Complete Grow Lights Selection Guide for Indoor Growing
Growing plants always need light, as it is essential for photosynthesis and various metabolic activities. While outdoor plants are receiving plenty of light and heat from the sun, but in the indoor growing conditions they should be provided by artificial means. For this purpose, grow lights are used and many kinds of grow lights are available that can be installed according to the requirement.
As there is a good range of availability of various grow lights, so at first impression the buyers may be getting overwhelmed. So, for the ease of our valuable customers, we have made different categories according to the features of grow lights. As time is the most precious thing, and we are highly intended to save the time of our clients by appropriately guiding them.
High-Intensity Discharge Grow Lights
A high-intensity discharge grow lighting system is consisting of a large bulb system that is creating light by the ignition of gas provided inside the bulbs. These lights are categorized into two major types, metal halides, and high-pressure sodium lights.
Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Grow Lights
In the lighting technology, these grow lights are most traditional and somehow these are also becoming outdated but the manufacturers are still offering this lighting technology by making it relevant to the modern indoor growing needs.
Some of the pros and cons of this kind of lighting technology are the following.
- These lights are very intense.
- They can efficiently maintain luminescence.
- They are provided with an excellent watt to the lumen output ratio.
- They are not costly and are available at cheaper rates.
- These lights produce high output lumens so they can greatly encourage plant growth.
- Due to the emission of bluish-white light they are extremely beneficial to promote vegetative growth of plants.
- High-pressure metal halide is essentially important to promote the initiation of the flowering phase in plants. These lamps are specialized for emitting orange-red glowing light that provides ideal conditions for flowering.
- The heating output is very high.
- The energy bill for each month will be very high, so it is not a cost-effective solution.
- These lights are fragile and are not safe for explosive and hazardous environments.
- The life span of bulbs is not long, and they need to be replaced after every 9 to 12 months.
- Two different kinds of fixtures are needed for this type of lighting setup. HPS can be used for the flowers, whereas, MH is required for the vegetables.
- They are omnidirectional and are producing lights in the direction of 360 degrees.
- They take the longest warm-up time, and sometimes they may need 20 minutes to get functional.
- However, the use of these lights is a good option for the beginners, who needs an inexpensive and simple lighting source. But there are various latest technologies in the lighting systems, that are much more advanced in terms of efficiency.
Ceramic Metal Halide Grow Lights
The main concept for the manufacturing of these lights is a useful and efficient variation in the HID technology having great similarity to the HPS/MH lights. These lights are highly efficient and cost-effective, and they are producing less heat energy.
Quickly these lights have become favorite light sources of various growers, but they are designed for special purposes and can only be used in the specific conditions only. Some of the pros and cons of these lights are discussed below.
- These lights are incredibly efficient, and they are producing less heat, that is the best advantage of these lights.
- Although these lights have great power but they can be placed near to the canopy of plants, and will cause any kind of damage to the plants, as heat intensity is optimum. Resultantly, there are no bleaching or burning effects on the plants.
- The life span of bulbs is very long, and there is no need for replacement for a longer time.
- These lights are best for beginners and individual growers as they are producing even spectrum and are available at affordable prices.
- They are providing PAR and lumen output, so they are capable to generate potent and best quality yield.
- The start-up cost is very high.
- There is no optimization of the light spectrum as that for LED lights.
- Ceramic halide lights are relatively newer, but they are pricey.
- The health of growers may be at risk as they are producing UV light, so growers should take some precautionary measures such as wearing full sleeves and using safety glasses.
- Due to their wonderful benefits, the only complaint about this lighting technology is the cost. As these lights are costly, so beginners may not be willing to use these lights. But these lights are very cost-effective and will be serving the purpose of indoor growing for many years. The investment on these lights will not give any kind of disappointment so they are sustainable options and should be used for the long term indoor growing.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Grow Lights
LED grow lights have greatly revolutionized the indoor growing technology and they are the best options both in terms of performance and efficiency. Although, they are expensive to some extent, but this is a sustainable system for use in the long term indoor growing conditions. Moreover, they are greatly beneficial for saving light energy, so growers have to pay less bill, that is regarded as additional profit.
Some of the pros and cons of this LED lighting technology are discussed below.
- The intensity produced by these lights is unmatched.
- The LED grow lights are very easy to use and are the cheapest sources of artificial lights.
- These lights are capable of providing IR, UV, and adjustable full spectrum of light that exerts significant effects on the growth and development of plants.
- These lights run at cooler temperatures and the chances of burning entries to plants are considerably reduced.
- LED lights are long-lasting, among all kinds of lighting systems.
- LED lights are excellent sources for the emission of long-lasting artificial lights.
- They can be directly plugged to any standard electrical outlet and some of them can also be used as fixtures in traditional lights.
- The range of color spectrum produced is wide, and can be adjusted and customized according to the type of crop being grown in the indoor growing conditions and developmental stages of crops.
- This lighting technology is most energy-efficient and the life span is also longer, so there is no need for the replacement of lights.
- The start-up cost is high, and some beginners may not be willing to use this.
- The power is less as compare to the HIDS.
- The strength of LED lights is greatly dependent on the manufacturers and sometimes this lighting may not be enough for flowering phases.
- Some LED lights may not be enough to produce light required for plant growth, so growers should do proper homework and research before buying lights.
- Sometimes reflectors are needed to enjoy the full benefits of LED grow lights.
- Although these lights are somehow expensive, but they are providing excellent returns by saving huge energy. Moreover, they support plant growth in a good way and are producing stickier, and denser flowers than the HID lighting styles. If the growers are seriously taking interest in the quality crop production in the indoor growing conditions, then the use of LED lights is the best option and its importance cannot be denied due to multiple benefits.
Fluorescent grow lights - T5’s and CFL’s
These lights are offering different kind of lighting style. The efficiency of fluorescent light is incredibly high and there is no production of heat. But this light cannot be used throughout the life cycle of plants such as from the seeding stage to the harvesting stage.
Some of the pros and cons of this kind of lighting type are discussed below.
- This lighting option is very budget friendly as they are less expensive than any other kind of grow lights.
- The efficiency is incredibly high.
- The light emitted by these lights is covering a vast range of areas than other grow lights.
- There is no production of heat, so it does not cause any kind of heating damage to the plants.
- It is the best lighting option for the plant propagation activities.
- Typically, they have a useful and longer lifespan than other lighting options.
- The lighting system is not too powerful and is not much useful in vegetative growth stages.
- It is not also useful for the flowering stages as it may not promote a healthy and vigorous production of flowers.
- It is not much help to grow a new plant from the flowers.
- The installment and proper use of light timer is must with this kind of lighting system. This timer is adjusted with the grow lights so that the daytime and nighttime periods can be adjusted. According to the adjustment of these intervals, the grow lights will be automatically turned off and on. This is a super convenient way to adjust the lighting setup and modifications can be made according to the requirements. Not only they are adding a greater level of ease to life but are also minimizing the chances of human error.
Once the right selection has been made for indoor grow lighting technology, the growing method and medium for the plants can be decided.
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