis but they’re pretty much glorified fluorescent lights. “Plasma Induction” grow lights actually perform pretty poorly at growing cannabis.
Pros and Cons of HID Grow Lights.
Fluorescents are a great choice for clones, young plants, supplemental lighting and can save you money on electricity in the vegetative stage compared to using high power lights when plants are too young to use it all anyway. They can also be used to flower plants in spaces that are shorter than what’s possible with other grow lights (aka ‘stealth growing’).
Compare the Pros and Cons of Each Grow Light.
T5 Grow Lights.
The light from a Metal Halide appears a little bluish, and is well suited to growing cannabis plants in the vegetative stage.
The light from an HPS appears yellow, and is great for flowering plants because the light spectrum stimulates bud production.
Some types of induction lights are well suited to stadium lighting but honestly they just aren’t that great for growing cannabis and they come with huge price tags. Even a lot of LEDs are cheaper and you’ll get better results with them. You can learn more about induction grow lights here.
“LEC” and “CMH” both refer to Ceramic Metal Halide grow lights, which is a type of HID light that is a bit more efficient than a regular Metal Halide light.
Note 2 : Incandescent light bulbs (old fashioned light bulbs) are NOT suitable for growing marijuana!
Keeping CFLs close results in the best yields and growth.
Example of MH/HPS Setups That Yield 1-5 Ounces/Month.
18.1 x 9 x 6.5 inches.
Speaking of included bulbs, this affordable grow light comes with an incredibly bright HPS light bulb that produces 16.000 lumens. It produces light in the red part of the spectrum, which means it is excellent for the flowering stage. If you chip in a few extra bucks, you can get a second light bulb that produces blue light so you can cover your ganja’s complete life cycle.
Now that I’ve told you just about everything you should know when choosing an affordable grow light under which your precious ganja plants will thrive, it’s time to show you my selection of the best products that fit this criteria.
Let’s stop wasting time and jump into the reviews!
Roleadro Galaxyhydro Series.
However, after some time spent contemplating over this, I’ve decided that my vote goes to Growstar Reflector Series 600W LED ; Out of all the products I’ve reviewed for this article, the Growstar is the only one that offers you the ability of choosing light modes, and it can be daisy-chained.
Although you can make your money back in just a few months if you grow enough herb, not everyone has the cash, or the will to do so. And you shouldn’t worry, because there are always ways to cut the cost if you’re careful with what equipment you buy.
L ight E mitting D iodes represent the latest technology in grow lights. Although they can cost up to $500 for a single unit, you can find plenty of models that offer the same functionality at a fraction of the cost.
#2 TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light.
So, how do we define light spectrums?
Today, I’m going to talk about what you should look for in a grow light if you’re on a tight budget followed by my selection of best cheap grow lights.
Fluorescent lights have a far wider use than just lighting office spaces and garages. These lights produce light in the blue range, which makes them ideal for supporting your weed plants in early growth and maturity.
You can, of course, go for an affordable fluorescent grow light, but that you will have to set them up in pairs, which defeats the idea of affordability.
I’ve covered all three major types available on the market, so you have enough options to choose from. I’ve also given my best at finding and showcasing the best quality grow lights. If you disagree with any of my choices, you can let me know in the comments.
Unfortunately, they come with a few caveats. They are not very powerful, which means you will have to set up a dozen or so lights in the reflective hood if you want to have any success with them.
Of course, if you’re interested in learning more about these products, scroll down and read on!
You have to buy a lot of equipment, from seeds and nutrients to lighting and ventilation. Advanced equipment like temperature controllers and CO2 regulators will set you back even further. No matter how you look at it, the cost starts adding up quickly.
Another disadvantage is that they only produce light in the blue spectrum, which means they are only good for the early and late stages of the plant’s development. You will have to use one of the other types of grow lights during the flowering stage, which completely defeats the idea of affordability.
The thing that surprised me about this inexpensive little LED bulb is its coverage. It covers around 6 feet of growing area, which means you don’t have to bunch up your ganja plants, so they receive enough light.